|Language and Linguistic Science|
|Philosophy and Linguistics Joint Honours|
|The Green Party|
|Politics and public affairs|
More about Tabi
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A day in the life of a Climate Campaigner in the United Kingdom
I'd say a proactive, caring and positive work environment is absolutely key, because you won't mind so much what you're doing if you feel valued, appreciated, and part of a group of friendly people.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I've been volunteering with my local branch of the Green Party for the past year. I've given public speeches and presentations, and stood as a PPC in the last election, as well as been an advocate for local and international environmental issues.
What do you do?
I act as a point of public liaison and outreach within my group, helping to coordinate a Young Greens group as well as developing the local website and developing strategy.
Because of the, frankly, terrible economy, even though this work is frighteningly necessary, it's not something that it's easy to make a living from. And in some ways, it's a little better that I don't make a buck from it. Since I graduated, I make an income from whatever I can find - web programming work, post office counter work, reception and admin work, data processing - and put my real energy in side projects and volunteering. That's where I get my sense of meaning and connection, and it's not a bad way to go about it. Your time and passions take the lead.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I actually worked as Project Coordinator for the Conservation Volunteers at uni for just over a year, helping to organise trips out to work in nature as well as helping the group adjust through some developmental changes. It was good being in a position of responsibility - I took it pretty seriously, and it gave me the confidence to be the guy that just does stuff.
The whole process of just picking up work as I need it means I have to adapt, and learn - often pretty quickly. You can't be so afraid of getting it wrong that you don't do anything. If you're doing more, you'll probably get more wrong - and that's fine.
Even now, I mostly just give stuff a go. It's not usually as excruciating as sitting behind a table listening to people go on about how they won't clear brambles because they're terrified of worms... You get through it and often have a surprisingly good time. Just being resilient and open-minded is a very cool and useful skill to have.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
Yeah, although I'm not really sure what I was ever actually expecting as a humanities graduate. I've never really had much of a direction in life, although getting a 2:2 as an undiagnosed autistic person wound up limiting some of my options. I've had to feel my own way along SIGNIFICANTLY. I often felt a bit isolated or frustrated with myself. I've had to adjust my expectations, even when they were already pretty humble. But you find things worth celebrating and appreciating.
Describe your most memorable day at work
When I went on the international climate strike last September and had to give a rousing speech with ten minutes' notice...right after our local MP got booed and shouted at. That was pretty intense.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Explaining over and over to people why we massively need to switch to an economy that's fair, green, and works for everyone. There's such a huge agenda in fossil fuels and the status quo in general - people don't often see it clearly, and will often lash out at you to defend it. But it's a fear response, and it's one that we need to overcome. We need to have the challenging conversations. Sometimes it can be just as bad with apathetic people too, to be honest.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
I definitely recommend finding your team - the people who get what's bothering you, and can grab your energy and build it into momentum. That's key.
You don't want to get bogged down with negativity - when helpful criticism just becomes relentless sniping, it brings everybody down. I'd say a proactive, caring and positive work environment is absolutely key, because you won't mind so much what you're doing if you feel valued, appreciated, and part of a group of friendly people.
I've stayed in jobs specifically for the happy atmosphere. And I'm lucky enough to get a fair amount of it in many of my current volunteer roles, which means it's a pleasure to work even without financial reward.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I probably spent more time on extracurricular stuff than my degree, because I found out I'm not really that academic. I struggled to absorb technical information when I felt I couldn't apply it directly - I learn way better when it doesn't seem just theoretical. So many students are really hard on themselves when they struggle in their degree. But it's not the end of the world if that's not who you are.
Extra curricular stuff like culture clubs - esp the Eastern European society and Mah Jong society - professional talks, guest lectures, dedicated training sessions: they're all great at giving you concrete skills of learning about how other people live their lives, how you see the world, how to develop resolve, creativity, resourcefulness and self-confidence. Just being kind, caring, smart and sensible is something tends to get you further in life than just a good grade.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I don't really feel like I have a career, per se. I mostly just have a bunch of interests. I'm working in a dedicated role at the moment, doing some very specialised customer service work that may develop into my own business, not sure yet. But the things that really make my life great is doing environmental campaigns work and carrying out projects like saving a thousand oak trees from getting pulped, and distributing them around my town. Working with refugees in Calais on the streets, or in a weekly hub for people seeking asylum. Joining committees for improved cycling infrastructure around town. Meeting awesome and dedicated people who want to make the world better.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
The economy is awful - it was awful in 2012 and it's not much better now. Climate breakdown's going to be seriously bad if we don't take proactive measures to account for it - and this is the science, we can't ignore it. Everything is about to change.
Once coronavirus is clearing up - and that might not be for some time yet - we're going to have to make some big plans to just make people's lives better, and our world better.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
How to cobble together a life plan from just a list of stuff that's important to you. How to live with resilience, so that you don't have to earn a giant amount to be happy. How to actually feel semi-functional even though this world looks like it's all going to hell.
How to live with purpose even if you don't get that Deloitte internship or whatever.
Also autism; being undiagnosed as autistic but suspecting there's something the matter with you; links between depression and anxiety; links between ADHD and depression.
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