Archive for April, 2009

It’ll Grow While You Sleep!

tom_green_face_biggerPenned 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.


April 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

Know Thy Thesis

This is the first of our guest blogging series. If you have thoughts to share on seeking a green job, send a sample piece of 500 words or less to speakout[at]

Penned by Thomas Ramsson

Having recently graduated with a ‘green’ MSc earlier this year, I had to watch 40% of my office be made redundant in March. I had looked forward to a full-time position with the multi-disciplinary consultancy I worked for during my studies, but instead I was told that the company couldn’t take me on full-time, and they could only extend my existing, part-time contract for one more month.

Instead of being grief stricken, I took comfort in that I had been networking for months, had established strong contacts, and had already been interviewing elsewhere. You see, I had a great boss who forewarned me to get job-hunting a few months earlier.

But it wasn’t just having a nice boss tipping me off that got me job seeking. In hindsight, I did a few things revolving around my thesis that secured me work in green business. So here are my tips to you:

At University:

1. Choose a relevant thesis topic; speak to professionals in industry for suggestions.

2. Use the skills employers are looking for in the research (I used whole life cost analysis, cost/benefit analysis, and carbon footprinting).

3. Ask a few companies if you can partner with them for advice in exchange for permission to link your research to their projects (subject to IP restrictions).

At the Interview:

4. Be ready to discuss your thesis topic extensively during interviews (I interviewed for my current job just a week after my viva).

5. Be ready to discuss your motivation for your thesis topic and for a career in the green sector. Better answers than “Prevent global warming” are required.

Instead of being a distraction during your job search, preparing your thesis should be your job search.

April 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

Paul’s TV Interview on San Diego News Network

Paul made the media rounds during Earth Week as everyone was wondering where green jobs are and whether they’ll live up to all the hype. Paul speaks here with San Diego News Network; he also spoke on Saturday at the San Diego Green Careers Conference.

April 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

How to Make Friends (er, Connections) on LinkedIn

Carolyn HeadshotPenned by Carolyn

In the past few weeks, my weekly blog posts have become my soapbox to spread my thoughts on how to use LinkedIn correctly in the jobseeking process. Here are some additional guidelines, as well as some links to other experts who’ve put some brainpower into the matter.

  1. LinkedIn is your virtual Rolodex — and an easy way to store all those business cards you pick up. When you meet people at events, follow up with a *thoughtful* note and invitation to connect.
  2. Demonstrate judgment when requesting a link to someone or accepting someone’s request. As you may have noted in the past few weeks, people without said judgment are a major pet peev of mine, so I’ll expand a little here by including thoughts from Troy Janisch’s recent post on how to determine whether you should link to someone: Would I feel comfortable contacting this individual on behalf of another friend? Would I be willing to introduce this individual to someone else I know so they can do business together? Am I comfortable letting this person use my name as a business reference? Will this person know me if he’s approached by others who use my name?
  3. DO include a personal note. And get their categorization correct (ie, if you’re going to attempt to link to someone you’ve never met, don’t say someone’s your friend. It seems careless, if not a bit creepy.)
  4. If they don’t respond, relax. Don’t send two requests to the same person in one day (yes, it happens).
  5. Mention folks you know in common.
  6. Personalize. You waste an opportunity when you send an obviously generic note with your link request (such as addressing it to “Friends and Colleagues” — especially when I’m neither!).
  7. Most importantly: don’t use LinkedIn as a crutch. “Meeting” people online DOES NOT EQUAL knowing them. Go meet people in person (need inspiration? watch the video below from You will get much more value if you get up, get to networking events, volunteer, etc.

Thoughts from others on this topic:

April 27, 2009 at 5:01 pm 1 comment

Perseverance Wins Jobs

Penned by Nick

For those of who you feel like you’re on a treadmill of interviews and job applications, know that you’re not alone. Perseverance remains the name of the game today–hang in there!

April 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Social Entrepreneurship, Explained

Scribbled by Nick

The Times ran a story on social entprereneurs today that cleared a major hurdle: it made the idea of social entrepreneurship accessible.

Conventionally businesses like d.Light and Bright Green Talent have struggled to be understood. Partly it’s because the economics of our business models often defy convention. In BGT’s case, the cheaper our services get, the more people we can place into green jobs. That’s a good thing, but it means our business only realizes its full potential at scale. Between here and there, we continue to prove the existing model profitable, though not necessarily powerful.

Underlining all these business assumptions is a goal that conventional businesses would probably never embrace: to one day go out of business. I continue to push for my early retirement because we’ll have placed 1 billion people in green jobs and mobilized the workforce to fight climate change. Until then, it’s business as (un)usual.

April 24, 2009 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

Photos from “Social Climbing” with Net Impact

On the eve of Earth Day, the Bright Green Talent team joined forces with San Francisco’s Net Impact Professional chapter for a few hours of climbing and conversation. Check out our Flickr stream to see all the photos from the event… here are a few tasters:

April 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

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April 2009
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Bright Green Twitter

  • RT @naval: @jdburns4 “Retirement” occurs when you stop sacrificing today for an imagined tomorrow. You can retire when your passive income… 1 week ago
  • RT @Simon_Pegg: By Sunday, England may be coming home with a Trophy. and no Cabinet. 1 week ago
  • RT @naval: “Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I will move the earth.” - Archimedes 2 weeks ago