Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reality Check: Why I'm Here

I got word that a full-time ranger job has opened at Monocacy Battlefield, just 25 miles from my home (35 from Antietam).

Ranger colleagues suggested that I apply for it. I looked it up at usajobs.gov and, sure enough there it was:

a full-time position as an interpretive Ranger, with a salary and benefits package nearly what I left behind in Grand Rapids Michigan. The posting noted that eligibilty was restricted to "career and career-conditional" candidates.

I started framing a strategy in my mind...get the Monocacy job, do great work, bide my time, and one fine day end up back at Antietam ; a happy ending.


Hmmm...I put in a call to our HR person for clarification.

"Am I eligible for this job?" (add upbeat optimisim here)

She responded:

"Oh no, you're a temporary employee".

And that was that.

At first it felt like she was saying: "Oh no, you're just a wad of gum stuck to the underside of my chair" or "oh no, you're just a single use paper towel". Initially this was disheartening (read: I was bummed),

but, as Ranger Mike always says: "it is what it is".

I reminded myself of this simple, and important fact. My wife and I relocated to Western Maryland not to land a permanent job as a Park Ranger, we moved here to be close to Antietam National Battlefield. My "temporary" job as a seasonal Ranger is a rich, delicious, and unexpected gravy, something I cherish and plan to hold on to.

And that's a fact.

Though, from time to time, I'll need to be reminded of that.

Yours, in optimisim,

Ranger Mannie

1 comment:

Harry said...

You're not just a wad of gum stuck to the underside of a chair, Mannie. You're OUR wad of gum stuck to the underside of OUR chair!