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For those of us that worked/work seasonally, this concept of a 'real job' seems to always bubble up to the surface of our thoughts and emotions. Whether it's our own personal pressure we tend to put on ourselves, or it comes from our parents, peer group etc. You know, the friends that already have their Masters and are working in 'their fields'. The ones who are completely befuddled by our lifestyle choice and say things to us like - "When are you ever going to grow up?"

Well, what the heck IS a 'real job' anyhow? And who exactly decides that? Are we caving when we let others determine that for us? OR are we finally growing up?

And oh yeah...WHY doesn't working seasonally qualify???

Let's hear what you guys have to say on this matter.

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yep sorry folks that think it's not a real job but I think I win in that score. I could continue naming off the bonuses that I get with a seasonal job that all these folks only dream of ever having.

*nods* I agree with this - there are some real perks to the season work that some people will never understand. It's their loss.
First, wow. I'm thrilled to have inspired a discussion. :)

Second, the real job issue. I think the concept says something about the culture/society that we live in at least to some extent. There's the idea that you graduate high school, go off to college, graduate high school and then take the so called 'real job' - the career job as it were. Then there's that idea that you get to a certain age and you're 'supposed' to have the said real job as well as a certain salary and - viola - you've succeeded at this whole being an adult business. If you don't have that - then there's something wrong with you and you better take serious stock to find out what.

Well, that's one way to look at it. There's this other side that isn't quite so self defacing that says the real job is the Dream Job. That one job you would really love to have - where the salary is awesome, the work is fun, the co-workers are great people, ect., ect. - I know I've had a few jobs in my life that I just hated that have lead me to think things like, "I can't wait to quit this place and get a real job."

So, I guess, (pardon me as I'm sort of thinking out loud here) it depends on how you look at it. A Personal way (the Dream Job idea) and the Society, friends and family can be included in this, way to look at it.

On a personal level the real job would be a job that encorporates both this type of lifestyle that many of us on this site enjoy AND the decent salary and perks that come with society's idea of the 'real job'.

I'll be curious to know what others think - and I do hope my ramblings made some sort of sense. :)
Hi Kathi, I've used "real job" many times. I have always used it as the definition of a job, or career, where you're somewhat comfortable at working, or satisfied with your advancement potential, but the first and main benefit that you'll mention is that it pays the bills and maybe save a little. I use it whenever my friends and family question my moving on...as in "Why would I want a real job?" I use it when I'm interviewing for a new position...if the HR person talks about renumeration before selling me that their place is in the best location, I'm probably looking elsewhere. Right now, I'm at a resort that operates throughout the year and was planning on staying through the winter, I could work at this cool new ski in/out restaurant on the mountain...but I'm getting this gut feeling, like this is beginning to be a "real job." I think I'll be OK the rest of the summer, but by fall, I'll need to move on.

In my situation, I don't think my friends and family would ever use it negatively towards me. One, they know some personal things about me...about why exploring is more important to me than material things. Two, they know I'm not happy nor at my best unless I'm busting my butt. Three, I'm happy, almost freakishly ALL the time. And finally, they're not fond of me laughing in their faces. The "grow up" question...I might squint at them...maybe give them a "duhhh"...maybe I should pick up some of those Bill Engvall's signs...
According to society, a real job is essentially a career. One aquires a home and outrageous amounts of debt for what we "need" (I say want). I call a career (real job) a trap and imprisonment because the employer essentially owns the employee. I did "real jobs" after I left the Marine Corps for several years and was utterly miserable. Now as a Coolworker, I see places and things that most will not. Even the tourists who come to town have only a few hours to see the place and therefore never learn the true vibe of the town.
My family and friends in the lower 48 are either jealous that I do what I do or think I am nuts for not being materialistic like them. I feel sorry for them... they will never know true freedom. They have to make a good income or they lose everything they value.

If we as humans are to ever live sustainably we will have to re-define what is "real". Having two cars, three tv's, more and more stuff.... just how much is actually needed vs. wanted? I define real as the nature that is here before we pave it over... ALL life benefits from that, not just humans.

I AM in a real job... and I am free.
This sounds familiar!! :)

"So I'm having a problem that I feel like sharing.

I took a job in Reno, working at the Olive Garden. Supposedly, it's the 3rd busiest Olive Garden in the country.

My problem is, I'm making on average, around 70 bucks a night. That's rediculous. I've worked in resorts all over the country, often in the middle of nowhere, and made double that, consistantly.

How am I supposed to reintegrate myself into normal society when it just doesn't pay enough? Why should I work at a "real" job that doesn't pay as much, that's in a crappy city? I could work in some of the most beautiful places in the US, make twice the money, and hang out with cool people from all over the world. Work six months, pick a new place.

Recently I got offered a job in Alaska. I should have taken it. The only lesson I can say I've learned lately, is the safe road is boring. You know where it ends up, and besides that... seems like risks pay more money, too."
I agree...the safe road is boring. We are the lucky ones. We get to live in amazing places, spend our time out in nature, meet people from all over the world, and still get paid for our time. A "real job" comes with just as many headaches as anything else. At least I am compensated by living in an amazing place and gaining some irreplaceable experiences.

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