This is something that's really important to establish early on as you're preparing your to move back in to the job market. Which do you put before the other? The resume? The website? How about the LinkedIn profile or the emails and phone calls to headhunters and colleagues? So many things, but which is more important. While I was getting ready to finish out day one I got an unusual text that has turned my perceived all-important job hunting priorities upside down. It read "So you think you could get off work for 5 days starting tomorrow to pick up cats in Montana?" "Oh gees." I thought. Actually, it was another word but you get the point.
Let me give you some background. My wife and I volunteer at an exotic cat sanctuary in Wylie, Texas. That's right. We rescue big cats. Lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, cheetahs. Did you know that there are more tigers in captivity in the state of Texas than there are in the wild in India? It boggles the mind. Lion cubs are the cutest things ever, but when they grow up they weigh between 400 and 600 lbs and require 8 to 12 pounds of meat each day. They need enough room to move around and you can't just pop them into a crate and shuttle them down to the local vet when they get sick. It's labor intensive and very expensive. Most people have no idea what they're getting themselves into. Also, the laws on exotic cat ownership are convoluted and vary from state to state. That's a recipe for disaster. That's where our sanctuary comes in. We care for neglected, abused and abandoned exotic cats.
How did I get into this? Glad you asked. Well, I used to hate cats. A lot. My wife wanted to volunteer at the rescue. But me? Meh. Not so much. She gave me the sales pitch and cajoled me. Said it would be a great thing to do together (insert sarcastic finger quotes) but she basically voluntold me we were going. I agreed it was a great idea. We went a few times and then it turned into an every Saturday thing. We helped at special events and then feeding nights. We also helped take sick cats to get X-rays and MRI's in Irving and also down to A&M. So here we are 3 years later and I love it. Over that time, some things about cats came into focus for me. I realized that cats, both exotic and domestic, are complex, complicated creatures that live life on their own terms. Unlike a dog, a cat picks you. Force it and you'll piss them off. If you let the energy flow, the connection will happen. And if it doesn't, it doesn't. It's that simple.
Anyway, back to the text. A million things started racing through my head. The first part was funny. Not funny haha. More like funny in sadistically ironic way. "So you think you could get off work for 5 days starting tomorrow." Psh. No problem. I've got time. Plenty of time. But 5 days? I have so much to do. I need to make calls and post and make connections and get out there. Then I re-read the second part: "...to pick up cats in Montana". Then my thoughts went to "what kind of cats?" What's their situation?" "Who has exotic cats in Montana?" So having nothing but time (sort of) and being fascinated by large cats, I answered the text quickly and decisively, "I'm not sure, let me find out". I called my wife and guess what her answer was? Duh. "Yes, and I wish I could go. Plus I think it would do you good to get away for a few days. It will be good for your soul". It made me think a bit. I wanted an impartial opinion so I reached out to my favorite daughter (She's my only daughter by the way). I explained the conundrum and she said "you shouldn't miss being able to go on an adventure. You can clear your mind and it will feed your soul". Smart girl. Did I mention that she was my favorite daughter?
So, I have taken the advice of a cat lover and 20 year old eternal optimist. I have reevaluated my priorities and the job hunt will have to wait for now. I am now on an adventure to Montana to rescue 2 tigers and a bobcat with enough open road to cleanse my soul to a brilliant white. It will be a marathon 60 hour drive stopping only to eat, gas up and pick up the cats. I should probably be back by Friday afternoon. I say probably because we are currently in the middle of Nowhere, Texas and the check engine light just turned on in one of our vans.
The adventure has begun!