What Does Earth Day Have to do With My Career?

As we head closer to Earth Day—celebrating its 40th anniversary this year—I realized that for most of us it isn't elementary to think how the occasion affects us as informed careerists.

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While we all relate to the significance of the day as consumers as we gradually change from chemical to natural, synthetic to organic, this Earth Day must also resonate with us at a much more professional level. With a static national unemployment rate and the economy barely past its recessionary level, we have a new decade of business to get used to. A green decade, that is.

Green Jobs

And I say that not only because every expert I have spoken to predicts that the green job market will be responsible for propelling us out of this recession, but also because the few states that have managed to deter the rising unemployment scale are the ones who have taken on renewable and alternative energy projects as their mainstay for job creation. (See: Top 10 Hottest States for Green Jobs).

So, whether you are a job seeker, an executive or a professional looking to make a career move within your company or to another, the basics of the needs, demands and specializations the green job market offers will serve you well in your career path.

CSR in the Workplace

There is also another aspect that distinguishes Earth Day's 40th anniversary from any other year. It's the fact that CSR as a policy, a strategic choice and as a conversation is finally beginning to make a conscious presence in the office. While there is a long way to go for corporate social responsibility to be immersed in the way business is conducted, the argument and the discussion for its case is finally making the transition from advocacy to active board room contentions.


So this year as you go about your day on April 22, 2010, think about why the day should be commemorated by focusing on two key aspects: 1) That sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet, Profit) as a way of thinking, whether you are strategizing new products and services, or deciding what company to work in, is inevitable to pervade our careers; and 2) The green job market, while requiring technical skills for some very specific jobs, remains accessible to all professional backgrounds and skill sets. And if it is going to be the great game changer of the decade for job creation, you might just want to be a part of it.

Celebrating Earth Day

So to celebrate Earth Day, and get some well-informed perspective, Vault.com spoke to several experts on issues that we hope will provide you with necessary and relevant context for embarking on a talk on inculcating sustainability in your company and/or deciding on a green career.

1. EMC's Chief Sustainability Officer Kathrin Winkler Talks Shop: Challenges of Changing Company Culture

2. Are You a Willing Outlier in a Changing Corporate Consciousness? Book Review: The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win [Also, visit Vault.com's CSR blog In Good Companyfor an exclusive interview with the author, cofounder of Seventh Generation, Jeffrey Hollender on how CSR is going to change the way we do business]

3. Go Green, Get Hired: Interview with Chris Russell, founder of green job search engine Greenjobspider.com on how the green job market is set to resuscitate our economy

4. Seven Reasons on Why Green is the Next Great Job Market: What you need to know to stay current and relevant in your career

5. Day in the Life: Chief Sustainability Officer

6. Day in the Life: Sustainability Consultant

And of course, don't forget to leave a comment. Or tweet if you will @VaultCSR!


Aman Singh is the Corporate Responsibility Editor at Vault.com. She is a New York University alum and previously wrote for The Wall Street Journal. Her area of work includes corporate diversity practices and sustainability, and how they translate into recruitment and strategic development at Fortune 1000 companies.

Comments? Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com