sustainable careerMorgan O’Donnell continues her account of her quest to obtain a sustainable occupation.  In part two, she shares her experience encountering “employers” who seemed to be ethically challenged. Read part I of this post

by Morgan O’Donnell – about her search for a sustainable life at Red Raven Circling.
Green ≠ Ethical

As shocking as this may seem it is also true…green does not always equal ethical. I discovered this for myself not so long ago.

It all started as I skipped merrily into my search for a sustainable job, blithely believing that anyone associated with green or environmental jobs or organizations was honest and ethical. Part way into the forest, while I was admiring an interesting little bird – whack! I ran smack dab into the tree of truth
Lesson 1. The Not-Quite-Fit Job

I found a unique and exciting job possibility and quickly inquired about the position. I say inquired rather than applied to because the original posting was on Craigslist and I tend to be more cautious about those listings. Anyhow, the owner/employer replied back and provided enough information and links that I was reassured this was a legitimate business. He proceeded to ask me for my resume and samples and asked a few other questions via email.

Now this position—while it dealt with public relations/outreach—wasn’t something with which I had had a lot of direct experience. Nonetheless, I was very interested as well as intrigued by the company and decided to give it a shot. I highlighted some of my strengths, which I felt could compensate for my lack of experience in other areas. I got a positive response that he wanted to talk with me! I was excited and did my happy green dance.

Then it seemed as if the stars moved out of alignment. There were numerous missed phone calls, voice messages, and emails as we struggled to connect. The time difference didn’t help either. Finally, everything fell into place and we connected. The conversation started out friendly and he complimented me quite nicely on some of my samples. However, he then went on to point out what were—in his opinion—various mistakes and lack of experience on my part. After about ten minutes of this, I was wondering why he had even bothered to call me if he thought I was so inexperienced and unskilled.

That’s when it happened! That’s when he pitched the idea that if I really was interested in making a career change and getting my foot in the door, I might consider working on a few projects for free! Like, maybe, I could be an apprentice or intern!

I politely ended the call, saying that I didn’t think it was a good fit, but I was seething inside. I may not have had the exact experience he wanted or thought he needed, but I am no fresh college graduate. My skills, knowledge, and time are valuable.

Lesson 2 The Dream Job

Back to the drawing board. I found another job and this one sounded like a perfect fit with my background, connections, and skills. Excitedly, I went to work, carefully crafting my cover letter and resume so that it was specifically tailored to this position and company. After a couple of days of hard work revising and proofing, it was finally ready and I hit the send button.
Only a few days later I opened my inbox to discover an email telling me that out of a bajillion applicants I had been selected for the next round of the application process.

I jumped up and did my green happy dance before calming down enough to read the rest of the email. Because of the nature of the position, the number of applicants, and the fact that it was a telecommuting position, they wanted the applicants to outline a six-month plan. Hmmm. My spidey sense tingled a tiny bit, but I said, “Shut up Spidey Sense! This is my chance at my green dream job!”

So I sat down and thought and researched and wrote. Then I thought some more, agonized, drank some coffee, rewrote, and went to bed. I followed this pattern for a couple of days until the deadline shadow loomed over my keyboard. Finally, I polished it off and holding my breath, hit the send button. A mere two days later I was informed that there had now been 2 bajillion applicants and that while my plan was good I had not been selected for the next round. I thought, “What is this Green Idol?” Additionally, they hoped that I had benefitted from crafting this plan and that it would be a useful experience for me on my job search.

What?!? Experience smerience! I put my time, energy, and possibly a little blood (I accidentally poked my finger with a paperclip during one of my agonizing brainstorms.) into that plan. Now they have all these great ideas and I have nothing. NOTHING! Well, that’s not exactly true. I did learn a valuable lesson—if your spidey sense tingles, listen to it. Also, I did get this blog post out of the deal.

Lesson 3 Disclosure and Summary

Now, to be honest, I have obviously exaggerated a tad to make this a wee bit more interesting. Clearly, there is no such number as a bajillion. Additionally, in the first lesson, I felt that there were some regional differences in our communication, which may have exacerbated things. In Lesson 2, I have to admit that my tingle caused me to hold back somewhat on creating the plan. Some areas were vague because part of me was worried that I was being scammed. Perhaps they saw the vagueness as a lack of focus or skill. Anyhow, I’ve learned to be more cautious, not assume that green means we share the same ethical standards, and that communication, especially online, isn’t perfect. However, it hasn’t stopped me from looking for and applying to green jobs. I know that my sustainable dream job is out there somewhere. Read part I of this post

© 2009 – 2010, morgan_odonnell. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: morgan_odonnell (2 Articles)

Morgan O’Donnell, a writer, poet, and speaker, previously blogged at GreenZone Online where she used humor and a light-hearted approach to explore eco-issues. Using that same approach she examined green job-seeking topics as a contributing writer at Green Gigs. A member of Toastmasters since 2002, Morgan has shared her passion for helping people overcome their fear of public speaking by serving as an officer, mentor, and charter member in different clubs. She has also published essays and poetry in the Stars and Stripes newspaper, Army Times, Red River Review, Potomac Review, Amarillo Bay, and more. You can follow her musings on nature, poetry, writing, and the search for a sustainable life at Red Raven Circling.