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It took 10 years before I achieved a full-time, year-round position in my career field.
People relate that much time when going from high school senior to a Ph.D. or going from entry-level to supreme master or going from using condensed milk for macaroni and cheese to a Julia Child spinoff.
Instead, that’s how long it took to go from seasonal to permanent.
Most would opt out of that sort of career commitment. I don’t blame them.
If I’d approached my past self and said it’d take 10 years before becoming permanent, I’d find a comfy chair, snacks, and there’d be a long talk on what 3,650 days looks like.
Yet, that’s my reality.
So, why in all that’s sweet and salty, did I keep committed to an industry that is more desirable than cats on catnip?
Passion fuels persistence and it’s how I fueled a decade of uncertainty.
Craft a vision of the ideal situation.
It took 5 years before I needed a vision of my ideal situation. I was prompted to make this internal demand when my work was emotionally unstable. My job was great along with my coworkers, yet my boss was worse than a 5-year-old temper tantrum.
I was an elephant’s butt hair from getting written up for professional development when I realized I deserved better.
I worked hard, rarely complained, and always offered to help. What more could a cancerous boss ask for? Undying devotion to a job, apparently.
So, I did what any human does with little choice and bills to pay, I dreamed of a better day. I created a mental vision of what my dream job was. I carefully crafted everything from the desk to my uniform and my boss and coworkers.
Every time I was frustrated at work, I brought up my daydream and drooled over it until the wave of awful had passed.
It took a while *cough* another 5 years *cough*, but eventually, I landed a role that is so similar to my daydream that it’s eerie.
I’m not a human with extraordinary skills of manifestation. I was unhappy and tried to take a tough situation and turn it into motivation for a dream destination.
Passion is what makes work feel fun.
Working weekends, holidays, and when friends come to town. This is the norm for my professional world, such a norm that it rarely gets mentioned.
It just is what it is.
I’ve come to expect it like how I expect the sun to rise and set every day. It’s a downfall to my position. Every position has drawbacks, from low wages to high stress, the world and its subsequent careers are far from perfect.
My passion for public land is what makes not-so-great things be not-so-bad things.
I can accept the pitfalls and downfalls of my career and not hold resentment towards working when most have off. That’s a billboard sign that my passion parallels my profession.
Expanding skills is a potion to passion.
During the pandemic, when the country was shut down, I started expanding my skill set including crafting new offerings when I couldn’t cater to prior offerings.
I DIYed my way into virtual escape rooms and scavenger hunts.
I started taking writing courses and pitching articles to professional institutes.
Because I had a passion for my field, it was easy to shift to other aspects that was interested in but hadn’t the time to pursue. The initial frustrated feeling dissolved into motivation to try different things. It was hard, but my passion fuels persistence and the hard times of learning which is repeatedly feeling frustrated and failing.
Despite setbacks, I continued to move forward because even the worst day is better than the best day in a job I hate.
Brett Steenbarger, over at Forbes, states with all the authority of a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, “[When] we immerse ourselves and refuse to give up in the face of adversity can only occur if we have found the passion worthy of persistence.”
Success follows the passionate because they’re the wild ones willing to sacrifice for the long game.
What do Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and Oprah have in common?
Despite being legends, they failed frequently.
Lincoln lost 8 elections. Einstein flunked math. Oprah was fired from her first television job.
Despite heartbreak and heartache, each legend continued because their passion fuels their persistence.
Why else would they continue despite bone-crushing setbacks?
Despite all the setbacks, delays, and being told by a family member to give up my park ranger dream, I’ve stayed true to my passion.
The reward is worth it even if it took 10 years to accomplish it.