Career Transition Primer

Libraries are popular places during depressions / recessions. This is no accident. There is a lot of free information for those conducting a job search or opening their own business. One of the best libraries for business information is the Houston Public Library, at 500 McKinney. You don't have to live in the city to use the library, but you do have to live in the city (or pay a fee) to check out books. The University of Houston library is also quite good. Here again, anyone can use the library. There are numerous other college, city, and county libraries available for searching out business and job search information. Look through your Government Blue Pages (in front of the White Pages) for government libraries and in the Yellow Pages, under Schools - Universities and Colleges, for college library locations.

Directories listing industries, companies, personnel, and even average daily production are another source of information for your job search. Oil & Gas directories, SPE directories, Professional Engineer directories, regional directories, and Texas Manufacturers directory are all candidates for gleaning names, phone numbers, and addresses of potential employers or clients.

Television programs provide information useful for your current job situation. You may be able to find C-Span's translation of the Evening News from Moscow and other cable channels (such as A&E, the Discovery Channel, and local access channels) frequently have industrial cultural and political documentaries of interest to career-changing and country-changing engineers. One word of caution: The "kiss of death" in a job search is to get hooked on the soaps or daytime talk shows. These shows air during "prime time" for contacting potential employers.

If you want to investigate the environmental field, you should attend one of the Career Transition seminars sponsored by the Houston Geological Society (HGS). Environmental meetings are on the second Wednesday of each month with a more general career transition meeting on the forth Wednesday of each month. These meetings are a good source of information about environmental opportunities (obviously slanted toward geological opportunities) and other high-demand (transition) industries. HGS also has day-long programs in environmental and other career areas. Their phone number is 785-6402. Your local SPE Gulf Coast Section is also offering career transition programs and highlighting environmental career opportunities. Keep an eye on your monthly SPE Gulf Coast Section news letter for details.

Other unique sources of information include:

  • The Secretary of State, (512) 463-5555, where information about principle partners is available for incorporated businesses.
  • The Harris County Clerk's Office (Business Blue Pages), where information about principle partners is available for companies with a registered DBA (Doing Business As) in that county.
  • The Post Office (Government Blue Pages), where company names can be obtained if you have the PO Box number by calling the appropriate Post Office branch handling that zip code. (This does not work with newspaper box numbers.)