October 16, 2017
By Blake Bogie
When you’re young, you don’t always think about the long-term impact of your education and the decisions you make as you graduate from high school. For me, it wasn’t until I found out my wife and I were expecting a son that my priorities became clear. Then, I realized I needed to find a career that would let me support my growing family without spending so much time away from home.
Last month, I had the opportunity to share the lessons I’ve learned. I spoke to the students of Aldine ISD about my job as a process operator at ExxonMobil. Although it might be a while before any of them become parents, it’s important that they think about their long-term needs and those of a family.
I had begun thinking about working in the petrochemical industry and even taken an aptitude test for becoming a process operator. But when my son was born, my father-in-law convinced me to pursue a two-year degree program to better prepare myself for a career in petrochem.
I enrolled at Lee College. There I met people in the industry, who pointed me to a scholarship program that ExxonMobil offered. I applied for the scholarship and received it. The scholarship opened the door for me to apply for a full-time operator position at ExxonMobil’s chemical Baytown Olefins Plant.
I’ve been at ExxonMobil for more than a year now and could not be happier. As a process operator, I work with a team of operators that helps produce the Ethylene used to make plastic products all over the world. My career requires critical thinking and communication skills. I often work outside, multi-task, and have responsibility for keeping my unit safe.
I’ve worked hard, and it’s paid off. I made more in my first year at ExxonMobil than I did in my 10th year at my previous career. I plan to go back to Lee and finish my degree. ExxonMobil will pay for me to complete my education, and my job is secure. I plan on taking full advantage of the opportunity to continue learning and to advance into higher roles within the company.
ExxonMobil has enabled me to rewrite my family’s future. I hope young people coming out of high school will take time to explore the numerous options out there and make informed decisions. There are many different paths to a successful career, and not all of them involve getting a four-year college degree.