I like to give a bi-annual update on what I've been up to, as I usually have a massive switch of vocation half way through, and this won't be that, but it will touch on a very related circumstance which I wanted to share.
It's pretty common knowledge that my experience in the summer of 2019 was abysmal. Not that my job was terrible, as a matter of fact, it was a dream job; but that the company I was working for was so irresponsible and unsafe, I was faced with difficult moral delema on a daily basis. This was insanely hard for me, as someone who takes tons of pride in not only his work, but the way his work can have a positive influence on people, and on the pristine Alaskan environment. When these factors were put into question, I began to question myself, my lifestyle, and my ability to keep my job. I need not go into the lack of support and encouragement and flat-out hard-headedness from leadership, but all these factors combined to lead to a summer where I questioned many of the things I knew and thought I loved.
So then what made this summer so different? Everything, from the start to the end. Even before I started working in May, I knew things would be different because I'd selected my work not just on what and where I wanted to explore next, but who I worked for as well, and what they stood for.
In the year of Covid-19, businesses had to plan ahead and make some pretty dramatic decisions as to what capacity of even if they even wanted to operate in the first place. These decisions came from the top, and many places simply decided to cut their losses and commit to a season of low overhead and low income. No guide, especially a first year guide for a company, needs to be involved in this process and I understand that. But so many companies took advantage of their guides through this process, not telling them the truth about the season and stringing them along for months on end without any work.
This was not the case for me. Sunny Cove included the guides in their decision-making, and was completely transparent from the very start. They offered our jobs in 2021 if it didn't make sense to come up, and proposed that they'd have work, be it guiding or not, for us regardless. We were always included in the discussion and felt as if our best interest was being looked after. So, I took the bold move with seven others to go up to the Peninsula and see if there was work. And holy crap was there work. We all thought it would be a year to explore and get time off but quickly found ourselves swamped with tours, which was great!
And the transparency continued all summer. The pride they took in their employees (who boosted them to #1 on Trip Advisor), their amazing training, the constant reminders that we were all in this together, it all made a questionable summer into a memorable one. It made me fall in love with guiding again, with working for small family-run businesses, and for the amazing opportunity I have to work in a place many people only dream of being able to play once in their lifetime. There's no doubt I'll be looking for new work again soon enough, and I can only hope to find yet another amazing company in the crap-shoot that can be seasonal work.