“I’m going to go work in Wyoming for the summer!”
Before my departure, I gleefully announced this rather odd plan to anyone who would listen. I rejoiced in their reactions. “Why Wyoming?” was almost the unanimous response.
“Why not!” I would reply, feeling like skipping away on a cloud of spontaneity and joie de vivre.
It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized that one of the verbs in my new favorite phrase never really sunk in. I knew I was going to the Tetons, but I had been able to bar to work from my consciousness.
Until I arrived.
Being an old veteran of one month of seasonal work, I am going to offer some sage advice to any fresh-faced lads or lasses looking into a summer park job:
They work you hard.
Since I arrived, it has not been uncommon to see people working 18 hour shifts, or three weeks without a day off. Or both.
I have been very lucky to find myself in a place where I work 5 days a week, about 9 hours a day.
So realizing that this is not a 5 month vacation has not been as brutal a slap on the face as it could have been.
Striking a balance between experiencing the landscape (the real reason we are here) and doing what needs to be done (the reason we are able to be here at all) has been like trying to impress a French family with vegan cheese. Difficult.
I realize this experience in not unique to summer jobs. The more distance myself college and the days of 12 hour-a-week jobs, the more this skill becomes necessary. I am just glad that I get my first round of practice in a place where nature’s siren’s song is so loud and clear.