It’s no secret, I think my life is pretty awesome. All of the wonderful things about RVing brought up in the last post are great things to point to, but I realized there’s something I left out of that list that bears mentioning. Something I really didn’t consider a perk of constant travel that luckily worked out in my favor.
I love working seasonal jobs instead of having a regular full-time job. Here’s six reasons why:
- Better relationships with coworkers. I talked about this before in my Seasonal jobs and Communities post last summer. When your social life consists pretty much entirely of your coworkers, you get to know them better and are more forgiving of their faults. There is no competition for raises, promotions, or getting to work on that special project, because we’re all only around temporarily which makes for a more fun work environment.
- You can take more “vacation time” without feeling like letting the business down, and can choose jobs in such a way that you get that time when you want it. No having to hope you get in your time off request first, or worrying about trying to take time off during a black-out period. I say vacation time in quotes, because what I really mean is you get to decide how soon you want to start your next seasonal job after the current one ends. This winter and last winter I had a period of a month or so worked into my schedule so that I could visit friends and family and get work done on the RV. I’d like to see a full-time job that let you have a full month off in one big chunk. Plus I’d always have the problem at my full-time jobs of not wanting to take time off because I worried about how the business and my coworkers were going to cope without me – it’s not like there were people standing by to jump in to take my place when I wanted to take vacation.
- Some people thrive in high stress environments, I am not one of them. I enjoy my work more when I can take my time and do it well rather than rush rush rush in the name of productivity but not be able to give the task my best effort. In seasonal jobs, there are less expectations, less pressure, and lower stress. That’s not to say that I don’t have a good work ethic because I do – I can truthfully say that I have never held a job in my life that would not be happy to have me back, but I enjoy my work much more when it’s at a slower pace. This also ties in with the not feeling like I have to impress the people I work with and for thing. If a seasonal job doesn’t work out for either me or my employer, I can simply move on. There is plenty of other work out there I can do, I’m not tied to one geographical location like someone living stationary and having a regular job.
- Seasonal jobs reduce the boredom factor of working, a lot. There is some variation to this depending on what your full-time job is, but for most people eventually a new job settles into a routine after a while. It becomes ordinary and expected, yes there may be new situations that pop up every now and then, but the longer you work a job the less it’ll surprise you, the more your working day will fall into a rut of routine, and the more, well, boring it gets. A lot of seasonal jobs aren’t high skill, they’re the sorts of jobs that can get boring after a while – but luckily you won’t have to work them long enough for that to be an issue. And you can mix things up too, and alternate between different kinds of jobs to keep things fresh. I did retail last summer, warehouse last fall, and now outdoors maintenance/science related.
- As a RVer, one of the reasons you’re traveling is to see new locations. Having to work while you travel at first might see like a hindrance to this goal, because you’re in one location for several months at a time instead of hopping from attraction to attraction like the vacationing RVers and full-timers without jobs might do. But really, working while you travel gives a pretty neat balance: You’ll get to see more things that the person just taking two weeks of vacation a year, and yet you’ll likely have supervisors and coworkers who have lived in the area you’re visiting long enough to tell you all the good places to eat, and interesting of-overlooked attractions that the typical RVer who stays for less time will never hear about.
- Ever thought you might want to switch careers or just learn a new skill set? If you prefer the hands on approach to reading about it in books, then seasonal jobs are a great way to try something different without having to spend money for a teacher or make a long-term commitment with a full-time job. This past week I met a new volunteer at the OSBS. He’s looking to get started as a firefighter, but needs a certain about of forestry experience before he’ll be able to get anywhere near a firefighting crew. He’s taken a few classes, and those classes allowed him to sign on with the station to do volunteer work to further his goals. I was hired on for the simpler manual labor stuff that required no experience or education: trimming back trees from roads, maintaining fences, pulling up invasive plants under the supervision of someone with the know-how, but I pretty much have backdoor access to the more complicated aspects of working at the OSBS that would normally require these things. I’ve learned a lot about local plants and wildlife, how to drive an ATV, how to use motorized tools, forestry practices, prescribed burns, all sorts of things I’d normally have to pay to learn about (the OSBS is not open to the public), and I get to learn about them as part of my volunteer hours around other kinds of work.
What about the rest of you seasonal workers out there, anything to add?
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This past Wednesday I updated my Amazon CamperForce overview post and brought it all up to date, plus added links to every CamperForce related post I’ve done since. So if you’ve been thinking about trying Amazon out this coming holiday season, you should check it out!
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