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I thought I would write a blog on some of the differing summer work strategies I’ve seen over the years. Some are good and some are bad, but they are popular. I see them every summer. Hopefully you can create a strategy for yourself that includes much of the good and very little of the bad.

1. The Early Bird – this strategy focuses on your first month at your new job. Most seasonal jobs come with various discounts. The Early Bird tries to use every discount they have in their first month of work. These employees can’t wait to finish each day’s shift because they are off to the tour desk to go flight seeing, horse back riding, or river rafting. They want to hit all the restaurants and use their employee discounts. And good news for all of their relatives, they are going to use that gift shop discount before any of the good stuff is bought by those pesky tourists. There are many pros to this strategy. You give yourself a much better chance of doing all you wanted when you took the job in the first place. Also, your job performance will probably be better because you can discuss tour options and preferences with your guests, always a good customer service strategy. This strategy is also insurance against the inevitable late season build up of work hours. You can’t go touring if you are working every day. The cons of this list include being tired, being the envy of your friends, and having to decide which pictures to send you parents to show them how awesome your summer is going. That’s my way of saying this is a great strategy.
2. The Late Bloomer – people who take this strategy prefer to focus on work and friendship early on. They think there is plenty of time in a 4 month summer to do tours, and they’ll do them once they have their feet underneath them. This isn’t a horrible strategy either. It allows you to get acclimated to a potentially very different time zone, and it allows you to learn a new job. Jumping in to a position in Alaska can be very tiring, so relaxing a little bit after work isn’t a bad thing. The Late Bloomer builds up their summer earnings and then spends carefully on the tours they have heard about and want to experience. The major con of the Late Bloomer strategy is a shrinking opportunity window. Many tour vendors start to pull employee discounts in the last third of the season as they try to bank profits for the season. Also, your employer will probably raise the overtime quota a little in the last month of your season as employees start to go back to college and the ranks are thinned. It is sad when I have an employee who doesn’t get out on many tours because they waited too long to start going.
3. The Party Pal – the Party Pal is there to have a good time. Unfortunately too many employees show up for seasonal jobs planning to stay at a resort, and not ready to work at a resort. These people do some tours, but focus more on staying up late, finding that “special” friend for the evening, and having drinks. There is a perception out there sometimes that employers will put up with just about anything because they need the employees that bad. The Party Pal usually tests that theory. The con to this theory is that your party will come to a quick end. Employers tolerate a lot but cannot tolerate unreliable employees early in their season. Believe me, there will be plenty of parties throughout the season for you to enjoy responsibly. If you are gone in the first 2 weeks you won’t have a chance to see the great things that come about throughout the season.
4. The Shut In – these people go to work, do a good job, and go to their room. Working seasonally can be an intimidating venture, especially if you are someone who finds it challenging to make new friends. The only pros to this strategy are that you never leave your comfort zone and will have all your money at the end of your season. The cons are all the opportunities you will miss out on. You owe it to yourself to get out there and meet some people. Enjoy the natural surroundings you’ve chosen to work in. You’ll find the people around you are very eager to get to know you and share their stories and experiences. Seasonal work might be the best and easiest way to make new friends you’ll ever encounter.

I hope this info helps you prepare for your upcoming summer or winter. We all want that perfect season and with a little effort you can have it.

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Comment by Sharon J P on March 26, 2009 at 3:33pm
Mark me as an early bird with Rhonda!
Comment by reggiecohen on March 22, 2009 at 8:50pm
hey rick u for one more group the couch potatoes
Comment by Carol on March 22, 2009 at 8:25am
Thanks for the post, Rick. I am not much of a consumer or a hold-hands tour person, so will be hiking, camping, chillin', wifi-ing, digital vidoe-camera-toting, party going cook. Anybody want my restaurant coupons? :D Yellowstone, here I come!
Comment by akscootr on March 20, 2009 at 10:32am
Ya...the hiking. and photography. and camping. There are a number of things to do for free and mixing them up with a couple of paid-for items like kayaking can ensure a full and satisfying season while saving up a nice chunk of cash.
Comment by reggiecohen on March 20, 2009 at 10:14am
i will probably be the late bloomer since im going back to denali be on an few trips but not all of them and still have money save
Comment by Andrea on March 20, 2009 at 10:03am
Nice post. I am kind of with you Kate. I am going to go for a hybrid Early Bird/Shut In. I want to see as much as possible and meet new people while I am at the North Rim, but I am going to have to do it frugally. I have got some bills to pay, and I hope to have a little bit of money saved at the end of the season.
Comment by Kate on March 20, 2009 at 9:46am
I'd like to be the early bird friend-making yet balanced one. :D Gotta save some money but want to do as much as I can afford to do! Plus the more knowledge I have to share with guests, the less I have to say "uh I don't know...let me ask so-and-so". I'd like to hit the ground running!
Comment by Steve on March 20, 2009 at 1:00am
lol, good read... I believe I am going to shoot for a hybrid version..... I want to be a party pal shut in... Enjoy all the new friends and some good beers under the right (and controlled) circumstances... When did I get so boring??? oh well
Comment by Rhonda on March 19, 2009 at 8:29pm
Thanks for the strategy overview....time to start planning.

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