Origins, nuts and bolts

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As I try to carve out some time over the next few months to focus on developing the website further, one element I’d like to get back on track is the blog (it’s been over two years since a real one!). I have plans for how to do this, but I thought I would just get the ball rolling again with some of the basics of the website. Where it came from and how it works. I think these are the two most asked questions I get when meeting people and talking about the site.

A few months ago, I was joking when I mentioned I had been working on this website too long… (which, of course will never be the case, hopefully!). The list that you are all on started with just 30 of my close water friends back in 2010, I think. I mention some of this in the “About” page, but I would get tired of trying to figure out who to send those emails to when getting the request to “please pass along this job to your network”, so I created a Word doc and copied and pasted my fellow younger professionals’ emails in there. I was then ready for whenever that request came about, which was not THAT frequent.

I’m not exactly sure when the shift happened, but I think I must have gotten like 2 or 3 in one week, so put them together in a small list and sent them out via my Gmail account. And, for some reason, at some point, I started seeking out jobs for these emails as well. I wasn’t looking, as I was in the middle of PhD hell. Maybe it was procrastination, which still happens today :)

Eventually, I’d have like 5-10 water jobs every 3-4 weeks. Then, I’d be at World Water Week and meet some fellow young professionals and say, “Not sure if you’re interested, but I have this small jobs list that I send out every few weeks if you’d like to be on it…” And, people were like, “Sure”.

Slowly, it became a solid 10 jobs every two weeks. And then more. I then started to get random emails from people who had been referred to me by others on the list to join. The first saved email that I could find that I sent out was from January 2013 when there were 22 jobs and 160 people on the list, and it was coming out three times a month. I’m putting a photo below of what the list looked like then, because I wasn’t even hyperlinking the links at that time, and it had attachments... Zero categorization. They were quite messy and ugly at times, especially because some URLs were like five lines long.

The list continued to grow organically, without advertising and with me putting in more effort to find the jobs, until, in early 2016, when I was publishing 40-50 jobs/week to around 800 people. The problem at this point is that it was becoming difficult for people to find jobs that I had sent out in previous weeks, so I figured it was time for a website to create a searchable database. After two tries with web developers, I finally had a conversation with my middle school friend Hank who was willing to partner on this and build the website. And you now have Josh’s Water Jobs as you experience it today, growing at a steady rate since the website was launched in June 2016. The numbers are… significantly higher.

So, how does it work? The search for the curated list of water jobs is not an easy one and very nuanced. I’m sure many of you experience what happens when you type “water” into a jobs search engine. Jobs for plumbers, lifeguards, janitors, firefighters, etc. all show up, because, as we know, water is everywhere ;) Trying to make it more precise is not so straightforward either. I’m not kidding when I say I have around 120 websites bookmarked that I go to every week (and some several times a week) to find the jobs that are on the list, because, yes, I probably find 95% of the jobs on the site myself. I have a system down, so know how each website works and remember where I left off from the previous visit (there are plans to work on developing a better way to do this). While I think many people believe I receive all the jobs I post, this is actually not the case (so always happy for people to send me them via email or the “Post a job” link on the site!).

Then there is the uploading, which you see me regularly asking for volunteers to help with. Or used to, as this has not really worked. There is a form that myself or the volunteers fill out with all the job-related information that you see come up when looking at open positions. This is more straightforward than finding them, but it’s time-consuming. Overall, this takes about 10-15 hours of my time/week, not to mention the time that the volunteers put in as well and Hank keeping the website updated, safe from bugs and the changes we carry out.

I actually have no idea how many people get jobs, etc. off the website (another question I get). Since I’m just posting jobs and not actually carrying out recruitment processes (soon!), there is no way to track this other than emails I receive and people approaching me at everything from conferences to weddings (not joking, it happened a few months ago) telling me they got a job, internship or scholarship through the website. You can imagine this makes me really happy, and makes all this worth doing, so always happy to hear these updates from people! I very much enjoy the work I do in water, but I do feel like the website actually has more impact, so the goal is to continue to develop it further to provide more spaces to connect and opportunities for career development.

If you have any related questions about the site, please post them below in the comments! I can maybe take some of them and put them into another blog post or respond directly in the comments.

Thanks for following!

 

Comments

Great job

Hey Josh,
I love your list. It's very well curated and feels quite personal. Thanks so much for your hard work!!

Water resource management

I am from Nepal and I am always excited to receive your weekly updates. It is very useful. If I get job through your Posting, I will update you.

Thank you Josh

Thank you so much for your efforts Josh! Really appreciated! I probably would not have my job without you, Cheers

great resource, Josh!

I regularly check the listing, and I have listed your listserv as a source of information for several of my job applications. Thank you for your work!!!

THANK YOU !!!

Josh,
this list is just a wonderful idea that became reality.
For sure, you are the star among the community in this sector.
Cheers, Ulrike

Thank you Josh

Recently got an interview for a consulting job in Brazil via the list. Thank you for the great job!

Tanks for your efforts

Mano thanks for time you took in sensing a world of water opportunity

I can relate to the scope of

I can relate to the scope of your work adding content and keeping up with all the backend chores, as I manage several water websites. So I want you to know how much I appreciate all you do to keep making Josh's Water Jobs better and better.

such good site

I like it. and thanks to you for doing so. and if you'd need crowdfunding for continuing I would participate!

Useful in so many ways

Hello Josh - coming out of grad school with a degree in Water Resources Management was job search hell, and at the time this email thread was a lifeline letting me know there were more opportunities out there. At the end of the day this list has not only been the source of many job applications, but also the inspiration for actually better understanding the water resources community and all the work that it does! I have a much better picture of what sorts of jobs are possible, and therefore what sort of career I perhaps would like to aspire to. I have also always appreciated the international focus of the postings. I have a job now, but I continue to read this email thread every week because it inspires me to think about my next steps.
So thank you!

Thank you

Franchement josh, vous faites du bon travail. Y a pas deux plateformes comme la vôtre, vous nous aidez beaucoup, bon courage dans votre site

Thanks

Thanks a lot for all the effort, I appreciate it a lot!

Thanks

Thanks Josh for putting in so much effort. It's a great service!

Thanks a lot! you really did

Thanks a lot! you really did hard work for betterment of water professionals.

Very much appreciated

Hey Josh, am Phyllis from Uganda. All I would like you to know is that you are very much appreciated by people (like me) who after their newly acquired knowledge and skills in water resources management, are eager to put it all into practice. Looking at the website and finding all sorts of water jobs that can provide such an opportunity is encouraging. I know I will find myself the perfect job someday. Thank you

Many thanks !

Many thanks for all those efforts, they are really appreciated!

Português

Olá! Muito obrigado por seu trabalho maravilhoso!
No meu primeiro ano de faculdade (Fatec Jahu - São Paulo, Brasil). Curso de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Hídricos, eu tive um "insight": "Vou ter que abrir picada a mão" isto em Português, quer dizer abrir caminho em uma floresta que ainda não tem um caminho. Durante a minha primeira trajetória profissional, alguns anos depois de concluir a graduação, consegui inclusive a ajudar alguns colegas a se inserirem no mercado de trabalho, e isto me deu uma satisfação muito grande!
O Josh Water Jobs é uma ferramenta incrível, e conecta os profissionais de recursos hídricos e saneamento. Obrigado pelo seu trabalho! :)
Eu ainda não encontrei o meu... O Português não é um idioma muito solicitado na Europa e na America do Norte, então estou estudando muito inglês para conseguir uma oportunidade e trabalhar muito!! \o/

Hello! Thank you so much for your wonderful work!
In my first year of college (Fatec Jahu - São Paulo, Brazil). On the course of Environment and Water Resources, I had an "insight": "I will have to open a sting by hand" in Portuguese, that means opening a path in a forest that does not yet have a path. During my first professional career, a few years after graduating, I was even able to help some of my colleagues to get into the job market, and this gave me great satisfaction!
Josh Water Jobs is an incredible tool and connects water and sanitation professionals. Thank you for your work! :)
I have not yet connected me... Portuguese is not a requested language in Europe and North America, so I am studying a lot of English to get a chance and work hard !! \o/

Thanks

Your service is very useful. Thanks Josh

Thanks!

Couldnt agree more with all the previous comments! I always forward your weekly mail to friends who are looking for jobs and Ive noticed its very useful for climate change graduates aan well! You definately make a real impact with this.

What a resource you've created - thank you!!

I look forward to the list appearing in my inbox every week. It's kind of habit forming to see what's out there even if you have a job. I wonder if I'll continue to read it with so much interest after I get my next job - could be dangerous!

Thank you!

I always look forward to your updates. Thank you so much for curating such a list.

Water jobs - water conservation

Thanks for the regular email and postings.
One aspect that I don't see much of is Jobs in Water Conservation. If at all possible I would love to see more these types of positions.

Kind regards
Leslie

Thanks for the suggestion

Thanks for the suggestion Leslie! I will see what I can do...

Feed back

Dear Josh,

I did get a couple of consultancy contracts and I also came to know organisations I was not aware of before that. The improvements of the mailing list are great too. And the mailing list and website are users' friendly. Thank you for this initiative!

WASH and Environment

Merci infinement! J'apprecie beaucoup votre travail! On y trouve un eventail large d'opportunites, notament dans les secteurs de WASH et Environnement, dont je suis expert.

What a great service you provide

I have been getting this email for at least two years. I had no idea this was basically a labor of love. Although I have yet to find my dream water job, I look forward to seeing this every week. It gives me hope that I may use my Master of Integrated Water Management yet. Thank you, Josh.

THANK YOU JOSH

To echo the hundreds of people who really appreciate the effort and hard work you put into generating the lists and curating the website, THANK YOU! Knowing how painful it was/is to find jobs in the space, and continually running into 'Environment Manager' roles that were actually for janitorial services and the like during my own job hunts, I was so grateful to discover your list - please keep up the amazing work, though I hope you can find a way to crawl through all these websites and automate the process, to save yourself all that precious time! Thank you Josh!

Gracias!

I also got a job thanks to the website! I love it!

What a great list you have created!

Hi Josh,

I can totally relate to the efforts you need to put in to gather the content. 5 years ago, I was doing the same for business opportunities in water management, irrigation and hydro power - EOIs, RFPs, RFQs. And yes, if you just type water tenders in any search engine, the results would be flooded with plumbing, janitorial and maintenance services!

It is indeed a time-consuming job. Now, after 5 years away from the water sector, I'm slowly coming back (to it). I do look at other job sites too, and do get to see jobs not posted on your blog. Now that I know that jobs can be posted to your site too (not just seeing them), I'll be sure to share some.

Thanks Ram! Please send any

Thanks Ram! Please send any my way!

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