Looking for greater meaning in your career?
Are you working in a field that doesn’t resonate with your values? Then you’re probably finding it hard to stay motivated and interested in your career. That’s a sign that it’s time to re-examine your priorities.
If you’re concerned about the environment, maybe a green career is for you. Given the urgency of climate change and new initiatives such as the much talked-about Green New Deal, you would certainly be in good company – and in fact over 80% of recent university graduates say they would want to work for a “green” employer.
What if you’ve already thought about this but didn’t pursue it because you lack the specific technical skills and qualifications for some of the jobs in the green economy? Think again. Sustainability in today’s world is as much about mindset as technology. You may still be able to tweak your career in the direction of sustainability based on your existing background.
You could consider either working directly in a sustainability and environmental-based company, or working in a company that has committed to sustainability and environment-friendly practices.
Here are some examples of career transitions that give you the opportunity use your current skill-set to move into the green economy:
Experience as a middle manager: your people-leadership skills make you a good candidate to land a similar role with an environmentally-friendly company.
Business analysis skills: you may be cut out to work as a Sustainability Analyst.
Marketing, sales or public relations experience: consider a role marketing green products.
Administrative skills: you might move to a government role implementing green policies for the protection of the environment.
The field is continuously expanding to include different voices that can strengthen the move towards sustainability.
Sustainable Company Initiatives
For a career that aligns with your environmental values, consider that increasingly, companies are pledging to become more sustainable in their operations. This is essential since so many industries are responsible for significant portions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. (Some examples include retail at 10% and transportation at 16% for annual carbon emission). With the push for sustainability, we see companies and initiatives emerge that centre around sustainable practices.
New players like Everlane are producing clothing made from recycled plastic and addressing social sustainability by being transparent about the factories in which their clothing is produced.
We’re also witnessing the continued rise of electric car companies like Tesla, and the availablity of rental electric scooters available across major cities. Other companies are focused on reducing energy use and waste as well as supporting green projects.
Dell has created an efficient recycling program that allows their customers to return products so the materials can be reused, reducing e-waste. Google has long been an investor of sustainable projects and has now launched an accelerator program for startups addressing climate change.
These are just a few examples of companies that support a green career.
Sustainability is more than the well-being of the environment, it also embraces the well-being of people and how we support each other to maintain the best quality of life possible. And so, you may also want to look out for companies that embrace sustainability in the social aspect— like lobbying for fair wages, health, work-life balance and supporting the local economy.
Skills to Consider
Now that we’ve covered some of the available roles to consider, let’s look at some skill sets you can hone in on when entering a green career:
Given that the green and sustainable economy is constantly changing and evolving, it is crucial to be able to effectively express ideas, both written and verbally, even if you are not in a leadership position. This is even more important for people with technical knowledge like engineers and energy experts who must establish relationships and build connections with others who are necessary to accomplish the sustainability goals but who might not necessarily have the same scientific understanding.
Technical experts must learn to break down complex topics and appropriately communicate the basic principles behind them based on the listener’s age, educational background and level of understanding.
- Research Analysis
Research and development is one of the most important aspects of the green industry as the technology keeps improving and new methods are developed for increased sustainability. Being able to conduct research analysis is in high demand for green employers who need people skilled at taking the steps to analyze a problem that has not been solved before. Considering a career in this field, the ability to collect trustworthy and unbiased information to support logical arguments and illustrate trends is a marketable skill.
- Project Management
Project management entails ensuring goals are achieved within given constraints according to a specified timeline. If you regularly multitask and enjoy making to-do lists to stay organized, this is the position for you. With the growth of careers within the green economy, there will be a demand for Project Managers in the field.
Overall, there are many career opportunities sprouting from sustainability that can provide both a good salary and an interesting career path, while contributing to the betterment of your community and the planet.
The best part is that the opportunities are there for diverse career interests, abilities and perspectives so in all likelihood you’ll find a green career that suits you.
Interested in exploring a more sustainable career? Book a call with me to find out how I can help you to determine your next steps.