You don’t have to study dinosaur bones to have a cool job at a museum (see previous entry for Scientific Assistant), and Liz Bartlett is another great example of that fact. She stopped by the site a few days ago, and took the time to send me an email telling me all about her cool job as Webmaster for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Thanks, Liz!
My job title and a short description of what I do:
I am the Webmaster for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. I keep our web site up to date, write new web applications and give our many databases a lot of TLC.
What I love about my job (the upside):
I love the people I work with, who are all passionate about nature and the desert, and preserving it for the education of generations to come. I love the surroundings – there aren’t many jobs where you can take a short break to go commune with the iguanas, or watch the beavers play. I love the pace – there’s no corporate atmosphere or constant drive to increase our profits.
What I hate about my job (the downside):
Being a non-profit, the pay is not the best. And sometimes the lack of pressure can lead to frustration when my projects are held up by others not coming through with information on time. But that’s about it for the downside.
What education, training, experience or just plain luck someone would have to get a job like mine:
The best webmasters are self-taught – when I ran my own company, I would always hire the experienced guy who learned HTML in his spare time over the guy who had just come out of college with classes in Dreamweaver and Java. Make plenty of hobby web sites for yourself and your friends, and use them as your portfolio. Learn to hand code, use CSS for styling and follow W3C accessibility guidelines and you’ll impress at a job interview.
I did get ‘plain lucky’ to get my job – my husband was checking the museum’s web site for details of their Valentine’s Day Dinner, and ended up on their Jobs page. At the time, we were coming to the end of a year’s sabbatical after closing our company, and wanted to settle in Tucson permanently. We couldn’t believe our luck at seeing a job opening on that page that both of us were more than qualified to apply for. As my husband was in the middle of writing a book, we decided that I should be the one to apply. At the interview, I stressed how this was my dream job, and I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else, ever – now that I knew the job existed! And it worked! Three interviews later, I was hired.
A funny story about my job:
There are so, so many. Being out in the desert, we have a large population of wildlife around. We’ve had dead scorpions ejected from printers, rattlesnakes that casually cross walkways during our crowded seasons, and it’s a rare morning when I come into work and don’t see mouse poop on my desk. (The mice also like to nibble on my computer mouse scroll wheel)
Recently, I received email from a couple who wanted information on the best times to view flowering cacti, as they were planning their visit to ‘Tuscany’. Okay, I know that ‘Tucson’ often gets mis-spelled as ‘Tuscon’, but to mangle it all the way to ‘Tuscany’ takes skill!