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A day in the life of an energy industry newbie

“How long have you been in the industry?” Me: “Well, this is my 6th day…”

Monday

6:00 AM- My alarm sounds, I wake up, and I get ready to attend a workshop in Baltimore, Maryland. This is my sixth day of work with DNV GL. I’m excited, but I wonder, “What is an appropriate business-casual yet travel-comfy outfit for driving to Baltimore with your project manager Dan? Does she drive in flats or sneakers?” (Answer: sneakers).

7:00 AM- I meet Dan and we drive to Baltimore through torrential downpours. She is a safe driver, listens to NPR, and tells good stories–cool!

8:15 AM- We arrive in Baltimore and take the elevators up to the hotel, which feature music that is part nightclub, part morning jazz, carrying gear for DNV GL’s booth and some posters that my colleagues will be presenting later in the conference. I heard there are some good freebies for conference goers, and I keep my eye out while we set up. This is my first energy industry conference, so I try to think about my elevator pitch, but come up a little empty. Perhaps the workshop will help fill in the blanks.

9:00 AM- I locate the “Evaluation Management 101” workshop room and scan the room for an empty seat. I notice there is a nearly equal gender mix and that feels great! Tammy Kuiken, one of the workshop instructors, introduces herself to me; I’m glad to meet another DNV GL colleague. My new colleagues in Arlington had told me she is rad and has a great sense of humor. I will admit that, with my background in economics, I am not used to being outnumbered by engineers in a workshop–and in my new role at DNV GL.

Workshop introductions: “My name is Christina Robichaud and I work in DNV GL’s Arlington, Virginia office. This is my first job after finishing my Master’s degree two weeks ago. I am new to the industry, meaning this is my sixth day.”

Workshop musings: “Why are there so many acronyms?… How does everyone keep track of these?… What does that one mean?… Ohhhhh, that is what ‘estimated net and gross savings’ means… Can you re-explain how we define a freerider in this industry?… Tammy and Bobbi Tannenbaum, the other workshop presenter from Btan Consulting, LLC, have fantastic senses of humor… Ok, here’s a concept that I want to review for a related project when I’m back at the office… It’s great that this is a place where everyone can ask any question… I am so glad there are snacks and tea!”

5:00 PM- I receive my diploma for successfully completing “Evaluation Management 101,” and even get to hear the classic graduation march music. This concludes an awesome workshop day! I now feel more confident about the sustainable energy use industry and how my project work fits in. I return the feedback survey to IEPEC event staff and head to the “Young Professionals Networking Event.”

5:15 PM and into the evening- I enter the networking event and scan the room for the most important thing: snacks. I look for a familiar face or at least a friendly one that can be a captive audience for my questions and witty comments. I see someone else from the same workshop! I meet some folks from California, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and then listen to brief talks from more-established professionals in the industry. Everyone is incredibly friendly here.

For at least the tenth time today I answer the question, “How long have you been in the industry?” the same way- “Well, this is my sixth day… so I would say I’m REALLY new.”

Tuesday

7:30 AM – I arrive at breakfast and locate familiar faces around the DNV GL table and meet some new colleagues from other offices around the U.S.

I answer the now-anticipated question, “How long have you been in the industry?” the same way- “Well, this is my seventh day… so I’m new to both the industry and DNV GL. I’m happy to be here!”

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