Thinking about a new career? You’re not alone according to research, which shows during COVID around a third of us have seriously considered alternate employment. And one thing that’s keeping people in their current roles? Feeling engaged with their work.
Last month Jess Dart, Victoria Pilbeam and Dru de Livera shared what brought them to a career in MEL and impact measurement, and what’s keeping them engaged (you can check out the full webinar here, and stay tuned for their responses in our next blog).
We also recently spoke to impact evaluation legend Zazie Tolmer, who’s since moved to Copenhagen, about her career journey and entry into MEL. In this installment, we’ll share some of Zazie’s and Jess’s insights on what skills they started with, what they’ve needed to build, and what you should be considering for a career in the changing MEL landscape.
What – if any – skills were transferrable from your past career to now?
“When I worked at Roberts Evaluation, I noticed during a team facilitation training that through all the dance training I had developed useful spatial awareness. This awareness has proved to be of ongoing use when delivering training and facilitating workshops. For example, where you position yourself in the room and in relation to others, and the impact that has.”
What do you wish you’d known when you first began your MEL career?
“More awareness of how diverse and broad the evaluation field is. I still feel that the field is quite siloed and that there could be greater openness to different evaluation practices. But I have really enjoyed the journey and so I don’t feel that I missed anything at the beginning. I worked along the way with inspiring and creative people that were critical to my development and to making work not just rewarding but also fun.”
What do you think a career in evaluation and social impact measurement offers?
“If you’re a curious person, and you’re up for a challenging career in which you’re always learning, then this is the discipline that keeps giving. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and having even done my PhD in it – I’m still learning.
Especially in the consulting space, there’s always something new to learn about. Even if you know your evaluation inside out, you’re always evaluating different initiatives, contexts and working with different people and places, so it’s varied and interesting.
I think we’re also seeing a desire for many people to know that they’re making a difference in their jobs – in fact, people are leaving jobs to move to ones where they can see what they’re doing is making a difference, and that’s where evaluation has so much to offer. ”