While in college, my professors encouraged me to pursue a career in academia. I felt heavily swayed by this encouragement, despite the fact that it never felt like a good fit. After college and freshly direction-less, I was determined to use this period of career exploration to work for a menagerie of organizations: non-profit, academic, business, and, finally, government. It’s about the journey . . . right?
The goal of this internship, for me, is to help me decide if I want to work for the federal government. Once I arrived at the BLM office, I scratched this goal in the front of my notebook and began asking my co-workers and supervisors about their careers. Naturally, my co-workers both enthused and complained about their jobs, but I was careful to be more objective this time and not be persuaded heavily either way. I wanted to gain a complete picture of what it would be like to be a federal employee before making a decision.
Ocean Day was the event that confirmed that a position in the federal government is a career I want to pursue. For this event, the BLM partnered with Friends of the Dunes, neighboring schools, the CCC, and many, many volunteers to bring 700 children to the South Spit to pull invasive beach grass. I enjoyed the role that we, the BLM, played in the event: logistics and oversight.
In the end, I want to be a public servant. I want to help people do what they need and want to do, as long as it does not harm the environment or others, ideally. Sure, the government isn’t perfect. There are still instances of corruption, power struggles, exploitation, and extreme bureaucracy heaviness. However, the government is here to protect and bring people together, and that is the government I have found in my office.
This period of confusion has been fun, but exhausting and insecure. After drifting for two years, I wasn’t sure that I would ever find something I wanted to work towards. Simply, I am relieved that I have found a direction. Sure, it’s about the journey, not the destination. But it’s awfully nice to have a destination to journey to.
Arcata BLM Field Office
I’m not sure if we met at the training, but I totally agree with your blog. If it helps your psyche any, I have been floundering for 5 years and not sure about my ‘true path’ or career. It’s a stressful time in your early 20’s, just trying to figure everything out. The thing is you actually care about your future and career which is why you’re trying to find the right one, and are spending time doing just that. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Anyway, your picture and explanation of Ocean Day is great! Glad you found something you enjoy!
We must have met. I was at the training, too, and I think I met everyone there. What have you been doing during the past 5 years? I have found that people do the most interesting things when they are floundering.
I was an environmental consultant for 4 years. My first job out of college was a groundwater monitoring gig than I moved on to a competitor performing industrial hygiene assessments. Both were good experiences but not for me in the long run. I then earned an internship for a PhD student focusing on forest ecosystem health in Vermont. Afterwards, I worked at a gear store for 8 months and now landed here in Buffalo Wyoming at the field office. It’s been a wild journey and I know it isn’t over yet. I hope you enjoy your journey : )