Paula Inman: Lifelong Learner — Job Hunter — Energy Professional

As a Texas A&M graduate in petroleum engineering, oil and gas was the foundation on which Paula Inman built her career. With more than two decades in the industry, Inman has seen the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry reflected in her own professional path. Her most recent down started after she was laid off by BP in August 2015, then laid off again by Hart Crowser in November 2016. After being laid off twice in 15 months, Inman entered her job search a bit weary, but still determined.

Inman focused her search in the oil and gas field, but also expanded out to other engineering-driven industries in an attempt to expand her possibilities. But nearly two years into her search, she was scammed by an overseas opportunity that nearly drained her severance from BP. “I was begging. I was in the dumps. I was like, ‘Okay, God, what do you want me to do and how am I supposed to overcome this and continue to look for a job?’” Inman said. 

Despite the scam, Inman pressed on and was referred to WorkFaith Connection through a friend volunteering with the Christian-centered organization. The mission of the organization is to encourage, educate, and equip disadvantaged job seekers with the skills and connections they need in order to gain employment. 

“I was distraught, but luckily they got me in and I was able to do an orientation class,” Inman said. “I thought, ‘I have a resume already, this shouldn’t be a problem.’ But I went in with the attitude, ‘Okay, I’ve got to take whatever I can from this organization.’” 

With resume building, practicing interviews, and professional coaching throughout the process, Inman feels she was able to receive the support she needed following the hurt she felt from the scam. Over a four-month period with the organization, Inman applied to “hundreds of jobs” and had five interviews that went on to second interviews, but none stuck, until she was able to find her current job as an engineering advisor with Occidental Petroleum Corporation, an international oil and gas exploration and production company headquartered in Houston.

“I found out I got the job through a voicemail. I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ It was total elation,” Inman said. “The excitement of, ‘Oh my God, I’m not a loser anymore.’ But throughout that whole process, WorkFaith never stopped praying for me and supporting me.” 

Even with strong experience in a healthy job market, people like Inman can still find themselves facing extended periods of unemployment in our region. Visit the links below to learn more about unemployment in the Houston area.

Additional resources

Published by Heather Leighton

Web and Social Media Editor, Kinder Institute for Urban Research

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