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How to contextualize periods of unemployment between ecology contracts

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Unemployment between contracts can be challenging, especially for those in the ecology industry who often rely on short-term contracts, internships and other casual consulting jobs to stay afloat. As the demand for roles in natural resource management, wildlife and ecosystems increases, the need for ecology workers and professionals has risen. Unfortunately, this demand can be sporadic and permanent, long-term positions aren’t always available. In this way, periods of unemployment are challenging and an unfortunately normal part of this industry.

Contextualizing periods of unemployment between contracts in ecology | #itsawildlife

Despite this, I’ve certainly found there is often a lot of shame and taboo around this topic – we take this entrenched, industry-wide instability and uncertainty personally and feel like periods of unemployment are a reflection of our own inabilities and failings. But in 99 % of cases, this is not true at all!

Rather, this pattern is a reflection of the industry itself rather than of your work ethic and passion.

Navigating this period of unemployment can be difficult, as it requires individuals to be well informed about the industry and their career goals, and often to have the capacity to bounce around and take opportunities that can arise at short notice, often in remote or far-flung locations. While this flexibility isn’t a luxury every wildlifer can afford to have due to other commitments such as family, partners and other important aspects of their life – it is a limiting factor in opening up the wildlife space to promote diversity and equality within this industry.  

For this reason, discussing it is important to start creating ideas on ways to overcome this inflexibility and attract new ideas and friendlier work-life balance within this industry.

And until we reach that ideal point where periods of unemployment within the environmental and natural resource management sector are a choice rather than a necessary evil and by-product of this passion-fuelled career space, we have come up with four tips to help you create stability on short-term contracts. These are:

  • Set personal goals
  • Establish a routine
  • Plan ahead and
  • Identify a base

And can be found here. While this is helpful in navigating periods of unemployment, another important way to contextualise and reduce pressure you put on yourself during these uncomfortable times is to nurture a sense of self-worth, confidence and contentedness.

Know that the perfect opportunities are coming for you – and you won’t miss them!

Thank you for reading to the end – let us know whether you’ve found this article helpful or if you have any other suggestions on ways you create stability for yourself around short-term contracts in the ecology space. So reach out and let us know!

Always remember, #itsawildlife is here to give all you wildlife science and conservation professionals the stability and certainty you need to succeed. We provide the tools, resources, and support you in all your contracts – short and long – and have published countless interviews with other wildlifers – professionals in the industry at all stages of their careers – who also provide contact details so you can reach out and build your network. At #itsawildlife we are creating a safe and supportive community, allowing you to feel inspired to pursue new opportunities and connect and build meaningful relationships with other wildlifers. All the best!


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