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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 Sunni on December 25, 2010 at 4:28am

Actually, the 3 years & 9 months that I have been at GCSR, is the longest I have ever been at 1 job in my entire life. Before starting work here, I was used to hopping on a Greyhound Bus and traveling cross-country by myself to unknown places. Even though I work at a coolworks location, it feels more like a regular "real world" job instead of a seasonal job because I have been here so long. So its kinda nice to think of jumping back into the (as my brother calls it)"traveling gypsy" way of thinking.

Hey we are only young once and we only live this life once...and while my eyes still work, I wanna enjoy  all I can.

 

Happy Holidays!!

Comment by JPH on December 24, 2010 at 9:13pm
a friend of mine got sick for four days at Yellowstone - when it was owned by Amfac - He lost his position  and he had no way out of the Park or Home . I and others helped as much as possible . AS far as being scared for myself - hardly - for me the lifestyle is a culturally  rewarding adventure . I feel that we only get one chance at this life and why not see , feel , do all that we desire . Of course I'm a person comfortable w/ a rucksack , $10 ,and a fresh mango while hitchhiking through Guatemala during their Civil War . FDR stated we've nothing to fear but fear itself - a cool sounding statement , but true . Thanks for reading.
Comment by Terry Meyer on December 24, 2010 at 6:55pm
You asked a very good question and one that I hope all people new to seasonal work will consider. I am one of the “Older and Boulder” crowd and as for me, NO, I am not the least bit scared to drive off into the unknown next April or May. It helps that I have moved around a lot and I am very comfortable moving alone to a totally new place. That helps but, my lack of fear is mainly because I am not doing this on a whim or without resources to fall back on. It would scare the crap out of me if I had not spent hours planning and researching my move to the “seasonal work” lifestyle. I found tons of information about what to expect in the seasonal work world on My Cool Works. If you look hard enough and do searches for specific locations, dorms, pay, bad or good management, etc., it’s all there…..the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have taken to heart the advice of seasoned veterans on My Cool Works about how to prepare for the “bad” and the unforeseen. The economy forced me to “retire” a year earlier than I had planned from my “City” career but I have always planned to work into my 70’s just not in the “city” if I could help it. I guess I regard the “job” part as a big part of the “prize” because it will allow me to work where I want to live (a National Park) instead where I live (a city) and also to be doing something I want to do, help people enjoy their vacation. As to the low wages, I am not looking forward to that but I have a friend who worked in Yellowstone NP all season in 2008. She had a great experience and managed to save $5,000 of her salary during that summer. She has given me great advice on what to expect and also what can go wrong. I commend you for bringing up an issue that will provoke people to think about what they are doing and be prepared for the possible consequences, always a good idea.
Comment by akscootr on December 24, 2010 at 6:48pm
I have been there.... ended up homeless with nothing but the clothes on my back. I simply got to where there was work, camped out, and then worked and banked my earnings. Three months after the event, I owned a van and was working full-time. There are risks in anything you do, but what matters is how one reacts to bad events. I learned, for example, to save as much as possible and never to let my savings drop below a certain point. I also learned to drastically simplify...We don't "need" near as much as we think we do. Housing can be a van, boat, or tent among many other cheap options. Fear can be healthy and keep you alive, but too much can put a real damper on life. so don't fear too much...  :0)
Comment by Bill Cooper on December 24, 2010 at 4:44pm
good post - if I stay postive and carry out the duties of whatever job i might receive then i should be fine - if i need to get back home i can either get back to the airport if in alaska and catch a flight out or if out west some place like YS or Montona just drive back - it would kind of put a damper on things but at least i am fortuante enough to be able to make it back
Comment by Bill Walton on December 24, 2010 at 4:25pm

I think you are correct that many have had careers and now are following a "second calling" by getting out and doing something we want to do, or doing something in a place where we want to be. Some of the jobs and locations are very remote and expensive to get to and from. I hope that people who pursue those jobs and those locations do not do so without having the means to get themselves out of the location and back to familiar ground. If they are doing so, they are taking a very big risk. 

In the National Parks especially, there seem to be enough jobs that if there is a hiccup at one job, a person can either transfer to a different job, or walk down the street and apply for another job with another large company. Worst case, they can, fairly easily, get back "home".

So, no, I am not scared. I would not want to run into a problem with a seasonal job, but if a problem arose there are enough alternatives that I think I could make it OK. 

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