By Jessica Sell Chambers
Surviving in Jackson takes skills, plural, as many residents—author included—have numerous jobs. According to Matt Donovan, his many hats aside, to live in Jackson means expecting challenges and persevering, giving back when you can, and appreciating both diversity and tradition.
BOJH: You started your own windshield repair business this year called Rock N Roll Mobile Glass Repair. How apropos. How many jobs do you have?
Matt: I work between four and five days at The Bird as a server year-round. From mid-November to mid-January I work with Christmas trees and lights, delivering, setting up, then removing trees and putting lights on building exteriors of all kinds from houses to the hotels in Teton Village. I also buy and sell vinyl records, hosting two sales in the valley per year and traveling as a seller to regional shows, usually about two to three times per year.
BOJH: You also volunteer. Will you tell us a little bit about that?
Matt: I volunteer DJ at KHOL on Wednesday’s from 11am-1pm. I do this because it helps support a community non-profit and allows me to spread my passion for music. I also usually pick a couple causes during the holiday tree season to either donate my time or resources to. The holiday season has a lot of different meanings to people, and often people just need a little extra love and light at that time of year.
BOJH: What brought you to Jackson? What was your first job? Best job? Worst job?
Matt: I graduated college in 2007, and wanted to spend a winter as a ski bum. It snowed 600” that winter and everyone kept hyping up the summer. So I gave it a shot. Turns out those people were right. My first winter I worked 7 days a week between the Mangy Moose Market & Cellars and the Teton Mountain Lodge. My best job or period of employment was when I was playing and touring in a successful band and booking the music as the Pink Garter reopened and the Rose was built. My worst jobs have usually been for places that are just opening that are going through a lot of growing pains and don’t have internal systems and policies dialed.
BOJH: Why do you stay here? What’s the best part of life in Jackson? Worst part?
Matt: The quality of life is second to none…To be able to pull it off full time is a serious victory…On one hand the cover shots of our newspapers have people skiing and pictures of moose, while the world’s more serious issues are buried at least three pages back. That’s a true metaphor for life in Jackson…We have decided to make Jackson our forever home and that is an agreement to face many challenges.
BOJH: Advice for newcomers?
Matt: It is crucial to make contributions to the community outside of employment. It sincerely irritates me that we are in a housing crisis and becoming known as a great place to move and work remotely. Support the place you care about, don’t just exploit it.
BOJH: Is there anything you hope never changes about Jackson?
Matt: I hope the people that love this place continue to have varied backgrounds, experiences etc. Diversity is what essentially progressed this from an area dominated by ranching to a world-renowned recreation area…Jackson continues to evolve in positive ways and there are some lingering traditional values that while important to the culture can still inhibit important progress for life in a very different time. Do what you can to contribute to a vibrant cultural community and celebrate/promote diversity.