A career in emergency response: Is it for you?

An emergency field worker assists an elderly woman in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. “Emergency response is not for the faint of heart.” says Save the Children's Michael O'Neil. Photo by: markyturner / CC BY

If you’re eager to land an international assignment providing emergency response, take a moment and pause before tailoring your cover letter and resume. Consider whether you don’t just hold the appropriate academic and professional credentials, but are truly emotionally and mentally equipped to tackle the challenging lifestyle of a humanitarian relief worker.

Emergency response work isn’t for everyone, industry veterans agree. It can be immensely rewarding, if one’s intention is to help and support communities in crisis. But the burnout rate is high for a reason.

About the author

  • Amy Lieberman

    Amy Lieberman is the U.N. Correspondent for Devex. She covers the United Nations and reports on global development and politics. Amy previously worked as a freelance reporter, covering the environment, human rights, immigration, and health across the U.S. and in more than 10 countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, and Cambodia. Her coverage has appeared in the Guardian, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times. A native New Yorker, Amy received her master’s degree in politics and government from Columbia’s School of Journalism.