How DC EcoWomen Helped Me Land The Job I Love
Written by Sharon D’Emidio, Program Manager at Bethesda Green
After ten years working in international development I needed a change. Sure, it was a cool field, exotic travel, focused feel-good work with a mission but it wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I had always been an eco-minded person in my daily life and I started to daydream about making my lifestyle into more of a profession as well. Only one problem, I had a master’s degree in public health, not biology, environmental science or anything that seemed to be required on most job postings in the environmental field. I started thinking, how am I ever going to make this leap into a whole new field without my resume standing out to get an interesting and rewarding job?
Well, I had been living in DC long enough at the point to know at least part of the answer: network, network, network! Okay, got it, now how am I going to network in a field where I don’t really have any connections? So, as any good Washingtonian knows, I started emailing anyone and everyone trying to make some new connections in the environmental field. I am not sure who it was (but I owe this person a HUGE thank you) but someone referred me to the EcoWomen, EcoHour meet up. I didn’t know what to expect so I showed up one Tuesday evening downtown at Teaism. I left that first EcoHour hopeful and inspired by the main speaker and also the other women in the room. It was such a welcoming and uplifting environment for a newbie like me. I actually thought to myself, hmm, maybe I can make this happen.
After the first EcoHour I attended several for the months to come. I met some truly wonderful women and started making some great connections. I also joined a few other sub-groups within EcoWomen and attended some of their events as well. And of course, I got on the listserv where environmental jobs were posted daily. It certainly made the job search much easier since everyone seemed to be posting their positions there! I am not going to lie; I applied for a lot of positions. Then one day I saw a posting that just seemed like such a perfect fit in terms of my interest and skill set. The person who posted the position also mentioned in the post that she was going to attend a sub-group meeting to share more info about the job. I knew I had to be there to make a good impression so I went. I think there is a great quote (Woody Allen) that states, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up”.
The meeting was fun and insightful and afterward I spoke to the women who posted to position about my interests and my experience. Through our conversation I learned that although she was there to try and interest folks in the position she posted, there was another higher level (read: HIGHER paying) position that she thought I might be a good fit for. We stayed in touch, that meeting lead to a string of emails which lead to a new job posting, my application, an interview and a VERY awesome job.
Fast forward three years later. I had just completed six months of maternity leave and was looking to change my full time career into a temporary part-time career. Although I truly loved the aforementioned job, it was at the time too demanding to balance with a newborn baby so I chose to leave and see what else might be in store. Of course I was still getting my daily EcoWomen job postings email so I was always checking to see what was out there on the job scene. I didn’t have very high expectations for a well-paid and meaningful part-time gig but one can always dream, right?
Lo and behold, one day not long after I started seriously looking and putting out feelers (remember, it’s all about the networking) a really interesting job post came through. I applied and got the position. And, today three years later (with another baby added to our family this year) I am happy to report I still love my job!
Through my current work I interact with a lot of hopeful young women who want to work in the environmental field. I also host an eco-internship fair connecting students and green employers. Without question, I refer every women I come into contact with who wants to work in the environmental field to the EcoWomen listserv and encourage them to attend their events. I know that many of them have found their current positions through the listserv and events. It’s worked for me every time and I know it can work for you too!
Thank you EcoWomen!