Virtual Bourgeois

Just An Analog Guy Trying to Upgrade For a Digital World

Greener Pastures (and another transfer)

Posted by Gerald on June 1, 2007

Let me start off by saying that I really love my job.  I am a full time history instructor at Davidson County Community College, which is either in Thomasville or Lexington NC depending on which address you want to look at.  I’m one of those lucky souls who gets to do what he wants to for a living.  I may get up in the morning and think “Man, I am not ready to wake up yet” but I almost never think “Man, I do NOT want to go to THAT PLACE again today.”  I like what I do and I work in a department with very cool people.

Still, everyone occasionally sees someone else’s job (or life, or whatever) and thinks “Man, how cool to do that!”  My recent experience with this comes from one of my colleagues, Julie.  She has a PhD in behavioral psychology and teaches psych courses at the college.  While a worthy thing, that isn’t what excites my envy.  She is also involved in our new Zoo Technician program, and she works part time at the NC Zoo in Asheville.  My humble home state actually boasts one of the leading zoos in the country.  Julie works there doing thing like finding ways to train the animals to do things that are necessary for their upkeep (like submit to the vets or take their medicine) without having to do traumatic things like dart them.  She showed another colleague and I some cool videos of a handler working with a baboon (reputedly almost untrainable, as I understand) and a raptor.  The baboon allowed itself to be given a shot without any sort of restraint or evidence of trauma (it sort of skittered away after the needle prick, but then came right back to the handler.)  The raptor (some sort of African eagle) stepped onto a gloved arm and stayed for medication without being tied or restrained in any way.  If anything, it seemed rather proud of the new way it had figured out of extorting mice-bits from the humans.

How could you watch that and not think, “Cool.”  My job has its satisfactions, but nothing that tangible.  Mind you, given my allergies alone a career at the zoo would never have been my preferred choice.  Still, who wouldn’t dream of working with animals like that.



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