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You Know When Something Just Feels Right

This blog is dedicated to all My Coolworker friends who have been following my trials and tribulations attempting to secure an Alaskan job offer for Summer 2011 ...  you know who you are :-)


At 61, male, not knockout handsome, overweight and apparently over educated ... I have found it difficult to obtain a job offer in Alaska this summer.  I have been at it since November 2010 (which is too early BTW), and have submitted a lot of employment applications.  Just no one has been interested in offering me a job.  It has been a humbling experience.  I've gotten a few interviews, which I was thankful for, but these have led no where.   I am confident that I have given this job search my best effort.


Then one day last week I get a surprise phone call from Sherry with the National Park Service in Mesa Verde Colorado.  Sherry explains that I made it to her short list for their park ranger position and wanted to know if I had a few minutes to chat.   This rough and tumble gal has been around the hitchin post a few years :-)  She's a straight talker and told me exactly  what I'd be getting into being a first year, Visitor Use Assistant (VUA) ranger at Mesa Verde.  It was not glamorous.  I felt she was actually doing her very best to talk me out of it.   But the idea of having the chance to be a National Park Service Ranger, to wear the uniform, regardless where it was or what they asked me to do, was just so alluring to me.   When Sherry offered me "in the park" housing in a newly remodeled building the thought of abandoning my 2011 Alaska dream for the high desert plateau of Mesa Verde began to be viable.   She thanked me for my time, and said she would let me know in a week or so how I did.


I figured that was it, and I was back to my pursuit of my Alaskan dream.  About 30 minutes later the phone rang again.   It was Sherry from Mesa Verde.   She had called my summer 2009 DNC manager from Yellowstone.  This gal had gone on and on about what a fantastic employee I had been for her at Yellowstone!  Well it was enough for Sherry ... she told me I was their new park ranger if I wanted the job, her search was over!  Wow...just like that.


I have asked many of you for your advice and suggestions.   Do I continue to pursue Alaska for this year?  One reply that stuck out was .... Richard, keep your eye on the Prize ... eye on the Prize my friend.   I thought the "Prize" for me had to be Alaska but the prize I keep coming back to is this chance to fulfill a childhood fantasy of being a National Park Service Ranger.  Come on now .... how cool is that!!!  Heck Bill Berg & Kathi Noaker from the Coolworks team have been Park Rangers!  Something got into them at some point! Eye on the Prize.


To all My Coolworks chat buddies headed for Alaska and elsewhere ... have a great summer .... I will miss all of you dearly (and I really mean that!)   I am headed to the one place that emphatically said they wanted me, without any hesitation.  Mesa Verde National Park!  Ha! Ranger Rich at your service :-)


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Comment by Susan Pompian on April 10, 2011 at 3:32am

Hi Ranger Rich!

Thank you so much for the welcome email. That was really nice of you.

I'd like to congratulate you on your new job and say that the main idea here is to spend time in magical places, right? That is what makes this website so special. Next year you will have another great reference to give to the Alaska people. I was also glad to see your posting because, although I know that there is an Older and Bolder section of jobs, I wasn't sure if people over a "certain age" were really getting jobs. You proved that they are--fantastic! Thank you for that as well. Have a blast and enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the SW this year.
Comment by Patty Brown on April 8, 2011 at 8:08am

Just finished reading your blog again and wanted to tell you that you will be in the most spiritual place I've ever been!  I know they will love you there and you are going to be the best Ranger ever!  Can't wait to see pictures and hear all about it!

Comment by Billie Brown on April 8, 2011 at 7:32am
Well how bout you Ranger Rich!  Everybody needed you they just weren't fast enough.  I am glad you stuck with Mesa Verde.  But I knew you would cause you had already made the deal.  Alaska's loss.  There is always next year.
Comment by Anneliese on April 8, 2011 at 5:58am

Hey Aggie, Glad they called you even if you didn't take it :)


Comment by aggie71 on April 8, 2011 at 5:12am
So it finally happened yesterday April 7 .... I get the call from Kenai Fjords National Park offering me my dream Park Ranger assignment in Alaska :-) Never mind that the Alaska ferry is fully booked now for May, or that the government is on the verge of shutting down for days or weeks. Irregardless of the circumstances I made a commitment to Mesa Verde for this summer, and that is where I am headed. I thanked Alaska for the opportunity and will try again in another year or two. Ha! They did pick me after all :-)
Comment by Emily E. Casares on March 11, 2011 at 11:18pm
OMG!! I was just coming to leave you a message to ask if you were going anywhere! I AM SO JEALOUS!! Congratulations!! I'm going to be doing sea turtle patrol on south padre island in a few weeks then head to YNP at the end of April. I'll be checking for your updates!
Comment by Billie Brown on February 25, 2011 at 12:02pm
Ranger Rich that has a great sound to it.  Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!   My husband & I might get to drop by on the way home from Montana.  That is awesome NPS.  To heck with Alaska.  Billie
Comment by Kate on February 23, 2011 at 9:28pm


THis is OMG wonderful! SO great. What an opportunity and adventure! I haven't been on much lately but I do think of you and have followed to some degree your desire to come to Alaska. Mesa Verde is a wonderful place, so full of wonderful history, archaeology, cultural and natural things. A million thumbs up!!!! I know you will have the time of your life! Peace and good things to you :)

Comment by Kathi on February 23, 2011 at 7:04pm
Oh this just makes me smile. real big. You'll do the uniform proud, my friend.
Comment by Bill Berg on February 23, 2011 at 5:10pm
Fantastic Aggie!  Absolutely fantastic.  Soak it up.

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