Friday, October 21, 2011


I keep trying to have an optimistic attitude when it comes to finding a job in this current market. But at the same time I also have to be realistic and not get my hopes up too high even when I'm getting positive feedback from interview and hiring panels. But right now I'm feeling that there are some great opportunities out there that I'd be well suited for.

Right now I am one of two finalists that are being considered by hiring committees in Ephrata, WA and Mountain Home, ID.a I'm excited by these prospects since they both jobs with the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) and Pheasants Forever under the Sage Grouse Initiative. I would be working with ranchers, farmers, and private land owners along with federal and state agencies to improve sage grouse habitat that exists on these lands. In all honesty its exactly the kind of work I've been wanting to get involved in since graduating from UM but was happy to just have a job with the Forest Service right out of college.

In a lot of ways my desire to work on this kind of collaborative project stems from my Dad. Over the years I'd watched him try to get various organizations and industries to work together to reach a common goal. This was not always the easiest of ventures for him and he came across plenty of roadblocks in his career but his work really influenced my opinion on multi use management of the landscape. These jobs would allow me to put my principals into practice and work with a diverse group of people. I know there would be plenty of challenges and I'm sure there would be times that I'll want to pull my hair out at the roots, but I think the rewards could surpass any frustration there might be. I truly believe I'm the right kind of person for this kind of work.

So my hope, in closing, is that I get one of these jobs and can make a difference, just as my dad did for all those years.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rainy Day Blues Washed Away!

Though I've never really had a poor initial interview for any of the outfits I've submitted applications to, today I possibly had the best initial interview ever. I work today to rain, fog, gloominess and a foreboding of the day going downhill, but to my surprise my phone interview was so exhilarating that my whole attitude has changed.

This morning I had a 30 minute initial screening interview with a 4 person panel for a position with the NRCS and Pheasants Forever in Belle Fouche, South Dakota. The folks on the panel consisted of the Western Director of the Sage Grouse Initiative, the private lands supervisor for the S.D Game and Fish, and the two contacts I would have as direct supervisors if I were to get this position. Three out of four of these people work out of the same office and obviously have a good thing going. They were young, vibrant, and excited about the work there were doing. Its only been in the last year that the Sage Grouse Initiative has been a part of South Dakota's land and wildlife management strategy so really I would be coming in on the ground floor of a project that I have really wanted to be involved in. The panel was so enthusiastic about where they project could take them and how much it could improve the landscape that I was able to feed off their excitement and really able to communicate about the projects I've been involved with, why I'm so interested in collaborative work between state, federal, and private land owners, and what assets I could bring to the project as a whole. I wish that I could capture that feeling every time I interview for something because it really took it to a whole new level. I should know by mid-week next week if they want to do either an in person interview or one done via video conference since I live so far away. I really hope they do because frankly this is one of the few outfits that I felt like I could really fit in with and also do something amazing with.

So now that I'm super charged I need to use my energy for good. Step 1... write in my blog... check. Step 2... go through clothes and decide which ones are keepers and which ones need to go to Goodwill. Step 3... clean out my file cabinet of junk paperwork I don't need anymore (something I've been procrastinating on for waaaaaaayy to long). Step 4...not a clue at the moment but I'm sure I'll come up with something fantastic and goal oriented.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello World

Arg I have done it again. It has almost been an entire year since I've written anything in this blog after multiple promises to myself that I would get back to it way before now. I guess that's what happens when you are living life and staying busy but its pretty ridiculous I know. I really am going to try and be better... no promises this time... but I will try.

This past year really has been a whirlwind of activities and it seems like I am perpetually in motion. After Mace finished his college degrees we had a good long talk about what we wanted to try and do with our lives and came to the conclusion that we need to go somewhere other than Trout Creek. The reasons for this are varied but it boils down to the fact that for him to find a job in his field he needs to be in a bigger town and for me to gain more experience in my field I need to shift into another location as well. So while Mace started the lengthy and somewhat nerve wracking task of pulling his first time resume together I updated mine and started the great job search. I honestly don't know how many applications I've put out into the world in the last 6 months but its got to be pushing 100 if its not more than that. While this might sound rather dire it really isn't. I've had some great interest from some amazing organizations during that time as well and have interviewed both in person and over the phone for quite a few jobs making the cuts down to between 2 and 4 remaining candidates. But in the end the results have been the same and I haven't been selected either because they would prefer me to have a Masters in a wildlife program or because I don't have enough contract or grant experience. And while I do understand where they are coming from I also know myself and if given a chance I could blow them away. How am I supposed to get grant or contract experience when in my current job that isn't part of my duties? But until that chance comes around I'll continue to think positively. There have been several jobs that I've interviewed for that I got my hopes up too high either because of what the job was or where it was located and of course getting that call or letter saying "We're sorry but we chose someone else" hurt a bit more in those cases. I do have to keep telling myself that times are tough, jobs are in short supply, and I should feel pretty good about myself for making it so far through so many interview processes, but it still kind of sucks to be told thanks but no thanks in the end.

I do have to say its been a lot easier for me than it has been for Mace. If you want to know how tough the job market really is, then try and get one right out of college. I know he gets frustrated and feels a little rejected right now especially when the calls keep coming in for me to start and interview process and he hasn't gotten a bite yet. But I have to keep reminding him that I'm in different place in my career than he is in his. He is just starting out and trying to find a place for himself in the world and I was lucky enough to get a job out of college and continually add to my skill set over these last 5 years. I know that at some point a break through will happen for him and he'll be able to let himself shine. I just hope its sooner rather than later so he doesn't give up hope and feel like all that time and money he put into schooling wasn't a waste.

As for other life altering events there really haven't been too many. For the past 4 years I've gone over to the local school several times a semester and presented wildlife and outdoorsy information to the kids and had developed a nice "working" relationship with the principal there. So I guess I shouldn't have been to surprised when she called me up in August and asked if I wanted to work with another teacher and help out with an evening preschool class she was organizing. Apparently a lot more little kids have moved into the area and they didn't have enough room in the morning and afternoon programs to include them all. With my garden stuff wrapping up for the fall/winter I figured doing something in the evening would be a good idea and agreed. So for 2 days a week for a couple hours in the evening after work I am Miss Tracy the Great and am teaching 12 little 3-5 year olds about manners, friendship, counting, and site words. Its actually been really fun for me and I love kids so I've had a blast seeing them play and learn in their own unique ways. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites in my class but I do... shhhh don't tell anyone. I have one little boy in my class that reminds me so much of my brother Brian its kind of scary. Not so much in looks but in attitude and the way his mind works. He is so polite and goes out of his way to treat everyone nicely and include them in activities. He also has a little crush on me which just makes it all the cuter. He picked me a dandelion bouquet after the first week and got all shy and blushy when he gave it to me. Then I have a little girl that thinks she is a little puppy dog 24/7 and asks me to take her for walks around the play room with a make shift leash she's made out of construction paper and string. Gotta love the imagination going wild there. I've already started to think about a Halloween costume for myself for the preschool party. Haven't come up with anything concrete yet but I need to get my rear in gear soon since its just around the corner and I don't want to disappoint the kidlings.

In sad news I have no pumpkin this year. I KNOW its heartbreaking!!! The summer just didn't cooperate. We had snow on the ground clear into the first part of June and didn't even get tomatoes and other garden stuff planted until the first week of July. So there just wasn't enough summer left to try and grow a giant pumpkin. Its been so wet and cold anyway that I doubt we would have gotten anything over 30 lbs if we were lucky. But I have to say that its been kind of a bummer of a summer not taking care of a giant gourde. Mace and I had kind of gotten used to the work and the resulting pleasure we'd get from watching something grow day after day. Don't get me wrong we love our other garden veggies, but its just not the same. But this also means that I don't have a pumpkin to carve for Halloween, which is something I have not experienced. I know I could go buy a pumpkin from the store (and I'll probably end up doing that at the last minute because I can't stand the idea of not having a carved pumpkin for the trick or treaters to gaze at) but its not going to have the wow factor that my previous pumpkins have had. Heck the biggest pumpkin the sell over here can't be more than 20lb... and it seems so small. Mace calls them toddler pumpkins and kind of turns his nose up at them. I can't say as I blame him. But maybe I'll get him a pumpkin too and he can turn on his creative juices a bit and we'll have a carving party on Halloween together.

Okay... I've written enough for now. I'm spent... on to baking massive amounts of goodies since I have the day off.