This week Little M and I are over in Seattle at the American Fisheries Society conference. It is funny where we end up in our jobs. Going through undergrad and grad school I had no interest in fish whatsoever, to the extent of not taking a single course that was remotely fish related (apart from a second year aquatic ecology class that was the only other distance ed class that I was remotely interested in to fill out my schedule of online classes during the one summer semester I took). So it is strange to me now that not only am I at the AFS meeting, but I am technically employed as a fish biologist.
Realistically I rarely do anything biology-related, and when I do, it is either overall ecology or habitat work, or specific herpetology work (although usually frogs not snakes!). More often than not I am working on contracts, or surveying topography, or assisting with ditch management... But I do often have to field questions that require more than a basic knowledge of fish, and having a better understanding of the endangered species we work to protect through habitat restoration can only serve to help me to fill my various hats better.
That being said, I have been sitting through these talks and although I am learning so much new and exciting information, and putting faces to names in this field, I do sometimes wish I was instead at a herpetology conference, learning cool new things about snakes. The nice thing about not working in the field that I have a huge passion for is that I can go home and on the weekends go out snaking - when I was actually working on snakes I would get too burnt out to enjoy herping in my off time. And I do really enjoy the work that the group I work with is completing. I love that we are doing really important work (enhancing habitat for endangered species, I mean, how cool is that?), I get to be in the field occasionally, I sometimes get to survey for herps and morph little tadpoles into frogs, and I work with an amazing group of people.
Sometimes I just miss my old herping days is all :)