Dan Smolen and the Art of Getting a Green Job

Nature of Business Radio

Dan Smolen and the Art of Getting a Green Job

Nature of Business radio, created and hosted by Chrissy Coughlin, is a weekly show on business and environment.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. Everyone's talking about them. And for good reason. They are both hard to come by and hard to keep. Green jobs included. There are so many questions, unknowns, misconceptions about the art of getting a job, and in particular a green job, it can make your head spin.

Fortunately, people like Dan Smolen, Founder of The Green Suits, LLC and author of Tailoring the Green Suit, have descended (think Superman with a green cape) to paint for us a more vivid landscape of the state of the green job as well as provide his general outlook on the job situation for the foreseeable future.

Dan has been an executive recruiter for 14 years. It was at that time that he decided his life's mission was to help people find work. Then 6 years ago, he made what he refers to as the "green pivot." He got hooked.

No longer comfortable with feeling like he was living a double life, he endeavored to help people find jobs under the banner of the triple bottom line. And as we say, timing is everything. It also happened that he increasingly saw the direction the world was going with regard to sustainability, green and clean tech, water reclamation, nano technology, social responsibility and so on. And his clients were taking notice and increasingly interested in this new green economy.

So here is some of Dan's advice: "Get the best job that you can (it may not be a green job per se), work at this job, and then add value to the job by making it green."

dan smolenToo simple, you say? It might seem so, but it is surprising how few people think this way and how many people he has helped just by a shift in mindset. In reality, many feel that they have not sufficiently entered the green economy if they do not hold titles such as Director of Sustainability, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility, Chief Environment Officer ... you get the point. Dan hammers home that this simply is not the case.

If there is an upside to a downturn in the economy, it is that it forces us to be creative and inventive. As you will hear in this week's podcast, Dan builds upon this notion.

There is no getting around the critical importance of setting yourself apart. And what better way to do it than creating your niche at a job that holds your ideals in check and pays you to do so.

A lot of our conversation touches upon topics that are much more fully explored in Dan's book. I won't give away all of his secrets, but will say that if you are an executive who is interested in pivoting green, this is the book for you.

It is a process book full of strategies and goals. More than ever, strategic time management is key rather than, in Dan's words, "putting a finger in the wind." Build your resume by keeping busy in this quiet time but do so smartly because even though 2012 is not going to be appreciably better than 2011 job-wise, he does see the post-election economy ramping up and we all need to be ready.

George Papoulias edited this podcast

Green job photo via Shutterstock.