Okay, I'm sure nobody has been asking that, but I like to believe my absence hasn't gone completely unnoticed by the steemit community. I've logged in here and there, but I haven't posted in almost a month so I figured it was time for at least a brief update of what I've been up to the last few weeks.
I'm starting a new job (don't worry, I'm not giving up on my namesake)! Our family has been doing fairly well financially; we're making all our mortgage and bill payments, slowly working down our debts, paying off a car, buying food, clothing, etc, but we don't always have a lot of wiggle room. With @ellepdub working a demanding full-time job and myself balancing a part-time herpetology position and being a stay at home dad, we've been looking to beef up our savings a little bit. And of course, we've all seen the value of steem drop quite a bit over the last few months (luckily we haven't relied on steemit income too heavily!).
These people are way too excited to be paying bills.
For the past couple months or so, @ellepdub has been...let's say "encouraging" me to get an evening/night job. I'll admit, while we do need the income, I've been fighting her on this a bit. Part of this is because the idea of throwing another job into the mix sounded almost a little too overwhelming, but the bigger challenge was finding a job opening that seemed like a good fit for me...especially at night. I really just didn't love the idea of working a job in the food services or anything that had me sitting behind a register or at a desk for hours; I don't mean to disparage those jobs or the people who work them (major props for those of you who do!), I've just become more accustomed to jobs that have me moving around all day and active (museum employee, warehouse worker, produce market stocker), so the idea of taking what seemed like a slower pace/more stationary position just didn't appeal to me. And yes, I'm well aware that might sound quite selfish or even lazy, but I've always been of the mindset that life is too short to be spending your time doing something you don't enjoy. I felt that if I was going to be adding more to my schedule, I had to find the right job for me.
Interestingly enough, the job actually found me! I was skimming facebook a couple weeks ago when a job posting popped up: Evening tour guides wanted. I give tours on occasion at my museum job and I often have a lot of fun doing them, so I was definitely curious to learn more, especially since it was a night position. The position was in colonial Williamsburg, giving nightly ghost tours! I immediately jumped at the chance; I love scary stories and all those ghost hunting television programs, and the idea of walking around Williamsburg at night sounded like a really fun opportunity. And with pretty impressive pay, there really didn't seem to be a downside; I applied immediately. Within a couple hours, I was emailed to come in for an "interview" (less of an interview, more of a ten minute conversation to determine that I was a sane individual), and found out that I essentially had the job, but there was just one obstacle I had to take care of first: I had to obtain a tour guide license from the city of Williamsburg.
Didn't know you need a license to be a tour guide? Me neither. In order to procure a license, I had to pass an exam within a week's time...an extremely detailed exam on the history of Williamsburg. Important people, dates, events, locations; I had to know the name of each building, when it was built/rebuilt, who lived there, etc... No small feat for a biology major who hasn't had a history lesson in over half a decade. It makes sense, of course, that the city would want to be sure that all tour guides know the correct historical material, but good golly was that an unanticipated challenge. So I've spent a lot of the last week studying my butt off with a mediocre study guide, literally trying to learn the entire history of Williamsburg in about 5 days. The most frustrating part? Most of the information I needed to learn for the test wasn't even necessary for the job (which really just requires memorizing local ghost stories and urban legends).
This afternoon, I reported to the Williamsburg police station for my test. I was given the exam...and crushed to realize that much of what was in my study guide wasn't even on the test, and many of the questions pertained to people and events that weren't in the guide...great. After what felt like an eternity of testing (and some guessing), I turned my test in... AND I BARELY PASSED. I needed to get at least an 80% to get a passing grade and I hit 80% on the nose. Again, for a bio major who never excelled in history, I have no regrets about that grade. So as of today, I am an officially licensed Williamsburg tour guide!
I definitely look like someone who just finished a horrible test. (Yes, I shaved the beard!)
I am now studying local stories, lore and experiences to prepare for my first tours (to me, more interesting than the deluge of historical information I just endured!). So what does this mean for my activity level here on steemit? I hope to be posting again more frequently (at least a couple times a week) when I have time to spare. With the weather getting warmer, reptiles and amphibians are getting more active, so I'll be sharing more of my herpetological experiences (our first FrogWatch outing is next week) as well as new research and important studies. And of course, should any fun/interesting experiences or stories arise from the ghost tours, I'll share them here as well!