How This Idea Started
A couple of weeks ago I was talking with some other landbros about the differences between some of the large PE shops. Here’s a disclaimer: this post, and pretty much everything I do, comes through the lens of being a landman. Things might be drastically different if you’re a geologist or an engineer, or…just a corporate windbag. Lots of anecdotal evidence abounds.
The conversation went something along lines of
“Hey did you know that so-and-so is backed by XYZ PE?”
“Didn’t whats-his-name used to work with them?”
“No, I think that was whos-his-face who worked for DNR PE.”
“Oh yeah that’s right, who do we know that’s worked with groups backed by XYZ?”
“Well there was Bill-Nobody-Remembers, back in like 2019…”
“Didn’t he die?”
“Yeah but I don’t think it was because of XYZ.”
“Anyways, I have heard that ABC PE is always nitpicking their management teams.”
“My buddy told me that working for the JCKFF group was actually pretty chill, but yeah I hear the same about ABC.”
“Can it be any worse than working for a pubco?”
“Well…yes and no, I guess.”
“So does it really even matter?”
“Probably not. Work is work.”
“Well yeah, it might matter over the longer timeframe but you know how that goes…”
Breaking Down the Differences
So…this was just some random bullshit with landbros. Obviously everybody’s experience and interpretation of work situations will be different. Micromanagement is something most people hate as a word and concept…but a lot of people actually need to either employ it in order to get their work done, or need to be part of that micromanaged system to hold them accountable. Give people too much freedom, and a lot of us aren’t going to be able to operate well in that environment…but put too many constraints on us, and you get the same diminishing return.
Working for a publicly traded ShitCo has a whole different set of frustrations and benefits. Does that mean it’s better? For some people, sure. Corporate oversight is again something that people generally dislike as a concept…but when the company is [supposed to be] accountable to the shareholders, there needs to be some oversight to keep things on the level. A lot of the time that oversight becomes burdensome over time, but bureaucratic creep is hard to pinpoint until you can look back for a longer period of time. Most of the compromise you are going to make here is lower pay (but maybe better benefits) for longer term job security.
There’s also the private companies. Most of them are going to be smaller, family owned or backed, with a narrower focus. Jobs at these companies are hard to come by, because there are fewer of them available and they don’t have the same high turnover rates of PE or Pubcos. Perhaps this is a great balance between the fast and furious PE environment and the slow and frustratingly slower Pubco pace. Yeah, sounds great…but doesn’t that get boring? When you’re committing long term to a company, family, what-have-you, it’s something that you need to take into account…restlessness.
Ultimately, most of us are going to take the best offer we have available. That might be the only offer. You might look at your buddies and feel like the grass is always greener, but at the end of the day…if we’re all making the same amount for each unit of work (this is an important concept to remember), does it matter? A unit of work as I’m referring to it means the amount of work most of would get done in a set amount of time. PE seems to squeeze more units of work into the day…but you’re generally compensated for that. Pubcos seem to require a lower total units of work per day, often instituting time wasting meetings and conference calls to deliberately lower the units of work one can accomplish…and the pay will reflect that. Private companies are probably more of a slow roller coaster ride, with times of frenetic activity followed by periods of little to no activity.
I’d love to hear in the comments below what you feel is the best financial backing, and why. Most of us only have experience with one or two of the options so it’s always interesting to see what other people think about it.
A Short Note About Photos
For anyone that has been following along for awhile, you may have noticed that my recent posts have had less relevant photos. Well, that’s because I spent years posting intermittently and had lots of time to browse though my own photo catalog and also stock images to pick the perfect photo for each post or section of a post. Since I’m posting every day, I don’t have time to be that picky about the photos anymore…so I’m just sharing ones that I like, and they are all my own. If you want to hear more about any of the photos you see here…just let me know.