Living & Working in Great Places
I am wondering who here does these seasonal/temp jobs full time? I have been mulling over the idea of quitting my job after the New Year, and traveling around the country (via motorcycle) working at various resorts as a full time gig, one obvious limitation is I would be limited to those places that include housing and food ideally.
I am 25 years old (will be 26 when I start this journey) and would love to speak with some people who are doing this. I am not so much interested in someone who is working at a resort year round, full time. More so people who are driving from spot to spot to work for a few months, pick up after the term is up, and move on to the next place.
Please post here or send me a private message so we can chat!
Thanks Jason! Some good inormation you provided me with. Do you stick with the same job at every location (example, being a cook at every place), or do you switch it up depending on the location? Have you been working for all individual resorts, or working for one of the big one's (ex, Aramark)?? How have you been getting from place to place, car, bus, plane?? Thanks again for the info!
I have been doing this since 2006. Except I fly, train, bus or ferry instead of motorcycling.
Thanks Keith! Do you generally stick with one position at every new place of employement, or do you change it depending on what location you are headed to? Also, are most of the places you are working at providing a place to stay with meals provided?
I'd like to change it up more often. I have worked one season in retail, and another I was an in management at a deli and spent a lot of time out in the front. But I'm a cook/chef/baker with more than 20 years kitchen experience. Cooks are one of the jobs that are in most demand. When they see they can fill a more difficult slot, that's where they want me. I would like to explore retail a little more and work in the front of house restaurant more too. I do want to do a season in housekeeping sometime somewhere.
I only go to places that have some kind of housing agreement. Ranches and more remote lodges usually throw in free room and board, and sometimes you get that deal in management too. I have worked at one place where food was on our own.
I've been doing this for the past few years too. Ski resorts in winter and Alaska in summer. My jobs haven't provided housing and food, though. The only job I had that provided room and board was at a dude ranch on a summer break from college, and the pay was so low that I still barely saved anything. After college I went from Cape Cod --> Park City --> Alaska --> Breckenridge --> Alaska --> Winter Park --> Alaska. What type of jobs are you planning on doing? If you want to do this as a lifestyle you have to be able to save money and it's usually easier to do that with tipped positions although I think you can with cooking too, depending on where you are.
Hey Lisa! Thanks for the reply. As of now, I am hoping to work in my current position until April and resign, in order to spend a few years on the road in various positions. I am planning on traveling via motorcycle for a few weeks prior to starting my first position at a resort/lodge. I really don't have much prior traveling under my belt, and would really like to work in several of these positions I have seen posted here on Coolworks. I have prior experience in the restaurant industry, however not serving tables (however similar positions), and I have no experience cooking. Working at a place that provided room and board would be ideal, however I know I will run into some positions where it list isn't an option. I am planning on having some money in my pocket before the journey, however it won't be an extreme amount, so I will have to save where ever I am at. Any other advice would be great!
Just be aware that it's awfully hard to save money in this type of work, as you're usually making minimum wage and have to pay for room and board one way or another. As one of the major employers--Xanterra, I think--puts it, "You should not take this position with the goal of financial gain." Of course not!!! Why would you expect to gain financially from working????
Most of the workers in these jobs are young and don't have many obligations. Thus, they can afford to be paid mostly in scenery. That's all well and good, but you can't pay the mechanic or the doctor in scenery when your motorcycle, your car, or your body breaks down. Plus, you may wish to have some kind of life on your days off--which also costs money.
For the vast majority of seasonal workers I've talked to, the only money they have at the end of the season is their last paycheck, plus any housing rebate or end-of-season bonus. That's no big deal if you're just going back to college or whatever, but if you're on the road and waiting for the seasons to change, maintaining yourself in the meantime can be pretty rough.
I would make sure I had some savings to fall back on, therefore, if I was going to be a full-time seasonal worker.
I have been doing seasonal work for about 8 years mostly with Xanterra. Until recently I have been park hopping like you want to do. I mostly try for the same type of jobs I have been in hskping, bellman, grounds/recycler, bell porter and now a busser. I think most people try for jobs that they think they may like. I like tipped positions for obvious reasons. You can always transfer within the company if a job is not to your liking but it may be difficult to do.
I think you can make money in the parks but not a mint. The pay is low so is the cost of living in most cases. I can only speak from my personal experience with Xanterra. For instance Crater Lake gave us half our room rent back around 500.00 dollars. There are many opportunities for freebies or ways to save money. Use free wifi sources such as nps visitor centers, Free food events at rec dept activities, free or cheap recreational trips, employee discounts esp during slow season, eat in the employee dining areas and the list goes on.
Most of the big concessions include room and meals to some extent. Here at the south rim you have to pay out of pocket for meals and rent is taken out of your check. At Crater lake everything is taken out of your check, more convenient IMO. I know I may get hell for this but you might consider starting your seasonal work with Xanterra for a start, you can always leave for a better place. I have had my ups and downs with this company but I am mostly pleased with them. It's pretty easy with xanterra once you get a job you just show up get your room key(pray for a good roomate;-) and start work in a few days. Of course others may disagree and that's ok. I have been with them for a while and I know how to deal with their system. Sorry for the long post, hope this helps.
My question is this: What are you looking to gain from seasonal work? Why do you want to leave your current job or career?
Do some reading on this website, and I'm sure a lot of your questions will be answered. There is a lot of info here, and is quite valuable.
I've been doing seasonal work off and on for about 7 years, and have had plenty of good experiences, but I've had even more undesireable experiences. In the end, it's what you make of it, and I've learned how to turn lemons to lemonade, so to speak. Took me some time to get better at that...but practice makes perfect. I've also recently switched to transportation/guiding from working as a cook/chef/baker myself, which has a lot to do with my recent improvement in seasonal work experiences.
In seasonal work, you will have an adventure, but you will be presented with a set of challenges that require a level of adaptability you may not yet have come across in the typical nine to five daily grind. Your tolerances will be tested, especially if you choose the restaurant industry aspect of seasonal.
Sure, if you're willing to work your posterior off for really low pay (especially in a restaurant), you're almost always guaranteed to have a job in the seasonal arena. In terms of money, you will not be rich, but, in terms of experiences, you'll become quite wealthy. Being paid with scenery, as someone pointed out, gives you great life experiences, but doesn't pay the bottom line...so yes, have something to fall back on first, because you may find yourself in a bad situation if you don't.
I usually don't weigh in on these threads, as I'm part of the CoolWorks team and have not lived the seasonal lifestyle in quite a few years. I did work seasonally for 10+ years though. Just a few stories about money and seasonal work...
My step-daughter worked a full summer season at a well know and popular lodge in Grand Teton National Park a few summers ago. She started as a host and moved up to waitstaff. She left her season with $5k and had a lot of fun, as in, she didn't scrimp to save. Her friend was one of the bartenders and he saved twice as much. They both took their winter off and traveled.
Had another friend who was a bell porter at one of the big hotels in Denali National Park and he saved $10k in a season. He also took the winter off for travel, in Eastern Europe.
I hope other people who work in tipped positions weigh in on this thread. I'd be very interested to hear if there are more stories like that.
Kathi, thank you for the response! I keep seeing that it is not typical to save a ton of money, so it is nice to see some success stories like these.
I will be hopefully saving a bit on money before leaving next year in order to get from place A to B (to C, to D, etc...) and making enough money at temporary/seasonal jobs to survive and at least save a little for a rainy day.
Anyone else who does this full time, or has stories about those who have done this full time, please post!
Saving money is also determined on how much you spend. At one place, for example, I was earning about the same as another co-worker. He would take his vehicle out exploring every weekend, bought a significant amount of alcohol and smoked heavily. I left the season almost with almost $4K...he left not sure if he had enough to make it home.
On the other hand, I've worked a couple of jobs where I came close to breaking even...