7 Reasons Why You Should Become A Guide

The reasons for seasonal work are endless, these are just a few that were most important to me.

1. The People You Work With

There is no single aspect about working as a guide that is greater than your fellow guides. Everyone is there for the same reason - to have a hell of a good time and experience a hell of an adventure. From every walk of life, each one of them has their own story, and every one of them are one of the most interesting people you will ever meet. Once you become immersed into that family...well, you have friends for life.

2. The People You Work For

I am not talking about your boss, I am talking about the clients, because that's who you're really working for. Just like your fellow guides, these people are out there to adventure and see something incredible. For my first job it was the first time in my life I saw a glacier, and I got the satisfaction of seeing a reflection of myself experiencing this for the first time in the thousands of people that I guided throughout the season. Seeing the wonder and incredulity on each of their faces on a daily basis is a transformative experience and it gives perspective to whats important.

3. Clarity 

Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything is different. - Bill Watterson 

I found myself waiting tables with a college degree, and that's when I said "to hell with it" and quit. Serving had stifled my creativity, suppressed my drive, and killed my innovation. It was a serious hindrance on my productivity towards a career. Working as a guide turned all of that around. When you are able to work in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with some of the most incredible people in the world, that gives you a new capacity for whats possible. Your mind is stimulated and all of a sudden you are able to find motivation, fulfillment, and enjoyment in everything that you do. Once that happens you will be left wondering how you became content with the monotonous ways of your previous life. 

4. Spontaneity 

The only certainty with the job is that nothing is certain. It's ingrained within the nature of the work. Whether its figuring out how to get a bear out of your truck so that you can get to work (yes that actually happened), or it's backpacking up to a party on top of a mountain (pictured), both of which happened within 48 hours of each other - each day promises to bring something new. 

5. Location

Exploring the ice caves underneath the Mendenhall Glacier

As a guide, the world is your oyster. Want to lead tours into ice caves and glaciers in Alaska? Done. Want to charge down world class rapids everyday? Sure, no problem. How about mushing dogs on the Juneau Ice Fields? Why not. Or perhaps backpacking into Yosemite Valley for a living? Yeah, that to. The possibilities are only limited by your motivation and creativity. 

6. Growth 

Relaxing while studying the local flora and fauna

The job forces you to expand your knowledge into areas you never would have thought necessary. You become an expert on geography, anthropology, astronomy, geology, marine biology, botany, mythology, psychology, linguistics, planning, mechanics, culinary arts, politics, humor, and everything else in-between. Your brain becomes a mental ninja, you turn into a MacGyver of resourcefulness, and above all else you continue to grow your emotional and cognitive intelligence. 

7. Networking

A notable figure (actor) among those I connected with.

As a recent college graduate I felt the little man on my shoulder telling me that I should stop having so much fun and be responsible and pursue a career. Worry not, you can accomplish all that while guiding! You will be responsible for CEO's, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, actors, athletes, engineers, scientists, and all other sorts of professionals. Through my passion for the present, and my visible ambition for the future, I developed meaningful connections with these people. As a result I have begun to get my foot into several doors that, when the time is right, are ready to be opened. And rest assured that connection is meaningful, because for many of them that tour is the most exciting thing that they will have done, or will do, for years to come. 

 

Published: December 21, 2016

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Eric Murdock

Juneau

Wilderness adventure guide and amateur photographer