I’ve had several job offers since being laid off in January.

The first one was for full-time at the ambulance place.  I told them that I really appreciated the offer but could not accept it; unfortunately, public safety does not pay well enough for me to support my family.

I was invited by a friend on one of my rescue squads to go check out the ski patrol two Sundays ago at a mountain where he has patrolled for years.  I was informed that I would meet the boss, some of the other patrollers, then should challenge the Outdoor Emergency Care exam in the spring.  This would have me set to join the patrol as a volunteer next fall.  Volunteer ski patrolling has some big benefits even beyond being able to ski for free while working; being accepted on the patrol as a volunteer would be an attractive prospect.

I met the patrol director the Saturday before my visit when I arrived at the mountain to pick up a patient, one of the two I transported from the mountain that day.  My friend had apparently said some good things about me and the boss said he was looking forward to my visit the next day.

On Sunday I arrived at the mountain about noon and presented myself at the first aid room.  The attendant called my friend on the radio and I changed into my ski boots while waiting for my friend to ski down to meet me.  I spent an hour or two touring the mountain with my friend, a long time skier.  He generously assessed me as ‘able to ski adequately if needing some work on style’.  I was happy with that; though I skied daily through high school, I had only skied sporadically since then and only on easier stuff since the offspring started skiing.

My friend passed me off to the patrol director who took me down some very difficult slopes including a very thin route through the trees.  The boss was impressed with my randonee gear being a free-heel skier himself (though he is a telemarker; I trotted out the old joke about how randonee is French for “can’t telemark”).  I fell once or twice but popped right back up, didn’t complain, didn’t hurt myself, and kept up with him for the most part.  He actually fell on one slope where I managed to remain upright.  On the lift we talked about my pertinent experience; the month mountaineering in Alaska with NOLS, the couple of years I did backcountry search and rescue, the couple of years on the ambulance.

Coincidentally, one of the paid patrollers gave notice on the same day; at the end of the day the director offered me the paid job; two days a week.  I was flattered but could not accept given other factors in play.  I did offer to pick up a few weeks of the paid patroller’s schedule as a volunteer, though.

Monday was my first day.

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It was very hard work.  I skied harder than I have at any time since early January ’86 when I skied with an attitudinal Austrian instructor, an Olympic hopeful, in Innsbruck.  That guy tried to kill me that day for some bizarre reason but I held my own.  The Austria trip represents a huge story; best left for another day.

Ski patrolling is fun, though, and I am sure it will improve my skiing and general fitness.  I am fully accepted as a volunteer member and have started building time towards the major benefit; a family season pass.  I still do not know how to run a sled or do lift rescue; apparently, my wilderness medical experience and ‘adequate’ skiing got me in the door and they will work with me until I develop the other skills that I need.

On the IT front, my friend Rose helped me redo my resume right after I got laid off.  She was really nice about it, apologetic even.  She had excellent suggestions and I feel that my resume is much improved.  Apparently employers feel the same way; I have been tentatively offered a contract in Sausalito starting in a few weeks, have been on two interviews at a company local to me, and have had a positive nibble at a company in DC…  All in five weeks.  When I got laid off last May, I had no interest from any potential employer for the first two months and nothing solid for almost four months.  Even should all of these things fall through, I feel that I am a much more appealing candidate through Rose’s suggestions.

Things are generally good, I guess, despite being laid off.  We’ve had a few unexpected windfalls and we are more comfortable than when I lost my job in May.  Hopefully things will continue to improve and I will be back at work in a few weeks.

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