Thursday, 29 July 2010

Creating Your Own Career Opportunity Event

All of us, at some point in the evolution of our careers, will need to take stock, look inside and outside ourselves – and ultimately take control in creating our next career opportunity. This can appear daunting and often confusing as the world of sustainability is multi-faceted, fast changing and organic.

I organised an event on behalf of both Sponge and Amida to tackle this.

On the evening of Wednesday 14th July 2010, members of Sponge, a sustainability network for professionals of the built environment, gathered in the delightful wood-panelled upstairs function room of the Crosse Keys in Bank. The purpose of the evening was to provide event attendees with the inspiration and a mini pack of tools to create their next career opportunity in sustainable development, whether that be within or outside of their current role and organisation.

After chatting over drinks and nibbles, Rachel Farley, Director of Global Corporate Sustainability at Amida, delivered a presentation addressing the psychology and process involved in creating the next career opportunity. The main points were to be highly proactive, make phone calls, use many different routes, know yourself and your careers trajectory well. The accompanying hand-put can be found on the Amida website under the ‘Job Seekers’ tab. The presentation was followed with a discussion loosely structured around: the three biggest perceived challenges of finding a job, three things to make yourself more attractive and accessible, three actions I can take today to create an opportunity.

Overall, the evening was a great success: not only did Sponge members leave with many ideas and renewed motivation in their current opportunity search, but they also left having connected with some like-minded people in similar situations.

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Invitation- a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain!

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Monday, 19 July 2010

People Tree

Needed a new and more summery office skirt and thus was pleasantly surprised this week end to be able to make an eco move on this one too, with People Tree. They believe fashion should be a tool for change and also have a sale on at the moment so check them out. My lovely, light-weight-but-smart, navy blue, knee-length, tie-at-the-waist-with-a-bow skirt has pockets and is cool. PLUS, it is Fair Trade Certified, Soil Association Organic and came with a little story about its journey from being a seed in the hand of a cotton farmer in Gujarat, India, through environmentally friendly production methods, to keeping me looking decent in the office. And that’s how it should be done- treating people and the environment with RESPECT. Man.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Transition Highbury AGM

On the evening of Thursday 8th July 2010 I raced from the Amida office at 6.30pm to the delightful, relaxing and summery place that is Olden Garden in Highbury. I wanted to attend the (very first) Transition Highbury AGM to find out more about what they are doing and how I might be able to get involved and I was not disappointed. After a tasty refreshment of elderflower cordial, vegan rhubarb cake and plums, we sat outside in a circle among the trees and flowers to hear what the group has achieved in its first year.

With financial help from places such as the Islington Grassroots Environmental Initiatives Fund, Transition Highbury has held a big open day in Highbury Fields, has helped in the opening of an ecology centre, opened a library of eco-books and films, held 16 film nights, countless meetings (aptly named ‘Transition Tuesdays’) and ‘green drinks’, produced a timeline for the next ten years, began successful community allotments and started their Energy Descent Plan...phew!
We split into groups (energy, events, skills-sharing, food) to talk about how Transition Highbury can organically grow and develop from now into the future. It was a lovely evening as I met some interesting people, was impressed by the groups’ achievements and inspired by their outlook, so much so that I am attending a ‘transition training’ week end at the end of July.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Dr. Martin Blake

Sadly my time as a recycling advisor has come to an end, but on a lighter note I learnt a lot from it and now have a new full-time position as a Consultant at the sustainable development recruitment agency, Amida. My first week has been a busy and exciting mix of learning the ropes of the business whilst really getting stuck into my roles on the Global Corporate Sustainability side.

The business is fast-growing so I was not the only ‘newby’ and was made to feel very welcome in the Old Street office. Highlights included working with the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (UN PRI) to help find relevant people to fill some of their vacancies, as well as having lunch with the Head of Sustainability for the Royal Mail, Martin Blake. Fantastic green things are going down in the Royal Mail including a new ‘Sustainable Mail’ and greening of the transportation fleet. This got me thinking- a great way to tackle UK carbon emissions is by greening the largest employers and emitters in terms of the service, transport, buildings and employee behaviour, and Martin is doing all of the above as well as running his own business: Carbon Zero Solutions.

Nectarine-shaped confessions

This week I threw out 4 out of 6 nectarines- it has been a hot week and I have learnt that soft fruits need to be kept in air tight containers in the fridge to last. It was 6 for £1 on the vegetable stall so the financial incentive encouraged me to buy more, but next time I should really stop and think ‘do I really need that many for the couple of days?’

Other than that the meal planning worked in the sense that I was aware what was in the fridge or cupboard and needed eating. I did not stick rigidly to the plan as several meal locations were altered: it was my first week in a new job so we ate out twice for lunch, I had a friend for dinner and we also ate at hers one evening instead. Instead of broccoli and bacon pasta, I made a batch of broccoli and stilton soup to last a while with some to eat now, some in the fridge and some in the freezer. All in all, meal planning is a good way of keeping track of your food purchasing and a trend I would like to continue in the name of Love Food Hate Waste!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Planning ahead

Even green eyed monsters slip up sometimes. This week I had to throw half a bag of spinach away and that is not the first time; there are a whole list of things in the fridge that I forgot about. Being ‘on the go’ a lot in London as well as eating out or with friends means it is tricky to keep track of what I have in stock and find time to make something delicious out of it. Not so now, with my nifty meal planning activities! Ten minutes on a Sunday afternoon well spent I feel. After football practice I checked what I had in already, made a list, bought what I needed and made a yummy and healthy meal plan for each lunch and dinner this week. Simple but effective: saving time, money and food waste (well, I’ll have to let you know how it goes at the end of the week- keep your eyes peeled)!