As I turn 110, my retirement from Shell is drawing near. It must be hard for you to imagine how old people get nowadays, without feeling so. I can’t say that I am tired of work this rewarding. Besides, I can keep going on these 24 hour flexible work weeks for at least another decade. But I really look forward to spending more time with my wife and the grandchildren of my grandchildren. They grow up so fast!

The last weeks I have had time to reflect on my career. I wanted to share some key thoughts with you, as you are at the start of yours. I still vividly remember my goals after graduating. After all that hard work at university I wanted to have an impact and make a difference. I wanted to work for a company with a relevant core business for decades to come. I didn’t want to focus my energy and talent on making people click on adverts or buy stuff. I wanted to use my intelligence to solve complex problems to improve the world.

Boy did my ambitions come true.

At the time we thought we were in a technological revolution. We came to realise we were just in the upward bend. After AI applications were used on the first quantum computers the world changed at an exponential pace. Whole industries became obsolete. Disruptive companies lasted for a few years until they, too, were disrupted. Luckily this was not the case in the energy industry. The energy demand only kept growing!

During the energy transition there was loads of work in New Business Development, where I started. We had to take every chance, which was not always without resistance. The energy landscape was extremely dynamic and fast paced, and it was often hard to integrate our solutions. I remember being so impressed by the smart and capable people working in our department, where only a few years later I became the department head. Some other breakthroughs aided the global transition, as genetically enhanced photosynthesis and nuclear fusion developed, although scaling went slow. In the end it was our determination, creative business models and investments in renewables that tipped the scales.

When the world regained balance, we could focus on bigger goals. We were no longer restricted by necessity, only by imagination. My last job will be to assure our energy exploration mission of the next star. Our brave astronauts are leaving next month. New business development, that’s where my heart has always been.

I will save you any further advice and recommendations. I know you will determine your own path. Funny enough, it is that quality that led to this success.

Thomas
Energy Transition Advisor at Shell

“The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individuals featured. They do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Shell group and its affiliates. The forward-looking statements made here are only examples of the featured individual’s work at Shell and desired outcome, as well as their personal wish for the future. It should not be relied on for any purpose”. 

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