As a recent graduate of the Environment, Society and Sustainability stream of the BMgmt program, it is safe to say that there is definitely no clearly defined career path (or at least not that I have found yet). For this reason, I decided to take the road less traveled and let my passion for adventure and the environment guide my career choices.
I took a job following convocation with Kananskis Country Campgrounds as the Store Manager of the Boulton Creek Trading Post located within Peter Lougheed Provincial Park (affectionately known as the hidden gem of the Alberta Rockies). Here I lived in a small community of about seven log cabins with other employees of the Park. Even though the Trading Post is located only about an hour and a half West of Calgary, it has no cell phone or internet service making some feel very secluded, but for me this was heaven; allowing me to truly be immersed in the experience, the people, the great outdoors and my aspirations.
Not only were the core management skills I gained through the BMgmt program being put to good use at the Trading Post managing inventory levels and supplier relations, merchandising goods, training new employees, analyzing sales and cash flows, and of course providing excellent customer service, my environmental management knowledge was also being tested everyday outside of my job.
As a self-proclaimed “corporate tree-hugger”, it was an eye-opening experience to be able to live inside of a Provincial Park and see its Resource and Environmental Management Plans unfold before me. I was even fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get involved with Friends of Kananaskis and Alberta Parks Trail Crews to help restore popular hiking trails to their former glory following the devastation of the 2013 floods. Subsequently, living alongside Conservation Officers, Bear Aversion Technicians, Trail Crew members and Park Interpreters as well as interacting with Park visitors on a daily basis allowed me to build upon what I had learned in the classroom regarding Environmental Resource Management and quite literally apply it with my own hands.
Although my contract with Kananskis Country Campgrounds is over and I am now a Hard Goods Sales Associate/Assistant Department Manager at Sportchek in Calgary, I discovered a lot about myself and my career goals from my unforgettable summer in the mountains.
My advice to those looking outside of the traditional career path:
- Let your passions, not expectations guide you.
- Never let a 9-5/Mon-Fri work week, button down dress shirts, bad coffee or the size of your office define your career aspirations or your measurement of success.
- It is possible to fit a fun and adventurous lifestyle into a fulfilling and secure career path.
- Place a higher value on the merits of an opportunity/experience as opposed to its drawbacks.
- Never stop learning from the people/places/things around you.
- Most importantly: Keep an open mind and think outside [no box required]!