Lizzie’s Journey: Ch 5 – Developing my Charity Career

3 minute read

And here we are, the final chapter!

Future goals… it’s definitely good to be aware of what you want to achieve in the distant future. It can motivate you even more to find your dream job – but don’t get too caught up in the bigger picture. If you think too far ahead it can be overwhelming and make the task at hand seem too big to face. Break your goals down into manageable chunks; from the first paragraph of a cover letter, or writing the first 200 words of an article for your new job. And only look to the long-term goals to serve as a reminder of where you’re going.

Where do you see yourself in future?

Honestly, I am trying not to look too far ahead. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish in my current role before I even begin to consider what’s next. I want to gain more skills in communications and widen my understand of climate change.

In terms of the bigger picture, I want to stay in the environmental sector and I’d love to do a Masters further down the line. I’m really interested in the impacts of consumerism on the planet, as well as the language of climate change. 

Having worked in external communications in a few of my roles, I already have some transferable skills. I’d managed advertising campaigns, social media profiles and written content for various platforms. But that’s not to say there isn’t still room for imporvement. Areas that I have less experience in include working with the media and MPs which are both important to my current role. In order to progress, I’d like to get better at networking, attending events and making important contacts. Otherwise, I’d like to get better at strategy and planning into the long term.

For me, satisfaction at work is having a job in a sector that you care about and that interests you. But, at the same time, not getting caught up focusing on the bigger picture which can sometimes be overwhelming. 

It’s about focusing on the short-term goals and giving yourself credit when you reach them. It’s about working out areas that you’d like to improve in, but not overlooking areas that you have done well in. And you should also have a good work-life balance so you can take time out and come back reinvigorated and inspired.

What are you looking forward to in your current job/ career?

It’s interesting because, before I started, I would have said I’d be more driven by the area of my work, i.e. climate change, than I would by the role itself. Perhaps a ridiculous revelation, but I am learning if you focus on the difference that you can make to climate change then, as I mentioned earlier, you will likely overwhelm yourself. But if you focus on your role, the skills that you can develop and where you can go with it, then suddenly, your job feels a lot more within your control. You can choose which areas you want to work on, how you will go about a project and the image of your organisation. But as an individual, you can do very little to choose the future of the planet – this is something we have to do together. Since my relatively ridiculous revelation, what excites me the most is my role in communications. I am looking forward to working on our website, introducing the organisation to new social media platforms, writing blog series, developing media relations and so many other ideas that I have and note down whenever they come! But at the moment, I am very busy working on communications materials in relation to the government’s vote on the third runway at Heathrow later this year. 

And there we go, that’s my job-hunting story! It was one of the most challenging, uncertain and ultimately, confidence-building experiences I have ever faced. It was not a straight path by any means, in fact, it meant taking lots of different paths, reaching dead ends, until I finally found the one that led me to where I am now. And everyone’s journey will be a different one; it will be a matter of finding what does and doesn’t work for you and a lot of it will be learnt along the way. I certainly didn’t have all the answers, and I still don’t, but I hope you’ve managed to take something from my story and I wish you all the very best in discovering your dream job too.

Lizzie Harrocks

Lizzie works in communications for an environmental organisation. Fan of documentaries and lapsang souchong tea, she blogs about the trials and tribulations of the job-hunting process.

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