How Did I Get Here?

This post really extends the about me section. It is also something that I think will help me with some issues I am having at the moment.

Currently I work as an Energy Efficiency Advisor. The job title actually does not reflect at all what I do on a day-to-day basis, but it sounds good. I basically calculate the organisations’ carbon footprint and report it in a number of different ways. This mean I calculate at least 3 different carbon footprint depending on who needs it. Crazy right? But there is no consensus on carbon footprint reporting. The main footprint I calculate goes to the Government as part of the Carbon Reduction Energy Efficiency Scheme. This is a big scheme and if we don’t do it correctly someone could end up in jail! Only in the extreme case of fraud, but it shows they are taking it seriously. I then advise on how to reduce our footprints. I basically see it as carbon accounting.

I thought this was going to be my dream job. It is partly, but  there are other things I have recently realised I want from my working life.

So how did I become an Energy Efficiency Advisor?

At school my favourite subjects were Geography and Textiles. Random but great fun. Geography was about being outdoors and the environment. I love studying volcanoes and earthquakes. The way we take for granted the earth has always intrigued me. Textiles because I got to make things. like my Bean Bag Burger that I made 10 years ago! I did both of these and got great marks in my A Levels.

I decided to go to university to study Geography. I chose my course based on the study abroad options. I think my attraction to Geography is about the world and the opportunities to travel and understand what I am seeing. During the 3 years I studied for my BSc I developed an interest in Environmental Management. This seemed a practical part of the subject that I could continue to work in after my course, without going into research. A part of this was renewable energy, which was going in popularity with the public at the time. I did my dissertation on renewable energy options for my home town of Wootton Bassett. So energy entered my career options.

Looking back the best things about my course was the year i got to spend abroad and the friends I made a long the way. I don’t think I use much of the information I learnt there as time has moved everything forward.

I then spent a year figuring out what I wanted to do. I carried on my job as a lifeguard at the local sports centre, which was great fun. I then got a temping job to get office skills. I decided I wanted to do a Masters so researched and applied for several courses. I also decided I wanted to go travelling to New Zealand before I started back at university. What I enjoyed about that year was the planning. Planning my future. It gave me focus and determination.

I then went back to university for an intense one year masters in Sustainable Energy and Environment. I thought this would encompass all that I wanted to learn about. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t quite what I was after. As it was in the engineering department it was very industry focused, rather than environment focused. I learnt a lot, but I think this is when I started to realise the area I was working towards was not quite what I was after.

I was very lucky to get a job at an architecture firm straight out of my masters. It was a new role the boss wanted to create to develop the company into the sustainability area. I didn’t have a job title as such. They changed it depending on what jobs they wanted to win. My focus was sustainability research. I soon grew bored as there was no actual work or projects that I could get involved in as it was too new to the business. I stayed there for 18 months.

I then got my current job on a 2 year contract. My contract has just been extended, which is great. They are also letting me go on a 3 month sabbatical.

What do I spend my time doing?

  • Footprint calculations – Spreadsheets, lots of spreadsheets
  • Energy monitoring
  • Energy contract monitoring
  • Carbon footprint reporting
  • Evidence collecting
  • Being frustrated at the systems – useless but it happens

This is what I wanted to get to from this post. I wanted to remind myself of what I do and why I do it. When I look at the list above I realise how much knowledge is required to do all those things. If I looked at one of my spreadsheets without prior understanding it would take some time to work out what is going on. Also I use a lot of skills to do my work that I take for granted. Time management, communications, maths. All these skills I have learnt over years, not just during this job. This means they are transferable. I can use what I have learnt and continue to learnt, like business development, to work towards my future dreams.

My job is very specific. I wouldn’t necessarily call it specialist, but it does take understanding. I like the carbon footprint reporting the best. I like spending time on spreadsheets. I like to compare to previous years and look at progress. I don’t enjoy the encouraging of energy savings by changing behaviours. I think this is because I don’t like telling people what to do. Also energy is a debatable topic that everyone has different views on. I love listening to different views, but I do not like fighting to change them.

Now I need to focus on the parts I enjoy and work out how I can turn them into a career 🙂

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