Work/life/outdoor balance

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Re: Work/life/outdoor balance

Post by oldranger » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:43 pm

From elementary school thru my early 30s the mountains were always a target of vacations but at most 9 days or so was backpacking time first with my dad then friends and family. At 33 I basically dropped out and spent the next 10 years as a mountain bum--3 or 4 months as a backcountry ranger then 7 or 8 months working at ski areas. In 92 I took a job with the forest service, in 98 transferred to the BLM--these were desk jobs but I always wrangled my way into the field. But major backpacking again became a "vacation activity." And a good portion of my free time was spent supporting my kids athletic activities. In 2008 I basically retired and then began to spend 40 to 60 days a year in the sierra while my wife was still working. Since she retired I spend more time traveling and fishing from my boat and my backcountry time is down to 2 to 3 weeks per year. I try and stay in shape by regular visits to the gym and several walks up the Pilot Butte each week carrying a 25 lb pack. While I appreciate the time I used to be able to spend in the backcountry my life is more diverse and certainly is full and busy.


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Work/life/outdoor balance

Post by SSSdave » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:44 pm

Well there is a long long list of things one can do with their leisure time off from whatever job. By time I was in my mid 20s knew that visiting natural areas including the Pacific Ocean and Sierra Nevada visiting with hiking, fishing, and backpacking was what I wanted to do and by your age also would be winter snow skiing. Thus put myself into positions to those ends. I also eventually became a serious landscape and nature photographer and backpacking brought me to places that offered unlimited unique high value subjects.

Friday completed backpacking trip number 201 from over 4+ decades. So averaging over 4 each summer. A few years just one or two because I was starting new jobs without accrued vacation time. By time I was your age, I would make clear to prospective employers during interviews that I expected to take my vacations from 1 day to week long at dates of my choosing during the June thru September months. In case important project demands occurred during that period would expect management provide warnings far enough beforehand to schedule my vacation days. And that if overtime was needed, longer work hours during Monday thru Thursday was preferred to working weekends. And note as a hardware electronics person for decades in Silicon Valley, there have always been many engineers that enjoy coming in on weekends so that did not always go over well.

When I began my career, there were still fair numbers of employers that expected employees to all take their vacations at the same time of year, usually the last two weeks of August. Also there was no concept of Personal Time Off aka PTO just vacation of a week or two weeks a year. Important personnel were indirectly encouraged to never take vacation. And being sick too often, not coming to work was considered a negative on one's record. By mid 80s many companies began increasing vacation days per year and I chose to go to work to those that were generous.

As someone living in Santa Clara County, the Sierra Nevada high country is at least 4 hours of boring driving away. When young the drive was not much a deterrent but beyond your age increasingly became a major issue.

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