Are you passionate about horseback riding and wish you could spend more time working with and around horses? One of the best ways to gain this experience is to work a seasonal job on a guest ranch or at an operation that offers trail rides to guests. Learn how Gloria pursued her passions working with horses, gaining value experience along the way, by working a seasonal job in Grand Teton National Park guiding horseback trail rides!
I accepted my first seasonal position not knowing it was really a seasonal job, or that I was beginning an epic journey of seasonal work for the next four years. Since signing on as a horseback riding trail guide in Grand Teton National Park, moving into the employee dorm village of over 400 employees, and meeting my first roommate, Emily, the baker from Pennsylvania, I’ve learned so many amazing life lessons, some lessons having been harder than others, but always coming back to the bigger picture – that seasonal work has given me opportunities and life lessons during pivotal points of my life from going to college, graduating, and entering the big world. I’ve always struggled with the conflicting views of having a career versus working seasonally, having come from a conservative, career-oriented, family background. I want to share my story of how working seasonal jobs for the past four years has helped me find myself and to realize that life is what you make of it.
I’ve always been passionate about riding horses and working in the horse industry. My first job was in high school working as a ‘laborer’ at a barn, basically scooping horse poop all day. It was nothing glamorous, but for me, following my passion meant more than the job title itself. Plus, I was a high school student – scooping poop was nothing out of the ordinary for your first job at 16 years old. But how about when you are a college graduate in your mid 20’s watching your high school peers working in high paid careers?
Fast forward to after graduating high school, I went to college and followed a path that seemed to be the given thing to do for a college prep high school graduate. I grew up with a family of all college graduates who placed a high value on a college education and a career path. I struggled greatly at the time trying to realize how to live my passion riding and being around horses in the real world.
During college, I had to complete an internship in my field of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism. I stumbled upon a seasonal position of horseback riding guide in Grand Teton National Park, and turned that into an internship by filling out paperwork each week. It appeared to be my dream job, riding horses all day in the Teton mountains. My parents helped me move from my college dorm out to the employee village of 400 employees in the national park. I was nervous, terrified, alone, and overwhelmed. I was not at all interested in the education part of my summer seasonal job, but way more enthralled with interacting with these people who came from all over the world to work in the Teton – Jamaica, eastern Europe, east coast USA, west coast, down south, up north, all over, from all walks of life, having joined together to spend a summer in the mountains. From May to October, I made lifelong friendships with people who came from different backgrounds, family styles, religions, educations, and political beliefs. Those differences I learned to welcome with open arms in my first seasonal job. I learned that everyone comes from different hardships of life and has a unique story, but we all share a thread that connects us together, the summer experience of being somewhere together, everyone placed in a mixing bowl to create what you want to make of it.
Four years later, graduated from college, having lived in the mountains of Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and California, working seasonal jobs guiding horseback trail rides, I’ve learned so many life lessons, oftentimes questioning if seasonal work was right for me, and have had a lot of time to reflect on what it is I want in life. Seasonal work provides you with the opportunity to expand your mind, learn to be your best self, and meet other people who are working on becoming their best selves. Life is what you make of it, and seasonal work offers you an insight of how to do so with little ties and little distraction. And thanks to CoolWorks, seasonal opportunities are right at your fingers tips!