The job posting appeared on the federal jobs site at 11:30 pm Sunday: Arches National Park is looking for a permanent ranger. They will consider only the first twenty applicants. I worked on my resume’ like crazy Monday evening and drove my application 40 miles to headquarters in Moab — and back — before work Tuesday, happily learning that I was the second applicant. Three of my co-workers dropped theirs off moments after mine, so the onslaught has begun.
I knew this was coming. I also knew I had to give it a shot. The competition is rugged: seasonal rangers with experience in multiple parks over many seasons. People with far more training and certifications than I have. And yet… I have at least a 5% chance of getting selected. Besides, just going through the process of getting ranked and then rejected is a fine learning opportunity for the next round.
“Permanent” provides benefits and security, but it is not exactly full time. “Subject to furlough” means that for about three months out of every twelve (or more in lean years), you’re told you’re not needed — and you are not paid. In that regard, it is rather like an educator’s 9-month-a-year job.
It’s time to begin asking myself what I really, really want at the end of the day.
[Note to friends/family: Please don’t flood me with questions like “What will you do with your house?” “When will you see your children?” “Are you pursuing a ranger career just in UT, or anywhere?” — because I they are all moot at this point and I have no answers. This is all exploratory.]