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I know many of you had careers for a bunch of years and now you've transitioned to this "foot loose and fancy free" lifestyle.  You're ready to work hard at now barely minimal wages for the grand experience of hiking a new trail.  I get it.  In part.  I love as much as anyone the flush feeling of hope and new possibilities that come rushing along with a new job acceptance.  I'm no stranger to an adventure.  My question for anyone who will share an answer with me: 

Aren't you ever scared?


Aren't you ever fearful of the crazy instability of today's workplace?  I mean, you can bust your fanny and still come up empty.  Does anyone wake up with a start to realize you might find yourself suddenly unemployed again because a manager had a bad day or corporate needs a larger profit, thousands of miles from wherever you last called home, standing on the roadside with your meager belongings in your backpack trying to figure out what to do next?  Maybe you've been there?  

Honestly.  Aren't you ever scared?  

The only way I can entertain the idea of venturing out is to never view the work as the prize; the work will have to be something that happens during my extended adventure.  Then I only need to be comfortable with truly being "foot loose and fancy free" with all my stuff in my backpack and no particular destination in mind.  


I laud each and every one of you intrepid souls who go forward trusting!  You're Awesome. 


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Comment by akscootr on January 11, 2011 at 8:30am
"The only thing to fear is fear itself"  a famous quote. Tending bar here in Anchorage or Valdez or (insert any AK town) I meet the North Slope oil workers, the fishermen and processors, and of course the coolworkers. Their #1 "fear"?... Little or no work in the lower 48. Yesterday I spoke to someone who had come up because in the lower 48 he was homeless and processing gives him a chance to get out of it. I sat him down and showed him the Coolworks site as well as the other ways in which to land work seasonally. I showed him, given his contract dates, how he could have 15,000 + in the bank vs. homelesness (if he saves) by the end of Sept. He went back to his hotel room with a great shine in his eyes; He had hope and a clear path to follow. There is nothing wrong with having no fear; there is everything wrong with having no hope. I won't be surprised to see the young man succeed in this venture; Other customers with seasonal experience were there throwing in their 2 cents. So another has hope; Another is no longer homeless. NO FEAR!!!
Comment by Sunni on January 11, 2011 at 5:39am
Changing jobs & co-workers is fine...I just hate the idea of changing from a single room to getting a roomie & also the higher housing cost.
Comment by jon youngblood on January 11, 2011 at 5:27am

nervous yes, afaid no.  i took a seasonal job a couple of years ago after working 20+ years in the construction industry.  the transition wasn't that hard bc in construction you will switch job sites every few months, so its pretty easy for me to change with different co-workers and environments. 


Comment by Keith Larson on January 1, 2011 at 9:00pm
I've read this a few times now, thought about commenting, but wasn't sure what to say exactly. Being frightened? No...but yeah, there are times I have some more concerns than others. And not about the crazy instability of today's workplace. Maybe that's because I'm a longtimer from the non-seasonal resort/restaurant world. It has always had its volatility built in.

What I'm concerned about sometimes is the possibility of better than expected results of the HR team in early season. In the real-world, this exists in every restaurant start-up. Your initial hiring has more employees than needed for actual operations. There are a few who won't show up. There are those that want to do things their way instead of adapting to your procedures that need to go. There are those drunks and lazybutts that can't hack it. Openings are usually busier times than expected normal levels. You'll lose some that thought it would be easier. By the time things level out you have a good chance of being well staffed.
I've been in a couple of start-ups where the % of people expected not to make the cut wasn't quite on the money and hours started to shrink.

When I first started seasonal I changed it the "Ski Resort Problem". This year is a good example at most places. The weather was very cooperative and starts of most places seasons were popping and staffs were busy. There are those seasons however, when Mother Nature is a bit more fickle. On top of all that start-up stuff they have to deal with meteorology too.

After this summer, I'm thinking about adding the Yellowstone Concern. I probably could have used any of the very large employers. It happened to various degrees to many...even smaller operations...but same-%-wise having 2 extra or 10 extra might not seem as big as having 100 extra staff...but it has a similar affect. It's the amounts needed to be adjusted for all those start-up categories for a period of substantial unemployment rates.

Or, after writing all of that, I can be a cook/baker with very good references. I have a fairly good chance of picking up a seasonal job even in mid-season quickly.
Comment by ken horner on December 28, 2010 at 6:18pm

NO FEAR!! I got out of the military in 1974, my wife and I hitched around the country for about two years. I decided I needed security so I took a job driving cross country, yep still traveling,I've also done years of seasonal work around the U.S. and Carribean.. I guess I wouldn't know any other way. There's nothing to fear in life.. try it you migth like it!!

My father (bless his soul) always said I was a hobo..... I guess he was right 

Comment by JPH on December 25, 2010 at 3:16pm
Can't help but add another comment to this blog , so plz excuse . I am a person that has chosen an alternate path , often in my wanderings I have found myself as you wrote " beside the road w/ my meager belongings" - a choice made for the fear factor , the unknown . Most of the time the world treats me very well and the kindness of people throughout my travels , especially the indigenous , is often overwhelming . However , I've been attacked by animals big and small ( the little #$&^*@ 's are the worst ) , robbed so many times , stabbed , assaulted , shot at and shot . . . wouldn't trade a minute of it for 100k a year , the company limo , and assorted accoutrements . Boring , stuffy  , been there - took over the world and found it lacking in substance . My last comment mentioned a "tour" of Guatemala - months later I showed up at the  Nuevo Laredo/ Laredo  TX border crossing with a pair of huaraches , a shirt , a pair of raggedy pants , 1 blanket and my backpack , no money , but I had a great tan and I felt ALIVE .
Comment by Coly Hope on December 25, 2010 at 12:03pm
I am nervous when I take off for a seasonal job but it is out of knowing where to go and not missing my plane or bus.  Being scared and nervous is normal in fact if you are not a little bit nervous than something is wrong.
Comment by Carol on December 25, 2010 at 11:59am

This is an amazing post, Nancy. Easy to read. Easy to relate to. But hard to put into words all the mixed feelings.

Yes, I'm scared sometimes because the future is so uncertain, maybe I should have chosen another path? But when I go visit my friends at my old, full time, health insured job, I see the reality. They are tired, weary, bored, growing old and don't seem very happy.

I'm happy.

Seasonal work can be very frustrating, yet when I look back on each episode, I see tons of fun, and rewarding experiences. I feel younger for doing it. I'm stimulated by the adventure. I always learn something new, the people are crazily amazing too.

Fortunately, like several here, I have resources, and don't have to work, or stay if things are too weird. My overhead is minimal. Just reveiwing that reality makes me calmer. I can walk away. Knowing that makes me stay.

I'm from the old school that teaches to do a good job, stay out of trouble, make yourself valuable. When things get downsized, it happens to those who don't believe in those things.


Keep posting, Nancy, food for thought. Very good thread.

Comment by Jim White on December 25, 2010 at 9:31am
Wow! what a great question...After working at a real job(real as working for 45 years at the same professon) I finally at 73 said" lets Do It".Scared you bet,our first job was working  at something I never had tried,but after a few days..Is there any other way of life? Now after 3 years Yes,I still get butterflies,sweating palms but WHAT a life...One day I too will be in Alaska,working in a remote area,Whoa!!
Comment by aggie71 on December 25, 2010 at 7:05am
It's hard to add any gems to the great posts that are already here.  First to Nancy....what a great question to pose, and it really is important for folks to think about it before venturing out.  I'm not immune to fear (far from it) but I am very confident I have the financial means to get myself out of any financial situation caused by a summer job.  My greater fears are those Grizzly Bears, and other critters that we joke about but can cause real damage to one's body, or getting lost or injured in some remote corner of a Park.   I also fear car or boat accidents, or similar tragedies, that we can't always predict or control (but that can also happen here at home).  But the positives so outweigh the negatives that I am more than ready "to get out there".  Looking forward to meeting many of you in Alaska over the next few months :-)

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