Whether you are starting out on a new career path or looking for more experience in the sustainability realm being humble and flexible will make you a better candidate. As Sarah Martinez the Sustainability Maven at Eco Products said, “Don’t be above doing grunt work. The lessons you learn in the weeds are incredibly valuable in building a foundation of knowledge.”
A willingness to try new things can shift your perspective, allowing for new ideas to blossom. Cynthia Figge the Co-Founder and COO or CSR Hub suggests to “spend some time working in an organization doing “line” related work – in other words, learn the business in a role that is not necessarily in the sustainability department or role.” Understanding the business first gives a basis for the sustainability case. It is much easier to evaluate new practices when you have a thorough understanding of the previous processes.
Sustainable business is not an easy industry to enter, for every triumph you experience there can be multiple setbacks. Perseverance is an important skill to add to your wheelhouse. Claudia Capitini the Founder and Principal at Maven Consulting LLC suggest that “First and foremost, don’t become disenchanted right away! Hold onto your sense of purpose as long as you can, just let it evolve and breathe as you go. Don’t shrug and give up as the sometimes-harsh realities of business shut down the fair share of your great ideas and projects. Simply doing something because “it’s the right thing to do” frankly isn’t going to happen. But that doesn’t mean that all is lost; it just means that your sense of purpose must sharpen, focus, and weave its way into other channels like your written communications, public speaking, fiscal or budget planning, and negotiation conversations. Never forget communication essentials like relationship building, emotional intelligence and negotiation skills either. These channels are the ways you can get your sustainability work done, and with a little breathing room, many of those great ideas do evolve into realistic projects on their own.
Still looking for more? The masters quoted throughout the book “Sustainability Jobs” have had years of experience in their respective fields. They have had many successes and failures and each carved their own unique paths. Check out what the other masters have to say in “Sustainability Jobs.”