A few years ago, software engineer Eugene Kirpichov left his job at Google to work on climate change. He had a good job in machine learning. But the climate crisis was so urgent, he wrote to colleagues, “that I can no longer justify working on anything else, no matter how interesting or lucrative, until it’s fixed.” A coworker, Cassandra Xia, left at the same time. They quickly heard from a growing number of people who wanted to do the same thing, and started a Slack group to talk about the transition. That group, called Work on Climate, now has 20,000 members.
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On the Work on Climate platform, it’s possible to sign up for office hours with someone already working in a climate job to ask for advice, attend Zoom events to hear how others have transitioned to a climate-focused role, or chat on Slack with others who are farther along in their search for a new job. My Climate Journey, a platform with a paid community, also helps connect people looking for climate jobs or founders launching new climate startups. Some groups focus on specific types of climate jobs, like Climate Designers, which has both a Slack community and local chapters that run in-person events.
When Work on Climate surveyed its members, several thousand people said that they credited the community with helping them find a job. Having the support of others in the job search was critical. “They say that they basically didn’t give up because they had the community,” Kirpichov says. “It is not an easy process, so you don’t want to do it alone.”
“If you’re just beginning your climate job search, it’s important to be comfortable with what the solutions are,” says Kirpichov. “Otherwise, it’s likely that you will look at a job that maybe actually is a great fit and is impactful and you just won’t recognize that it is a great fit and impactful because a lot of things might look niche to you. Like, ‘I don’t know if food waste is really my thing,’ or, ‘I don’t know about methane leaks on abandoned oil wells.’ And then when you learn more about this thing, you’re like, ‘Oh man, why isn’t everybody working on abandoned oil wells?’”
Fast Company Mag: A few years ago, software engineer Eugene Kirpichov left his job at Google to work on climate change. He had a good job in machine learning. But the climate crisis was so urgent, he wrote to colleagues, “that I can no longer justify working on anything else, no matter how interesting or lucrative, until it’s fixed.”