Updated: May 25, 2021
This post is the third in a series on Green trends and foresight in support of our forthcoming GreenSenses Workshop: Practical Strategies for Career Pivots
How do you “hear a calling” to a “Green” career?
Moving into a “Green” career requires pausing and reflecting on our professional and personal lives to date
Nature can provide an ideal setting where reflection can occur
There are many objective and subjective ways to discern whether an environmental or Green career is right for you
Every adventure begins with a starting point. You see a magnificent challenge in the world, like an unclimbed mountain peak, that dares you to take it on, to make a difference, to change lives. Or, more subtly, something right now…
Early in Jim’s career, he occasionally caught the sound of a departing airplane and wondered: Where is it going? Where would I go? What would I do there?
“I didn’t know it,” Jim said, “but that was my yearning starting to talk to me. “
Later in life, Beth began to notice that same internal conversation when she became a volunteer Tree Steward (a local group that plants, cares for, and advocates for trees).
“There was something about that experience that intrigued me, that I wasn’t exactly able to place or describe at the start, just yet,” Beth says.
In psychological terms, it’s called pre-contemplation – the process of getting ready to do something new. Something right now isn’t “just right.” We may be restless or yearning for something…more.
The restlessness becomes a nag and sometimes in exasperation, you almost surrender and agree with the nag to at least listen to your restlessness. This is where quiet reflection and contemplation are important. It’s more than hearing at this stage – it’s listening for and discerning your individual truth.
You may find your reflection takes place in nature -- or it includes thinking about natural places. It may be that your truth involves a career working in the environmental field in some way.
There are many objective and subjective ways to discern whether an environmental or Green career is right for you. Here are a few to consider.
Some subjective factors
1) You are continually drawn to it. It’s almost irresistible. You can’t not pursue it.
2) It aligns with your personal values about respect for nature and its creatures.
3) There’s a desire to do work that has deep meaning for you, working on a cause or movement or problem or aspect of the environment that’s larger than yourself.
4) You want to leave a legacy for future generations.
5) You are actively involved in some aspect of the environmental field and you find the work (volunteer, part-time, professional working group, perhaps on a committee at work, etc.) you do highly satisfying. You are in some state of “flow” when you perform those activities almost effortlessly.
6) You enjoy meeting people who work in “Green” sectors, learning about their passions, goals and work.
7) You are inspired by progress in sustainable practices, on an individual, person-to-person, or small group basis or at local, regional, national, and/or international levels.
Some objective factors
1) There is a problem to be solved that attracts you and you know how to – or are committed to learning how – to solve that problem.
2) There are professional opportunities (jobs) and professional development opportunities in the field that you find interesting.
3) There are well-paying jobs in the field that you could do and that you find interesting.
4) Trends indicate that there are short- and long-term growth opportunities in the Green sector of your choice.
5) There are people in the Green sector of your choice who have achieved valuable environmental goals.
6) There are people in the Green industry who express interest in your interests and encourage you to pursue working in the field.
7) There are professional, nonprofit, and government organizations addressing the core environmental challenges that you find interesting and that you can get involved in.
In summary, recognizing the start of that yearning – and finding a place where you can explore the insights it provides – both are valuable for career development purposes. Similarly, taking stock of both objective and subjective factors can be useful in considering if a “Green” career transformation might be right for you.
In our next blog post, we’ll explore Refusing the Call & Preparing for the Journey, which is the next step forward on your Green Career transformation.
What is holding you back?
What is in your way now?
What is inviting your forward?
Mary Reilly Mathews, LCSWR
Stages of Change, https://www.cpe.vt.edu/gttc/presentations/8eStagesofChange.pdf
Can we help with building and sustaining the skills you or your team need to advance professionally? Reach out to Beth Offenbacker, PhD, CPCC, ACC, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone or text at 703-623-4811 to discuss if our Green Career, Executive/Leadership Coaching, Small Group Coaching and Mentoring, or Learning & Development services are right for you. We work with professionals and organizations that have a sustainability focus in their work. All services are customized to your needs.