Today’s employer advice is from Jeremy Madsen, Executive Director at Build It Green.
Q: Tell us about your organization.
Build It Green’s Vision and Mission
We envision a healthy housing ecosystem that fosters well-being in individuals, communities, and bioregions.
BIG develops new capacity by providing credible and accessible resources for regenerative neighborhood development.
Q: What advice would you give to people in midlife who want to transition to a green job?
Whatever it is, do something that you find fulfilling, where you feel valued, and on which your skills and experience can make a real difference. That might not always be a transition from your current sector or current employer. I have often heard the line, “any job can be a green job.” I don’t fully agree with that, there are a lot of truly destructive jobs out there, but the point is that in many cases people already in an industry or company are best positioned to make the work better for people and the planet. I believe this is especially true for people relatively far into their careers. Such people have contacts, credibility, and knowledge of their sector/company that few others do. These assets can often enable people who want to make a difference to have impacts nobody else can. None of this is to say that someone who really wishes to transition away from a current job/profession/industry shouldn’t. But for those who are open to make change from where they sit, the potential is huge.
Q: What are the skills that you believe will be required most in the short-medium term in your industry?
There is certainly need for specialized skills—scientists, engineers, lawyers, economists, public policy wonks, finance professionals—the list goes on and on. Just like most jobs can be turned into some form of a green job, most skill sets can be utilized for the good of people and the planet.
However, I think the real skills that are needed are creative thinking and problem solving. Those who will have the most impact will be system thinkers who can understand complex challenges and interconnections between issues that sometimes seem unrelated and potential solutions. After all, most of the environmental and social challenges we are facing today are not new. If they were easy to address they would have been dealt with. We need new ideas and approaches which only innovative problem solvers can create.