(FILES) A file picture taken on August 8It’s been said that one certainty regarding oil price forecasts is they will always be wrong. While there are certainly exceptions, the oil & gas industry’s history is littered with business cycle shifts that caught even the most seasoned analysts and executives flatfooted. Look at what’s happened with the US refining complex, LNG import projections or perhaps the timing of Exxon’s XTO acquisition as examples.

An interesting piece published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers entitled “Excelling in Your First 10 Years: Ten Life Lessons,” offers great career advice that transcends the oil & gas industry. From maintaining your integrity to creating a personal career “board of directors,” the article highlights numerous career advancement strategies.

And while today’s quote refers to oil & gas, the general idea is applicable to many industries and professions.

“Always expect the unexpected. The oil and gas industry is terrible at predicting anything. Always have a back-up plan.” – David Dixon, a graduate production technologist (production engineer) at Shell

After all, few predicted the depth and extent of the 2008 financial crisis that put so many people out of work. As Nassim Taleb explores in “Fooled by Randomness,” black swan events occur more often than many assume. Although predicting specific disruptions is a low-percentage affair, it’s wise to position one’s business or personal finances in a way that limits extreme downside risk. And having a back-up plan is always a good idea.