After completing her Ph. D. at Cambridge University Susan was recruited by BP to work in the oil industry. She worked offshore in the North Sea and in offices based in Aberdeen in Scotland. Her work included analysis of borehole core rocks, constructing mathematical models of sub-sea oil and gas fields using computers, and planning oil and gas wells. As part of her wider interests she was the University/Industry Liaison representative for BP in Aberdeen.
After working for BP for six years, Susan then worked for the American independent company Amerada Hess for ten years and published a series of academic papers in geological journals on her geological work. She was tempted back to BP by the opportunity to work on the geology of Angola and in addition to her technical remit Susan worked as a schools liaison officer for BP encouraging students to select science and technology options in the curriculum and arranging work experience courses. As a Fellow of the Geological Society of London she was asked to work on their Validation and Accreditation Committee, helping less experienced geologists gain nationally recognized accreditation in their subject. In 2008, Susan was offered a position working for the UK Government in the then newly formed Department of Energy and Climate Change where she was part of a small team regulating the offshore oil industry.
In 2002, she was offered her first expedition cruise work in the Antarctic Peninsula and from that point on all of her vacation time, and a considerable amount of unpaid leave-of-absence time, was spent exploring different parts of the world on expedition cruise ships. After a decade of part-time work on ships, which included travels in Australasia, Alaska, Kamchatka, Antarctica, the British Isles, Norway, and 11 ice-breaker voyages to the North Pole, Susan decided in 2012 to leave her work in the oil industry and devote herself full-time to expedition cruise work.