In the five years I’ve been helping people discover their green career direction, I’ve observed that most people look outside themselves to find answers.
Generally they take one (or more) of the five actions listed. Although each of these actions provides insights about possible career directions, I’ve also seen that these actions don’t always provide the clarity people need to move forward with their quest to transition to a greener, more sustainable career. I’ve noted a few of the questions that often come to my mind as I talk with people about their efforts to identify their green career focus using these actions.
Follow Green Trends – When you hear that solar or wind, for instance, are the latest trends, it’s easy to want to jump on board to contribute to the cutting edge advancements in these fields.
…But are your skills and experience relevant in these hot industries?
How much do you really know about the industry you are targeting?
Talk to People You Know – People often think the best way to discover their green career direction is to interview people who are already in green careers. The hope is they will talk to someone who has a green job that’s interesting to them.
…But do you have the same background and interests your contacts do?
Are you really a good fit for the professions they find so interesting?
What aren’t you learning about by focusing on what people around you are doing?
Scan Job Boards – People also scan job boards and company job listings to identify green jobs that might work for them. Granted any job board is a great way to review a large collection of positions. You can read a lot of job descriptions in this way. , but it’s often difficult to isolate green jobs on most job boards.
…But do you know the key words to you to find green positions?
Are you aware that only about 25%-30% of positions are actually posted online?
Are you finding all the positions that have a green component with your current search methods?
Follow the Money – Understanding which industries and companies are getting funding is a very important aspect of understanding the growth and development of the green economy. Unfortunately when venture capitalists first invest in a company or technology, the company’s hiring needs are fairly limited and quite targeted.
…But are these companies in a good position to hire someone with your skills?
If not, when will they be ready to hire you?
Target Training Opportunities – You hear about a new training program, perhaps one that’s funded through grants or available through a local organization at a reduced cost. You read the description. It sounds interesting, so you go for it. You aren’t sure what you are going to do with the training, but you take the plunge because the certification sounds good.
…But is completing this training program really enough to make you employable?
Do you know the kinds of jobs that you’ll be qualified to do at the end of the training?
Will you enjoy those positions?
Can you imagine doing this work?
Unfortunately, you aren’t likely to reach a clear conclusion about your green career focus by looking outside yourself.
The Key to Clarity
Understanding how your strengths dovetail with what’s happening in your local region and your target green industry is essential.
If you don’t know the value you bring to a company or an industry or if you can’t articulate your value, then it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to pinpoint the kind of green career where you are most likely to make the difference you want to make.
By starting with what’s true for you in terms of your skills, interests, experience, and passions you’ll know where to focus your green career exploration.