Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
So having made one life decision, another one has presented itself. Just as I made the decision in my head to come back, two amazing opportunities cropped up. Ironically neither result from the proverbial career irons I shoved in the fire (see earlier post Why?), but both fill me with an excitement and passion that I haven’t felt for a long time without being strapped to a snowboard.
They are similar in that they relate to climate change and how it can change the way we do things for the better. But they are both very different in terms of working environment, culture and future directions. They both tick the boxes of contribution to something meaningful and personal/professional development.
One is at the nexus of climate change, business and the citizen-consumer. Hopefully I’m not breaking any confidentiality agreements, but it is in a large retailer – a very large one, dealing mainly with UK food, but expanding internationally and in non-food (specifically finance). If I was to re-enter the corporate world, this would be the organisation, both in terms of scale of impact, culture and board-level leadership. The job has a real immediacy to it. It is a fast-paced world, where my actions would have real direct implications for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The job is about addressing climate change in a commercial environment. For me, it would be a very challenging context – I would be surrounded by people who are not necessarily climate-oriented or interested in climate change for the same reasons as I am, but that’s what makes this role absolutely at the heart of handling climate change in the real world.
The other, just as fair, is on another new frontier – the intersection between climate change, conflict and governance. Understanding how climate change links to conflict and using that to build peace – in particular, supporting inclusive, participatory approaches to decision-making as a central part of the solution to both challenges. Working in a very influential and well respected international NGO, with people who are passionate about the issues, have jobs driven by larger purpose and take time to consider the complexity of the problems. The role would be really engaging with the complexity of all three problems, through advocacy and direct contributions to real-world, on-the-ground projects in some very interesting and demanding places. It would have a longer-term, strategic bent,Â allowing me to grow into other areas that I care aboutÂ and again, would be directly at the heart of my interest in climate change,
Perhaps it comes back to the question of contribution. I feel like I have so much to give and have been trying to find where to give it, feeling that I just don’t fit in the current job market – now suddenly there are two opportunities that fit me perfectly. I want to contribute to the changes that I feel are happening in the world, but where am I best placed to do it? But perhaps more importantly, which is right for me as an individual? My mind tells me that there is no such thing as a wrong decision, but I feel at a fork in the road and choosing a path is never simple.
It’s made me think back to the first post I wrote about heading to New Zealand (Thanks Bob – the themes of that poem keep coming back to me!). “What am I hoping to get out of it? Space. Time. Freedom to think about what actually matters to me, about how Iâd like to be remembered and about what the hell to do with myself and the precious gift of life.” I’m beginning to feel like maybe I’m getting a handle on those questions, and although the decision may be hard, what’s important is that either of these jobs will help me along my road less travelled.