Brunei Fieldwork 8359

Advice For Doing Work That Matters To You


The conservation sector is for many a dream career direction; but ‘getting into it‘ can be hard, and unraveling the choices that lead to a sustainable career path confusing.

At it’s core it’s about doing work that matters. It doesn’t have to be in conservation, you could be doing anything! But work worth doing is more rewarding for you, and probably better for the environment too.

1. Find work that you love. It doesn’t have to be every day, but don’t settle for something you don’t believe in.

2. Set your expectations. Work worth doing is rarely easy. Hard work is often more satisfying in the long run.

3. If you can’t find work you love, then find a way to love your work. How can you make it more meaningful, how can you ‘add value’?

4. Keep perspective, pin this image like this on your wall. If that’s not enough, try this one. Use a poem if you must.

5. Remember how many years of hard slog it took your idols. Success doesn’t come over night.

6. If you love what you do, you’ll do better work.

7. Take risks. Don’t be reckless, but ‘You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself‘.

8. Life isn’t as perfect as Instagram. People portray their lives as more successful than they really are. Few people blog about the bad bits and the failures.

9. Doing work that matters to others, is the easiest way to stay motivated yourself – as long as you share a vision.

10. Surround yourself with like-minded people. If you want to be more optimistic, then spend your time with optimistic people.

11. Don’t do things for quick recognition, do it as if no-one is watching you, because often they’re not. Good things take time.

12. Opportunities turn up when you least expect them. Be ready, but don’t spend your life waiting.

13. Do things that you find uncomfortable. Not to be a narcissist, but so that you find it easier next time and expand the zone in which you’re comfortable.

14. Don’t be a cynic, and don’t fall into the trap of disliking all politicians. The world is full of good people.

15. Time is more valuable than money. If you could sell time, you’d be rich. Treat it with the value it deserves.

16. Ask yourself tough questions, and act accordingly.

17. Don’t sell yourself short, but remember that there are many ways to be remunerated fairly aside from money.

18. Bake bread. Take a cold swim. Run up a hill. Stay fresh.

19. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use resources like this, this and this to help you.

20. Evangelise.

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  1. Sorcha

    I absolutely love this post James… thank you so much for posting it. Its exactly what I needed on my Monday morning commute… today at work I’ll find time to somehow better my chances of getting into a conservation career… or just something worth doing… I certainly don’t believe in what I do anymore! Advertising isnt great for the soul.

    This one hit home hardest today though:

    “14. Don’t be a cynic, and don’t fall into the trap of disliking all politicians. The world is full of good people.”

    I like this 🙂 x

  2. Craig Cordall
    Craig Cordall02-22-2018

    Enjoyed this read- thankyou.
    I am finally starting to consider a ‘career change’ into Conservation….the immediate problem is that I already have a degree in a non-related subject. So studying isn’t an option unless I can find a relevant Masters degree that takes my undergraduate into consideration.
    James what is the best first move I can make?
    I’ve read all your advice about volunteering etc but if I’m serious about this, will going on a months expedition really get my ‘foot in the door’?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou

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