How to Successfully Find a “Green” Job Tuesday, Sep 27 2011 

Changing your career direction is a significant decision on a good day. Making the choice to enter thegreen economy ups the ante even more. Successful job-hunting is about more than landing a great job; it’s about landing a job that plays a role in the environmental movement. Use the following tips to stay focused as you step toward your green career:

  • Staying informed: The green economy is currently in its infancy. Over time, as the economy develops, some industries will thrive, others will change in response to the marketplace and new technologies, and others will fade away into the sunset. The only way you can know where your target industry is heading is to track the factors that are shaping the green economy, your industry, sustainability, your profession, and the technology and processes unique to your field. Instead of being blindsided by these developments, use the changes you see to make strategic decisions about your future.
  • Taking the initiative: Your green career is not going to be handed to you on a silver platter, you must take an active role in finding your place in the green economy.
  • Becoming an activist: On occasion, you may find your career hanging in the balance as new laws, regulations, incentives, and disincentives are introduced or reach their expiration date. Stay alert. If you haven’t yet subscribed to a newsletter for your profession or industry, it is time to do so. When your industry or profession is galvanizing its members to call for passing or defeating a certain measure, you need to pay attention.
  • Demonstrating your commitment to the planet: Green employers want to hire job candidates who walk their talk. It’s not enough to pretend you are green. Employers will know in a heartbeat if you aren’t authentic. You must find ways to show prospective employers that you are committed to the environment and sustainability.
  • Establishing your leadership: During the early stages of the green economy, everyone must be a leader. Whether your job involves using a new technology, engaging people to take new actions, or encouraging your management team to make a process more sustainable, you must have leadership skills to get the job done. Look for opportunities to develop and demonstrate your leadership skills.
  • Navigating a changing world: If you want to work in the first wave of the green economy, you must be comfortable with uncertainty. To thrive, you must be able to go with the flow when plans change, stay focused, pick up on trends amid the random noise of constant change, and change goals midstream as new circumstances demand it. Are you ready?

If you’re just starting out on your quest for a green career, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options and directions you could go. Everything looks so interesting it’s hard to narrow down your focus. Begin by keeping track of the topics that interest you. As you collect these clues, you’ll begin to see possible themes develop. It’s those trends that point you in the right direction for your career.



Talk of the “lousy economy” getting you down? Monday, Sep 26 2011 

Talk of the “lousy economy” getting you down? Are you ready to move on? Any time adversity rears its ugly head, it’s human nature to “duck and cover” and wait out the storm. Help yourself,  your prospects, and your clients look for opportunity within adversity with this list of 4 powerful questions:

  1. Have new needs presented themselves to you/your prospects and clients in these adverse times? Are there underlying customer needs to be aware of since things have changed?
  2. What resources are being displaced because of the changes? These could be people, materials, products or services, intellectual property, or technology.
  3. Can you see a way to use resources from your answers to question 2 to fulfill a need you identified in question 1?
  4. Can you apply your success with questions 1 to 3 in additional markets, such as new customers or new products?

Evaluating your answers to these 4 questions can help you, your prospects, and your clients climb above the storm and see opportunity instead of only adversity

The Genius of a Q-Tip Thursday, Sep 1 2011 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

Is it possible in an era of such complex medical technology for anything new and effective to also be stone simple? My answer is, of course — and this is something we should never lose sight of. Latest example: I’ve come across a fascinating new medical study describing a technique for preventing infections in certain surgical wounds using nothing but a cotton swab similar to the Q-tips brand that we all grew up with. This approach is used solely for patients who have what surgeons call “dirty” wounds. Because of the type of operation — for example, bowel surgery, perforated appendix or surgery for trauma — a dirty wound is likely to be heavily contaminated with bacteria, putting patients at high risk for infections.

Infection Rates Drop, So Does Pain

 As a rule, efforts to prevent postsurgery infection in dirty wounds have included inserting under-the-skin drains… leaving the site open and cleaning it regularly… or applying topical antibiotics, but the success rate with these methods is disturbingly low. Risk for infection can reach up to 50% in the US, depending on the amount of contamination — which translates to more than 500,000 such infections each year, representing 25% of all hospital-acquired infections and a major cause of patient death. The new study included 76 patients who had undergone surgery for a perforated appendix. In half of the patients, doctors used iodine to clean the incision wounds, and in the other half, they gently probed the wounds with cotton swabs daily. The results were impressive. While 19% of the iodine-only group developed wound infections, just 3% of the patients in the probed group did. The probed group also had shorter hospitals stays, on average (five days versus seven)… less postoperative pain… and better cosmetic healing of the incisions.

A Study Speaks to Doubters

The author of this study was surgeon Shirin Towfigh, MD, attending surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She told me that she learned this technique while a resident at another medical center and assumed that it was common knowledge. Much to her surprise, she later discovered that very few doctors knew anything about it. Indeed she initially got a lot of resistance from her colleagues. “They were worried that the probing would be painful and thought it best to leave an incision alone to heal,” she told me. This prompted her to do the clinical study and now, as she says, “the evidence speaks for itself.”

To be able to do cotton-swab probing, the incision must be closed loosely, with staples placed at least two centimeters apart, says Dr. Towfigh. This provides enough room for doctors to insert the dry swabs deep into the incision between the staples. (Contrary to doctors’ fears, Dr. Towfigh says, patients experience only a minimum amount of pain from the technique.) Daily probing starts the morning after surgery, takes two to four minutes, and continues until the wound closes completely, generally in three to five days. Gentle insertion doesn’t open up the sealed portions of the wound, and the trick here is that bacterial fluid is removed from the site, allowing the body’s natural defenses to deal with the infection. Some patients are ready to leave the hospital before their wounds have completely sealed — and believe it or not, they are given instructions on how to probe the incisions themselves so they can continue at home.

The Word Spreads

Dr. Towfigh says that her study has engendered excitement among surgeons around the country and abroad and that they have been contacting her to learn more. (She also is preparing an instructional video of the technique.) Doctors at Cedars-Sinai now are using the technique on appropriate patients throughout the hospital, and a team of colorectal surgeons there has started a similar study in their patient population. The success of this simple method is a good reminder that an easy, low-tech approach is sometimes just exactly what is needed.


Shirin Towfigh, MD, attending surgeon and associate professor of surgery, division of general surgery, Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.