So you know what kind of job you want to do in the energy sector. And you know exactly what you need to do to get that job. Now, all you need to decide is WHO you will be working for. Picking a company to work for is a two-way selection process: they will need to vet you based on your credentials and fit for the position, but you, too, need to decide if they would be a fit for you. You need to decide if the company’s work ethics, mission, vision, employee satisfaction, and job benefits match what you want. Above all, you also need to consider the opportunity for growth, be it in terms of skill development or promotion opportunities. And you will need to figure out all this while taking into consideration your job description—you want to make sure that you are doing something you are interested in and you are well-suited for. To tell you the truth, this is a very daunting process; one that is time-consuming and requires a lot of inner reflections and soul-searching.
Thankfully—just as there are so many different career pathways and opportunities—there is also a multitude of employers seeking bright, talented young individuals (that would be you, the students of the world’s best university and, based on admissions data, the best and brightest 6%) who can lead their organization or group to greater success and meaningful impact. Here is guide that can help you learn more about what kinds of employees are out there, broken down into organizational archetypes:
Established Developers/ Corporations
Work for large, established companies to develop large-scale projects while earning large amounts and maintaining high job security in the process. Climb up the corporate ladder and become the decision-maker of a leading institution with enough resources and sociopolitical clout to inspire global changes.
Work for the government and play a role in determining the future of the legislation at the federal, state, and local levels. Whether you prefer the direct spotlight by running for office, or you prefer to stay on the sidelines as a wise legislative aide or an advisor, you will be sure to create lasting changes in the way the country works, cementing your legacy.
If your passion is helping others, a non-profit organization may work best for you. Non-profit works range from research and analysis to advocacy and lobbying, and everything in between. A larger non-profit may have more specialized job descriptions and positions, but the general small-scale non-profit organization usually features a small core team of organizers who mobilize, coordinate and communicate with a larger network of volunteers and grassroots activists.
Regulatory Boards usually have roles that are similar to government roles but with more control over the outcome and more specific or localized change. Regulatory boards are usually smaller and less politically motivated, often involving bipartisan representation, and are focused on a certain topic or area, such as energy, transmission, a state’s grid, a city’s power plant, etc. Working in smaller interdisciplinary teams and away from the spotlight allows you to enjoy a low-profile and more relaxed approach to issues while also making a difference.
People go into consulting for two reasons: a stepping stone, or an ambitious career plan. Some go into consulting with the goal of becoming a managing partner for large corporations. At that level, you are bound to create a huge impact while adding to the zeroes in your bank account. Others go into consulting as a stepping stone and advise other firms while you learn the tricks of the trade so that you can one day transition to another field, institution, or even start your own business once you understand the perks and pitfalls of that industry; what better way to learn without taking risks AND making a lot of money?
Freedom. Take control of your work hours, your work schedule, and the direction you want the company to go. Startups allow for a much faster learning curve and allow for hands-on learning and management of responsibilities that would have required time to reach/receive at another type of institution. You also get to set the work culture and form close-knit relationships with other visionaries and change-makers. The only pitfall? You also assume the risks of innovating and are faced with the possibility that you may lose it all.
Just as with the job descriptions, the organizational archetypes are in no way limiting or final; there are organizations that span across the listed archetypes and may be difficult to categorize and compartmentalize. Do not be afraid to try out jobs in various companies to see which ones fit your personality; this is where internships come in very handy. Be sure to maximize your internship experience so that you can make the best decisions about your career and future.