Thread regarding Chevron Corp. layoffs

Chevron’s Middle Management Problem (In a nutshell)

“The Peter Principle was laid out by Canadian educational scholar and sociologist, Dr. Laurence J. Peter, in his 1968 book titled ‘The Peter Principle.’

The Peter Principle is the logical idea that competent employees will continue to be promoted, but at some point will be promoted into positions for which they are incompetent, and they will then remain in those positions because of the fact that they do not demonstrate any further competence that would get them recognized for additional promotion. According to the Peter Principle, every position in a given hierarchy will eventually be filled by employees who are incompetent to fulfill the job duties of their respective positions.

Dr. Peter further argued that employees tend to remain in positions for which they are incompetent because mere incompetence is rarely sufficient to cause the employee to be fired from the position. Ordinarily, only extreme incompetence causes dismissal.“

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Post ID: @OP+12XrpKV8

16 replies (most recent on top)

@Retired in the Hill Country: Ok, boomer.

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Post ID: @nuel+12XrpKV8

After I left chevron I made 3X salary as well.

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Post ID: @mczl+12XrpKV8

Dr. Peter comes across as a typical egghead stuck in an ivory tower that has never seen how the real world works. His premise does not take into account people leaving the organization, people retiring, dying, etc. Not to mention organizations can grow at times creating more positions that need to be filled with good performers.

Typical academic.

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Post ID: @7xyy+12XrpKV8

As others have stated, there's good and bad to any organization. Below reflects one person's experience (albeit also mirrored by others who I've spoken with that "jumped").

Management & Peer Talent-Sets: I've generally been underwhelmed by leaders and peers whom I've seen in the independent space. Technical skills have generally been weaker and many struggle to properly frame or understand an economic/technical problem. Leaders generally show a lack of maturity and are weaker in developing/managing their people.

On Opportunity & Compensation: The corollary to weak peers/leaders is that there are gaps which need to be filled. Those that have the requisite skills are rewarded. I know that I personally have experienced an approximate doubling (vs. Chevron) in my total compensation over the few years that I've been in the independent space. Many others have seen similar trajectories. It is worth noting, however, that this is more reflective of early-mid career. Chevron tends to do a better job compensating late-career and the pension accrual for those old-timers is no joke. It would be more challenging for a late-career individual to net a better total compensation package outside of Chevron in this environment.

On Lifestyle: You don't join an independent for the hours or career stability. It's a lift. For those that love the space, this can be a refreshing change. For those that have other priorities (young children, travel, etc.), it can be a grind.

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Post ID: @4ith+12XrpKV8

2crx

Typical Stockholm Syndrome reply from a CVX hostage. I know, I was exactly that.

Had several c-appy supervisors in a row. Then last one tried to hold up long overdue promotion because I was on a list of “those who will never leave.” Told same supervisor that’s I was going to look for a job and he said I’d (being over 50) would never be able to find a job. Had 4 job offers in a month. Took the best one where I got 40% raise in base pay, 45-50% annual bonus ( instead of ~25%) and increase in pay grade to 27 where I got stock grants (not options) that were about the same as base pay each year. A bit of luck to do so when oil prices were $100/BBL.

Once free from CVX, I was able to use my skills to make very good contributions to my new company and, as a result, I was well rewarded, year after year.

I can say that Chevron was good to me in the training I received, but a large part of that was due to my insistence on pursuing new skills even when management was not always supportive.

I know several ex-Chevron colleagues who’ve had the same experiences that I’ve had once they got out. More of a very mixed bag for Chevron colleagues who stayed. And many of those who stayed still complain.

All I can say is that all the money that Chevron invested in me paid off, just not for Chevron ;-)

Getting out of Chevron was best thing for my career. A bit of luck? Sure. But I’m the one who took the initiative to get the heck out. Given current state of O&G industry, may be tough to do the same right now. What do I care, IGMFU

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Post ID: @3fmg+12XrpKV8

What has been going on at Chevron for some time is called the ‘Watson Principle”. I hope Wirth is able to turn things around in short order.

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Post ID: @3gyp+12XrpKV8

The book was a load of nonsense. We can all think of a zillion examples of people who were promoted despite incompetence, kept in place despite competence, and every other combo. There are plenty of Chevron managers who are fantastic at their job but would s— at the next level up. They will stay put and happily so. We can also all think of probably a dozen people who washed out of management jobs and were happily reassimilated into the ranks with no issues.

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Post ID: @2eba+12XrpKV8

A quick tip for the trolls: If you want anyone to believe your BS, don’t include ridiculous stuff like you made 4x your Chevron salary four years after leaving.

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Post ID: @2crx+12XrpKV8

In my 40 years w/ a Chevron corporate staff group, I experienced a mixed bag of management types (some great leaders, others should have remained individual contributors).
I agree that the "Peter Principle" comes into play w/ the strong technical types— bad people skills out-weigh their ability to transfer knowledge/experience to their staff.
I felt the worst part of the bad management types was their bloated egos— I have this position so I MUST be better than the rest. My advice— focus on the examples of great leaders that you worked for/with and impart that experience to your colleague

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Post ID: @2cee+12XrpKV8

The same thing exists at most companies.

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Post ID: @2umq+12XrpKV8

Retired in the Hill Country, I worked for four+ different Energy companies during my long career and I experienced the exact opposite. The majority of management were complete buffoons at most of them, where Chevron was the exception. Chevron was indeed one of the better managed groups, coming from someone who actually experienced it. That large difference in management quality does indeed make a huge difference. I have a strong feeling that posts like yours are pure anecdotes and are not indicative of the average employee and experience, as I have conferred with many of my professional associates in engineering and they feel the same way.

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Post ID: @2byp+12XrpKV8

It’s true that Chevron is overrun by too many incompetent managers and supervisors.

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Post ID: @2uzi+12XrpKV8

So very true retired in the hill country. I too experienced the same incompetent managers who would only promote those who where incompetent and not a threat to their careers. Very well said

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Post ID: @1bzc+12XrpKV8

lcc

You did not read my specific criticisms of Chevron mgmt culture. Chevron “culture” is not just the result of the “Peter Principle” run amok.

I worked for three different energy companies in my 38 year career, so I can only speak to my experiences.

In both other companies, my direct experiences were that only 5-10% of managers were incompetent buffoons. In my 25 years with Chevron (Texas, Canada, California, West Africa) my experience was that 30-35% of Chevron management were incompetent buffoons. That large difference in mgmt quality makes a huge difference.

It’s my fault for learning so slowly that I didn’t leave Chevron until after 25 years of service, as it was my first job out of university. I would’ve been much better off leaving much earlier.

Also, every Chevron friend/colleague I know who left Uncle “C” also did much better once they were free of the “Chevron Way.”

I don’t need to read about it, I lived it!

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Post ID: @1rcv+12XrpKV8

@vxf, Has nothing to do with Chevron, or any particular corporation, or even the O&G industry. The same thing happened to me after being at Shell. Nothing unique or special about your story or experience. And your particular anecdote is the same as many of my colleagues currently in tech, finance , etc. Welcome to corporate America. You need to get out and/or read more.

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Post ID: @lcc+12XrpKV8

KV8

Not much new in your post but yes it’s true.

I worked for Uncle Chevron from 1983 through 2008 (25 years). Must’ve had Stockholm Syndrome because my career took off after leaving. Doubled my compensation in one year; was making 4 times as much four years later. Getting out of CVX was the best decision I ever made.

Chevron managers and supervisors are liars; a skill that must be mastered (without smirking or smiling) before they can be promoted.

The key to CVX’s dysfunctional hierarchy is that GMs only promote/hire Unit Managers who won’t be a threat to their status, Unit Managers only promote/ hire Team Leaders who won’t be a threat to their status, ... and so on at all rungs of the hierarchy.

When they started calling themselves “leaders” rather than “managers” they were not capable as either leading or managing.

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Post ID: @vxf+12XrpKV8

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