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Finding an Ethical Career

The average person will spend 1/3 of their lifetime working, that's nearly 90,000 hours! That's a huge chunk of your life to spend doing something you don’t like. Is your job fulfilling enough? If the answer isn't a resounding "YES", how can you find a career that’s both rewarding and meaningful – something you’ll enjoy today and look back on with pride later in life?

Look to your Passions to find a Fulfilling Ethical Career

The best way to kick off your ethical career hunt is with a spot of soul-searching.

As a first step, forget about how you're going to help and simply think about your passions - the areas that interest you the most and fire you up. That might be nature, engineering, research, learning, the environment, sport, the list goes on and on. For some, this is a no-brainer, for others they might need a little help to unpick them.

It can be helpful once you've listed your passions to note which ones you already have experience or qualifications in, and which ones you are willing and able to develop if you don't currently have relevant experience or education in.

Which Sustainable Development Goals are most important to you?

It can also be useful at this early stage to look at which Sustainable Development Goals are most importnat to you, or are most closely aligned with your passions. As much as we might wish we could put 100% into every single SDG, we are only human and need to recognise where our efforts are best placed for maximum results. We should care about all 17 of them, but it may only be possible to focus on one or two. Your day-to-day tasks or what you always find yourself going back to time and again can help you discover your passion. Do you always find yourself daydreaming of ways to engage with others or planning ways you can increase biodiversity in your garden? These could be signs of your passion.

Remember, the SDG's are all interconnected, so it is a good thing if you can't pick just one or two! But try and narrow it down and think about how they relate to one another - this can really help find which roles and organisations match your values and goals.

Of course, this can evolve - you may have a burning passion to solve Goal 2 for Zero Hunger, but you may find this organically grows to include intersections with other goals, such as Goal 10 for reduced inequalities or Goal 4 for quality education.

A poster style image of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations

Prioritise your Preferences

Five rocks balanced in harmony on top of one another with the smallest rock on top and going up in size with the largest at the bottom. The bottom smooth rock has grey and beige stripes, the pone above it has very pale brown and white stripes, the middle rock is red and more irregular, on top of that is a pure white rock and the smallest almost round pebble is plain grey

Next up, think about how you could be working. This involves weighing up personal preferences like work-life balance, family commitments and so on. You just need to make some simple, practical decisions to narrow down your options and understand where to focus your energy.

This is where you can set your own boundaries on what you expect from working - do you want a structured 9-5? Is remote working a priority? Would you like everyday to be completely different or more routine? Do you need to have your hands on the wheel, or are you happier in the back seat providing directions? Do you like working in small teams or are you content being a cog in a big machine?

It also means thinking about what sort of role you’ll find most rewarding. For example, some jobs are on the front-line with a localised but immediate impact on a particular community. Others are further away from action (and may take much longer to deliver results) but could deliver a far greater difference to a larger number of people, such as changing and implementing new policies.

Once you know your ideal work environment, it’s time to start looking.

Find Your Fit

Once upon a time, charities just did ‘good’ and businesses just made money. Now the lines have blurred.

On the one hand, you have huge charity brands that feel more like multinationals and, on the other, there are socially and environmentally conscious businesses motivated by principles as well as profits. Then there are social enterprises, somewhere in the middle.

This means that you have more options than ever for a rewarding ethical career, and many of them could be in the private sector. You might even recognise a company which is lacking a little and you think you can help them improve their sustainability goals!

In recent years, a powerful movement has been gathering momentum across the world, driven by extraordinary employees within perfectly ordinary companies. Some call them ‘cubicle warriors’, but they’re more commonly known as ‘Intrapreneurs’ - supercharged employees that create positive change for people and the planet from inside their organisation.

The truth is, that very few people enter the world of work with a concrete plan of precisely what they want to do, where they want to do it and why. People have rough ideas about the cause they want to support and the type of role that will flick their switch. But ultimately, you may not know for sure until you try a few things on for size.

So, if you’ve got a hunch but aren’t 100% sure, don’t worry. This it's just the beginning of a journey - it is never too late to start an ethical career. And the chances are that yours will take you to places you never imagined.


Of course we'd love it if you found your new career / job through us but we know that we're just one small player so here are some other places you can look for ideas and openings:


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