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Greetings all.

I'm in a dead end job. My stress level is at a boiling point.

Could a person survive working only seasonal jobs.

I'm not retired and I don't have a pension to fall back on.

Please advise

Thanks!

Mark

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Hi Mark

I don't know if you're still following your thread or not since it's been a week or so since the last response. I read through the whole thing and thought I'd give you my opinion. 

First, I'm in my early 40s and I've been working seasonal jobs off and on since my 20s. Some were pretty good. Some not so much. I've done everything from teach English in Russia and Mexico to crewing on private yachts and I've waited more tables and tended more bars than I can count.  Currently, my husband and I have a yacht maintenance company in Florida and I work freelance on yachts as well.  I'm chomping at the bit to get out of here and back to seasonal work somewhere a little more interesting.

What I would suggest to you, if you're serious, about this lifestyle and living in an RV, is to get rid of 75% of your stuff. Then when you do that, get rid of a little more. Don't sell your house, you might want to go home. Rent it out instead. Is there someone you could cut in on the rent to check on it while you're gone? If not, find a real estate agent or rental agency who will manage it for you. Rent it out as soon as you can. Even while you're still at your current job. Find yourself the smallest studio apartment you can and live in it. If you can deal with that small space you may be able to tolerate an RV. 

Do you have any skills that pertain to hospitality? Have you worked in a hotel or restaurant? If not, try to find a part-time job in one. That way, you'll gain experience and a little extra money you can start a retirement fund/buy some health insurance with. It will be up to you to take care of these things yourself since your employer won't. If you can't handle that, then you'll need to seriously rethink seasonal work. 

If you aren't looking for hospitality type work, can you ski, sail, raft, horseback ride, hike? Do you have a CDL? If no to any of those things consider learning. I can't say I've every met a seasonal graphic designer. Actually, I did have a neighbor fresh out of college when I lived in the Virgin Islands who was art/graphic design graduate, but he was working on a catamaran that catered to cruise ship tourists. Now he lives in Hawaii and is an artist and surfer. So see, you never know where your road may lead.

Do you deal well with a diverse set of people? Can you stand to answer the same questions over and over with enthusiasm like the person who asked it was the first ever to do so? I cannot count how many times I had to answer how I wound up in interior Alaska since I'm from Florida. Being a real "people person" is huge and really hard to fake. 

How do you feel about working really long hours and filling in for absent co-workers? It seems like seasonal workers are notorious about not necessarily showing up for every scheduled shift. Of course, this is just my experience. As an older worker, I would assume, you won't stay out until 3 in the morning when you know you have to be at work at 6. Speaking of co-workers, how do you get along with 20-somethings and college students? They'll make up the majority of your co-workers. 

There were several jobs I got that I worked at and while I was there I picked up another part-time job as well. One place I had 2 full time jobs and a part-time job. I was younger then and the economy was much better and employers were having a tough time filling jobs. With all the money I saved that winter, I traveled around the U.S. a bit and then moved to St Thomas and was able to live for 4 months before I even thought about getting a job.

If you think you can handle all of these things you might make a good seasonal worker. Your rewards will not be employer sponsored insurance, paid vacation and a retirement plan. Your rewards will be amazing locations, great friendships and memories you will never regret.

I wish you luck in your journey.

Very good advice from someone who obviously has walked the walk! I am doing seasonal work in Yellowstone this summer for the first time. I'm a recently retired teacher and I have an interest in working in Alaska  at some point if I enjoy this summer. Is it any harder to find a position in Alaska than the lower 48?

Katetastrophee-

Sounds like sound wisdom. My house will be on the market this Spring.
I understand your advise regarding renting not selling. I really have no plans of returning to St. Louis. I've wasted too many good years in a city that I've grown to despise. I need and want a clean break.

Although I've worked most of my career as a graphic designer
It would not break my heart if I ever worked in this field again.

I'm very responsible and have a strong work ethic. I have a working history with many skills and experiences. Carpentry, masonry, Worked in many restaurants (prep and main cook. busser and server.  Assistant  manager major health and fitness center. Clerk for hallmark book and card store. Marine Corps leadership skills.

I'm very fit. Former bodybuilder. for the past 20 years
I've raced many marathon and ultrarunner marathons.

I can work well with just about anyone. I think I have a great
personality and a genuine Southern accent.....:^).

Mark

Larry--I think getting jobs in Alaska is a little easier as long as you don't mind what the job is. Unfortunately, it seems as if the season is a bit shorter than in the lower 48. That said, I have seen some year round positions in some places in Alaska. Depending on what you taught, or maybe even not, I think you could probably qualify for some interesting positions like naturalist or tour leader. For those sorts of positions having a teaching background would be very beneficial. One of the driver/guides I worked with year before last was a music teacher during the school year and the Alaska season worked perfectly for his schedule.

Mark-- Funny, I'm originally from St Louis. Well, about an hour-ish south (JeffCo), but I lived in the Loo for several years and left as soon as I realized I was free to go ;-p

To me it sounds like you have an excellent background for seasonal work. And if you find a place you like through working a seasonal job you can always settle into the community with the background you have. You just have to let go of the fear of the future. Easier said than done, I know. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the cost of living where you are now is going to be lower than a lot of places that offer seasonal work. When I go back to visit I'm amazed at how much lower prices are for just about everything. Even seafood is cheaper and I live right on the Atlantic Ocean.

My favorite quote comes from a fellow Missourian. I'm sure you've heard it, too:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Twain

Mark, I think it would definitely depend on the type of work you do. Last summer was my first time doing seasonal work it was great! I worked for the Princess Company in Denali as a food server. Right now I am a food server at Chena Hot Springs Resort, AK and am heading back to work @ Denali for the summer season. So, with seasonal jobs it depends on what you do and where you go. I think you could do well if you stick to a budget and stay goal oriented. I don't drink so that saves me LOTS of money!

If you want to make seasonal work fulltime I advise that you pay off all your bills and save up money in case something unexpected comes up. Living paycheck to paycheck is not a good idea in the seasonal world.

Agreed

 

Hi Mark,

 I am always amazed when no one ever mentions Yosemite NP.  It seems to be the best 'secret' in seasonal work.  First of all, Yosemite is open year round, so you can stay 365 days of the year if you chose.  You may have to rebid on a job once summer is over, but you can easily stay.  I am a driver there, so even though I am laid off in Nov., I can stay and be on call-keeping my dorm room, and living ever so cheap there. My dorm rent is $20 a week!  Can't beat that with a spoon.  Yes, I do live in a tiny dorm room, but both summers I have been blessed with great roommates.  If you do have a problem, you can always ask to move.  We can be on the meal ticket plan, which includes 3 meals a day for a week-only $45.  We eat where the regular tourists eat, so we eat good.  We are also union.  I have health insurance, paid holidays, sick leave, etc.  Now the downer side:  It takes 2 summers to get benefits because you have to work 120 days to be eligible for health insurance, and the rest.  But I have it now, and just used it to have a complete hip operation.  I am a teamster, so I make decent money.  The service people at Yosemite are in another union, and are on a different pay scale.  I can live on my bills of $260 for housing and meal card so easily, saving so much more of my money than I ever could in the 'real world'.  I don't have utilities to pay for, don't have to cook or do hardly any cleaning.  I do my job-the rest of my time is mine to hike or  travel, etc.  So liberating.  The dorms have free laundry facilities, a tv room, a kitchen if you chose to cook.  The shuttle system is so good in Yosemite, one doesn't need a car to get around. The only drawback:  it is SO CROWDED in the peak months.  But I work with a great bunch of people, DNC treats us fairly, and it's a beautiful place to work.  Hope this helps.

Hi Cathy!
Great information. The fact that your a union driver I would think you earn more than the usual $10-$12 an hour. I was thinking about getting my CDL licenses. Does staff have other housing options? I have two small boston terriers.

  Mark

Hi Mark,

 I started out at $12.??.  I now make $14.42 approx.  There is overtime as well.  The only option for you with animals is to live outside of employee housing, which I think would mean outside the park, at an RV camp.  I had a girlfriend check it out last year, didn't seem terrible for monthly rates.  The closest would be Mariposa, or just outside the park somewhere.  Seasonal jobs don't allow for dogs, cats in the rooms.  Yosemite also needs Class A CDL drivers, and they make more of course.  So you might want to consider getting your Class A if you are going for it anyhow.  I have a Class B CDL.  You get more variety with a Class A.  DNC dispatch was always worked with me if I needed a medical day off or something.  When it is slow, you can even volunteer to take the day off, etc.  It's been like semi retirement for me, I work 5 months and am laid off 7 months of the year!  Getting used to this!   Cathy

Cathy,

I like what I've read here, will definately keep this in  mind myself, as I have a CDL C at the moment, and will be upgrading to a CDL A in a month or so.  I was once offered a job at the Ahwahnee, but to be a cook, and they responded to me almost a full year after I applied (ended up going eslewhere).  How early does one need to apply for a driving position at Yosemite?  Are there no driving jobs in Yosemite during the winter?

Mark-

The only way that you would be able to keep your pets would be to live in your own trailer or motorhome but that is usually best for older people anyway. I disagree that seasonal employers want only younger workers. Seasonal job recruiters are only interested whether you can do the job, are dependable and, will stay for the full season. They really don’t care how old you are. I just started a seasonal work career last year at age 65. I am having no trouble getting interesting jobs with National Park concessionaires and at ski resorts. That said, you will NOT make a lot of money and don’t even try it if you have a big car payment or house payment, etc. but, if you have very little in the way of bills and don't spend too much on partying and drink, you can even save money.

Mycoolworks and coolworks.com are great resources for both jobs and information on the best places to work. Summer season jobs usually run from Mid-May/Early-June to late-September/early-October and ski resort/ winter jobs usually start in early December and run to mid-April so, you will, most likely, always have a month or so off in the fall to visit friends or family in between seasonal jobs.

It’s a great lifestyle for the unencumbered but it’s not for everyone. And, yes, if you don't have a motor home, you will probably have to share a room or at least a bathroom with other people. It's kind of like going back to college! If you decide to give seasonal work a try, I would suggest trying a job somewhere that you would really like to spend some time either in a National Park with great hiking/backpacking opportunities or Ski resort if you like to ski/snowboard. Right now, I am living in Aspen, CO and snowboarding 2 or more days a week. Not a bad lifestyle.  Good Luck!

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