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groundskeeping career advice

Posted by indognito (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 30, 10 at 23:12

Hello all,
I'm seeking advice on a possible career change. I currently work at a professional job that has absolutely nothing to do with groundskeeping, but am considering making a transition into the field. I have no prior experience in groundskeeping (other than planting my own gardens and mowing the properties of some friends and family). While my current job pays relatively well, I've come to realize that being outdoors is very important to me. I'm also quite introverted, and after researching possible jobs that would complement my love of the outdoors as well as my introversion, have realized that there are very few--and groundskeeping might be one of them.
Now, I realize that a lot of groundskeeping work is very low-paying. My hope, however, is that there are full-time groundskeeping jobs out there, perhaps working for cities, parks departments or colleges, that pay well enough for a lower-middle-class lifestyle, and it is to this type of job that I would aspire. (I know I'd have to start off at an entry level job.) I have no interest in being a manager or in owning my own business or even, frankly, in having a lot of money--I just want to be outside, receive orders, follow them to the best of my abilities, get paid and go home.
I don't know if this is even the right place to pose such a question, but thought it was worth a try. Do such groundskeeping jobs exist, and is the best way to obtain one to start in an entry level groundskeeping position somewhere, such as for a lawn care company, and work your way up? Should I seek a professional degree if I have no plans or desire to become a manager?
Thank you for any advice you can offer!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: groundskeeping career advice

The jobs do exist. It is certainly a bad time to be looking at state or city jobs with the economic nightmare we are living through. Also, you might want to read the forum on "What to do when your body wears out."
I have worked for the state of CA, private landscape contractors and now work on a private estate. I do have a hort degree which definitely helped getting my first jobs. Most of the people working for the city and state have very little experience when they start. Most of my co-workers with the state could not function in private employment. They just couldn't take the pace. Something else you might want to consider is that alot of the time you are digging ditches, spending time behind or riding noisy machinery, spraying weeds etc. There are always co-workers and the public to deal with in any gardening situation.

The pay range now for Ca I think is $2800-3000 a month, plus benefits. But remember, that is all changing with the budget crisis that every state and municipality is going through. I wouldn't change jobs right now. And one last thing, in the spring and fall I get lots of people saying how great it would be to have my job. No one says that in the summer when it's roasting hot, or in the winter when it's pouring rain and freezing cold. Imagine the joy of living in your rain suit and rubber boots 8 hours a day!!

RE: groundskeeping career advice

Thanks xylosma! You make some good points--especially about the whole "this job is great when it's 72 degrees and sunny." I've done a lot of thinking about that, since I do hate to be cold and wet. I was hoping that wearing with proper clothing would help with that...but it may be the sort of thing one has to experience day in and day out to truly appreciate. I'm also 34, which means physically it's all downhill from here (though hopefully the decline will not be too steep!)

And yes, I think you're right about treading cautiously given the changing (crashing) budget situations. I was hoping I could get part-time grounskeeping work in addition to my current job and see where that takes me. Thanks for the advice!

RE: groundskeeping career advice

Try local University for grounds jobs I'm in my 20th year at local University

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