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“It’s Cyclical” and Other Worn Out Industry Phrases


Nearly two years into one of the industry’s worse downturns, the good news is that many experts and analysts believe we’ve already reached the bottom and some are anticipating a ramp-up of production soon, and subsequently, more hiring.

As a journalist, I’ve been privy to numerous conversations about the downturn and have addressed it from every possible angle. After so long, you begin to read between the lines when energy professionals say things like, “the industry is cyclical.” Presumably, we all know the boom-bust cycle of the industry, so stating that it’s cyclical really does nothing for us except remind us that nobody really knows when the downturn will be over. At times – not always – it seems like this innocent phrase is used as a justification for simply not knowing.

Take job loss, for example.

“Well, the industry is cyclical. In times of boom, people are hired on and in times of bust, people are let go.”

Tell me you haven’t heard this explanation lately. And while it’s true … gosh, aren’t you tired of hearing it?

Here are a few other words and phrases that won’t be missed once we’re completely out of this downturn:

Layoffs, Redundancies and Reductions

The underlying theme here? People are losing their jobs. While it may not always be communicated as clearly as a layoff, eliminating redundancies and making workforce reductions all amount to the same end result.

Right-sizing, Restructuring

Beware of these words as well because they can also be code for layoffs. When a company right-sizes during a downturn, they’re getting down to a workable size. And restructuring can be misleading because it can happen with mergers and acquisitions as well. Positions may very well be added, but there’s a good chance some will be eliminated as well.

Lower for Longer, New Normal

These phrases are often used to describe the low oil price environment. Essentially, we’ll have a prolonged downturn and the new normal will be how the industry adjusts to it. Which brings me to …

Do More with Less

This really means a company has cut its workforce and needs the remaining employees to take on the workload with fewer people.

Freezes, Cuts

Freezes and cuts are slightly less crummy alternatives to job losses. They typically involve salary, bonuses, benefits and other incentives.

There you have it, folks! Am I missing any phrases? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email. See you on the more favorable side of the cycle!


5 Comments on "“It’s Cyclical” and Other Worn Out Industry Phrases"

  1. Roger on Mon, 25th Jul 2016 8:08 pm 

    Yes, the one that really chaps my a.. is “people are our greatest asset.” Heard that one too many times while watching the axe cutting bone.

  2. Kenz300 on Tue, 26th Jul 2016 8:58 am 

    Jobs are growing in the solar and wind industries……..might be something to think about…….

    Energy from Offshore: Engineering Firm Transitions Expertise from Offshore Oil to Offshore Wind –

    Solar Added More New Capacity Than Coal, Natural Gas and Nuclear Combined

  3. joe on Tue, 26th Jul 2016 9:04 am 

    Hey as they say in France, ‘get used to it’!

  4. Kenz300 on Tue, 26th Jul 2016 9:12 am 

    Climate Change is real……. we will all be
    impacted by it….

    The world is moving away from fossil fuels and to safer,cleaner and cheaper alternative energy sources……

    Renewable Energy Training Opportunities for Vets and Displaced Fossil Energy Workers –

  5. Dredd on Tue, 26th Jul 2016 3:33 pm 

    It’s sicklickal (The Warming Science Commentariat – 6).

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