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Thursday, June 25, 2015

What Makes Work Meaningful? Ask a Zookeeper, by Livia Gershon

"The job of a zookeeper provides a sense of meaning in ways that many careers don't.  It's a chance to do something that matters on the enormous scale of species preservation and at the tiny level of a little monkey with a fading heartbeat, while learning new skills at all times."

Awesome article I found reinforcing something that I think most of us in the trade have long known - we have the best jobs of anyone, anywhere.  Apparently, there's some scientific backing to that opinion.  At the bottom of the article excerpt below, I've provided two links.  One leads to the rest of this article.  The second leads to the full text of an article that suggests that, more than any other modern career, zookeepers consider their careers to be a true calling/cause/mission.

zookeeper operating on a monkey

Dressed in a stained sweatshirt and serious workboots, brown hair swept up in a messy ponytail, Meghan Nemes carefully removes a cafeteria tray covered with vegetable scraps from the cage of an enormous tortoise named Rob. Then she scrubs the concrete floor, hoses it down, sweeps, and puts the food back.

“I already cleaned him once, but he decided to pee,” she says.

Nemes has a degree in zoology and nearly a decade of work experience. She estimates that she spends 90 percent of her day scrubbing, sweeping, mopping, and disposing of the feces of dozens of species of animals. Yet, when she talks about her work, she practically vibrates with excitement.

“I have always wanted to work with animals,” she says. “You have to be able to go with the flow. You have to expect the unexpected.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Also, check out The Call of the Wild: Zookeepers, Callings, and the Double-Edged Sword of Deeply Meaningful Work, by J. Stuart Bunderson and Jeffery A. Thompson.

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