How often does a person get to include the Rolling Stones and Texas Live Oaks in a blog post. But I think the two themes fairly represent my approach to trying new things.
I wanted to help. I wanted to change how we all view the environment. Transform it from a concept that is separate from our daily lives, and our pocket books to one that is an enriching and valuable part of who we are. I took classes on green building, ultimately earning my LEED AP; I took classes, earning a vague Sustainable Practices certification and the more substantial GRI; I interned at a Green Consulting company and I networked. I was excited and eager to get involved to show that maybe we didn’t need to make a choice between clean water and making a living.
But somewhere along the way, I began to hear ‘so, you’re a wannabe” sustainability person. And I heard it more than once. As if all my aspirations, money and time had merely earned me a grudging glance from some more well-established peers. Yes, I was a ‘wannabe’ – an enthusiastic, reading everything, going to conference person, who wanted to be involved. I read tons, visited Web sites and tried to understand how assigning a real value to our environmental resources could be accounted for in how we paid for things.
It was a little over a year ago, when I decide to get off the treadmill of conferencing going and course taking. I failed. I just couldn’t break through and no amount of education and enthusiasm was going to transform me into a sustainability professional.The blame lies with me: maybe I should have gone and gotten my MBA in Sustainability, maybe I didn’t want to make the tough choices to make a career transition, like move to another location.
Or maybe not. To borrow a phrase from the most hedonistic people I can think of The Rolling Stones - “you don’t always get what you want, you get what you need”. It’s a line that I find particularly galling coming from them but it does seem to hold some validity. I didn’t make the transition, didn’t cross the bridge but I did meet some extraordinary people and the experience set me up to be more willing to get involved in other movements and events, like TEDxBoulder.
I feel like my professional composite of experiences more closely resembles one of those Texas Live Oaks, with branches shooting off in different direction in pursuit of knowledge. Some of the attempts ended up grounded, others continue up and out but the resulting effect is pretty unique, at least in my eyes.
And despite all the twisting and skewed growth, the core of what I believe is maintained. I still firmly believe that understanding technology, writing and communicating and gaining a better understanding of how businesses can thrive is all useful in helping to build a better, more environmentally-valued future.
So, yes, I did fail to make the career transition. But I still wannabe learning, growing and working and maybe that’s what I need. Damn, the Stones.