Meet Alli Johnson from Dallas, Texas. Alli has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University and is a Facilities Engineer, in a commissioning process engineer role for a large offshore hook-up and commissioning campaign in Angola, Africa. Her campaign is currently in the tail-end of commissioning a large platform and has been preparing to commission a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant.
Women Offshore‘s team member, Elyse Knudsen, recently caught up with Alli to find out more about her career and what motivates her to work on the water. Here’s what Alli had to say:
Alli, what keeps you motivated when situations get difficult offshore?
“Calling home. Being away is so difficult and leaning on friends and family back home ALWAYS helps. I also get outside, get some vitamin D whenever the sun is calling!”
Since your rotation is 28 days on, 28 days off, what do you like to do on your time off?
“I have been on a 28/28 rotation for almost 4 years. The first 3 years I did a LOT of traveling – some solo, some with my boyfriend, and some with friends/family. The memories I’ve made on my travels will last a lifetime, yet it is always so nice to be home. I just recently bought at house in Houston and remodeling and decorating is now filling up my time off – not to mention emptying my bank account!”
What keeps you coming back for more?
“The challenge. Every rotation I leave thinking “I’ve got this down,” and every rotation I arrive back with a whole new set of challenges. I won’t lie, this sometimes leaves me feeling defeated. However, I am reminded that I am here for a purpose, and if that purpose is trial by fire – bring it on!”
What are some off the greatest challenges you face offshore?
“Maintaining a professional relationship with all coworkers offshore – men and women. I was lucky enough to work with another Women Offshore contributor who wrote something that I will never forget reading. She said, “Don’t feel like you must be friends with all the other girls that work offshore with you. Also, don’t assume that every woman will instantly like you.” As women, we need to stick together and support each other, but if you find someone that you don’t click with – that’s normal! Maintain whatever relationship you have, and above all else support each other. Never be afraid to speak up in ANY circumstance – always know when your ‘line’ is crossed.”
How do you stay fit while offshore?
“Staying fit is so important for me because I tend to over indulge (just a bit) on my time off. Coming back to work is my month-long boot camp. Find someone offshore who enjoys working out and will hold you accountable. There is always someone – I promise! Make a goal in the morning and STICK TO IT! Whether it’s something as simple as walking the deck/platform twice a day or doing a sweat-drenched P-90x workout; so long as you are moving it counts!”
What advice would you like to share with women who are considering work in the offshore industry?
“Be prepared. Bring extra underwear on travel days, never forget deodorant, DO forget makeup (you are beautiful just the way you are), never forget hair ties (or else you’ll end up with an actual rubber band and lots of lost hair), bring medication (viruses spread like wildfire). Also, call someone out there before you leave to know what you’re walking into, operations-wise. Most importantly, be true to yourself. Never lose sight of who you are and who you aspire to be. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frustrations of offshore/rotational lifestyle, but you have been given this challenge for a reason – your proven capabilities. You CAN do this!”
Thank you, Alli, for sharing your career with us! We wish you the best as you finish up your campaign in Angola. Stay safe out there!
The Women Offshore Foundation is an online organization and resource center for a diverse workforce on the water. Its mission is to propel women into meaningful careers through access to a worldwide community and professional development resources, while raising awareness amongst industry leaders and decision makers about issues affecting women on the water. Contact Women Offshore today: firstname.lastname@example.org.