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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 is where the story begins with a pandemic, an opportunity, and my ideal dream job.
Quitting Doesn’t Make Me a Quitter
It’s all fun and games until I decide to quit during the pandemic. I was content(ish) with my job as an Assistant Librarian at the local high school. My coworkers were funny and it was pretty great sassing teenagers mostly because they make it so easy! However, I was unable to use my savvy skill set. I am trained as an environmental educator and interpreter. My passion for environmental literacy is more like an obsession with the natural world.
I reached out to the science teachers but they weren’t interested in what I had to offer. Was I surprised I didn’t hear from them? No. They a lot of demands for their classroom, especially now, that I would rather not be a burden. Instead, I was left with being “unchallenged”.
I am not a big fan of being unfulfilled. Instead of dwelling on what I couldn’t control, I controlled what I could by directing that energy towards blogging and searching for a more fulfilling career path.
That is how I found an opening as 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.
In It to Win It
Thanks to a resume that included experiences like Yellowstone, Pompeys Pillar, and Craters of the Moon, I was welcomed as a new permanent ranger.
Then came the endorphins and plethora of happy feelings. Followed by the complicated feelings of, did I just 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. Luckily, I am a type-A
paranoid kind of person and had a nice cushion for the unemployment fall aka an emergency fund.
As much as I loved to sass teens, my heart always 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 savvy skill set with excessive amounts of enthusiasm to illustrate the importance of protecting our public lands.
I am actively protecting the most sacred part of my happiness.
Caution: Opportunities Can Lead To Discomfort
It has been a long process to a permanent federal position. I have a college degree in informal education which is a more traditional route to Rangerhood. This route was fun because of the nontraditional classes like tree climbing, scuba diving, and a super intense summer camp.
I had to gain a lot of professional experience too like hiking trails and kayaking rivers. I may be gushing about how much fun this career path has been. But it has been hard too. I have had to tactfully handle people who are directing ugly feelings at me for things you have no control over. Not to mention budget cuts and the overall spotty track record of full-time employment opportunities.
There have been other challenges along the way. Plus, there has been a lot of adapting to situations that were less than ideal and far removed from the Ranger world.
Many of the places I have previously resided were not dictated by my career but by Mr. BuLL’s. This translated into making the best of what I could find. However, working outside my field supercharged my grit to keep working towards finding permanent employment at a place where my values and passions are met at the door.
Dream. Live. Be.
During my professional meanderings, I developed valuable skills like teaching art and science to underserved youth and developing quality STEAM programs. Ironically, it wasn’t my challenge situations or looping path that defined my experience but my mindset and persistence that would define my success as a Park Ranger.
I would need it all to say “I quit” during the pandemic!