Posts tagged ‘tom’
Our very own, sometimes snarky, always insightful Tom has been recognized as one of the top 75 environmentalists to follow on Twitter – amongst the likes of Al Gore and Andrew Winston (author of Green to Gold).
In addition to all his colorful commentary on the state of the green jobs market and other random thoughts, Tom will be posting daily definitions for all those confusing acronyms you come across in the green sector – ASES, LEED, NTFP, etc.
So whether you’re after a daily dose of enviro-education or just some relevant distraction, follow Tom!
Penned by Tom
It’s always good to look at the bottom-line when assessing the environmental movement. There are a plethora of interesting success stories which demonstrate to executives the importance and benefits of going green, even if you’re a climate-change denier. Here are a few examples from Sustainable Business Consulting:
- A Global cleaning products company maximized natural lighting, installed occupancy sensors and enabled employees to control heating and cooling at their work stations. The ROI: Saved nearly $100,000 a year.
- A Fortune 500 global technology company gave employees the option to telecommute from home. The ROI: Saved $67.8 million in real estate costs in just one year and reduced 29,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and increased worker productivity by 34 percent.
- A 41-story, Class A+ office building with 1,000,000 square feet of office space located in the US reduced unnecessary after-hours and weekend lighting and initiated a high efficiency lighting retrofit. The ROI: Saved $386,000 in annual operating expenses.
- A Global cleaning products company restored native and drought tolerant plants, such as prairie grass and wild flowers, to the site. ROI: Saved $2,000 per acre in annual maintenance costs.
- A Global forest products company encouraged employees to commute using vanpools, carpools, walking or biking. ROI: Reduced total vehicle miles driven by 1.2 million and reduced emissions by 66,884 pounds of CO2 in one year.
- A US-based independent federal agency developed an advanced preventative maintenance inspection process for its delivery fleet. The ROI: Saved $3 million and 330,000 quarts of oil to date.
- A Cancer research center utilized off-hour lighting, fan shutoffs, occupancy sensors, high-efficiency chillers, L.E.D. exit signs, heat recovery from washers and efficient lighting. The ROI: Saved $317,000 annually, which is enough electricity to power 1,200 homes annually.
- A Medical center sent used toner cartridges to a recycling company that refurbishes and refills them. The ROI: Saved $20,000 annually.
- A Healthcare company recycled more than 6,000 tons of paper, plastic, glass and aluminum waste. The ROI: Saved more than $300,000 in disposal costs, diverted more than 18,000 cubic yards form landfills.
- A Major US-based retailer changed the specifications for individual item packaging and reduced the quantity of excess pins clips, bags, paperboard inserts, tape and tissue paper in its items. The ROI: Saved an estimated $4.5 million in labor costs and eliminated approximately 1.5 million pounds of waste.
Penned by Tom
We’re constantly reminded that many of our planet’s environmental problems stem from our relentless desire for growth. The newer, gargantuan developing economies of China and India combine to increase this pressure. We’re told we have to stop consuming ‘for the sake of the planet’. It’s a tired message, which often falls of deaf ears in the absence of a personal incentive. As s result, we’ve yet to see real, lasting change at the levels needed to prevent further environmental decline. Which is why the messaging needs to change.
My business partner Nick continually reminds us that we need a billion people to act to prevent climate change. No mean feat, particularly if these actions sit contrary to natural or adopted inclinations. Demanding that people stop flying for environmental reasons when their disposable income and affordable flights have only recently aligned has little effect other than initiating, if we’re lucky, a smidgen of guilt. Telling people to stay in a locally-run hotel because it results in a better, cheaper, more comfortable holiday, regardless of the social or environmental benefit, is likely to pique more interest.
These are tiny pieces to a giant jigsaw. If we want a billion people to act, we have to make a billion people want to act. The inconvenient truths are increasingly recognised, now we need convenient actions. We need to demonstrate the rewards of acting responsibly and sustainably.
Given the complexity of modern life, it’s ironic to note that much of mankind’s toiling has been an attempt to simplify – whether that be getting from A to B (cue the automobile, the aeroplane), communicating (the telephone or the computer), staying warm (the house and electricity), to eating what we want when we want (mechanized farming, irrigation, supermarkets).
Marketers recognize a yearning for simplicity and continue to tantalize. Our banks, our supermarkets, our computers, our phones – each claim to offer us a simpler life; of one-stop-shops, single-clicks, free delivery, instant communication, no-hassle purchases and ease-of-use. Yet our world seems increasingly complex. The sheer quantity and accessibility of ‘information’ is mind-boggling. Apparently Google processes approximately 20 petabytes of information each day – impressive considering that it is estimated that the entire works of humankind from the beginning of history would stretch to a meagre 50 petabytes. Inevitably, as the rate of change advances, it becomes harder for each of us to keep up.
Over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with ‘real’ simplicity (www.simpletom.wordpress.com) and have found it to be deeply rewarding and, indirectly, environmentally beneficial. I’ve been eating simpler foods. I’ve been cycling rather than taking public transport. I’ve been walking in the park, surfing and hiking, rather than eating, drinking and going out. I’ve been trying to spend less time in front of my computer, and more time in front of people. I’ve been reading more and watching less. I’ve been focusing on the present rather than the future. The ideas aren’t new, but my renewed focus on them is.
I could go into a smug and lengthy diatribe about the carbon I’ve saved and the good I’ve done. I could explain, in no uncertain terms, which environmental problems I’ve been helping to alleviate by changing my behaviour. I could demonstrate how this small contribution, if multiplied by billions the world over, might help prevent certain crises. I could feel angered by the selfish people who continue to do nothing.
Or, I could appeal to their selfishness. I could merely state that my attempts to simplify have resulted in immediate, palpable financial, health and personal benefits. Simply stated, I’m happier. And I’m not alone. Leonardo Da Vinci once said that, ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. The deeper I delve into the topic, the more I believe it.
Within business, simplicity can also bring about lasting benefit; whether that’s reducing consumption or packaging, to keeping designs or messages basic, easy-to-understand and clear. This Fast Company article helps businesses understand the power of simplicity, in both message and action.
Real, lasting simplicity (rather than the simplicity marketers tout) is perhaps one of many ways we can spread a new message of sustainable, responsible living. It taps into a desire many people share – to work a bit less, to spend more time with ones family, to be richer (simpler tastes means spending less money). Plus the message is easy to push, namely: ‘Do this because it benefits you personally’… rather than, ‘do that because otherwise the planet is in jeopardy’. If we appeal to people’s desires and open up a world of possibility and benefit, rather than limitation, whilst aligning these actions with the environmental movement, then changing the world won’t be that difficult.
Penned by Tom
In his fantastic interview with Doostang, Nick mentioned that one day, long beyond his time at Bright Green Talent (we hope), he’d like to be the San Francisco City and Parks Commissioner. As I strolled around Golden Gate Park this sunny weekend, I mused on this. Typical to Nick, it’s a thoughtful, somewhat eccentric ambition. The Monty Python Song, ‘I’m a lumberjack’ rolled around in my head. Nick possesses a commanding eloquence, huge intelligence and a incredible way with business. As such, my initial reaction was typical of the modern age – that he should aim higher… for mayor, governor or beyond. Yet the more I sat with it, the more this ambition made sense.
As I meandered through the park, I came across the Botanical Gardens. They reminded me of one of my favourite places on earth – the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh – in both layout and style. Sure enough, when I looked up the park’s history, the Garden’s developer John McLaren, received his training in Edinburgh’s eden. His biography brought home to me the depth and meaning behind Nick’s ambition. John was ‘the best loved man in San Francisco’, according to one source. He lived in house in the park and spent time amongst nature every day. He earned enough prestige and admiration to become one of the ‘greatest Scots of all time’. He has left a beautiful, indelible mark on the city for thousands and thousands of people to enjoy for years, long beyond his death. He achieved his dream, to plant a redwood grove. Like Lord Iveagh, who donated Kenwood House to the people of London (where I spent many happy days as a child), his legacy leaves the inhabitants of this city with indelible memories of time spent within his park. Surely there can be no greater ambition than that? It might not seem the most glamourous job in the world, but could it be one of the most rewarding?
John McLaren is said to have planted over 2 million trees in his lifetime. Hopefully Bright Green Talent will also achieve that one day, as we plant a tree for each and every candidate we place . My favourite part of his biography is the advice his father gave him: “Me boy, if ye have nothing to do, go plant a tree and it’ll grow while ye sleep.” Surely a job which leaves a growing legacy that benefits many thousands of people long after you’re gone is something we should all aim for.
My own ambition is to become the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s perhaps a more obvious choice which, until Nick’s captured my attention, has long been my ‘best job in the world’. Perhaps I take a leaf out of Nick’s park and aim for something humbler, yet equally meaningful.
Since February, we’ve been putting out daily advice for green jobseekers. If you’re new to our blog or want to poke around in a specific topic, here’s a nearly-complete list of our advice posts. Have a look around!
Bright Green Talent’s 5 Ways to Ramp up your Job Search
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside
Paying it Forward
To School or Not to School?
Job Search Tip: Quality over Quantity to Keep Your Sanity
Linking People and Planet: Our Partnership with Solar Richmond
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”
Students and Recent Grads:
The Real Deal on Green Jobs for Students and Recent Grads
Get Skills; Get Savvy Part I
Get Connected (Networking 101)
How Not to Be a Jobseeker Horror Story
Resume Boot Camp I
Resume Boot Camp II
Resume Boot Camp III
Penned by Tom
At Bright Green Talent, we’re always concocting new ways to help out our community. We’re not your typical recruiting company — we want to build lasting relationships with both clients and candidates and help you in the years to come as you settle into your green career.
Here are some ways you can engage with us today and tomorrow:
- You’ll be the first to know as new opportunities arise that are relevant to your skill set.
- You’ll receive our monthly newsletter, with advice, information on green career events we’re hosting and/or attending, and up-to-date information on the green job market.
- Sometimes we work on positions that we don’t post on our site – you’ll be eligible for consideration in those special cases.
- As you apply for jobs, we will be your advocate. If you’re qualified for a position, we work hard to get you an interview and negotiate for the best possible compensation package
- If you’re new to the green space, you might be disoriented by all the resources, job boards, and advice swirling around out there. Spend some time with Christina, our Career Coach Extraordinaire, to gain our unique perspective on who’s hiring right now, and create a smart strategy for finding your ideal green job.
- Check out the amazing feedback Christina’s gotten on her coaching so far.
- We offer daily tips, insight and advice from our unique perspective. Find resources for transitioning into a new space, hear what clients are thinking, learn how not to be a jobseeker horror story, and more.
- You spend enough time job-seeking. Why not let the advice come to you once a week?
5. Refer a friend or fellow jobseeker to Bright Green Talent!
- We believe in “paying it forward” — no one gets a job all by themselves. Help out a friend and the good deed will come back around when you’re in need in the future.
- Give the gift of guidance! You can now opt to gift a career coaching session to someone who needs a nudge in the right direction.
- And to speed up those karmic returns on helping a friend find a job, we offer a $750 referral reward if we place someone you recommend for a position.
Penned by Tom
According to my dictionary, the word ‘twit’ means a silly or foolish person. Is the current rush to Twitter a great drive towards April 1st, where we’ll all be declared fooled, or is there real value out there for the wise that are looking to get into a green job?
I’ve certainly been interested to dive in and you can follow my posts here – twitter.com/brightgreen. It also feels good – to mix fun and pierce the sometimes overly-formal veil that lies between a company’s public image and the people that work within. Yes, stop the press, we here at Bright Green Talent find people meaningful careers, but we also have tipsy evenings, days of despair, and laugh… (a lot and very loudly in the case of Christina). We want to be able to share these moments too, to prove that it’s not all work and no play, as well as reward people with more up-to-date action and reaction from Bright Green Towers.
But onto twitutility – there are some useful ways to use twitter to help you find a green job, or research a green career. Here’s my list, in a lot more than 140 characters:
- Find out if your future employer twitters. Use this as a method of doing your research and enabling you to go into interview, or to pitch to that person/company with a better idea of what they like/don’t like.
- If you have a big enough following, ask people questions about your resume, your interview technique, or anything you want quick answers to. Use your followers to do research and get reactions.
- Use the searches. Although unrelated, the best way my friend in Madagascar could keep up with the crisis there was to check Twitter rather than the news (which was always too slow). Beat the rush by searching for green jobs, or using some of the # (hashtags) to find out what’s going on. You might find out about opportunities before others if you’re on the ball. By way of example, we launched a new job search for Wal-Mart which we tweeted about first today.
- Follow those specifically targeted at green jobs, or other categories that fit your needs. e.g. greenjob, Green Jobs in the USA, Green Jobs.
- If you’re twittering, be sure that a future employer can’t follow your posts about your communist past, love of beer or flirtation with illegal substances. Recruiters will start to use twitter more and more to do a check on someone.
- Be careful, you can screw up.
- Use it as one of a number of tools, but don’t go overboard. Having 20k followers isn’t necessarily going to result in your getting a job. At some point you have to drop the keyboard and get stuck in. There’s nothing like face-to-face time.
Penned by Tom
I’m going to attack one of the simpler, yet one of the most important questions we’re asked tens if not hundreds of times every day: What’s the best way to find green jobs?
Now, I’m recruitment-company-biased, but I’ll try to leave that green hat aside for a minute and help you; whilst also re-donning the hat for a moment to introduce you to a new service we’re launching called our ‘Bright Greenhouse’, which aims to answer that question in a LOT more detail. Details to follow… but for the time being here are some of my top tips:
There ARE green jobs out there, but they’re not as prevalent as the media or Obama might have you believe. As such, it’s important to ensure that you’re using the right methods to go about finding a green job.
1) Use your experience, skills and network to open opportunities, rather than going cold to a new sector, company or people – personal connection is still one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. Use them wisely.
2) Think on your feet. Everybody and their mothers-brothers-dog knows how to use google or search a job board. Sit down in front of a blank piece of paper and create a simple strategy that plays to your strengths, examines your weaknesses and analyzes your differences. This will help you find your niche.
3) Do your homework. Read about and discuss green jobs for a while. If you’re new to the arena, you need to understand what you’re looking for before you leap in. Nothing pains the employer more than getting 100 resumes that are completely off track.
4) Be realistic, see point 3 above.
5) Network; there’s a plethora of events and opportunities to chat about green jobs…
And once you’ve got the opportunity in front of you:
6) Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. If you’ve got a generic resume, it’s easy to spot and it does nothing for the person reading it. It makes them feel like they’re one of a hundred other people that have received it. Unless you’re one in a hundred of the people applying, it’s not going to get you noticed.
7) You have more avenues than a resume, ring the company to have a chat with the person hiring, if only for a couple of minutes. It’s one way to get noticed… but make sure you’re very careful about it. It could backfire.
8) PLAN FOR INTERVIEWS. Too many people think they can wing it. Too many people talk about themselves too much, rather than what they can do for the company!
9) Use a recruiter… even if they can’t respond to you individually, you never know – one day they might have a job that fits your skills and if you’re not registered with them, you’ll not find out! Damn, there’s that hat again.
Happy hunting (in the non-animal-killing sense).
Penned by Tom
A few weeks ago, we asked you to send in your questions… and you did, they poured in – thank you! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be trying to respond to some of these.
What are the top skills required to work in the green economy?
Obviously the skills required vary according to the jobs you’re hunting for – yet there are some interesting constants within the green movement. We hear certain trends over-and-over from organizations hiring in this sector. These are not exhaustive, nor exclusive, but they’ll give you an idea of the themes out there:
- Experience is often as important as skills, unless you are applying for a highly skills-based position (i.e. solar engineer).
- Experience is almost always more important than education.
- Organizations want people who’ve got business experience, as well as environmental experience; thereby demonstrating a wider skill set.
- The ‘ideal’ candidate is often someone who combines the two of these.
- You can be too green. Organizations (including the non-profits) need people who understand how a business functions and is practical and realistic. If you refuse to use computers, fly or travel to work by car, for environmental reasons, you’re going to reduce the chances of getting many positions.
- General environmental degrees are useful, but won’t distinguish you from the best people out there without these degrees. i.e. someone with a masters in environmental studies won’t always trump someone with a top degree from a good school – although obviously every little bit helps.
- The top skills at the moment are generally specific to specialist roles, such as; engineering, solar technicians, energy assessors, planners.
- You can determine which of these are ‘hot’ or not by glancing over green job boards.
- Look through the recent moves by governments to stimulate interest in the green economy, there are clear trends that indicate which skills are in demand.
- Check Carolyn’s previous post about skills for students
- Also, see Raj’s post on technical (specifically solar) skills
Until next week!
Penned by Tom
A few weeks ago, we asked you to send in your questions… and you did, they poured in – thank you! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be trying to respond to some of these. The question that caught my attention this week was a simple but important one that lays the foundations for much of what we do:
How does BGT define the following three terms; sustainability, green, renewable energy? – David, a candidate
Although I am no philologist, definitions are important as they form the basis of communication. If people define the categories differently, then they might also misunderstand the issues at hand. Yet at the same time arguments about the meaning of this, or the definition of that, often constrain the debate – reducing people to petty squabbling rather than constructive progress. I’ll try to ‘walk the line’ and be somewhat definitive!
I want to start with the definition of Green. Given our company’s name, it would seem as good a place as any. We deliberated hard as to whether we should include green within our title, yet the name Bright Green Talent stood proud from our choices. It describes what we do clearly and succinctly. But what does ‘green’ mean to us? Green encapsulates the environmental movement and, although it may be a somewhat tired term, people understand the link. It’s loose, but it has been adopted by politicians (the green party), organisations (ourselves) and society-driven movements (Greenpeace). To us, it’s a useful catchall for the movement that aims to improve the environmental conditions of our planet.
Sustainability (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability) is a more complicated and widely debated term. Again, I don’t want to get lost in a debate, but instead to lay out our (perhaps simplistic) understanding: To us, it implies a ‘manageable’ future. It invokes the maintenance of a system. In relation to the environment, this means ensuring that human impact on the planet ensures that our actions do not deplete resources or harm natural cycles. For example, a sustainable business would be one that leaves its environment no worse off than if it didn’t exist – preferably one that, if we could measure the complete impact, brings benefit. If our society is not sustainable, then logic would follow that we are moving, whether slowly or quickly, towards its destruction. As such, sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have, but a must-have. How we ensure sustainability – through forward-planning or through more drastic methods – will inevitably evolve as we progress.
Finally, we understand Renewable Energy as energy that comes from natural and quickly replenishing sources. This would include wind, solar, geo-thermal, wave, tidal and hyrdo power… but not oil, gas, coal etc, which although renewable over millions of years, are being used many multiples of times more quickly than they can replenish.
Next week I’ll pull my head from the dictionary and onto the streets for some more practical advice to your questions.
1 the male of various animals, esp. a turkey or domestic cat.
2 ( Tom) informal short for Uncle Tom .
ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting an ordinary man, surviving in tomfool, tomboy, and the phrase Tom, Dick, and Harry): abbreviation of the given name Thomas. Sense 1 dates from the mid 18th cent.