What to Do When You Love Going Outside So Much You Want to Make It Your Job (Jenna Celmer)

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Jenna Celmer Humans Outside Podcast

If you love spending time in nature like it’s your job, you might start looking for ways to make that literally true. If that’s you, you’re not alone — it’s the inspiration behind the careers of many members of the outdoor industry. But how do you make the jump from one industry to another? And is making nature your job a good idea?

Those are just some of the questions Jenna Celmer helps address through the outdoor industry job company Basecamp Outdoor and its Facebook-based networking group. In this episode Jenna talks through the why and how of making the jump into the outdoor industry.

Some of the good stuff:

[3:31] Jenna Celmer’s favorite outdoor space
[4:01] How Jenna became someone who likes to go outside
[7:05] What is Base Camp?
[8:27] How Jenna got involved in Base Camp
[12:51] Creating accountability in the outdoor industry
[15:50] Why it’s easy for people in the outdoor industry to be taken advantage of
[20:00] Why does going outside make you want to make it a job?
[22:41] Is it easy to break into the outdoor industry?
[24:41] How to break into the outdoor industry
[27:17] What is networking?
[30:44] What does Jenna tell people who want to get into the outdoor industry?
[34:04] What to expect in the outdoor industry
[35:03] Tips for breaking into the outdoor industry

Connect with this episode:

Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation on The Humans Outside Podcast. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

[00:00:00] Amy Bushatz: No matter who you are or where you go heading outside is always worth it. Welcome to Humans Outside where we’re using the Humans Outside 365 challenge to build a life around spending time in nature while learning from fascinating outdoor minded. I’m Amy Bushatz. I’ve let curiosity be my guide as a journalist for 18 years, but life, including my husband’s war injuries had burnt us out.

So we moved sight unseen to Alaska to see if a change of scenery and new focus on. Was just the shift we needed since September, 2017, I’ve spent at least 20 consecutive minutes outside every single day, no matter what to explore how nature can change my life. Ready to hear from experts and outdoor lovers who make heading into nature just a part of who they are while we work to do the same? Let’s go.

When you take time to do something you love every day in our case simply going outside, you might find that you want to find a way to do it all the time. I liked it well enough to move my life and family site and seen to Alaska with the idea that living in proximity to some of the best nature in the world would give me more chances to spend time in it.

If you really love something, then it’s like a natural progression to find a way to move it from a hobby to a full-time gig or at least find a way to have a job in something related to it. The outdoor industry is worth an astounding $374 billion, according to the bureau of economic analysis. That’s 1.8% of gross domestic product in the U. S. In other words, it’s a big industry with a lot of workers in a variety of jobs.

That means your skills and background could find the perfect fit. But how do you make the jump into the outdoor industry from whatever you’re doing now? Sure you can job hunt on LinkedIn or get a retail job at your favorite outfitter, but today’s guest has ideas for what might be a better way. Jenna Celmer helps run the outdoor jobs community Base Camp, which has become the online destination for outdoor industry, job postings, networking and general info.

The Base Camp Facebook community, for example, has more than 30,000 members and daily job postings. Today, Jennna is going to give us her best advice for breaking into the outdoor industry when you’re someone who just loves to go outside. Jenna, welcome to Humans Outside.

[00:02:32] Jenna Celmer: Thank you for having me.

[00:02:34] AB: Well, I am so stoked to have you here, you really are the top, one of the top experts in this field.

And I’ve just been really impressed with the OPTEMPO, if you will, of your Facebook community and everything that goes.

[00:02:47] JC: Yeah, it’s actually one of my favorite corners of the internet. So it’s a labor of love, but one that I just absolutely enjoy doing every second that.

[00:02:56] AB: You certainly seem to be very invested in it, but it does show. I’ve I’m in a lot of Facebook groups across a wide variety of subjects from writing to military spouse world.

And there are a variety of qualities out there and yours is definitely at the top of the list.

[00:03:15] JC: Well, thank you.

[00:03:17] AB: So, uh, we start our episodes asking our guests to imagine themselves in their favorite address space that we can pretend to join them. They’re like we’re having a conversation somewhere outside that you just love.

So where would we be with you today?

[00:03:31] JC: We are in the forest. We are looking at the Songre de Cristo mountains down in Westcliffe Colorado, surrounded by trees, but you can see those jagged mountain tips, poking through.

[00:03:43] AB: Love it. What a great place to hang out.

[00:03:47] JC: Or a long bit,

[00:03:48] AB: Yeah. Or a long bit for at least the duration of this particular episode, we are excited to be there with you.

So how did you become somebody who likes to go outside? How did this become a passion of yours?

[00:04:01] JC: I was not always. And it’s funny because my husband actually said, one day, I’m going to get into backpacking. We had just moved to Colorado. So that spurs that hobby a little bit. And I said to him, I will never come with you not if there’s not a chandelier, I’m not interested in doing it. Fast forward though, a couple of years. And I just decided that I wanted to be better at him than this. For some unknown reason. I was at a time in my life when I was trying things. When I was younger, I was mired down by thinking that I had to wait until I was smarter or thinner or had more money to do things. And after picking up the sport of powerlifting and realizing that I could do absolutely anything, I decided, what else could I try that I have historically not thought was for me and going outside camping, things like that was a pretty obvious one since my husband was already involved in it.

So luckily we were in Colorado and I had just this outdoor haven at my doorstep. So we just started trying stuff. We went on hikes in Colorado Springs, where we were living, and then we started going further and deeper into the backcountry and trying new sports. And it really just steamrolled.

And my husband likes to say, like, you went out one time and then you made it your entire identity. And I was like, yeah, well, we don’t do things small over here. So.

[00:05:31] AB: Uh, Did we just become best friends? That’s pretty much me.

[00:05:35] JC: It’s funny. Isn’t it? Like when you find your thing and it gives you energy just letting it happen. That’s what I’m all about, right now.

[00:05:42] AB: Yeah. So I really started doing CrossFit and running and then got into going outside. Same sort of thing. Like all in.

[00:05:52] JC: I wonder how common this is.

[00:05:55] AB: Yes. We have a sample size of two right now,

[00:05:57] JC: Well a hundred percent so

[00:06:00] AB: That’s right. So I thought, well, I, my husband was into it and I had little boys and a very wise mentor of mine noted that if I didn’t try doing things with them, they do things without me. And that sounded not good. So I thought that I would do those things with them and we’d give it a try. And we sort of did what people do, which is go to REI and spend all of your money buying vast quantities of tents or vast tenants, one of the two and got re I mean, just got immediately. Like, I don’t have a, I have an on button and an off button.

I don’t have an in-between setting. And so I just, yeah, I went all in, and now we live in Alaska. I mean, woo. All the way. So

[00:06:45] JC: I get it. I get it.

[00:06:47] AB: Okay. So first tell us what Base Camp is, and then tell us how you got involved in it, because. Going from I don’t backpack because there are no chandelier’s to I backpack every day to, this is like my baby and my favorite corner of the internet, or that’s sort of like, woo trajectory.

[00:07:05] JC: Yeah slightly extreme. Join the Humans Outside Challenge

Follow Humans Outside on Instagram

Follow Humans Outside on FacebookSo Base Camp is you did a very good job explaining it, but it is the network for the outdoor industry. So it is a community it’s currently a Facebook group and you go there if you want a job in the outdoor industry, if you have a job in the outdoor industry to talk to like-minded people, to find the opportunities that you want to ask for expert advice, to seek out any connections that you may like.

And it’s just like this wonderful place where you can have conversations and understand the trends and the ecosystem of the outdoor industry. And really we’ve expanded so much since COVID into things like in-person events and networking opportunities, we have lots of digital events. We have a newsletter that gives curated job opportunities every week that we think are just stellar.

And we have lots on the horizon, but for right now, That’s where you go, if you’re in the outdoor industry or want to be

[00:08:02] AB: Yeah. It’s it, like I said, it’s really a very support, like surprisingly supportive community for being a jobs posting like primarily like the sort of jobs interchange. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it for other sections or other industries.

So, okay, so you’ve described what it is. How did you become a part of it? Because it was born before you became involved, but now it’s become this huge thing with you. So talk to us about that.

[00:08:27] JC: Correct, so I joined Base Camp as a member and that’s because I let you know about all this stuff. I started going outside and doing it a lot.

I actually grew a personal brand regarding the outdoors on Instagram and was monetizing it. So brands were paying me to help create content for them and things like that. And I was like, wait a minute. I had a dream job at the Olympic Committee. So I was super happy in my corporate role, but I was also like, this is super fun.

And I’m making a lot of money doing this. Could this be a career? Like, do people do this? And I stumbled upon the Facebook page. It was just like, Facebook was like, you might like this. I don’t know. And I was like, I do like this. Thank you. So I joined and I was just there all the time. And just like you said, I found that it was such a supportive community, but also I have had such a spectacular career and been given so much fantastic advice from my mentors throughout different sectors.

I started in tech and then I went to sport and, I’ve dabbled in aerospace and a couple other sectors. Very different from outdoor. But I was relaying all of this information and advice from very smart people that I had the pleasure of knowing within the group and Ali Carr, who is actually the founder.

She founded it in 2017 and she’s been in the industry for about 15 years now. She, the group was growing and she needed some help admining and she noticed that I was contributing so much in a way that really resonated with her. So she said, Hey, I see what you’re doing. Would you like to admin for me?

And I was like, yep, I’m here all the time. Anyway, let’s do it.

[00:10:01] AB: And now you are more than just an admin.

[00:10:05] JC: I’m yeah, I’m more than just an admin. So Allie and I determined that we work really well together. We started brainstorming. I had a lot of good ideas that I was just, it was like, you could do this and this.

And we said, you know what, let’s start a podcast first and foremost, and let’s actually talk to a bunch of these outdoor brands that are posting roles, but maybe there’s a bit of a curtain behind or in front of them. And we want to peek behind that curtain and actually understand what the culture might be like there, what it’s like to work with, what they actually want to see in their applications from people.

And so we launched our podcast, Outdoor Dream Jobs February of 2020, we were like, let’s do this big. So we reached out to a couple of people at Patagonia and they’re like, yep, come to our headquarters. We’ll record the very first episode here. It was wonderful. It was so much fun. I got home the day of the COVID shutdowns from that trip.

The rest of that is history. But from there we were like, yep. There is an appetite for what we’re doing. And like I said, when you figure out that you work really well with someone. That’s a huge deal. So yeah, it just grew from a Facebook group into an actual LLC. And we have been launching products and creating a business out of this so that we can really streamline our offerings and make sure that they’re serving our out shareholder, our stakeholders, rather, which are job seekers, but also helping brands find talents or really facilitating connection in the best way possible.

And to do. We need to grow a team and we needed to grow a business. So that’s what we have been doing.

[00:11:38] AB: Yeah, we’re going to talk here in just a little bit about getting a job in the outdoor industry and really what I talked about in the introduction, sort of moving into that realm if that’s not you right now. But I want to say that one of the things I’ve noticed in your group is that you are very intentional about holding creating a space in the industry where everyone is accountable

So, not only does that mean you are looking to job seekers to be very specific in their introductions and what they’re looking for and then kind of coaching them along the way in the comment section on maybe being more specific or you know, bolder or whatever, but you’re also holding brands and companies accountable for things like pay.

And I mean, tiny little, teeny, tiny little issues, like equal opportunity and posting pay ranges and things that are, I mean, that really takes a level of courage, but more so than courage, I think it’s owning your space, like standing there and saying, this is what we’re doing. And. Not just totally fine with it, but we belong here doing this and that’s kind of a big deal.

[00:12:51] JC: You know, It is, but also who else is going to do it. And I have always felt so empowered maybe because I’ve coming from outside of this industry and have somewhat of an objective viewpoint to say, what the heck is happening here. The pay in these industries is not enough. And people are not able to start their families doing the job that they want to do.

That’s not okay. And you’re not telling people sort of what that pay is, which means that there is a wage gap that is being contributed to, and you’re right. We need to. Transparent. The outdoor industry deserves a lot more transparency because not only do the people within it deserve that, but this is a booming industry.

You mentioned $374 billion. And a lot of folks either don’t know about it or don’t take it seriously. So if we want to thrive as a collective, yeah. We need to do some things and we need to make some changes.

[00:13:50] AB: The there’s a saying in journalism, which is sunshine is the best disinfectant and that’s the case with the. pay gap and the pay wage, or I’m sorry, the wages issue as well. That if we don’t talk about it, we’ll never have any sort of clarity or parody because it’s shrouded in secrecy and there’s nothing to talk about if there’s no clarity. It’s a vicious cylce.

[00:14:13] JC: Right. It is. And companies have been great though. I will say that. So once you explained to them that first of all, about 75% of people will not apply to your role if they do not see the pay range, because yeah, it is kind of an important detail and it separates why people do a job. For a long time, we were taught not to talk about pay and not to talk about wages, which is absolutely silly. We need to talk about it way more because that’s why we work. That’s what separates a job from a volunteer opportunity. I’m all for hobbies. And I’m all for pro bono initiatives and serving your community.

But the reason that you have a job is to get paid. And if you are not making enough money to pay your rent and put food on the table and support your family, then you’re going to have to be, I mean, you’re going to get priced out of the industry and really great people are going to leave. So it’s a very important piece of the puzzle, but brands have been great because all you have to do is explain to them if you want the top talent, here’s how to do it. Start the relationship off on a good foot and with like a trusting transparent relationship. So they know that well, a better way to put this is if you don’t post the pay, if you’re not transparent at the outset on that, what else might you withhold?

[00:15:31] AB: And it’s, it’s an easy thing to take advantage of in this industry. I think in particular, because it, it can be viewed as recreation. It’s literally in the title. So if you have a hobby and you just are doing it because you like it, why wouldn’t you make next to nothing, to be a guide or to do any of these, that they’re sort of industry specific things that look a lot like somebody’s hobby on the weekends, but are you know that are a job, right?

[00:15:59] JC: Well, that’s been the problem in the industry for so long because it is such a passion led and value led industry. So we’ve had a long history of people doing things maybe for less money than in other industries, or even for free because people simply like doing this work and brands got kind of used to being able to, not budget for things because somebody would do it for free or somebody would do it for low pay. But that’s not okay because you know what? We also have a problem in this industry where it’s not very diverse. And one of the concepts that I am trying really hard to make sure people understand is that even if you can take an opportunity without pay, there’s a lot of privilege associated with that.

And you’re really hurting, not only your industry, but people that come after you. Because not everybody has the privilege to spend their time doing something without compensation. If you can do that, that’s amazing. And that’s great. Like, I’m very happy for you and I think it’s wonderful, but also if the single mother next to you cannot do that because she needs to, to do a paying job, to feed her family, or if somebody else just needs, they’re maybe a college student, they also, they need to pay for their, their student loans or their rent, whatever it is, they’re now not able to access the opportunities that you are because they need those paying gigs. So really, if we want to bring equality to the industry and make sure that everyone has the same access to opportunity, it’s really important that we’re saying everyone can apply for these roles.

[00:17:38] AB: We have the same problem in journalism as well.

[00:17:41] JC: I’m sure. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:17:42] AB: Because the say, it’s the same sort of passion project for people that they just really want to do this. And so you are under the impression that the rules of the game are you have to do it for free to start with, so you do, and now newsrooms are used to that. And now people can’t get paid because they had free labor and on and on and on. And then there’s sort of this sense of, and I, and I think this is the case , in a lot of industries as well that you had to do it. So the next guy or gal has to do the same thing. And so, well, I mean, I worked for free, so that’s how it goes.

I was an unpaid intern and now that means you do you have to do that too. And that’s all well and good, except that’s how we never have progress.

[00:18:25] JC: Absolutely. And so now in Base Camp opportunities, without compensation are no longer allowed.

[00:18:32] AB: Hmm Hmm. And so not only are you encouraging people to, to have good behavior, you’re gatekeeping against bad behavior or less than desirable behavior. Yeah. I’m not going to call, I’m not posting wages bad because it’s just something that people haven’t done before, but it’s certainly not great.

[00:18:53] JC: Well, yeah. And you can post in Base Camp if you don’t want to post your salary, but it has to be a paid opportunity. So no unpaid internships are a hundred percent. No unpaid internships are the absolute worst. No unpaid ambassadorship. No, just things of that nature are not allowed. And if you don’t want to post a salary for your job, just know that a lot of folks will come and say, I was really interested in this, but without this detail, I just can’t spend hours applying.

So I will be moving on to the next opportunity.

[00:19:22] AB: Yeah. So good.

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You don’t want to be left out of this. There is never a wrong time to join the Humans Outside 365 challenge. So get going, join it today. Go to Humans Outside.com forward slash challenge to learn more. Now back to the show.

So, what is it about heading outside that makes you want to make it a job? Like, what is it about this industry that causes that passion? I mean, you and I already talked about the fact that we went from basically zero to 60 on this individually, but I feel like that doesn’t happen in that many other parts of life. Like the number of people who clean their bathroom regularly and then start looking for a way to do it all the time for other people is probably pretty low

[00:20:38] JC: It’s lower, I would assume. Yeah. I think that there is a big mental health element to that, so you just feel good. And when you feel good, you’re like, how do I feel good more often?

It’s just fun too, so I was specifically looking for a role that could have me doing my hobbies more often. I really liked getting free gear as it is expensive as hell. And so anytime that you’re like, well, let me get this subsidized a little bit. That’s super appealing to me and many other people, but just this whole thing that has been completely, I mean, the pandemic has accelerated this.

People are realizing that their happiness is more important than absolutely anything else. And so if you are doing what you love and if you are able to help other people do it, you’re probably feeling very fulfilled. You also, most people that go outside, they love conservation and they want to contribute to sustaining that and to protecting the places that they love.

And the outdoor industry is really where that work is done. So there’s not only the corporate brand side where you’re maybe producing gear and helping people get out. But there is the conservation or environmental side where you are preserving and protecting and helping create stewards of the wilderness.

So those are really incentivizing reasons, I think, to want to say, not only do I want to spend all of my time here, but like, let me get paid for it too.

[00:22:06] AB: Right. So you are doing something that you feel a personal investment and from just a recreation standpoint, but also a personal investment and from a moral standpoint in a lot of ways.

[00:22:20] JC: Yeah, because I think that people were asked as children what do you want to be when you grow up? And that’s, that’s a tough question, right? Like, and really what comes to mind is the more traditional occupations. But if you ask somebody what problem they want to solve, then you really can illuminate what they should be spending their time doing.

[00:22:41] AB: Do you think the outdoor industry is easy to break into?

[00:22:45] JC: Yes and no. I would say no is my kind of final answer on that because so many people are struggling and I am intimately aware of the obstacles to navigate. Having said that I come from outside of the outdoor industry. Currently, I’m fairly well-known as having one of the best networks in the industry.

People come to me for advice on how to break in. And I’ve been in this industry now for, like I said, about two years maybe a little bit less. So can you break in if you really want to and put in the work a hundred percent. Really, what is the big difference is that network.

[00:23:28] AB: So yes and no. What are the no parts of this?

[00:23:33] JC: Well, it’s a very insular industry. And there seem to be fewer jobs than other industries. And so there’s just less opportunity, it feels like. That’s changing drastically because more and more outdoor companies are popping up. But really this is how most industries work as well. About 85% of jobs are actually on this like black market, if you will. So here’s an example. I’m like, okay, I need a podcast editor for my outdoorsy podcast. Who do I know that does podcast editing. I know Joel Okay, you know what? I need to hire somebody quickly. I’m just going to email Joel and see if he can do it. If you’re not on the top of my top of head or like top of mind because you’re in my network already. You might not get that job. And that’s why the networking part is so important. And I want to underscore it. It’s just a matter of it’s who you know, and you don’t have to like, know all the important people. You just have to put yourself out there so that the industry knows I do this work and you’re easy to find too

[00:24:41] AB: it’s about, it’s all about who you know, and that makes it, I think, in a pre 2020, environment that would make it sound like something you have to actually physically show up for. I have been working remotely for a decade and while I’ve more than a decade, and while I physically do show up periodically to events in my full time industry which is not the outdoor industry, I don’t do it terribly often.

Most of my networking is online and always has been. And so I think Base Camp really proves that that’s true now more than ever before that you can quote unquote, show up digitally and create. a presence that’s not in person, but does put you to top of mind and create excellency and a name for yourself in that industry.

But my goodness, it takes some work.

[00:25:34] JC: It takes some work, but you know what it’s also everything does. And when we’re talking about showing up, we’re just saying, speaking up and saying, Did you tell that I do this work? Did you know that I am a copywriter in the sustainability realm? Did you know that I create content for outdoor brands?

Having a portfolio with a little bit of SEO tweaking where if somebody that needs an outdoor Tik Tok creator, if I type in those search terms, I’m going to get to your portfolio. We’re solving this problem as well. With Base Camp, we have a whole new site and we’re creating a talent database. So you can actually go in and say, here’s what I do. And you’ll be searchable by the brand. So we’re sort of solving this problem as well, because we realize how difficult it is. But as of right now, you can do it yourself. LinkedIn is also a great place. Just making sure that you’re speaking up and raising your hand and saying, I do this work specifically for outdoor brands is the first step and then that relationship building piece.

And I want to make it really clear that when I say networking, I mean, building relationships, making friends, putting yourself out there. Because that’s what I did really well is I just met people in the Base Camp group. And then I learned about them and then we became friends and I followed their Instagram and maybe I saw what their LinkedIn was going about

And I supported them and I learned about who they were as humans and what they were doing. And I supported their endeavors and we built really organic relationships from that. And now they know who I am and I also know what they do, which is right.

[00:27:07] AB: It’s the, it’s it’s interaction. Constant or consistent might be a better word, interaction and relationship building.

[00:27:16] JC: Yep. Definitely.

[00:27:17] AB: I think people hear networking and they think LinkedIn invites and that’s kind of the end of like, oh, now we’re LinkedIn connections and that’s the end of the line. But this is way more stalker-ish than that.

[00:27:29] JC: Well, yes, like stalkerish is a, but no, also it’s just like the opposite of stalker-ish almost because if somebody connects with me on LinkedIn and then they immediately send me a message and they’re like, well, Hey, I do this. Like, do you want to buy my product? I’m like, I don’t know you. So not at all. But if somebody that I do know is like, Hey, by the way I do this. And here’s how it will help you because I know you and I know what you do.

And I know what maybe some of your problems are because I’ve been listening and following along. I’m going to open that message. And I’m going to think about that. And I’m also probably going to have a good idea of that person’s ethos and values, and that’s really important to me and that’s going to help me make a decision.

So yeah, it’s really important to just know the people in your industry. And what’s important to them before you can really, pitch them services or start working with them because yeah, it takes a lot, but like I said, Networking doesn’t have to be scary. It’s really just building a relationship.

[00:28:34] AB: Yeah. I mean, listeners on Humans Outside who follow me on Instagram know, that if they interact with me on my Instagram account on Humans Outside leave a comment, I will respond to their comment. I’ll follow them, I’ll leave them comments. And now I recognize them. Now I’m saying, wow, it looks cold there.

And it just sort of grows from there. It’s not anything super special. It’s just consistent back and forth. And to now, because I’ve been interacting with them, I know they’re listening, I’m putting stuff out for them. They’re putting stuff out for me. And it’s a relationship all of the sudden and not just a follower or somebody who’s, giving a nice follow back. It’s a relationship.

[00:29:14] JC: It is. Yeah. And it’s also a little bit of a personal brand. So a lot of people don’t like that because they’re like, oh, it’s exhausting, but also follow your energy with this because there are unlimited mediums. There are unlimited ways to showcase who you are in the digital sphere and find your niche and find what works for you.

Like I’m not telling you to be on every social network all the time by no means am I saying that. But I am saying if you like being on LinkedIn or if you like helping people if you have an area that have expertise that you can just really easily fire off tips, do that, amazing. If podcasting makes sense to you do that. Amazing. You know what I mean? Like choose your medium and put things out there, but you do need to be visible. If you are looking to make a career change.

[00:30:05] AB: Yeah. So, we’ve talked a little bit about the goods and the good and the bad. And if you think it’s easier, not I do think that switching to outdoor industry, because it’s following a passion might be one of those grass is greener on the other side.

I mean, anytime I’m sitting at my desk doing something mind-numbing and looking out my window, I’m thinking I wish my job was outside, but that’s just because you have a job in the outside industry. Does that mean that your rear end is actually physically outside all the time? So when people tell you they want to switch to the outdoor industry, do you encourage them? Is that, do you like have any like has warnings?

[00:30:44] JC: Yeah, I definitely always encourage people. And I prod a little bit, I ask a couple of questions because you’re very right. My job is not to romanticize this industry too much, especially like I said, because I’ve been outside of it and I understand how other industries work.

So the first thing I let them know is that they’re probably going to take a pay cut. If you are in another industry –and by the way, here’s something really important about the outdoor industry, because we didn’t define it. There are so many corporate roles, any job that you would do in any other industry, tech, PR, marketing, program management, data analytics, sustainability supply chain, econ, anything like that? The outdoor industry absolutely needs you. And there is a place. Be prepared to potentially get a pay cut. Because as of right now, it’s not paying the same as tech is paying and we’re trying to change that, but it is something that people need to know.

You’re going to take a little bit of a hit because it is a more of a passion led industry, but also some people have it in their mind that working in the outdoor industry means that you’re like skiing all day or in the forest all the time. And. Sometimes I am. I’m a business owner. I make my own hours.

I travel a lot. However, I am also sitting behind a desk working more than ever before. So you’re working hard like you’re putting in those hours behind a desk. And now the really great part about the industry is that you are working with colleagues and peers who love it as much as you do. So, they’ll want to go out with you.

A lot of companies also have like powder day clauses and they’re just like, we get it. So there’s a more leniency for if it’s fresh snow, they’re like, yeah, like go hit a run before work. We get it. Come in at 10, 11, whatever that looks like. Yeah, it’s a beautiful day. Let’s all go for a run or a mountain bike at noon.

Come back at two, whatever take a longer lunch or a late lunch and go do it. However, it’s not like playing all day, you’re still working really hard. And so those are two things that I need people to be sure that they’re aware of before they try to get into this industry.

[00:32:58] AB: Yeah. I can co-sign that. I, like I said, my full-time job is in a different sector, but I work harder than I’ve ever worked. Yeah. Trying to try to do outdoor industry stuff, and a lot of that is watching the outdoor world from my desk while I podcast created and whatever.

I will say that I, so my kids have season passes at our local nonprofit run ski hill. Okay. And so I work from the yurt while they’re skiing, because I do not love downhill the same way they do to justify as the season pass for mom. So I sit there and I watch what’s going on with the people who are working there. Just kind of, because I’m in there and I will tell you the, she is the manager of the ski area.

Okay. So you’re thinking, wow, that’s a great outdoor job. I have never seen somebody who works so hard. Does she’d go into grab a run every now and then? Yes. And we joke that she’s doing quality control. Right, But it’s not the whole day by any stretch of the imagination. She is walking around and she’s checking on stuff.

So, I mean, this is just this call, like it’s called work for a reason, guys. In the title. It’s not all that fun.

[00:34:04] JC: Absolutely. Some of it’s fun. And then, on the other side of that, though, there are a lot of field work positions where you are actually outside all the time uh, doing something maybe like trail maintenance or being a program manager for an outdoor education institute.

So there are jobs like that. Again they don’t pay what a more corporate role would pay. They’re typically run by non-profits or they are government work, which is even more difficult to get into. A lot of people are very frustrated by that career choice, but it’s very rewarding if you can get in and there’s also a formula to follow.

So sometimes it’s just like how do I get in? And it’s just kind of checking these boxes because it’s the formula. If you don’t know that formula, it’s going to be really frustrating.

[00:34:52] AB: Yeah. Yeah. And if you’re going to go into a trail work job from a corporate desk job, those are not going to be the same pay.

[00:35:00] JC: They’re not going to be the same pay.

No. And also you’re not going to be able to see your family. Maybe as much as you thought you were. Cause you were like you’re in the forest for weeks at a time. So it’s different. You have to really be prepared for what you’re signing up to.

[00:35:17] AB: Exactly. So can you give us two with all of these warnings and caveats and encouragement and discussion. Can you give us three tips for moving into the outdoor industry for people who do think it’s a good next step for them?

[00:35:30] JC: Yeah. So I feel like we have covered networking, but this is still my first tip. What this looks like is you can be a networking when you’re volunteering. For example, the people that you speak to when you’re doing something that you love, that’s networking, or just going to outdoors the events like a run, or if there is a hiking group meetup, or if you’re going to your bouldering gym, that’s also networking.

Talk to people, let them know what you do, ask them what they do. Support them ask for help if you need to. Or of course like our ready-made digital network join it and speak up and help other people and give advice that is you networking and also growing your personal brand. So it’s a very smart, but start showing up in the places that the outdoor industry is.

The second tip I would give is to be very specific and know what’s out there. So understanding what gives you energy and where you fit into the industry is the first thing I need people to do. Because when you come into the group, many people are like, Hey, I want to break into this industry. I love these sports. I love hiking or kayaking. I want to do absolutely any job in any place. And I don’t know how to help you. Like people. Are going to maybe be supportive and be like, cool, welcome. But I mean, there’s too much information to give.

If somebody comes to me and they say, I want to do supply chain management for Patagonia, bam. I can get you connections at Patagonia. I can help you understand what skills that you need to up-level before doing the job there and we can work better. You have a very clear goal or, Hey, I want to do work within sustainability for a nonprofit in Maine. Amazing. So narrowing down the region or if it’s remote, that’s okay to know that too.

Narrowing down, if you want to do freelance or work for a company is important and like knowing what fields do you want to work in. Or like I said, what problem you want to solve? Crazy important. And just to be clear, I actually find a new job in this industry every single week that I didn’t know existed.

So, typically what I recommend to people is to get our newsletter. It’s free. We curate jobs every week that we think are cool and a spotlight of the fresh jobs for the week. And you can just see what’s out there and how they apply to your current skillset. And if they excite you or not, and then make a plan from there.

[00:38:07] AB: Those are great two uh, two tips. And I, especially like making a plan. I’m a big plan fan.

[00:38:15] JC: Yeah working backwards is so much easier. Like with revenue too, if you’re like, well, I want to make 10 grand this month and okay, great. Well, how do I make 10 grand? Like great. Let’s work backwards. I need to do this thing 10 times.

Okay. How do I do that? It’s just, it really simplifies everything. And also I really believe in manifesting. So that’s the thing for me. Yeah. And you can ask for help more easily.

Um, tip three is persistence because it’s probably not going to happen for you the first time, especially if it’s a new field for you.

If you’re a bit of an unknown person, you have to be persistent. You have to reach out to people more than once. Everyone in this industry right now is so, so busy. So I am answering Facebook messages and emails from October. I am just inundated with messages. I’m still getting to them, but some people that are like, Hey, by the way, here’s a little poke.

I might get to you sooner. Additionally brands usually need to see your application a couple of times, especially if you’re not from in the industry. And if you don’t have the experience that they need to see. A lot of brands really would love someone with outdoor experience. And that’s what they’re going to, gravitate toward first in terms of candidacy, because that means that their customer, so really be persistent. And actually, you know, I’m going to throw in a fourth tip here because a lot of people ask this, if you are someone that just really wants to break in the best places to do that in terms of entry-level work are retail, because you learn so many transferable skills, you understand that customer and can speak to it.

And brands really want to hear about that, but it also shows that you have, the moxie to start and grow and understand what the entire ecosystem looks like first, and then build your career off of that. I’m not saying everyone should do that, especially if you have established technical skills.

But if it’s something where you’re like, look it I’m maybe out of school or I’m looking for a complete, vast change to my career. A lot of brands hire from within. And so a retail position could be a very great place for.

[00:40:26] AB: And I hate to advise people to take a huge step down in their career. So maybe you are working in a corporate job and you’ve been working in that career field for a long time. And now you want to switch to the outdoor career field. And so now you’re thinking, we’re saying, okay, like go work retail. Um, that’s yes and no, I would say, is that, am I accurate on that?

[00:40:51] JC: Yeah. So what a lot of people don’t realize about retail too, is like, you can get a marketing job within a retail store environment, or you can be a buyer. So it’s not always like a customer service sales person that I’m talking about, but it’s more of the environment. They just tend to be easier to break into.

Because a lot of people assume, okay, well, I’ll be on the sales floor at minimum wage. And it won’t be a fun job. There’s actually tons of positions there that not everyone is looking for, but yes, if you have established technical skills, I would just figure out how to parlay those to the hiring manager and saying, okay, I’m coming from this industry. I can do this and this. You need to be able to put up a really great application first and foremost. I see your skills and action. I want you to be linking to what you’ve done so I could actually see what you can do. But also explaining to them. Here’s why I want to work for your company. I have values that are rooted in the outdoors, and I want to help other people.

And I specifically want to work for your company because our values and our ethos are super aligned. That’s another wonderful route, really any hiring manager that you can show that you can do the job that’s the big ticket.

[00:41:59] AB: Yeah, man, those are such great advice and straight from the list of expertise that you have.

In your from running Base Camp and seeing what’s going on there. So we really appreciate you sharing that with us today.

We typically end our episodes here on humans, outside talking about things that our guests really loves to use outside most essential fav or favorite, or possibly both outdoor gear.

That’s sometimes fits episodes better than others when we’ve been doing a lot of practical discussion about going outside. And that’s not really what we’ve been talking about today. But I still want to ask you anyway. Yeah. So, do you have something, you know, you mentioned a love backpacking and that kind of thing.

Is there a piece of gear or several pieces of gear that you just really love and make your outdoor life the best that can possibly be?

[00:42:46] JC: There’s so many. Definitely my Jeep is my favorite because it gets me where I need to go. But I would say microspikes are my absolute essential piece of. That I cannot take out of my bag, even in the summertime.

If I do not have my cleats or my spikes, my hike is not going to be as good. So I love Unigear and Kathula for that. And I highly recommend that investment. And then, you know what, this is so funny cause I feel like such a bougie person, but my favorite coat is Lulu lemon and my favorite boots are from Ugg and those are not typical outdoor gear companies that I would even recommend to people, but they are like the two best pieces of gear that I cannot leave home with because they have served me so well in some pretty spicy scenarios for many years.

[00:43:38] AB: That’s great because I one love. To would never recommend boots from Ugg.


[00:43:45] JC: yeah. And they’re not like, they’re not like the ones that you’re thinking of. I don’t think, but they’re like actual

[00:43:49] AB: You mean the ones I am literally wearing right now.

[00:43:53] JC: And those have a place in my life. Let me be clear. But no, these ones are like hard shell, like there, but they’re also like really cute.

So I bought them because they were cute. And then I was like, oh my God, like, these are the warmest things. I go snowshoeing in them all the time.

[00:44:07] AB: Okay, we’re going to, we’re going to add a link to the show notes because we must share. I mean, I don’t get me wrong. I love these. I am actually literally wearing them right now, but I only wear them inside because they have no traction on the bottom whatsoever.

And I live somewhere that is very icy and I have not always worn them only inside. And I did not appreciate that decision later. So, so I learned not to do that. But we’re going to need a link for that

[00:44:34] JC: I will get you personalized links for all of the things that I love. Yeah.

[00:44:37] AB: Amazing. Amazing. And then I was hoping that we could back up just real hot second.

Describe what a microspikes. Is. I think people may not know. I know and love and co-sign, but what are microspikes?.

[00:44:50] JC: So some people might call them ice cleats. Some people might call them crampons, but they go under your existing footwear, whether that’s like a hiking boot or a snow boot. And they literally are spikes that go into the ice or the mud sometimes.

And they give you traction. So all of a sudden an unwalkable path becomes a breeze.

[00:45:11] AB: Totally. And if you hop on any given outdoor website and start searching ice cleats, you’re going to find a super big variety of things. These are specifically microspikes and they’re called that because they are not tiny, nor are they humongous. They’re in the middle. They’re sort of medium spikes, if you will.

[00:45:31] JC: And they’re affordable. I think they’re like mine were like 20 bucks, so.

[00:45:34] AB: Yeah. Yeah. They, there is the the brand name ones that you mentioned are a little bit more spending. We have a bunch of pairs of the off-brand ones. I don’t even know what the off brand is off the top of my head that my husband bought for his guiding company, his veteran guiding nonprofit company Remedy Alpine, and they use those and they’re great. They work the same way and they seem to hold up just as well. So whatever you can afford and whatever looks good to you, that’s what you should get. Yeah. So there you go. Okay. Final question. We like to leave our podcast sort of now we imagine that ourselves talking to you and your favorite outdoor space, but I would love it if you could guide us to your favorite outdoor memory. If you close your eyes and picture yourself somewhere that you just love to harken back to, or love to, to remember where are you and what doing?

[00:46:18] JC: Oh, my gosh. There was this one trip we went to Antarctica. And so that was great, but this isn’t even about Antarctica.

We hopped over to the Falkland Islands. And we met up with a local there and he said, I’m going to take you to a beach. We were like, I don’t really like beahces, that much. We’d like to go climbing. He was like, no, I’m going to take you to a beach. So we drive, it was about an hour drive. It’s not very populated there.

In between the very very small towns where we’re like, where are we going? We pulled up to a completely deserted beach. There are these huge sand dunes and grasses and the wind. And we were like, okay, this looks pretty standard. And kind of boring, especially after the peaks of Antarctica and we crested one of the dunes and all of a sudden we’re surrounded by like thousands of penguins and it was an absolute dream come true because penguins are hysterical. They walk so awkwardly they’re absurd. They flap around, they make so many noises. They bump into each other constantly. The way they poop is funny, even that’s kind of a hazard, but they’ll just let, they don’t really have, at least in Falkland Islands, they have absolutely no fear of humans because they just haven’t been proven to be predators there.

It’s just a safe space for them. So you can walk amongst them. You can sit, they’ll come right up to you and inquire and be really curious. And it was the most fun I’ve ever had on this beach. With like hundreds of new friends in little tuxedos

[00:47:54] AB: Who are penguins.

[00:47:56] JC: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:47:58] AB: Next level is what that is.

[00:47:59] JC: It was so much fun. Yeah. I made it my identity for like a year that I got to meet them. Yeah.

[00:48:05] AB: I think you should find a job doing that just to sort of wrap it back in.

[00:48:09] JC: Right? Yes. If you can. Absolutely. The wildlife sector is so much fun.

[00:48:13] AB: Yes. Very cool.

Jenna, thank you so much for giving us your expertise and advice on this episode of Humans Outside. We are so honored to have had you.

[00:48:22] JC: Oh, thank you so much for having me.

Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode of Humans Outside. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, give us a little love and leave a rating and review to make it easier for others to find the podcast to what you say matters. It really truly does make a difference.

And until next time we’ll see you out there.

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