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Women Who Went for It! is a bi-weekly podcast, hosted by Career Change Agent, Sara McArdle. The show features inspiring chats with successful industry changers who share how they found the clarity, courage and motivation to step into a deeper vocation and a life of meaning and fulfillment. We hope you'll see just how many before you have GONE for it—and they're eternally grateful that they took the risk!

Oct 14, 2018

Women Who Went for It Podcast Guest: Sadie Rusby

In this episode, Sara talks with Sadie Rusby about her choice to cycle the world before going to university and then working short term, contract positions in the environmental field, all while keeping her eye on her big dream: working in Antarctica. Sadie shares how she learned to trust her gut and trust the universe, how an unexpected job as a "warehouse worker" was the key to her success, and how she gets to use so many of her diverse skills and interests in her current role. She paints a picture of what it's like to live and work on a continent so few people know very much about, describing its climate, topography, wildlife, and darkness and light, as well. Today, Sadie works in McMurdo Station in Antarctica. She has held different roles since her first deployment to the ice more than 3 years ago, including supply/warehousing supervisor and IT instructor. Now, she works for the station’s waste management company, Best Recycling.
Sara and Sadie discuss:
  • How they know one another
  • The challenges of arranging the interview
  • Sadie signing up, in 1995, for an around the world bike trip celebrating the millennium
  • Cycling through 42 countries in one year, on all continents except Antarctica
  • Meeting a scientist from the South Pole while on her trip
  • Deciding she wanted to work in Antarctica and applying for jobs there
  • A friend suggesting she should work in the Marshall Islands first
  • Getting a job there running a marina
  • Going to university and studying environmental science
  • Becoming a licensed massage therapist
  • Only being able to find short-term contract jobs in environmental work
  • Getting laid off
  • Applying for her three required jobs per week, per unemployment requirements
  • Applying for a job titled "warehouse worker" at University of Washington
  • Getting a rare call back and being invited to interview
  • Not being excited about working in a warehouse
  • Realizing the job was about process improvement and getting excited
  • Working there for a year
  • Completing her contract position and deciding to try applying in Antarctica again
  • Getting hired to work for supply and warehousing in Antarctica
  • Getting promoted to supervisor and in charge of flight operations
  • The wide variety of skills it takes to work in Antarctica
  • Transitioning to a new software program with relative ease
  • Getting hired as IT Trainer in Antarctica
  • Getting hired for waste management in Antarctica
  • Being in charge of a big, public auction for equipment from Antarctica
  • An epic bike trip she and her brothers took in the western US during high school
  • What she learned about herself and life while biking around the world
  • More about the Marshall Islands and Kwajalein
  • The importance of applying for jobs that you're curious about—even you're skeptical
  • Finally riding her bike in Antarctica (!)
  • The actual South Pole
  • Countries that have a presence in Antarctica
    (*Sadie said 22, but let me know later that there are actually 30 nations and a total of 70 stations)
  • Environmental rules in Antarctica (i.e. no peeing in the snow!)
  • Social life and culture in Antarctica
  • McMurdo Alternative Art Gallery
  • The manic energy of "summer" in Antarctica (24 hours of light)
  • A month of purple sunrise / sunset skies
  • Weather conditions 1, 2 and 3 (blowing snow, extreme cold, etc.) and how they impact life
  • What it's like to live in 24 hours of darkness
  • The mountainous landscape in Antarctica
  • Wildlife in Antarctica (including penguins!)
  • Being nervous about what to do next for work, after Antarctica
  • Realizing that she enjoys short-term work
  • Sadie's practice of trusting the universe
  • Her favorite personal growth resources, including Brené Brown's TED talk on vulnerability
  • Sadie's #1 piece of advice for people going for their big dreams
  • ...and more!
Sadie's full bio:
Sadie Rusby’s career and life path has been non-traditional, but goal-oriented from the start. Not knowing what to do study in college, she decided to travel instead. At seventeen, she signed up for a year-long bicycle trip around the world and worked odd jobs during the five years leading up to the trip. Afterward, while looking to fulfill a life goal of working in Antarctica—the last continent she needed to bicycle—she found her way to the Marshall Islands, where she supervised a marina. She started college at 25, and and by 30, she was a licensed massage therapist with her own massage business. Since earning her BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington, she has worked several jobs in the environmental field, including environmental education, environmental assessments, and wind energy. In 2014, Sadie's dream of working in Antarctica became a reality. She currently works in McMurdo Station in Antarctica. She has held different roles since her first deployment to the ice more than 3 years ago, including supply/warehousing supervisor and IT instructor. Now, she works for the station’s waste management company, Best Recycling.