Monday, March 17, 2014

Why I love my job

I consider myself really lucky to have found a job and career I love at the age of 14. I've been considering writing this post for a while but there's just so much stuff I could say that I kept putting it off. So I've decided to just write this with minimal planning. Probably a bad idea...Anyway here we go. It is probably a good idea to tell you that I started off as an aquarist in the SeaLife centre in Bray then moved onto to working as a host in the education team at the National Marine Aquarium and now I'm back as an aquarist in the Blue Reef aquarium in Portsmouth.

1. Variety 

Just chilling on the barbican in Plymouth with a stuffed turtle. This is while working for the National Marine Aquarium
One of the best things about working in an aquarium is all the different jobs involved. When people ask me what being an aquarist actually is I tend to say I just feed fish but in reality there is so much more to do. Not only do we have to keep the animals healthy and happy but we also have to cater to the visitors, get involved in various projects, keep the aquarium sparkley and up to date and deal with any emergencies that may occur.
This happened while I worked for SeaLife. Some sharks eggs hatched in the tank and off I went into a very cold pool to retrieve tiny tiny babies!

2. Lots of learning
Before I started at Blue Reef I didn't know anything about frogs apart from the fact that their legs are tasty...

There are 226000 marine species named in the World Registry of Marine Animals and counting. It is also estimated that there are between 0.7 and 2.2 million marine species and we have only discovered one third of what we think lies underneath the waves. The biodiversity in our planet is staggering. Obviously we are not expected to be able to identify every species of fish, reptile, amphibian and marine mammal but we are expected to have a good understanding on all of these and be able to make educated guesses. So we are forever learning and we all have our specialties and favorites. 
Not only have I learned lots and lots about life in our planet through my job but I have also learned lots of hand-on skills. I've been taught how to control audiences, how to teach snorkeling, how to provide the best customer service possible and how to administer treatments and carry out post mortems. 

Looking good in our wet suits. Snorkel instructor training with the National Marine Aquarium

3. Room to specialize 
A baby tub gunard - a native species of fish
Because there is so much variety in the sea there are lots of areas an aquarist can specialize in and every single one of us has got our favorites. Since working in Plymouth I have been really interested in native species. It is amazing how weird and wonderful the animals that live around our rockpools, marinas and beaches as well as the open water actually are.
Recently I have been concentrating my energy on breeding jellyfish. This can be quite a fiddly and difficult process and nothing makes you feel better about yourself than being able to create a whole set up and get the result you wanted.
Baby moon jellyfish from my first batch of babies

4. Lots of excitement

When you work in an aquarium you get excited at just about anything. It could be something as big as a delivery of livestock or as small as finding a new screwdriver or a coulored cable tie. The good thing is that everyday you are guaranteed to find something that will make you happy.

A sea urchin that appears to be smoking...
And if you don't find something that makes you happy you will most definitely find something that will scare you... 

This guy was just on the floor in a back of house area...

5. We all get along

You have to be a special kind of person to work in an aquarium. I know it sound cheesy but every where I've worked we all just get along. We all understand each other and get excited about the same things. We are still very different people with different opinions and age ranges but ultimately we all understand and accept each other.

I think that for now five reasons is more than enough. Don't get me wrong, there are also negative things about my job. We all have to be able to deal with death, complaints, lots of work and to be honest it's not the highest paid job in the industry...there are days where I wish I had a Monday - Friday, 9-5 job but then I remember all of the above and remind myself that even though I'm only 20, I can't imagine myself working anywhere else.

So I'm going to stop with all my soppiness but I hope you've liked having a read of what I think of my job. As a reward for reading this far here's a picture of a cute otter.

*As for the statistics mentioned above I do understand that there are various figures out there regarding numbers. I just used the ones I normally tell visitors.

P.S I apologize for the bad formatting but blogger won't let me fix the damn thing...I'm going to read up on HTML formatting and start doing it that way. Until then I apologize!

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