Field Notes from the Development Industry 2/28/2013

1) A reader wrote in to ask for advice on an NGO that packages and sends rice and beans to “starving people.” I though my answer might be useful for others: It’s a lot better for the local economy to procure the food there. The reason hungry people need food is not because it isn’t… Read More »

Field notes from the development industry: 12/12/12

1. An awful lot of people in the aid system are bad at many parts of their jobs. The skills that get you promoted aren’t necessarily the same skills that lead to good aid programs. That’s good news, I guess, for young people who want to work in aid. Otherwise it’s depressing to think about.… Read More »

Answering a Question

  While I was on my way to my new home in Baku*, someone left this comment on my blog: Well…., great blog. I appreciate your contribution to the field of I/D. I go to know about this from Chris Blattman’s blog. Just one issue- Why would you charge anyone (students) for career advise, though?… Read More »


              J from Tales from the Hood posted his “why I do this” story recently, and reading it started me thinking why I do this work myself. There’s a lot of twisted up stuff in my explanation – about wanting adventure, and doing what you’re good at, and the… Read More »

Finding a Job in International Development

I talked about this last month, but now that we’re really up and rolling, it’s time for my proper sales pitch. If you are looking for a job in international development, I can help. I’d been advising people on careers in this field for years. Now I am taking that to the next level. I… Read More »

Boring Administrative Notice

Hi, I feel kind of awkward about this. But I’ve been getting a several emails a day asking for career advice. I really like helping, but I do have a day job and it pays by the hour so spending time on this costs me money. And I can’t make them all into blog posts… Read More »


I get a lot of questions on how to succeed in international development. How to make an internship turn into a job, how to use a bad job to get a good job. I give the same answer, every single time. Be easy. More than anything else – more than being skilled, more than being… Read More »