Living & Working in Great Places
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The biggest question I had when I first began working seasonal places was how to do it year round. On the old bulletin board system that was part of the CoolWorks website, I was not getting quite the answers that I was hoping for. I could find people that primarily worked the 'summer' season, those that worked at year-round opportunities, and some that worked the 'winter' season. But it wasn't easy to find people that went from place to place to place.
I found more once I got started so I know I'm not alone in this keep on moving along experience. Comparing strategies has not always been easy though. Some people just wing it...and that's cool. But I also have heard from many of these people that there is a season here and there where you will not be able to find anything that works out. Um...not an option with me.
Many people develop a primary and secondary season. One that is all about getting as much money as possible, and then the next season is all about fun. Example, loading up the $$$ during the summer and skiing as much as possible in the winter.
Some people have a usual stop for one of the seasons repeating a favorite place year after year, and looking for different places the rest of the year.
I have an original 7-year plan, which I should be revising soon, that I have sometimes followed as a guideline. I usually start thinking about the next year's season as soon as I find the gig for that year. While many of you were searching for where you would like to go this summer...as soon as I found my destination I was looking at where to go in 2014. It's by far the easiest time to research the possibilities, and without the time pressure of actually wondering if you should fill out that application.
I have a variety of countdowns for a variety of reasons. The biggest is my "homeless" countdown. That's one recognizing the date of my last known gig. When that drops below 180 days (6 months), I begin to take the next search more seriously. For example, my 2013 summer opportunity is one of Alaska's 4-month seasons. So while that season has not started yet, I'm also really thinking about what's next.
What are your strategies?
so do u plan on quitting for a month? a "leave-of-absence" will work out better then quitting because if u quit, u won't be hired back that fast. Hopefully your friend is still there with the apt, because the waiting list for apts are long.
Great discussion topic, Keith. Thanks for posting it.
Why not try to make your winter season the profitable one? I've spent the past three winters (October though May) in Death Valley and my summers have been working vacations in other national parks. It's a long season, which gives you time to make more money while getting a little settled in and not freaking out quite as much about the looming unemployment that awaits when your contract ends. A lot of my friends do the same thing with steady winter gigs in ski resorts. It's definitely not that easy to make it work, but let's be honest, it's not that hard either.
Hi Krista. Thanks for your input. I have seen the primary/secondary seasonal strategy be successful many times. I think I only used the longer more profitable summer example...but I also know several that use the reverse you and your friends are doing.
I have done the repeat a couple of times, once now on each end. It does feel nice and makes it easier. But then I remember my main purpose of working seasonally is to share new experiences with new people at new places. The jobs themselves and the money is really secondary to me....but at the same time I'm usually one of the strongest workers and do a bit better than OK money-wise too. It's just that there are more than 30 places I want to explore in each of the seasons...and I'm 51...so a repeat does feel great now and then but I keep thinking that means I'll be missing somewhere else.
I love that somebody posted about this, because this is exactly what I'm looking into.
I'm working at a summer camp presently; been putting in the research for the winter season. I've found that there are many places that aren't even taking applications until August, or their sites are out-of-date and I just don't know where to look or what to expect! Never worked a winter seasonal job before.
Somewhere close to Denver would be best; my sister lives there. Otherwise, trying to keep it on-the-cheap and looking for a job that provides housing. I would love to read other people's opinions and strategies for this keep-it-moving approach.
Hi Marie. Summer camps tend to have such short quick seasons. When does your current job end? Are you only looking for jobs dealing with music...or what other areas? There will be a couple popping up shortly especially Arizona's ranch season. Followed by a few ski areas in July...but, yes, most places will not start looking for most positions until August or even right after Labor Day.
If your work agreement is over early enough (by mid-Sept) your strategy might be finding a shoulder opening. There are many places where the "summer" season stretches into late October and perhaps November. They lose quite a few college students and have several late openings to fill. This summer I have a quick one month late summer position after my main summer job ends. These are usually found July/Aug when the HR departments have a better idea on what their immediate needs will be.
Is Copper close enough? They are usually one of the earlier ski resorts and I think their housing is a bit more reasonable than the average ski housing cost$$$.
Thanks for the heads up on late summer ranch positions! I didn't know!
Copper might be close enough. Might be a little spendier than I'd like.
I applied to Deer Valley. Togwotee also sounds neat!
Couldn't agree more! I landed my 2014 summer season in Feb and have already started thinking an looking into what comes after Oct 31st. I am spending the summer at Lake Powell and hope to slide out to a ski resort for winter.
I guess perhaps I have been one of those people that just wings it season by season. In the summer I work at summer resorts in or near National Parks where I work and hike all summer. In the winter I work at Ski Resorts where I work and ski for free all winter and average about 79 days of skiing per winter with this winter alone skiing 141 days with my end goal being 161 days of skiing.
I tend to apply for jobs when I have like a month or two left in my season and most times I have landed a job, in all honesty I have always left jobs knowing I have another job lined up. I guess I don't really plan where I will end up. I just feel confident knowing that the places that I have worked end up paying off because future employeers see that and end up hiring me. I most times don't care what the job is just as long as I get to do what I want to do on my days off which I end up being able to do.