17 February 2010

How to work in Development

Step One:

Listen to Michael Jackson when you are growing up. “Heal the World” is in your DNA. You are an idealist.

Step Two:

Go to school and study Development/Economics/Anthropology/Politics/Sociology/Geography. Cultivate and refine your idealism.

Step Three:

Do lots and lots of unpaid work. Or even pay to work. So you can get that essential developing country experience. Fall in love with somewhere in Africa/Asia/Latin America. Put a human face on your idealism.

Step Four:

Get your first real development job. Awesome. You’ve made it. Until you are disillusioned almost immediately. Everything is more difficult than you imagined. Nobody seems to care like you do. Nobody seems to want to heal the world. What do you do with your idealism now?

Step Five:

Actually the swimming pool on a Sunday is pretty nice. And if that new consultancy contract works out you’re going to be raking it in. Tax free! And you’ll get to ride in a shiny white landcruiser and sit in the A/C all day, and go to the pool on Sundays. Ha! You used to be so na├»ve! Idealism ischmealism.

(With apologies to the ~20% who actually work like dogs for little pay and do great things. Specifically people like these. You are my heroes).

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