random musings from a primate

The strange things done in the midnight sun…

Well, it’s time I shared the other big news of my life. After a year of hunting for a permanent, full-time position, I’ve been offered a position for a job I’m sure to love in Yellowknife.

For the geographically challenged folks out there, Yellowknife is the largest city (pop. 20K) in the North West Territories atop Canada –find Alberta on your map and let your eye drift northwards– and is rather close to the Arctic Circle. In fact, the picture at left was taken from my hotel room at about 1:00 or 1:30 am, and the midnight almost-sun shows the necessity of having thick curtains in the summertime. In the Winter months, there’s an equal amount of darkness. Summer temperatures range from 15-30C and the mercury in Winter can often drop to -30C. (People’s tires freeze to square shapes, I’m told.)

No doubt a few people are scratching their heads. Why, they ask, are you heading to a small, frigid place enshrouded by darkness half the year? Well, that’s a misperception, but I’ll deal with that in a minute.

The days of short-term contracts can be frustrating, especially when it comes to ensuring any sense of stability, and –with several mouths to feed– knowing where the next meal is coming from is always a worry. I used to love freelance work, but owing to a number of factors (mainly geography, overseas outsourcing, and those user-friendly technologies accessible to more amateurs), the contracts are becoming less frequent and less interesting. I want a job where I can grow, where I can learn, where I can exercise my media-related skills, and where I can become part of a team that really cares about what it’s doing. Jenny and I want a community that’s small enough to be close-knit, yet large enough to provide for our wants (including fresh produce like cilantro and mangos) — we want a place where we can feel comfortable settling down. And I’m a pretty rustic guy, so I like to commune frequently with the natural world, a faithful hound by my side.

I flew up to Yellowknife for a weekend (it took 23 hours to arrive from St. John’s, Newfoundland — a heck of a commute), and I got to know more about the organisation and the city. I can say that I was pleased at every turn. The company and its projects seem quite exciting, the opportunities for professional growth and learning are certainly there, and –hey– it’s mostly a Mac shop. Meanwhile, the people in the city (population about 20,000) are exceedingly friendly and culturally diverse, the shops seem to cater to every one of our necessities, and a wild and wonderful natural world of trees and lakes and animals is only minutes away. It’s also very warm, and the air is fresh and alive with all the greenery and flowers. Between the job and the location, it’s certainly the most exciting offer I’ve received, and there’s no hesitation in seizing it.

I’m in the throes of packing right now (Jenny just returned from hospital, so she won’t be in any condition to do much), and I’ll be heading north in the next few weeks to find a place and get things set up. Jenny, two-year-old Conor, and newborn Daniel will be joining me within a month or so. I must say, every indication points to a great future for the Johnston clan….


  1. June 19, 2006    

    Congratulations! :-)

  2. Deb Deb
    June 19, 2006    

    So happy for you and yours — sounds wonderful! :)

  3. June 20, 2006    

    Once again Doug, my congratulations. I wish you and the family every success.

  4. June 20, 2006    

    You don’t seem to be in much danger of boredom at the moment 😉

    Congratulations with this too, and I hope the move goes well.

    Apple must be doing something right. The things people will put up with to use a Mac at work…

  5. Charles O'Sullivan Charles O'Sullivan
    June 20, 2006    

    Congratulations on “new” addition and “job”. Hope all goes smoothly with transfer North and West – sounds absolutely fantastic.

  6. June 20, 2006    

    It sounds like a great opportunity. Best of luck and be sure and pack your long underware.

  7. June 20, 2006    

    Awesome Doug. Congratulations on everything. Both son and employer couldn’t have done better.

  8. Robert Robert
    June 20, 2006    

    Congratulations, Doug! An interesting job with room to grow, in a place you like… sounds like you have reason to be “pleased at every turn.” Take care, settle in, and keep your ink warm. :)

  9. June 20, 2006    

    For us non-canadian folks, here’s a link to a Google map of Yellowknife.

    Damn, that’s remote. Congratulations! It sounds like you’ll really enjoy it.

  10. June 21, 2006    

    Thanks for the Google map of Yellowknife. Looking at the satelite view, I search for outdoor pools and wasn’t able to find a single one. I’m wondering why… :-)

  11. Lee Lee
    June 21, 2006    

    My man, a hearty congratulations and we look forward to seeing not only your own photographic exploits as you go on your mammoth walks, trusty hound at your side, but also from Jen who will revel no doubt in the fantastic light and mood-lit opportunities. Love, again, to you all.

  12. June 24, 2006    

    Good move! We lived in Northern BC for 11 years. The North is a great place to bring up family and make lifelong friends. You will meet the most genuine of people. As for the cold, well 40 below is unpleasant, but 50 below with the wind just plain hurts. Get a goose down parka with real fur (remains flexible at any temperature), the Bay used to sell those Klondike parkas, and mukuluks. And make sure you tell us all of those neat stories!

  13. July 6, 2006    

    Your story is very coincidental to ours…Be sure to see our blog at http://livinginyellowknife.blogspot.com

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  1. the space above the couch » A Season for Changes on June 22, 2006 at 11:04 pm

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June 2006
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