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A Career Guide For a New Generation of Change Makers

By Nell Edgington

Billy Parish and Dev Aujla’s new book, Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World, is a career guide for the generation that finds themselves on the precipice of some pretty monumental global challenges.

Parish and Aujla argue that 3 major trends are creating an unprecedented opportunity for people to find “the sweet spot between altruism and selfishness.” The trends are:

  • A rise in global empathy, or the ability for people separated geographically to be bound by common desires and goals
  • The Internet as a platform for global collaboration
  • Breakthrough smarter and greener technologies

These trends have resulted in “enormous new opportunities to change the world.” Far from the bleak unemployment picture facing the Millennial generation, this book turns that challenge into an enormous opportunity. This generation won’t enjoy the same careers that those who came before them did. They will create their own careers by combining the need for an income with a desire to make the world a better place.

Part self-help book, part social entrepreneurship primer, Making Good at times verges on the feel good, but for a generation faced with staggering unemployment, a really messed up global economy, and the inheritance of other equally crippling social and political problems, they probably need a little hand holding.

The authors start by laying out the opportunities that exist within seven major industries that are undergoing tremendous turmoil (crumbling education system, weak transportation infrastructure, inadequate healthcare system, broken food chain, to start.). It seems there is an endless list from which this new generation could carve out solutions.

Then they go into the 6 steps for moving from idea to action (Reflect, Adapt, Connect, Design, Launch, Organize), which is sort of like the What Color is My Parachute for the social change set. The book is a nice companion to the more case-study heavy Echoing Green book, Work on Purpose. But what is interesting about Making Good‘s approach and different than most social entrepreneurship books, is that these authors see social change work in a broad spectrum, from new start up companies and nonprofits, to freelancing, to being a social intrapreneur (within an established company).

Perhaps in some ways, though, this book is trying to cover too much ground. Probably because it is one of only a few books in the emerging social change career genre. My hope is that as social change becomes a more established industry there will be many more books like Making Change that help those entering the working world and those trying to make a move within it to embrace social change careers.

In the Introduction to the book, Van Jones, special advisor to Obama on Green Jobs, writes “”We don’t know yet if we are going to be in a continued vicious downward cycle politically, economically, culturally, and spiritually–or whether this is just volatility preceding a beautiful rebirth and rebuilding…we could be seeing the beginnings of a positive ecological U-turn, one in which democracy is renewed by a new generation taking the stage with new information technology and cooperation tools and the economy is renewed by new models of commerce that respect people and the earth.”

The authors of Making Good seem to think that by giving the Millennial generation a road map for translating their desire for change into a sustainable way to make a living we will find that ecological U-turn. I tend to agree.

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About the Author: Nell Edgington is President of Social Velocity (, a management consulting firm leading nonprofits to greater social impact and financial sustainability. Social Velocity helps nonprofits grow their programs, bring more money in the door, and use resources more effectively. For more information, check out Social Velocity consulting services and clients.

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