Urban Hippie by Jen Lahey is published every second Tuesday at OttawaMagazine.com. Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_Lahey.
Whether you’re one of the thousands of federal employees caught up in the recent layoff spree, are underemployed, or are hunting for your first job, if you’re an Urban Hippie, chances are it’s crossed your mind to earn your money where you mouth is and look to the green sector for your next paycheque.
And that’s not a bad idea, says Ottawa’s Peter Blanchard, founder of Canada’s environmental jobs website, GoodWorkCanada.ca. He says Ottawa’s not doing too badly for green jobs compared to other Canadian cities. “There are quite a variety of jobs both in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. We have many environmental non-profits headquartered here in Ottawa that hire staff, interns and volunteers. And there’s quite a number of [green] businesses as well.”
So what does one need to do get into that relatively healthy green job market?
GET CREATIVE. “I think a lot of people are waiting for the big corporations to change and government to change, and we as individuals have to take the lead as much as we can and create our own jobs in some cases by forming green businesses or starting non-profit projects and so on,” Blanchard says.
RISE ABOVE THE CROWD. “As with any industry, it’s competitive. If you want to work in the non-profit sector, starting as a volunteer or a board member is a great way to get into an organization or hopefully a paid staff position later,” advises Blanchard.
USE THE INTERNET WISELY. Sites such as ecojobs.ca and greenottawa.ca focus specifically on green jobs and businesses and are good places to start a search. And the web can also be the start of your networking blitz, which Blanchard also recommends as key to a green job search (well, any job search, really). Hit up greendrinks.org to find out when local environmentally-minded sorts are heading to a local pub to talk shop.
NOW, GET OFF THE INTERNET. “Get out there, get out to events, get volunteering if you can, become a member of organizations to show that you are committed.”
Talk to people who already work in the environmental and sustainability fields (perhaps the ones you met for drinks, see above) and learn about the different sectors. “It’s such a broad field, the environment, so the more involved and work on more specific sectors, the better you’ll do,” says Blanchard.