Why I’m Leaving Climate17

Why I’m Leaving Climate17

The last two years have been the strangest of my life.

I, like most people, had never experienced a pandemic before. When the first reports were announced on the radio, I was in the car with our Director, David Blake. “Four people in China have died as a result of a mysterious virus.” I said it was like the start of a zombie apocalypse movie. I like zombie apocalypse movies. But they never show people spending twenty-four hours a day at home, unable to see anyone except on Zoom or Teams. If they showed that, I don’t think I’d like them.

Brexit happened too, much to my dismay. And when it did, I felt embarrassed to be British. I couldn’t (and still don’t) believe that, in the geographical cul-de-sac that is Europe, the UK voted to erect a massive fence around our little house instead of working with our neighbours to create a safe, open space where everyone can live comfortably and travel freely.

But before I take you too far down Negativity Lane, let me say this: it’s not all been bad. There’ve been a number of positives, actually.

I got engaged. If you’ve never proposed to anyone before, trust me when I say it’s one of the most nerve-wracking things you can do, even if you’re 99.9% certain they’ll say yes. I had a few rehearsed things I wanted to say — but, in the moment, my racing pulse forced all the words out of my head, and I ended up sort of blurting God-knows-what out without breathing.

Another bright beacon on an otherwise shadowy landscape has been Climate17. In a period of time that future Sociology classes will study in depth, Climate17 has been an ever-present source of support, comradery and relief.

I’m pretty sure that, when they set the business up in 2018, David and Tom never anticipated a global pandemic to be lurking around the corner. And yet they handled it as though they had.

I spoke with lots of people who’d been made redundant from jobs they loved, jobs they were good at, through no fault of their own. And it would’ve been easy for David and Tom to let me go too. When the first lockdown started in March 2020, I’d only been with the company for three months. I hadn’t really had the time to build momentum independently yet, so I was fully expecting the worst.

But it didn’t come. In fact, I never felt alone or unsupported. Both David and Tom checked in regularly on my colleagues and me – even when we were furloughed for a month, just to make sure we were okay. They put our mental health first, and were even generous enough to top our furlough pay up to 100%, so none of us had to worry about money. They didn’t have to do that. They chose to.

I’d never experienced that kind of leadership before. In my opinion, neither David nor Tom get the credit or gratitude they often deserve. The longer you work at Climate17, the more you just get used to it. But, sometimes, you remember this level of care and consideration in management isn’t the norm.

When life was back to normal-ish and work resumed, I was finally able to sink my teeth into the Environment sector. My previous recruitment experience was in financial technology, so Environment was a welcome change of pace and scenery.

It took some getting used to. I knew nothing about the sector at first, nor did I have any existing network in place. But almost every candidate I called was generous with their time, and happy to share their knowledge. This was the polar opposite to what I experienced in fintech, and not only was it invaluable in my pursuit of commercial success, but it also showed me just how much goes into the planning and development of a wind farm, for instance. That blew my mind.

Clients were equally as friendly. I’ve had Teams calls with dozens of hiring managers and technical directors, and have qualified many more vacancies across the Environment spectrum. I can’t recall ever walking away from a call thinking: “What a horrible person.” Considering a call with a twenty-something-year-old recruiter has never been the highlight of anyone’s day (except my grandparents), everyone was kind, and made me feel at ease.

This all contributed to a particularly successful 2021 for me. I’m especially proud of placing not one, not two, but three candidates with a leading consultancy specialising in offshore wind: a notoriously candidate-short and competitive market. They’re all loving their new jobs, which makes the recruitment journey worthwhile. But all journeys must end, no matter how enjoyable they’ve been. Climate17 has provided me with a platform on which to learn, progress, and design my life as I wish. I’ve always cared deeply about our planet — and, consequently, I harbour resentment for people who don’t — and my life goal is to accelerate humanity’s transition to a clean, sustainable, healthy way of life.

As you can probably tell by now, I also love writing. I always have. In school, I was crap at Maths (Pythago-what?), but excelled at English Language and English Literature. I went on to study English Literature & Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. And, in 2021, I completed the College of Media and Publishing’s accredited Digital Copywriting diploma, earning myself a Distinction and a celebratory takeaway pizza.

I’ve therefore decided the time is right to fly the Climate17 nest to run my own freelance copywriting business. I’ve called it Helios Copywriting, after the Greek god of the sun. If you don’t already know, copywriting has nothing whatsoever to do with trademarks or copyrights. That’s a common misconception. Instead, it’s the process of writing for companies to help them promote themselves and sell more. Websites, blogs, newsletters, e-mails — pretty much everything a company will ever say to you will have been written by a specialist copywriter.

I’m being selective, though. I’ll be working solely with companies who are genuinely natural, sustainable or holistic. Companies that benefit the planet or society in some way. I’ve already helped a zero-waste shop, two environmental consultancies (one in Air Quality, the other in Ecology), and a company that helps pregnant women find various forms of holistic therapy.

But there’s so much more to do. There are thousands of purpose-led companies out there that deserve their day in the sun, and I want to help as many of them as I can by doing what I love most. I wouldn’t leave Climate17 for anything other than this.

I want to take this opportunity to thank, from the bottom of my heart, David, Tom and all my colleagues for making me feel at home. Recruitment can be a real slog at times, but you’ve always been there to offer guidance and support, and play Jaja Ding Dong. I know you’ll miss my cycling leggings, dirty protein bowls, Barry White impressions, and rants about Boris. I also want to thank all the clients and candidates I’ve worked with. Each of you made my job easier by being approachable and open, and I wouldn’t be in a position to pursue my dream without you. Now, how do I wrap this up? I suppose I ought to say this: if you run an eco-friendly business (or know someone who does), get in touch! My schedule is clear, and I’m ready to work. But even if you have no need for a copywriter right now, it’d still be good to chat — especially if you have any advice to share with someone who just started a small business.

And, if you’re curious, you can check out my website. Tell me what you think. I welcome all feedback — just don’t be mean, or you’ll shatter my ego like glass.

– Andy Robinson