19 Aug 2010

Bleg: Help make my career relevant

FC asks:
I would like to have your opinion on what would be the best and most useful type of work in the water sector.

The reason I am asking this is because I have a masters in groundwater and a BSc in water management. I have been working in all fields for six years, 90% of the time on groundwater.

I am writing for career advice. I am interested in water problems on a larger scale, and I am thinking of doing a postgrad in civil eng to generalize and not be limited to GW. GW is an interesting field and I really enjoy it but I feel it's not the perfect field to have the most impact.

Other than civil -- which would focus on execution -- perhaps I should get education in law or economics. I am keen to work in international projects, I have worked in Jordan, Laos, Canada, Europe, Africa, and South America but I would like to do something else than "being behind a drilling machine" -- even if I have conducted a lot of modeling for mining projects as a consultant.

I got into the water sector to work on large problems that link humans, economics and the environment, because those problems were important to me. Now I find myself in a "box," and far from my first interest in providing global solutions. This may sound utopist of course, but what advice can you give?


  1. 1. Read and do "What color is your parachute?"
    2. Make a list of what you do and don't want to do every day. Find a job that fits the list.
    3. If you were straight utopist, who would hire you. Call them. Talk to them. See what you need for them to hire you.
    4. Do you want your job to be inside, outside, both, national, local, international? Who hires such people. Talk to them. At worst they tell you to look elsewhere. More often, they want to talk to you more.

  2. Frighteningly, my girlfriend suggested I become a lobbyist.

    But that might be the route to having the largest impact, in the end.


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