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I quit during the pandemic but I can’t take all the credit. This pandemic made my transition extra interesting. Quitting during the pandemic was not ideal. However, it was worth it.
This began with a pandemic, an opportunity, and a dream job.
Quitting Doesn’t Make Me a Quitter
It’s all fun and games until I decide to quit during the pandemic.
My job was fine as an Assistant Librarian at the local high school.
“Fine” slowly chips away at your life though. You always wonder if there could have been better.Money Gremlin
My coworkers were funny, and it was pretty net sassing teenagers mostly because they made it so easy! However, I was unable to use my savvy skill set. I’m trained as an environmental educator and interpreter. My passion for environmental literacy is more like an obsession that I wear with a flat hat filled with pride.
I reached out to the science teachers to see if I could enhance their classroom content but they weren’t interested in what I had to offer.
Was I surprised that I didn’t hear from them? No.
They have a lot of demands in their classroom, especially now, that I would rather not be a burden. Instead, I was left with feeling unchallenged.
I’m not a fan of unfulfillment. Instead of dwelling on what I couldn’t control, I controlled what I could by directing bottled up energy towards blogging and searching for a fulfilling career path.
Which is how I stumbled across an opening for a Park Ranger. After applying and the typical round of interviews, and by typical, I mean the Coronavirus way of phone calls, emails, and awkward silences, I was hired!
Dream. Live. Be.
Thanks to a resume that included experiences like Yellowstone, Pompeys Pillar, and Craters of the Moon, I was welcomed as a seasonal/permanent ranger.
Then came the endorphins and plethora of happy feelings. Followed by the complicated feelings of, am I going to quit during the pandemic?
I had a job formal job offer and start date, but things became less formal with Coronavirus. I ended up having an extended unemployment because of paperwork and people delays. Luckily, as a type-A
paranoid kind of person, I had a nice cushion for unemployment. I deployed the ever-present, seldom-used emergency fund.
I still felt guilt about quitting.
As much as I loved to sass teens, my heart belonged to nature. Nature has been my salve when I am sad, the balm to my blues, and the tree-song in my heart.
Not too long ago, I cried as I was hiking. I was overwhelmed by the views, smells, and feelings that came as a direct result of being immersed in nature. It was unadulterated happiness. It’s my life, my love, and my world. As a ranger, I use my experience with excessive amounts of enthusiasm to illustrate the importance of protecting our public lands.
It’s a selfish career choice because I’m actively protecting the most sacred part of my happiness which involves trees, bees, and fresh breezes.
Caution: Opportunities Can Lead To Discomfort
It has been a long process to a permanent/seasonal position. I have a college degree in informal education which is the traditional route to Rangerhood when the field is anything but traditional. Fun was abundant in nontraditional classes like tree climbing, scuba diving, and a super intense summer camp called Treehaven.
I had to gain professional experience too like hiking trails and kayaking rivers. I’m bragging about the ideal sides of the career but it’s not all tree farts and bird watching.
I have tactfully handled people who are directing ugly feelings at me for things I have no control over like closures, wildfires, and feces (the humankind). Then there is the ever-looming budget cuts and overall spotty track record of full-time employment.
When I couldn’t find federal employment, not matter how much I visualized or hot tears I cried, I put the dream on hold and ended up scraping and scraping by.
Plus, many of the places I lived were dictated by Mr. BuLL’s career with his higher wages and better benefits. This translated into making the best of what I could. Every step I took away from public land, built grit. The dream of working at a place where my passions were met at the door could not, would not, be cast aside.
Quit During the Pandemic
During my meanderings, I developed valuable skills like teaching art and science to underserved youth and developing STEAM programs. Ironically, it wasn’t my situations or looping path that defined my experience but my mindset and persistence that would define my success as a ranger.
I didn’t plan to quit during a pandemic but after all the trials and tribulations, it seemed like an appropriate beginning.