Trading Career Success for Career Bliss - Going Green and Sustainable

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Career Change
Charting a New Path for a Green & Sustainable Career

I had just saved the most recent version of my resume when there was a knock on the front door. My home office is just eleven steps from the door, but my wife was already in route. No matter, our dogs (rescues Nala and Moose) always arrive first. After their typical and obligatory warnings Kim managed to pry the door open. From the hallway I could see my childhood friend and mutual wilderness freak, Anthony. What a terrific surprise!

Our friendship began late in grade school, but really galvanized when he and his dad invited me on a mule deer scouting trip out of Independence, CA. I had backpacked all over the Sierra, but not so much in the winter. This trip would be all about wildlife tracking and photographing the abundance of critters that congregated in the area in winter.

Sometimes a few years would pass without seeing each other, but the conversation always picks up like it was yesterday. We’d catch up on family, friends, health and, naturally, everything wilderness, wildlife, Sierra, Tetons, environmentalism and the damage humans are inflicting on the places we love.

In my estimation Anthony is a world-class photographer with an eye for detail that I would describe as being as sharp as an electron microscope. Yet, he’s able to capture the most intimate moments at the same time. His website Warbirds speaks for itself with unbelievable aircraft photography as well as stunning wildlife shots.

As the hours passed, we rambled on about urban sprawl, wilderness encroachment and the human impact on ungulate migrations. Anthony lamented that our planet is screwed, to which I agreed. Still, we both feel the necessity to do our part to reduce our impact while we’re here, hoping against hope that 8 billion people crapping and shoving their garbage in the ground can be reversed. In the face of the human juggernaut of destruction it’s not a simple endeavor to live green.

So, what happens when a 56 year old professional decides that protecting the planet is more important than his career? Both of us have experienced some employment difficulties recently. While Anthony is a year older than my 56 years, I may be the greater victim of ageism – I think. It makes sense though, he works in the trades where his attention to detail and willingness to work hard shines through in his projects where word-of-mouth references are king. This guy puts up drywall like a machine and it’s so clean that most would skip the sanding step.

A large amount of my background is a combination of technical and capital equipment sales and business development as well as project management and marketing. Along the way I’ve had plenty of accomplishments that make me feel confident in my abilities. I’ve also had plenty of failures to reflect upon, which help to keep me focused.

At some point Anthony pulled out his new cell phone to share some amazing wolf and elk photos from his most recent trip to the Tetons and the greater Yellowstone area. Preaching to the choir I asked, “are you aware of the environmental impact that cell phones have on our planet?" Then, I suggested not replacing the device until it’s dead and followed up with a list of precious metals that required mining to produce these wonderful devices. In the event that you're unaware, those metals include; copper, nickel, silver, gold, platinum, cobalt, lithium, lead, tin, zinc, gallium, indium, chromium, niobium, tantalum and titanium. Plus, there are some very nasty adhesives and, of course, plastics. Even before you trash them or recycle them their impact is deep and broad. I shrugged and offered, “it’s hard to be green today.”

I think this blog attests to the fact that I'm not living in the past. I really am a fan of technology. I've built a number of websites including Bishop's Green Home. and my home office is tech'ed-out and, yes, I use a smart phone. I just think we need to be more earth friendly when we buy and consume. My Galaxy S7 is going to be worth a bag of rocks before it gets sent for recycling. I don't care about the new wiz-bang features now available; I'll get the latest based upon need not want.

Back in January of 2014 Fluid Research Corp was acquired by Ellsworth Adhesives. In the end, I worked at FRC for over 16 years, but the chapter was about to close. Apparently, Ellsworth had plans for the company that didn’t include me for the long-term. It came as a bit of a surprise, since I was enjoying my largest commission checks of my career and had built our biggest accounts including Tesla, United Technologies, Eaton, Nike, SpaceX and Titleist.

Ellsworth offered an attractive severance package and in exchange I would stay until June of 2016 to help transition sales and marketing and to develop FRC’s new website. I couldn’t have been more excited. I had grown disillusioned from having helped so many companies with fake corporate sustainability programs and wanton disregard for our environment. Now was my chance to work for an environmentally responsible organization and I was certain I would be in demand (Surprise!). Plus, I could take some time to build my company, Bishop’s Green Home, where I hoped to generate a passive income while promoting a passion for environmentalism, green, sustainable and environmentally friendly products for consumers.

I revealed to Anthony how difficult it is today for me to parlay my skills and experience in today’s job market, while also eliminating those potential employers that lack a clear regard for sustainability and their environmental obligations. Of course, I've created a new employment obstacle for myself. Still, I said this is one way for me to have a greater, positive impact on the environment and the natural world. If we’re going to save this planet for future generations, it’s going to take huge sacrifice from you and me and the rest of the world. When my time here is done, I’m not going to be one who thinks, “I wish I had sacrificed more.

”So, I’ll continue sending resumes, interviewing, working contract and part-time jobs, building BGH and developing new skills. I'm not unemployed, but like too many my age, I'm not making a living wage. At some point I’ll land the right opportunity and they’re going to love me, because I’ll bring something that was lacking even when things were humming, PASSION.

Sometime around midnight I got up to throw blankets on Hank’s cage. Hank is our rescued female parakeet. Don’t ask. It was later when I realized that my action must have been a signal for Anthony to leave. I could have chatted until the sun revealed itself from the east over my garden, but it was late and I had work in the morning. We said goodbye, but not before promising to plan a trip somewhere soon; somewhere with few roads and fences and more critters than people. With some luck and effort, by then I'll find my home with that environmentally responsible organization and I'll be living the dream and making a difference.

Now for my calls-to-action. Check out some of the ads in this post from companies trying to make a difference and share this post to inspire others. Finally, I'd love to hear from you if you're aware of an organization looking for someone like me.

Thanks for reading my friends.

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