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Q & A: Working in the Field

Are there opportunities to work at JB Intercultural Consulting?

JB Intercultural Consulting works with teams of colleagues. This means we contract for specific projects. We are not hiring employees at this time.

If you would like to be part of our resource database of potential colleagues, please email us your resumé. Be sure to note 1) cross-cultural experiences and knowledge, 2) training and experience in conflict resolution, mediation, facilitation, and/or training, 3) languages and degree of fluency, 4) the kind of project which mosts interests you.

What about internships or research assistants?

We sometimes have part-time intern openings for students who live in the Philadelphia area. Please send an email inquiry describing what kind of learning experience you are seeking and what skills you might bring to JB Intercultural Consulting. We only take on interns when we have relevant and substative projects for them, and if the person demonstrates strong skills and initiative.

I'm interested in the kind of work JB Intercultural Consulting does. How do I go about finding a job in these areas?

Many students and people considering a mid-life career change are drawn to the Cross-cultural and Conflict Resolution and Mediation fields. Professional opportunities are increasing, however it requires some creativity and renaming to find them.

Our main advice is to think about Intercultural PLUS, Conflict Resolution PLUS, Mediation PLUS. By that we mean having another area of work qualification, to which you add on skills in intercultural relations, in mediation or facilitation, in peacemaking or conflict management. Are you an engineer who has worked in several cultures? A web designer who is multilingual? A manager who can train others in handling grievances or customer complaints? A psychologist or police officer with experience calming distraught and disturbed individuals? A lawyer who wants to guide clients in "alternative" dispute resolution approaches? A contractor who has experience managing conflicts in construction projects? A nurse who wants to work overseas? In general, technical expertise will land you a job; "soft" skills such as the ability to navigate intercultural situations and handle conflicts will help you keep it and to move into positions that emphasize that kind of skill.

If you are currently a student, consider what second skill or experience you can acquire. Few organizations hire a mediator or a cross-cultural specialist, but many will be interested in someone who has these abilities in addition to the requirements of a more conventional job description.

Whatever work you do, you can find opportunities to get involved in intercultural aspects of that environment. And without question, any job will bring opportunities to work with people in conflict! Use your skills wherever you land, and it will become evident over time how you can capitalize on those skills in your field of work.

What kind of careers are there in the cross-cultural field?

Here's a sample. (Readers are welcome to email other ideas and links to post here.)

  • Interpreting and translating, linguistics
  • International development for (non-profit, for-profit, government, and religious organizations).
  • Ethnographic research for government agencies, especially in the areas of health, urban planning, local economy, schooling, and community development
  • Assessment and evaluation of programs and initiatives for specific cultural groups.
  • Teaching: anthropology, languages, history
  • Teaching English-as-Second-Language or providing services to immigrants
  • Teaching in a foreign country
  • Foreign student advising
  • Relocation services for corporate employees
  • Social services and advocacy work
  • Market research focusing on consumer culture(s)
  • Research and consulting for corporations concerned with corporate culture or merger issues.
  • Businesses that have customers or manufacturing subdivisions in different societies/countries -- everyone from engineers to secretaries to salespeople need cross-cultural savvy. Also import / export.
  • Personnel work for global firms or companies that have a multi-cultural workforce.
  • International journalism, travel writer
  Just a start.... (last update September 2003)

Where do mediators work?

  Several for-profit companies and many non-profits offer mediation services. The fields of diplomacy and management/labor negotiations have established roles for mediators. Divorce mediators seem to have viable businesses in states that require mediation of divorce or custody situations.

A few public organizations have dispute resolution programs that bring in mediators, such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions, Human Relations Commissions, and Special Education disputes and notably the US Post Office. In general, professionals such as lawyers or therapists find that they cannot support themselves with mediation alone, and choose to offer it as one of their services.

 Many people are interested in learning mediation and conflict resolution skills; consequently many people in this field make a living through training and teaching.

 (last update September 2003)
  • has hundreds of articles, a mediator referral service, and resources for mediators. Select the "Careers in ADR" topic for several useful articles.
  • ADR Resources A number of articles about opportunities and pathways to being a professional mediator.
  • Association of Conflict Resolution is the main professional association for mediators, arbitrators, and others in conflict resolution fields
    National Association For Community Mediation's list of mediation organizations Patrick Cleary's book The Negotiation Handbook gives a vivid account of a top-level labor/management mediator.
  • Campus-ADR has many resources for students, and for conflict resolution in academe.
  • Mediation and Peacemaking Careers Includes a list of links to sources for potential jobs.

What about conflict resolution?

As we said above, most jobs involve conflict resolution to some degree. The question is what kind of conflicts would you like to help resolve? What knowledge or position do you need to do so effectively?

Are there other ways I can earn a living with mediation skills?

  Most times consultants are called in when there's a problem. And if there's a problem, there's likely to be conflict, too. Conflict resolution involves 1) the ability and opportunity to listen deeply and ask thought-provoking questions, 2) analyzing systems (technical and human) and 3) experience in designing assessment, dialogue, and decision-making processes. Outside consultants can be ideal for this role.

  Consider calling yourself a "facilitator" instead of a "mediator". Part entertainment, part conducting, part hand-holding, facilitation work uses mediation skills, but has a broader scope and may feel less threatening to the participants than admitting that they have a "conflict" that needs "mediating." Professional facilitators run large or difficult meetings such as conferences, corporate retreats or strategy meetings, hot public meetings, large-scale community participation processes.


How can I get involved in peacemaking work?

The world needs you! Most peacemaking won't earn you a living, but can be challenging and heart-filling work. Access is the key problem for would-be peacemakers. People in conflict don't always care to have well-meaning outsiders meddling in an already intolerable situation. Consider conflicts close to home, situations where you have contacts and respect. Enter ready to listen and learn.

Comprehensive list of Conflict Resolution Organizations and Links
Peace Studies jobs and internships
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Negotiation & Conflict
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