A day in the life of a: Performance Manager

April 20, 2015

Current Position: Performance Manager

Industry: Oil and Gas
Company: BP
Years in position: 4
Degree/Courses Studies: B.Comm Mgt & Inf Sys
Institution: Rhodes University
Graduated: 2004 

How I chose my career?
I enjoyed working with numbers at university, so moving into Finance was a logical step for me, now 10 years on I am looking for a new challenge and again thinking about things that excite me, I am looking for a delivery focussed role, probably something in projects. I have always wished for more guidance, but ultimately you need to ask, no-one will do it for you.

My expectations:
I had always believed that I would go into my own business eventually. Whilst based in the UK it made sense to go into the corporate world until we returned to SA. After having kids you become a little more risk averse and staying in the corporate world is the safer option. I will never rule out going on my own but for now corporate is the right place for me.

The reality:
What is really like to work in the career you have chosen for yourself. What aspects of your career met your expectations and which fell short. What are the pros and cons. A little more of that its really, room for growth, similar career options, rewards, salary expectations, fulfillment etc. Would you change anything?

I have worked in a number of roles and you get a sense for what is important. I've worked with a great team, where I was not challenged - I got frustrated and moved. I then worked in a very challenging role where I did not get on with my manager at all, and hated work because of that. I had been in the financial sector up until that point and spent a further year in that sector. I then moved to Oil and Gas which coincided with the birth of my 1st child, the time pressures and demands were a lot less than the financial sector which allowed me to spend more time at home with my kids. So for me, the key to happiness is balance between the environment you work in, the challenge you set yourself and how you manage your work/life balance at different stages in your life. BP are really supportive in progressing through the organisation, it's almost expected that you will move every 2 years. They will pay for training in both current and for future roles and there is always a section reserved on your annual performance contract for personal development. BP are such a large organisation it's not uncommon to come across people who have been here 30 years+ and I think it's not only because it is a great company to work for but they also have such a variety of roles that you could just about do anything in any part of the world. Salary expectations, I think everyone always wants more, but BP offer a fairly wide banding based on experience and expertise - my advice not only here but anywhere you go, never accept the first offer, they can always go higher and that is the best opportunity to negotiate your salary.

A typical day for me includes:
Your day. Who you interact with, level of people contact, expertise. How long are you in this job before you can expect to be promoted. Etc

I have a unique role where I cover a relatively small team (in BP terms - $60m p/a) so I get oversight of all the financial and performance systems and get to interact with people from the lower level who work in the detail, to the management who tend to operate at 30,000 feet so I very consciously need to be able to change my interaction and the level of conversation that I have with each person I deal with. My role is completely varied, dealing with forecasting, actuals, headcount, governance, audit and compliance across both operations and projects, I am the SME for our team and as a result have many varied interactions on a day to day basis. If my career were to continue along a Finance path I think I would be eligible for promotion within the next year or so, however I am looking for a change in direction so my next move is likely to be lateral. 

I like/dislike this career choice because:
I do love my work, BP ticks all the boxes for me, provide me the support I need, offer options to personalise a work/life balance, give me the flexibility to grow and explore, and I can honestly say are the most ethical company I have ever worked for.