Jobs that require you to spend lots of time outside vary widely – from construction and farming, to work as a ranger, an instructor or guide, even as a football referee!
Spending time outdoors, and being active, are definitely some of the main attractions of becoming a ski instructor or snowboard instructor. Not only are these things enjoyable, they’re good for us too. In fact, companies are trying their hardest to enable their inside, office-based workers to get outside. This article from Forbes explains the physiological benefits of being outside, that companies are recognising, and outlines some slightly desperate methods to get staff out of doors!
The best things about an outdoor job
Outdoor jobs very often come with a very physical element (if not their whole purpose, like a sports instructor). As a snowboard or ski instructor, you’ll be doing 9-5 hours, working all your muscles, at altitude. This means you fitness will improve rapidly, and you’ll maintain it for months throughout the winter season. Many pro instructors or skiers also do additional strength training, cardio, or yoga to supplement their work on the hill. Aside from the dodgy tan lines, you’ll be in great shape!
Spending time in nature
If the lure of working outdoors in to get to know your environment, see wildlife and witness the changing seasons, then you’re going to love it. Working as a snowboard of ski instructor in the mountains, from winter through to spring (and all year if you choose to instruct something in summer like climbing or mountain-biking) brings you nature’s full team-sheet! Working outdoors will strengthen your respect for the environment and leave you feeling incredibly grateful you’re not in an airconditioned office, in a congested city.
Earning from your hobby
Commonly, outdoor jobs are related to activities or sports. If you pursue your hobby, to the level of instructing or guiding, you will pinch yourself that you get paid to do something you love! Of course, as a ski instructor, for example, you’re not always going to be flying down the slopes with you mates when you’re working. However, it certainly helps the Monday morning motivation knowing that you love your outdoors job!
Sounds peachy right?! Is it all this good? Become a ski instructor or snowboard instructor and you might argue that, no, it’s not always that pleasant to be committed to working outdoors every day…
The worst things about an outdoor job
Potential for Injury
For a lot of physical, outdoors jobs, you depend on your body for work, so any injury can leave you out of work. An active job in a high-risk environment (like a ski resort/mountains) also could make you more susceptible to injury, so caution is required. In fact, Career Addict include Mountain guide in their top 30 hardest jobs... along with Paramedic, Crab Fisherman and Landmine Remover! “Between the rocks, glaciers and slippery slopes, mountain guiding can be an extremely challenging job. It’s physically demanding, and you need a lot of stamina to climb mountains day in and day out. You also have to be an outgoing and social person as you will be in charge of everyone’s safety and enjoyment on the trip.”
Out in all conditions
If your outdoor job involves paying clients, often who are on holiday, then one crappy weather day to you may well be one of seven precious holiday days to them – and not to be missed! As an instructor, having to head out on days with grim conditions can really take some internal pep-talking! At least there are cosy bars to welcome you back to resort-level… just think about those poor crab fishermen stuck out at sea!
Less time to do your job recreationally
It seems a little bit bratty for this to feature as a down-side of an outdoors job, but it’s a real issue. If your outdoors job involves something you do for fun (e.g. an instructor or guide) it can be a sacrifice to spend your time teaching that activity at a low-level or doing the same session over and over, for new groups. As a ski instructor, for example, you’ll have to manage your time to make sure you still get to ski for fun!
It’s a generalisation to say that outdoors jobs have a low salary, but careers in environment, teaching and guiding aren’t known for being amazingly lucrative. This is because their main draw is that they align with people’s interests. If you work your way up the qualification ladder, ski instructing at level 4 in France for example or running your own outdoors business, then the pay can be great. You just might have to do a few years of jacket-potato and beans dinners first…
And finally, if your outdoors job is involved in tourism or recreation, it often means sacrificing precious weekends. It’s the same bag as working in hospitality: you are working when other people are holidaying.
So, have we put you off pursuing an outdoor job where your lungs are full of fresh air, the sun is on your face, your body thanks you and you’re full of gratitude for the natural world? Nope, didn’t think so! We think there’s nowhere better to be working than outside – and we’re writing this from the home-office desk! We’ve been helping people, from 18 to 58, since 2003, take the first steps to getting a job outside. Give us a shout if you have any questions about how to make it happen for you.