Back in July, I blogged about my pure frustration brought about by the job hunt. Even in the supposedly ‘booming’ UK green sector, there seems to be a problem: too many applicants and not enough positions. Great for employers, not so great for the job seekers. The feedback from every vacancy that I apply for is nothing if not consistent: “Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of high calibre applicants for this particular position, we regret to inform you that we cannot offer you an interview at this time.” 40 applications later, it has reached crisis point. My MSc has now come to an end and I need a job.
However, as the old saying goes: every crisis is an opportunity in disguise. I have used this frustration to fuel a new venture, which will hopefully prove to be more successful. One of my classmates and I have decided to go into the consultancy business together, offering local businesses the solutions to their sustainability issues. We have the website (www.sustainablefuturesni.co.uk), the business cards have been ordered and our LinkedIn networks are growing every day. As the Roman general Hannibal said when asked how he would take his huge army through the Italian alps, “I’ll either find a way or make one.” This is the attitude we all need to adopt in order to move forward in the current job climate. The market is changing and we need to change with it.
In a way, it’s a shame that this is one of the only options left to emerging graduates and post-graduates, but on the other hand it is a truly fantastic chance to start something new and make a difference on a tangible level. The dot.com era saw an explosion of new businesses on a massive scale, which has subsided considerably over the last decade. The majority of business leaders still don’t really understand what sustainable development is. They have an agenda because they’re told they should, not because they believe in it. We are the first generation that can offer specific training in this field and we need to make that advantage count. By marching to our own beat we can ensure that the correct message is delivered as effectively as possible.
With that said, I can’t deny that I’m still a little apprehensive. Starting a new business carries an inevitable risk, magnified by the lack of a safety net. In times gone by, if your business failed in the morning you could probably get a job working for someone else by the afternoon. Times have changed. If this doesn’t work, I won’t have too many other options. Just another reason to make it work then! Wish me luck.
Freddie Harris has an MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development from Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His undergrad is in Tropical Environmental Science. Freddie writes about his experiences beyond graduation, giving others an insight into what is perhaps one of the most interdisciplinary subjects out there. He has recently started a sustainability consultancy business and has high hopes for the future!