Tough Times? Save the Planet.
We are drowning. And not just in credit card bills and tuition payments. We are drowning in false choices.
We are told that we must choose between making money and making a difference, that it is not possible to harness our strengths, embrace our passions, and have a career at the same time. We've been misled, misinformed, and we're now anxious about the future. But crisis -- both economic and planetary -- creates opportunity.
Whatever you think about your career during this economic maelstrom -- think the opposite.
Some clarity: The world's biggest needs align with dynamic opportunities to engage your strengths, find meaning -- and make money. These challenges are creating unseen career paths on which to emotionally, spiritually, and financially thrive.
Selflessness has never been so profitable. It's also a necessity. Yesterday's jobs are ignorant to the reality-bending demands of zero-emission minivans and zero-waste shopping malls. Sacrificing yourself to the beast of conventional wisdom is a 21st-century race to a better spot in the unemployment line. Enjoy the wait -- the economy isn't looking too good.
MARTIN FISHER, raised in Ithaca, N.Y., fixes things. He always has, beginning with outdated electronics in his family's basement. Fisher doesn't particularly like psychology or medicine or marketing. He likes to fix things. He saw that most of the world's poorest are small-scale farmers living on dusty, unproductive land. With a team of designers, Fisher developed the MoneyMaker Pump to pull water and productivity from the ground. Today more than 110,013 pumps have been sold. Need + strength = career harmony.
"Why the light bulb?" a student once asked Thomas Edison. "I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent." Billions of dollars and one hundred years later, Edison's answer captures brilliantly how we should approach our future in the vice grip of an accelerating recession.
Today, like every other day, global-warming pollution is dumped by the 70-million-ton truckloads into the sewer formerly known as our atmosphere. And tomorrow, billions live another day in the grinding no-medicine, no-light, and no-family type of poverty. Seventy billion animals -- about the number of humans who've lived in all of history -- suffer from cruel and inhumane treatment inside factory farm walls.
DON'T CRY for our planet or yourself -- reprogram bugs to beat back malaria, engineer meat that preserves our forests and humanity, write to amplify one hero's voice, build a box brimming with clean power for Africa, install green roofs for a new generation of homes in New York. Make Edison proud.
Take the lead in solving the world's biggest needs; thousands of us already are. Creating the tools, law, vaccines, buildings, code, fashion, and food that will allow the planet to grow stronger while empowering those living their days on income barely enough to buy a large coffee is the grandest opportunity of your lifetime.
Whether through burgers, bugs, or light bulbs -- seek out the connections between the biggest needs and your deepest strengths. Get on the Internet, Google "engineering and climate change;" "biology and malaria;" "marketing and sustainability;" "journalism and social impact;" or other combinations that hold the informative power -- through jobs or ideas -- to unleash your strengths.
Finally, get to work -- our planet has suffered long enough waiting for the best of you.
Josh Tetrick has led a United Nations business initiative in Kenya, worked for both former President Clinton and the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and taught street children as a Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria. You can reach him at email@example.com
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