Archive | September, 2008

Great Sites for Finding an Eco-friendly Job

29 Sep

This past Saturday, nearly 700 communities across America took part in Green Jobs Now’s call to Action, to encourage our leaders to create more green jobs for a more sustainable economy. In honor of this, we thought we’d highlight some great sites that will help you in your search to obtain a job that betters our environment. Let us know if you find any others!

TreeHugger: In addition to jobs, this site has a great blog, radio show, video segments and daily newsletters. If you care about the environment and want to find a great job, this is the site for you!

Ecojobs: This has tons of job opportunities in environmental policy, advocacy, conservation, science, engineering, and education.

jobs.greenbiz: This site has a list of job openings that focus on green, cleantech, and sustainable business practices. While you’re at it, check out their excellent news articles and greentv. 

green-jobs (powered by monstertrak): Not only does this have great job opportunities, it has news, first job essentials, career advice and my personal favorite- scholarships! 

idealist.org: This site, (mentioned in Emma’s interview) has helped thousands of recent grads find jobs with non-profits. You can create a profile and connect with other users, listen to podcasts, check out their blog, and find career fairs. Also a great way to find volunteer opportunities and get some experience.

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Q &A: Finding a Green Job

29 Sep

There’s not better way to find information than to talk with real people who have been there, done that. We sat down with our friend Emma, who graduated two years ago from UCSB and is currently working as an Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of an envornmental non-profit. She shared some great advice for recent grads looking for an environmental job:

 

MadGrad:  How did you find your current job?
Emma: On a site called idealist.org. It’s a great way to find volunteer opportunites and jobs with non-profits.
MadGrad: There seems to be quite a lot of recent grads looking for jobs in the environmental sector. Was it hard to find a job after graduation?
Emma:  It was difficult for me to get a job.  I was looking for about 5 months.  I applied to over 30 jobs I think.  The field is very trendy right now, which is great because people are becoming more aware of our impact on the environment and the negative repercussions it could cause.
MadGrad:  What major were you? Do you feel it helped prepare you for your current position?
Emma:  I was a political science and anthropology double major.  Within those majors I took classes specifically relating to environmental issues.  Definitely the political science major has been most helpful because we are involved a lot in lobbying Congress and other levels of government.  It would be a whole other story if I was an Environmental Studies major though, I would probably have a  better grasp of the intricacies of the issues we are involved in.

MadGrad:  Did you do any internships/ side work in college or after?

Emma:  Yes.  I worked in the University’s development department for my last year of college.  This has actually helped a lot in my current position.  I also did two internships after I graduated for the Environmental Departments of the City of San Francisco and the City of Berkeley.
MadGrad: How did you know you wanted to work in the envornment? Was there ever a time you envisioned yourself doing something else?
Emma:  Yes.  For probably 4 years in high school I wanted to be an interior designer.  And what actually changed my mind was going to a designer’s showcase and looking at the gluttonous, unnecessary wealth that made me want to do something with my life that would actually make a difference and change something.  I went into college undeclared, and although I was always interested in environmental issues, it didn’t turn into a career interest until mid-college.
MadGrad:  Are you happy with your current job? What do you like best and least about it?
Emma I love my current job because I work for a great boss and with great people.  I like my position because I know everything that is going on within the organization, from top to bottom.  I guess what I like least about my job is my actual position.  I’m not doing any work towards improving the environment, just assisting those who work to improve the environment.  But this is just the first stepping stone in my career.
MadGrad:  What is the biggest tip you would give to recent grads looking for a job in your field?
Emma:  I guess I would say to be open to possiblities.  I wasn’t sure where in the environmental field I wanted to go, so I applied to lots of different jobs in the field.  Also, be dedicated.  I got my internships last summer by contacting the places I was interested in and and just letting them know I was willing to take an unpaid internship.  It shows that you are committed to the cause and want to learn.

Word-Play with Wordle

24 Sep

 

 

I’m currently addicted to this fun site Wordle, (thanks to the Genpink blog). It generates “word clouds” by taking the most frequently used words from the text, URL or del.icio.us user which you provide. I tested it out using our site url (shown above) and found it very entertaining! After creating the cloud, you can tweak the font, language, color and layout. You can use the word images for business cards, web sites, brochures, posters, tshirts, or my personal favorite- as a desktop wallpaper.

(Warning- once you start playing with wordle it’s hard to stop)

Traveling for Work

22 Sep

I recently got back from a two week business trip to New York City. Being only my second business trip I had lots of presumptions and ideas about what it was going to entail. Two weeks is such a long time I thought I would be able to catch up with family, old friends, and see all the sights. I was wrong. Business trips are fun and exciting but they are also a lot of work and so I am going to share with you some tips that helped me along the way and will hopefully better prepare me for my next trip.

  • Stay in a hotel close to your office– Many people I know have stayed with friends during business trips which seems like a good idea to save your company money, but it is hurting them more than if stayed in a hotel. While staying with friends it is easy to get distracted from your main purpose of being there and go out late and feel more in vacation mode than work mode. Stay in a hotel and catch up with your friends if you stay throughout a weekend.
  • Get that wake up call just in case- If you are like me you have a super annoying song on your phone as your daily alarm clock but it doesn’t hurt to get that extra hotel wake up call to get you going. Many times traveling will cause you to get jet lagged and you don’t want to miss an important meeting so drink lots of water and get back up to get you out of bed!
  • Grab some snacks from the store- Many times you are on a business trip for a specific project or meeting and these can run very late given the time crunch of how long you are in town for. Be sure to pick up some granola bars and some other snacks to tie you over if you have a late night or a super early morning and need the energy. 
  • Go with the flow- It is always important whether you are at another location for your work or working somewhere else that you take note of when people come and go. It may be that in your office everyone leaves at 5 on the dot but if you notice people working until 8 at your other location it is important to put the extra time in and show them your work ethic. Your boss with recognize and appreciate this. 
  • Comprehend your purpose of being on a business trip- You are obviously important enough to get to travel somewhere and either represent your company or work with others in another location of your job, don’t forget this. It is easy to be tempted to go out with co-workers or friends after work but remember you need to be on your A game since people are paying for you to travel. Don’t go overboard on the meal spending but make sure that you are well fed and eating as you would at home.

Going on a business trip is always a good opportunity and it is nice to be able to see a new part of the country or world, just remember these tips and keep working hard so that your office will want to send you to more new and exciting places.

Sunday Night Inspiration

22 Sep

I recently came across this image while looking at a site my sister had told me about Things I have learned in my life. For some reason it struck me and inspired me to write a post. The site is basically a collaboration of illustration, photography, typography and other graphics and images that people posted with some kind of message about things they have learned in life.

It is a good place to openly share your thoughts anonymously. When I saw this one that reads “mistakes are the beginning of discovery” it got me thinking. We are young and so afraid of messing up and making mistakes thinking that somehow we are going to ruin a path we are trying to create for our lives. I think this saying is important to think about because often times our mistakes are what lead us into great thoughts and ideas. From our mistakes we grow and change and have the ability to become better then we once were.

In my newfound adulthood I shy away from ideas I want to develop or things I want to accomplish because I am scared of messing up along the way. Life is too short to sit back and not take risks or worry about making mistakes. I encourage you to share your ideas and thoughts with the world. I truly believe that anyone can do anything they set their mind to. Who knows where your mistake could lead you, after all you won’t ever know unless you try.

Potted Plants are the New Prozac

18 Sep

Feeling down? Dissatisfied with work? According to the most recent issue of Real Simple magazine, a potted plant may be just what you need to lift your spirits. Researchers at Texas State University and San Marcos Statue Nature Center, found that workers in offices that contained green plants, felt happier and more satisfied with their jobs than those who did not. 

I’ve never felt such love for the little bamboo plant sitting at the corner of my desk. At my current job, I may have to have a mini-garden at my desk to induce happiness, however this study makes perfect sense. Having plants around the office and on your desk brings life and oxygen into the work environment. 

Go to www.realsimple.com/houseplants for a list of low- maintenance plants for your home or office. Some of my personal favs are the spider plant, bamboo plant and chinese evergreen.

After- Work Activities

8 Sep

 

Remember the days where you were seldom at home because you would rush directly from school to soccer/football/tennis/chess/music practice? This was an excellent way of meeting new friends, staying in shape, and keeping busy. After graduating college, however, extracurricular activities become somewhat of  a distant memory as our 9-5 jobs consume most of our time. It’s also difficult, as we move to new cities and do not have posters and flyers advertising for local clubs and sports teams that we had in college. 

Extracurricular activities are necessary at every point of our lives as they allow us to pursue our passions outside of work and meet new people. Here’s some ideas for fun activities to partake in after work:

Take Dancing lessons: Dancing is a great way to meet new people, stay fit, and impress that special someone. A lot of local clubs and restaurants have free Salsa nights, or sign up for a class at your community center.

Join a sports team or workout club: Craigslist always has postings looking for people to join softball, kickball, tennis, rugby or football teams. Ask around, or start a team with your coworkers or friends. 

Take an art, pottery, knitting or sewing class: Not every extracurricular activity needs to be physical. Enjoy a relaxing time and release that inner artist at your local community center, community college or private center. Craigslist is once again an excellent resource to find classes. 

Volunteer: Becoming involved in your community is a great way to make a difference and meet caring, wonderful individuals. Go to volunteermatch.org and find organizations that are looking for volunteers.

Join a Gym:  If you feel you cannot afford a gym, look for places such as the YMCA or Jewish Community Centers, which offer classes and equipment for a reasonable price. Ask your work if they offer discounts for employees and keep your eye out for great offers.

Join an organization: Sign up and receive emails with events in your area and news for the association of your choice. For example, if you are a woman interested in technology you could join Girls in Tech which holds monthly events and dinners. 

These are only a handful of the many after-work activities out there. What’s your favorite?

Quote of the Day

3 Sep

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”- Dr. Seuss

Best Cities for Grads

3 Sep

Pretty much every graduate asks themselves two major questions as they put down their textbooks and keg cups and head into the land of the unknown: “What will I do?” and “Where will I live?”  When I chose my current city of San Francisco to move after graduation, I never looked at the specific job industries that it offered. Growing up in a suburban town nearby, I had always felt a certain connection to it and knew that I would one day return. However, I would be lying if I said that it has not been a struggle to find jobs here in the specific industry I am looking for.  Now, If I was an internet entrepreneur or in the market for a tech-savvy job my needs would immediately be met, surrounded by innovative, forward thinking individuals in the Silicon Valley.  

I’ve found that as you graduate, it does help to look at the major industries that each city offers.  If you are tech/computer savvy the Silicon Valley may be calling your name. Looking for advertising, PR or fashion? New York it is. Eager to jump start your career in the film industry? Hello Los Angeles. Of course, if your heart is set on a certain city, you will eventually find a job you love in that area, it just may take a little longer.

This article, on Gradspot.com, gives great insight into the pros and cons of some major US cities for jobs:

What are the best cities for grads?