Friday, May 6, 2011

Fortuitous Friday: I Should Have Been A Forest Ranger

Or park warden. Whatever they are officially called these days. The older I get, and the better I get to know myself, the more I think that this would have been an ideal job for me. It has a lot of elements that I like and crave: Isolation, nature......isolation......isolation......did I mention isolation?

Yes Please.

I spent my teen-age years suffering through the 80's (and if you think they were cool you are just too young to understand) and there were a lot of us affected by the great recession of the times. As the son of middle class parents- which is to say working class for my British readers (thanks to She Who Will Be Named Later for the lecture on the British class system).
I say, did you see this darling? I was reading the blog of the son of a mere bricklayer? Preposterous, I say. I shall delete him from my blogroll at once. I must say, that was a dreadfully close brush with the lower classes. I think I’ll have a brandy to sooth my nerves.
Yes, well, not even a bricklayer to be honest. A mere painter- and not the artistic kind. Why, that’s not even a real trade is it? Any idiot can slap some paint on the wall and call it done, can’t they?

So my parents were keen that I attend university and avoid the employment difficulties they encountered. I say they, but it was really just my Dad who encountered problems as my Mom was able to get a steady office job. You can always paint with a degree, he’d say, at least this way you’ll have a choice. And <gasp> he was right (it hurts to say that, trust me). Their intentions were good but I always kind of regret that becoming a forest ranger was never really an option. In order to become a forest ranger in Canada you had to attend technical school for around a year after high school to get your diploma. Since it wasn’t at ‘the university’ it was seen as a ‘lesser choice’ for me.

Things have turned out well, but I can’t help but think it may have suited me. I’d be 22 years into that career (if I could have stayed that long...I have changed careers a few times) and close to retirement by now. As it stands I am (once again) somewhere new with only 6 months towards the 25 needed to ‘retire’. Ya, I know, lets not even talk about it, okay.

At the very least I could have been honest in the interview. I always struggle in interviews in that I have to bend (ever so slightly) the truth. You have to say what they want to hear, of course, but just once I’d like to let it all hang out:

So, Gank, tell us about your teamwork skills.

Well, to be honest, I don’t have many. I don’t work well with others and prefer to be left alone. I find people, in general, to be quite irritating and unable to keep up to both my propensity and productivity. I find their personal stories to be both inane, and boring. They refuse to listen, take direction, or at the very least recognize that I’m usually right, and somehow this alienates me further. I often come off as arrogant due to:

a) my extreme disinterest in them as individuals and
b) my inability to treat them like children in need of comfort instead of employees paid to do a job

What do you think? Should I market this interview technique? Hmm... maybe not. As an only child I spent a lot of years not picking up on, or understanding certain social clues. Now I don’t miss a thing, and often glean more than people would like. The problem now is that I just don’t care. If I had been interviewed for the forest ranger job, however, I think it could have gone quite well:

Are you prepared to spend vast amounts of time alone?
Will you be able to work in isolated posts?
Bring it on.
Do you enjoy being outside in picturesque settings?
Are you interested in nature?
Are you willing to carry a firearm?
I’m carrying one now.
Would you be prepared to use lethal force to protect yourself or your colleagues?
Can’t wait.

See- match made in heaven as far as I can see. In case you’re from one of those unfortunate countries with gun controls (and low gun-related homicide rates), Canadian Park Rangers carry weapons- they are facing off against drunken hunters with long-range rifles after all.

The thing is, of course- and something I know all too well, that once something you love becomes your job it can often lose its luster. That’s not to say you can’t still enjoy it- I loved being an archaeologist but I certainly wasn’t interested in watching any bloody archaeology shows when I got home from work. 

Time team's on, want to watch it? 
Fuck them, I’m tired and their methods are bullshit.
If I was running one of those sights the ratings would have plummeted quick, trust me. The first thing I would have done was take those ridiculous floppy hats off those bloody fools and told them to dress in some proper work gear: we have health and safety regulations you know, so get your damn steel toes boots on- and shave off those beards, you look ridiculous. And as for Tony Robinson I would have kicked that pompous p@#$k off my site in about two seconds....unless he had been the client (or the ‘walking pocketbook’ as I liked to call them) and then I would have given him a grand tour of the site while nodding and smiling at all his ridiculous, half-baked ideas on what had ‘really happened here'.

Wooahhhhhhhhhhhhhh there. Hold up on the rant reigns Gank? You see what I mean when I say being negative comes easy to me? The sunshine that regularly spews forth from this blog is not as easy as it seems my friends :)

So, where was I? Oh yes, in the forest.

I enjoy being outdoors and find it peaceful and relaxing. I always find it interesting where life takes us, and perhaps where it could have taken. Back to my ‘Dog Philosophy’ really: they say dogs memories are short and that this contributes to their ability to adapt to whatever situation they find themselves in within about three days. It’s funny because it takes humans, on average, about three months to adapt to that same new animal in our lives, so by the time we are feeling comfortable and in control of the situation they have already played us like a fool! Which is why I randomly beat my dogs to keep them on their, not really- we’ve covered all this before.......they have paws, not toes.

So here is what we have learned today (this, but the way is a new Friday feature I’ve stolen from the Vanhemlock Podcast muwhaahahahahahah- you can’t sue me for infringement I live in another country!)

  1. I almost became a forest ranger but my working-class folks thought it was beneath them
  2. I not only hate academic archaeology but it appears I have a hatred of popular television archaeology as well.
  3. I may or may not beat my dogs.

Him: Never.
Her: Sometimes.

   Happy Friday everyone! Do some gaming for me as I am still in gaming limbo.

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