Work

I have been in my current job for nearly 5 years. It is a position that was essentially an extension of the work I did for my master’s degree, which is what I did for the three years previous. Yes. It took me three years to complete my master’s. To be fair to myself, I went into a forestry program with a focus in economics, with no background in either discipline. But I digress. I like my current position. I’m pretty good at what I do and we can eat and keep a roof over our heads with my maintaining a .6 FTE (essentially being salaried to work 24 hours a week).

The catch is, and always has been, that I’m working on soft money. What does that mean? It means grants. My boss has grant money to pay my salary and benefits, and I sign a contract every six months for the next six months. The end date is based on how long the grant money lasts, and the understanding I’ve had with my boss is that my funding will run out on June 30th of this year. She’s retiring in the next couple of years, and her current focus is not research, so she let me know a few years ago that this was the plan. Know what else June 30th is? The day before Leah’s ‘due date’…as I’ve said before, we like living on the edge.

In November I was approached by a member of my church community about there being a reworking of the administrative position in the fellowship, and I’ve been really excited about that job. Until two weeks ago. A professor and avid Darwin aficionado told me to come by his office for a chat about work, where he continued by outlining what is, for someone in my position and my field, the job of a lifetime. A job in which I would be working with leading experts, who have created some really innovative computer models for exploring questions about wildfire. As of Friday I was informed that I’m on the team.

The bitter to the sweet is that I had to tell people who are very dear to me that I wouldn’t be applying for the church position. People who have taken time and energy to talk to me about what they envision for the position. It’s grand. It is, in it’s own way a once in a lifetime option. The challenges will be entirely different. In some ways what I’ve chosen is more challenging. I’ll be expected to publish in my first year. In other ways, less challenging. I will be continuing in a field in which I have a depth of knowledge, and a good understanding of what we don’t know. I’ll be working on hard problems, but they’re hard problems that I’ve made my own already.

Anyway, I know this is still relatively cryptic. I haven’t signed any papers, so I’m being light on detail, but the real take home is: job. Work I love. Bills will be paid. Baby bee will have a home to be born in. I can’t wait.

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11 thoughts on “Work

  1. It sounds like you’re making the right choice on the jobs! It’s hard to tell others “no,” but you’re being clear and upfront so that they can search for another great candidate. No one can fault you for that! Congratulations!

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    • Yes, absolutely. There’s no question that it’s the right choice, and that this has happened the best possible way. If anything the fact that it is SO HARD for me to say no to the other job increases my hopes that a friend who is even better suited will apply and take it on. Fingers crossed that all happens with the most benevolent outcome.

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  2. First, your job is the most badass job I’ve heard about in a while. Thatcher would think this is the neatest thing ever. I think it’s the neatest thing ever.

    Second, yay! Congrats on both nabbing a coveted role AND having some stability in a job you love! That’s the ticket right there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is pretty cool work! If you’re ever in Missoula I’ll see if I can set up a tour of the fire lab there for you. It’s amazing! Thanks, I’m still in shock, honestly. I just keep reading papers that these folks have published and expecting to be told ‘haha, just kidding!’

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    • PS. Have you read The Big Burn? You mentioned you like to buy out the history section, and that’s the most recent history book I’ve read. It’s about the formation of the Forest Service and the fires on 1910. Excellent read! Author is Timothy Egan.

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