Jobs: Things to think about, stuff to click on.

by ariadnesthread101

I started by writing about what it ‘means’ to work in Sustainability. The magic of having deeply personal motivations for your work, the challenge of ‘living alone in a world full of wounds’. Yawn. Unsurprisingly, no post was posted yesterday. Set realistic goals and all that… We all know that it means a lot to most people who work in the field (or you wouldn’t be here). And that’s enough information to go on.

Anyway so. Here are a couple of small things to take notice of, early on, so that you can hopefully get your hands on a Job+: Work with a sense of purpose, actively chosen and which makes you insanely fulfilled. Please don’t listen to anyone who scoffs at this idea. It exists. It’s worth chasing.

If you do choose to work within the Sustainability ‘sector’, where do you begin? There’s no single correct place. In this post, there are just some super-basic things about the job-market that you need to look at, think about and keep on your radar.

These things occurred to me as I looked at general job listings in ‘Environment and Sustainability’ on the page below, so I’ll use a screenshot of the page to point them out:

Click on the image to make it larger. The full page is here.

# 1. The things ‘Environmentalists’ tackle. This list spans (or should span) every area of human activity in the Biosphere.

It includes big-picture ‘problems’ and broad areas. It’s up to you to think about:

  • What particular sustainability challenges excite you
  • Whether you’d like something ‘technical’ or ‘people-centric’
  • Whether you’d like to tackle ‘broad’ things (policies, strategies, research and development) or focus on specific issues (energy management within a particular company, saving a particular kind of lizard from extinction, supplying x number of people with y number of taps for clean drinking water.)

#2. Functions:

If you know roughly what kind of sustainability challenge (#1, above) you’d like to work on, you can do pretty much anything to help humankind understand, plan for, prevent or solve these challenges. You can do so by contributing whatever skills you can bring to the table. You already bring these skills with you. You know what they are. Use them, so that you develop them further and so that other people really know you have them. Volunteer! It’s good for you. Here’s a place to start.

#3. Dive into the wild and wonderful internet:

Sign up to alerts, newsletters and RSS feeds for jobs. Obviously, the specific ones will be tailored to your specific interests. But good general ones are listed here. And don’t just focus on job alerts. Get involved in the subject! Sign up to the Facebook and Twitter pages of organisations you’re interested in, working in areas you’re generally interested in. Join the discussion if you see an interesting conversation on Twitter. Look at their posts on Facebook.

On a related note, I don’t need to add that the internet is full of advice: here’s a list of stuff graduates say you should do now to get a job later.

#4. Don’t look at numbers of jobs in job listings.  

Environmentalists work with any sustainability challenge, at any scale, in any field, using any skill(s) they can bring. DON’T look at the relatively tiny number of jobs typically listed under general listings. That’s often the first thing people look at. Then you can feel awful, like the sector is ‘limited’, because ‘Marketing and PR’ for example, have upwards of 1000. Ignore that. Seriously. This is how big the potential for environmental work is:

And speaking of that, I’ve talked almost exclusively in this post about responding to the job market. It’s also important to say that you’re not a slave to the job market (though of course you have to find a way to live your life). Jobs are not only applied for. They can also be created. More on that soon.

Hope everyone is having a productive week!

– Zareen