From the Salem, MO. Ranger’s Desk April 2018

Recently we were invited to participate in the Career Day at Salem High School. Typical of my presentation I ask three students to come to the front of the class. I tell one of the students that they are the owner of the local Salem Burger Shop and they need to hire someone to flip hamburgers. For the other two students, I tell them they are applying for the “one” job of flipping hamburgers. I give one of the job seekers a driver’s license and the other job seeker does not get a driver’s license. I then tell the owner of Salem Burger Shop that they can only hire one person and that of the two job seekers all things are equal. The only difference is one of them has a driver’s license and the other one does not. I then ask the owner of Salem Burger Shop, “Who are you going to hire for the “one” opening you have?”

Now I have done this presentation for over 20 years at career days all over this country. And today during the three session we held at Salem high School all three of the students who were the Shop owners selected the applicant who had the driver’s license. When asked why they selected the applicant with the driver’s license and not the other applicant, they all replied “Because they have a driver’s license and I know they can get to work.” I remind them that Salem is a small town and the other applicant lives nearby and can walk to work. I also ask, what does having a driver’s license, have to do with flipping hamburgers?

The point of this presentation is to show the students that when they are applying for jobs, employers are not just looking at your ability to perform the work at hand, they are also looking at what other “credentials” such as drivers license, high school diplomas, college degrees and certificates’ of a trade they may possess.

In our closing remarks to the students we reminded them to not sell themselves short, finish high school and if at all possible continue their education by attending college or a trade school.

As for employment with the USDA Forest Service, at a minimum you need a high school diploma and most of our employees all hold college degrees.

For more information about the Mark Twain National Forest or the Salem Ranger District in particular, you can contact us at 573-729-6656 or look us up on the internet at

Get out and enjoy your National Forest!

Thom Haines
Salem Ranger District
Mark Twain National Forest