Thursday, May 15, 2014

10 Years

I passed not one but two decadal milestones. It was 10 years ago today that I arrived in Fairbanks on a blustery afternoon, kind of bleary from a solo five day drive from Colorado. Although I have lived in one state for longer periods (about 23 in Colorado and 12 in Iowa), this is the longest continuous period I’ve lived in one town and one house. Growing up I spent nine years in the same house in Colorado, and my parents had the same house in Iowa for just over a decade, but I was in college for four of those years and after the summer between freshman and sophomore year, no more than a few scattered weeks a year at that house.

So anyway 10 consecutive years here is a personal record of sorts. By nature I’m a rolling stone and like the shingles on our roof, I’m starting to gather some moss.

That said, it’s been a good decade professionally and as a masters athlete. To come here I kind of took a downgrade on the career ladder, although for an incentive they offered more than I would have if I’d stayed in Colorado—cost of living plus a bonus, plus coming off soft money there, the prospects of a more stable position here. In some respects it wasn’t a great career move, but the tradeoff of an Alaskan adventure and long-term job stability were a good draw. For the previous 23 years I’d bounced all around the country looking for gainful, long term employment. These were grant funded or term positions, and within a year or two I would start looking for a new project. I did get some good offers from agencies in the 80s and early 90s, but turned those down to pursue academic opportunities. Looking back, I don’t know the years studying mountain sheep in the badlands worth it. The times were some of the best in my life but career-wise I could have done just as well (and gotten there earlier) with a masters degree. However, the work here has been stable. Environmental planners are not born, they are made, and they are in demand.

Another milestone is that I’ve also just received my 10 year certificate for government service. Even though we live in times where many think government work is bad, and its employees even worse, it’s an achievement that I’m somewhat proud of. And with all due respect to the military there are other ways in which to serve your country.

Actually, looking at the numbers, I passed the 10 years of service long ago. I worked as a wildlife technician in Minnesota as one of the last in old YACC (Young Adult Conservation Corps) for a year, right after I’d finished college, and then a summer as a volunteer for the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado. Those don't count toward my official record, but to me they do. So that makes almost 11.5 years. In addition, I spent just under six years supporting U.S. Army Alaska’s environmental conservation program. I wasn’t a federal employee (working for Colorado State University as a contract employee), but everything we did was in support of the Army’s mission to sustainably use its training lands. So that actually makes 17 years. I’m proud of that, and no political blowhards can take that away. End of story.

Enough for this day, maybe later I’ll catch up with the decade of running here but first I have get up on the roof and clear some of that moss.


Blogger joe positive said...


3:04 PM  

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