This week I received a temporary promotion. The division chief of Interpretation and Education at our park is leaving to become the park superintendent at a park in Idaho. It is going to take the park a while to advertise and fill this vacancy so the park management advertised an opportunity for a temporary assignment (we call them details in the NPS) for this job. I have been contemplating whether I might like to eventually go into a park management position so I jumped at the chance to test drive this kind of a job. Lucky for me, no one else even applied. So, ta-da, come September 1st, I will be the Chief of the Division of Interpretation and Education for four months.
It should be a grand adventure. It will be a little like a sociological field trip. Think Margaret Mead in Samoa. The institutional cultures between my current division (planning, science, and resource management) and the interp. folks are wildly different. They like to hug, we like to argue. They like to plan WAY in advance, we like to plan today for tomorrow. We like data, they like good photos. Well, we like good photos too, so maybe we have that in common. I'm sure I can't mess up their gig too much in a mere four months. I'll do my best to help them out however I can and to learn more about what it is like to be a park manager (does it totally suck or only partially suck??).
For now, since it is only temporary, I won't make you call me Chief.