Written by: Sarah Marsden
Recalculating….the earth-shattering, panic creating word I heard again and again throughout my first week in Houston. Although my trusty Garmin had gotten me through the 21 hour drive to Houston, it seemed that lately, in the 100 degree heat, it had become just as disoriented and out of place as I had. Despite being directionally challenged, my first week in Texas couldn’t have gone any smoother. Well, then again maybe that’s because I’m intentionally blocking out the memory of ripping my skirt on the 6th day on the job or choosing to forget that my Garmin told me to turn onto the highway 610 exit ramp causing me to dodge a semi, only to just miss being clipped by another car. But hey…I’m learning wonderful transferable skills right?…..adaptability, flexibility, patience…..
Logistical issues aside, I am really enjoying my internship with Shell and love living in Houston! I work right in downtown Houston in a skyscraper called One Shell Plaza on the 12th floor. I work in a part of the business called Global Functions and as an HR Intern, I quickly learned that the people in my department support the functions of the business such as Finance, IT, Legal, Real Estate, etc. If this sounds confusing….you are right in thinking so. Shell is a gigantic company with so many components and although confusing, it’s actually quite fascinating. My first day of work was a huge learning curve for me as I threw myself into understanding the inner workings of the business and important terms like Upstream (search and recovery of crude oil and natural gas) and Downstream (a number of businesses that convert the crude oil into refined products such as fuels, lubricants, and bitumen. Downstream also deals with the trading of crude worldwide). Much to my pleasant surprise, my laptop and phone were up and running my first day on the job which allowed me to get right into learning about my projects. I have four major projects this summer in the areas of Talent Management, Diversity and Inclusion, Change Management and Recruitment. Although challenging, I am excited about these projects because they provide me with a broad exposure to many areas of HR. Overall, I am extremely impressed with how supportive everyone at Shell has been and how willing people are to meet with me. The aspect I like most about my projects is that in order for me to complete them, I need to meet with people in many different areas of the business for the information I need. The opportunity to do so, has allowed me to build relationships with so many great people and learn much more about the business as a whole.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog on Houston culture……hint: may involve a little line dancing and BBQ!