41. Where You’re from Influences How You Decide

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

—St. Ambrose

Now semiretired and living in Florida, Chris Reed reflected back to 2008. At the time, except for vacations to Canada and Mexico, Chris had never been out of the United States. That changed when his employer, Exxon-Mobil, assigned him to Saudi Arabia.

Chris joined Exxon as a geologist in 1991, and all his projects with Exxon had been in the area around Midland, Texas. Born and raised in Dallas, Chris’s adjustment to Midland was easy. But in 2008, the company asked him to head up its exploration team on a $15 billion natural gas project in South Ghawar.

Chris quickly learned that he wasn’t in Midland, Texas, anymore. “People in South Ghawar were very ...

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