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Saying "I quit" during the pandemic was a lot like this image: a frozen zig zag of emotions on an icy mountain road.

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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.

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11 thoughts on “Why I Quit During the Pandemic

  1. Hey Ranger,

    Congrats on the new gig, sounds cool. My wife always wanted to be a librarian. She worked as a librarian assistant in Canada for 5 years before becoming a math teacher. Well before I knew her.

    Happy Friday,

    Max

    1. Hey Max! Thanks for the visit and kudos! I like your wife already! Mad props to her library skills and being a math teacher. Our school year just wrapped up, hopefully she will get a chance to enjoy her summer break with a little more normal and a little less COVID19. Happy Friday to you too!

  2. Congrats on the new job!! It sounds like being a ranger really suits you, and I can feel your passion from this post alone. You’re so brave for leaving your job during a pandemic, and here’s wishing you all the best. 🙂 When does your new job start? I look forward to hearing ranger stories from you! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Liz! Right now the tentative date is July 5th. Here’s to hoping for less delays and more Ranger action! I am glad your looking forward to new ranger tales, I look forward to sharing them! Thank you again for the support!

  3. In September last year, I suddenly lost my job that I had the last 16 years. At first, I was in despair, but fate was ordered differently and opened up more interesting opportunities for me. I myself had long wanted to change something, but I didn’t have the courage, but what happened was a plus now! Good luck to you!

  4. Hey Mr. Foxy, thank you for the kudos and for visiting the BuLL! That sucks about your job loss! Boo! Mr. BuLL was laid off a couple years ago too. He is the resilient sort of human and ended up better off than where we was initially. Sounds like your are the resilient sort of human too. Congrats on your new endeavors!

  5. Welcome to the federal government! I’m so glad you made it through the hiring process. I hope your new career is fulfilling and challenging!

  6. I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

    1. I’m happy to help Richard Clind.

      For this post, most of my info was from personal experience. Good luck on you mission!

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