Accounting to Industrial Ecology

Career Change from Accounting to Industrial Ecology

May 18, 2012

Hello Anthony —

Just two days ago I came to a conclusion about my career design. And, yes, it is career choice day. I can’t believe the day has come! The choice is made, and as I get down the road I will have much opportunity to micro-focus my endeavors.

Since we last spoke, I deliberated for a long time and wrestled with many issues. I wanted very much to work with organics, harvesting rainwater; a trusted expert in permaculture becoming an urban mushroom farmer; a designer of lush, savvy public gardens, available for all to enjoy. I believe this comprises very sexy material, available to all basic souls, most inputs costing nothing.

However, something didn’t stick; something was fuzzy about this avenue. Right now, I can’t explain why, but that isn’t the right game for me to play. Perhaps it is too analytical… for a person needing more time to dream and create.

I thought, “I love these concepts, [but] could I go for ecology?” [So] I am choosing to invest my time working with the [industrial ecology] concepts promoted by Natural Logic. This involves industrial ecology, strategic planning, all blended with ecology and sustainability. Business and the social sciences, together! What a great place to be…

I’m lucky because I get to keep many of the organic concepts. These are very much a part of industrial ecology.

The broad arena of industrial ecology gives me so much room to run and play. So much in love with the material and concepts, I stand to run to meet these challenges. The only thing I want to add to this design is “equity.” With a chance to help out the little guy or those less fortunate, the game will become more fun. Soon, I will see how this is done.

Now, I’m going to develop a road map to create a plan for retooling. However, if I cannot secure an internship at this time, I am not worried. I have tons of projects that I am ready to tackle! Either way, my toolbox is ready for the increased demands. But, the time is now to invest in the process. I will forever remember your stories, such practical, relevant and amazing advice!

Thank you for all you have done. Without your efforts, I can’t say I would have all this insight into my life. You will forever be an icon to me. Together we have achieved a significant milestone!

Someday, perhaps this summer, I could come and meet you. I’d love get a signed book!

Much gratitude,


Backstory: From Accounting to Industrial Ecology

June 21, 2011

Hello Anthony!

Sorry to keep you back in the dust bowls of time… I am sustaining my momentum.

I’ve been trying to reach out to others to get some credible sources in the field of organic farming. Through my local adult school I took a short-term class on permaculture. As well, I have begun to maintain a garden and have been learning about organic gardening. It’s so much more than not using harsh chemicals.

I’ve found it to be a romantic wonderland, very tranquil and restful for the soul. Unfortunately, right now, having a garden has become a pretty large commitment with the dynamics of my young family and a long commute. I have realized that learning and doing all this organic farming stuff requires a lot of energy; I understand why others don’t grow their own food!

I’ve learned quite a bit over the past few months. In fact, I almost have the entire story unraveled. But, not the entire thing. It’s been a great journey, and recently I’ve got some gitters. . .

In the meantime, the stop-gap accounting job that I took [to pay the bills] has been unreal! By the way, it is amazing to apply what I’ve learned through our inquiries, and even apply them to the [career hell] where I am now. Unfortunately, this is a “turn the crank” environment; management style is 100% theory x; very, very traditional values; formal dress environment, never challenge the status quo, 0% feeling. This place is totally a dinosaur. And, it is disasterious place for me, with little opportunity to learn new concepts.

What I find important to mention is the organization is like a huge government, mismanaged and full of administrative nightmares. Fixing the challeneges at hand are a long-term investement, like stopping the giant cargo ships that come from China. It is striking to me that no one wants to lay a finger on these problems.

What I need to decide: shall I pack my bags and find a new home from 9-to-5, and be somewhere that is suitable for me? Or, shall I take the remainder of the summer (or another realistic deadline) to determine what my new life will look like — thereby, giving 100% to clearly define what I will be doing and who I will be serving. [Brian chose the later option]

I have clearly developed goals based on your direction. I also have completed the “conditions of satisfaction.” After finishing my goals I reviewed them. At this point, they are pretty solid, say 92% complete. I’ve been taking great strides to keep marching along with projects and homework assignments. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you very much.


————— How it all got started in Nov 2007 ———————

Brian began his career reinvention when he was 29 (4 years ago). At that time he was a senior accountant and in the process of passing his CPA exam. He had lost all interest in the field of accounting as well as the larger sense of the “language of business” in general. He was open and willing to take on the challenge of designing his career and life.

Brian measured 99 Introverted Maestro, high diagnostic reasoning, strong idea flow, with NF and SF temperament blend. He’s essentially has the talent profile of an applied social scientist with a fasincation for the eco-system. Brian is full of imagination and big picture “systems thinking,” specifically, sustainable human systems — needless to say, his strengths were a significant mismatch with the field of accounting. When we got started, he had a vague sense that he enjoyed mentoring people and was recognizing that he wanted his career to make some sort of useful or meaningful contribution. With no real or strong sense of direction or purpose at that time, he began a courageous journey to pave his own path.

After months of taking stock and designing his career requirements, he began to develop some preliminary career path ideas like running his own bagel shop, being a green coach to businesses that suggests ways to reuse their waste materials to help people (for example, reusing scraps of persian rugs), educating poor people on how to get a car loan and buy a car, working for a non-profit that connects businesses to communities to find ways to reuse scrap materials, working for a public interest research group to advise the public on how to consume wisely and live by the value of systems thinking.

Together, we noticed that his talent and purpose for helping people to live more sustainably — to be aware of long-term impacts on systems — was a core function in all of his ideas. At first, he was stumped. How to choose between these career ideas? Brian suddenly realized that although his ideas were different in title, they all engaged the similar job functions and talents. The key difference was the specialty content area that he’d be a maestro expert in. 

In short, all his ideas were essentially the “same career,” just packaged in different ways. In that instant, the bubble popped. He was confident that he found his career “ballpark” and had a target zone. Brian applied his methodical mind and persistant personality for several years to test-drive the possibilities. He was relentless in his pursuit to make a smart well-thought-out choice. Along the way he got married and started a family, experimented by taking classes, made mistakes, got discouraged and side-tracked, and was even forced to change jobs due to unexpected circumstances. I was never in doubt he’d cross the finish line; what a grand and bold adventure that very few men dare to go on.

Congratulations, Brian. It was an absolute pleasure!