I was unemployed for a long time, and thanks largely to the support of my parents and talented little brother, I was able to keep pushing through it and come out the other side. On the way I learnt a few ways to get stuff done. So for one more moment stick with me. I hope sharing this helps.
1 – Develop your own voice, but know when not to use it
The Biomimicron works, I’m told, because I can write exactly how I think. This has given me the experience and confidence that enables me to now write for audiences that would be lost in my massive columns of technical terms, geekery and pop-culture references. Like I’ve done here. The practice was invaluable, on both sides.
2 – Build and use positive feedback loops or “Use your shine“
Identify where things you do relate well to each other, and pursue directions that add more things to your system, building value to what you do. I combined and Environmental Geoscience BSc with building science to write a MSc in biomimicry, which I then combined with my nerdiness self-teaching building modelling software. I then wrote a blog about biomimicry and buildings, which also taught me about social media. Now I work full time modelling and forecasting energy efficiency in factories and have just founded a cross disciplinary collaborative network with a number of NGOs promoted through social media.
In the end it seems things can spiral almost out of control as opportunities develop themselves.
3 – Don’t be shy, talk to everyone, but there aren’t any cheat codes or “Networking works kids”
— David Taylor (@Tayldav) July 9, 2013
No one got anywhere without asking, but few people throw out handouts for nothing. If you’re going to someone asking for a shot at the next level, make sure you’ve already completed the first, and can prove it. Be interested in people though, understand who they are and what they’re looking for, and then think about what you can do to help them. Don’t expect them to do it for you, but be grateful when they do. Thanks so much Susie, and Harriet.
Find the tools/training/pathway to get to where you want to be, and if they don’t exist, make them. This blog got me noticed by Mick Pearce and Rupert Soar, which then lead to material I used to gain the attention of the Guardian and Friends of the Earth to write this blog, which then gives me even more credibility to people who don’t know me as a writer (writing is something that I’ve actually really struggled with until this year) and as a scientist.
5 – Do absolutely everything, or sleep is for the week << I’m in that crowd somewhere
Take every opportunity, even if it’s only tangentially related. You never know who you could randomly meet, or what you could learn that you put into effect in the field the you want to be in. I turned up to a music society in my first years at university, I ended up running the music society the next year, basically because I was told I reminded the older generation of the person who used to run it, and I wasn’t around at the elections to stop people suggesting I do the same. Years later I was introduced to that person, who gave me my first job in the Environmental Field. He taught me about constructive anarchy, co-operative living and let me find out about myself. We can’t see each other that often, but he was the first proof I had that you can fix the world around you if you’re smart, dedicated, analytical, creative, and don’t accept that we have to live the way we’re expected to.
“You can do a hell of a lot more damage inside the system than outside of it.”
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Last summer I tried my hand at being a YouTuber. It has nothing to do with sustainability or science, but everything to do with comic books, pop culture references, Talking To Everyone and Doing Absolutely Everything
As most bloggers acknowledge, a good blog name is informed by the blog itself, but the name also affects the blog the other way around. It’s what comes to define your voice. The name for this blog came from a woman who is basically responsible for introducing me to what amounts to the modern counter culture in South Wales. She’s good with words, and also wants to be a writer. Her work is not strictly science, but it’s entirely honest. You can find it here.