How do I start a new career in a green job? by Yale Climate Connections

Yale Climate Connections

Yale Climate Connections has published a new article, “How do I start a new career in a green job? A step-by-step guide to landing a second career in protecting the planet.” The article answers the following reader question:

I am 50 years old and looking at a major career change. I have wasted most of my adult life at a soulless job that has provided for me and my family. In that regard, I am grateful and fortunate. However, I have always been passionate about animals and the environment. I have suffered from low self-esteem for quite a while and was never confident enough to pursue my passions. In any case, the support and encouragement of my soulmate and wife has me going in the right direction.

That being said, I am anxious about waiting until I have the knowledge and tools required to be a champion of the environment as a career. I understand that I need an education, but I have such a strong sense of urgency. Continuing to toil at my 9-to-5 while the home I love hurtles toward ruin is an unbearable thought. I have wasted enough time and want to contribute more sooner, rather than later.

I am still the major earner for my family, but taking a pay cut is something I am willing to do. What careers related to environmental conservation, sustainability, or preservation, are more open to entry-level positions with little-to-no experience or education? Landscape architecture. Urban planning. I am really open to many things. Ultimately, I want to be a vehicle for positive change seven days a week, 24 hours a day, not just in my time away from my empty job.

No doubt this query will feel familiar to many Ecotopian Careers readers.

The article then provides advice that includes:

  • Assess your existing skills
  • Read postings on green job boards and conduct informational interviews
  • Build your resume for a green career
  • Write a cover letter that tells your story

Now, if you have only just come to the idea of transitioning to a green job, this article is a great jumping-off point. But there may be a good chance that those of you who have been exploring this prospect for some time will go, “Well, duh; of course!” and wonder why people are enthusiastically sharing it on social media.

Here is the danger of such articles: while they are a useful first step that might be all that is required for the lucky few who quickly find their green job, they do not tell the whole story; and green jobseekers—especially in midlife—may even end up feeling despondent reading them because they believe they have already tried and failed to take the advice provided.

So, here’s the thing. The advice given in this article is certainly correct. But what is missing is how deep jobseekers need to go on these four elements of advice (and others). The transition to a green job typically takes extraordinary amounts of motivation and effort that mobilize numerous different strategies, as well as the psychological (and possibly even spiritual) work that may be required to make profound change in midlife. Good books for exploring these issues can be founding in the Suggested Reading section.

In short, a great article from Yale Climate Communications for people starting out on their transition to a green job. But if you feel you have tried and failed with the advice in the article, know you have to go much deeper than you thought necessary 🙂

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