Thanks for being here! The six of us at CoolWorks welcome you and wish you success in finding your Jobs in Great Places®!

So this will be my first seasonal position!  I applied late and arrive late, so my choices were rather slim, but I've been offered custodial at Mount Rushmore.  (I defend my thesis in May and could not commit to sooner than June).  

I've been director of a nonprofit for the last fifteen or so years, and have never had a manual labor job, but i learn quickly and am still excited to be at Rushmore.


What can I expect?  In my mid-forties, will I feel ancient in the dorms?  How strenuous is the work?  I read on the website they don't pay overtime until after 48 hours....really?  Is there a lot of overtime?

Totally green and completely welcome tips!






Views: 285

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks!  Yes, I love the area...went through last year around Sturgis, but didn't get to spend as much time as I would like.  This year I am free til December and was offered the position through Oct 15.  Like you, I am not into the drinking and partying.  If not outdoors, I'll probably spend much of my time reading or writing (back to grad school in Jan).  

I could be fine without housing if I have a place to park.  I have a conversion van and can do off-grid easily.  I just really wondered what to expect in terms of work.  I don't mind the overtime at all either, but it seemed odd to me that overtime didn't start until after 48 hours.... in LA that is illegal for hourly employees and i thought that was federal, but guess not!  


I'll check out Custer too.  I still have a few applications pending, but figured this late in the app season, I should take what I am offered! 

that isn't the usual though.. the usual is anything over 40.

seems national park seasonals are exempt.  

obviously ;)

why are they exempt, anyone know?

because the gov is broke :) lol sorry  dont know but its not about the money in national parks:)

enjoy the beauty, see deadwood so much history, usually they have a older side of the dorm for us older and bolder:) so many bus loads of foriegners with there cameras:) and u will meet lots of foreigners have friends now in every country, also americans that i will keep in touch with forever:)


oh, if it was about the money, i would certainly be doing something else.  as a former employer,i just wondered why they were exempt.

i spent two years workkamping for no pay, just site exchange, and loved it.  i was really curious about the work details.  :)

Hi Melisa,

I've always wanted the true scoop on workkamping:

did you use your conversion van as "home", is it big enough to qualify as housing for the host? I've always seen the big motor homes and that keeps me from considering it.


Also, how many hours do they usually require, did you get alot of good time to explore?

thanks for any insight, good bad and ugly



Hi Carol,

I worked at three different parks over two years.  We were in a pop-up camper traveling and homeschooling my son.  Campgrounds don't really seem to care for conversions (which I also live in).  Some parks vary and if I wanted to do it again, I'd probably apply, adding that I am self-sustainable and believe in the smallest footprint possible so don't need a big gas guzzling, electric using rig.  :)  A little green guilt!

I worked 20 hours in exchange for FHU.  Anything over that was paid. It was a great experience. The last two campgrounds were in Moab, so there was so much time to explore.  The other workkampers were an awesome group, and we grew to be like family.  

I'd probably do it again over the summer except i need to make a little money for my PhD research :(


There are many jobs that are exempt from's the best list I found:

Exemptions From Overtime

It varies by company inside the national parks.  They can use up to a 56-hour week for overtime purposes!  Then there are variations with some states for normal overtime...most use 40/week, some have 48/week, some have 40/week and-or 8/day...  


Jackie is right on - plenty of good people and easy to make new friends  . The gossip is hilarious .

Ah, custodial at MR.  Be sure to hook up with Steve and Stephanie.  He came out there last summer as custodian, applied for full, year round and got it.  If you like hiking, rock climbing, rock jumping, or ANYTHING outdoorsy, Steve's your guy (guide).  Jim has been there awhile, he'll make sure you get the work done.  :-)  #1: Keep trash emptied in dining room!  Mop up spills, clean restrooms, wash windows, clean dorm lobby, etc.  They are pretty good about recycling there so if you can hook into the job of tending the garden, tossing the compost pile you might like that better.  That could also get you into drivng the shuttle van on special occasions.  (Taking co-workers to Yellowstone, RMPN, Hot Springs, Walmart & Best Buy)        If you stay in the dorm the food costs a lot.  It's good if you like man food.  They do have a salad bar and Archie will put some fruit aside for you if you ask.  He will be your good friend.  Most of the older folk (60+) work in the gift shop and stay in the RV area which isn't the greatest.  The KOA behind MR is a good place to go for a nice dinner and internet use if you can't get on in the dorm, and the Iron Mtn Coffee shop is good for internet also.  A few other places in town have internet (Rubys', the Library, Holiday Inn).  The best thing for you is you have a vehicle.  Have fun and tell everyone I said hello.  I'll miss it there.  And tell Paulette hello also!

Thanks!  Lots of good info there and different/more work than they led to me to believe - i thought it was just the memorial building...that perhaps we (custodials) were assigned specific areas.  this will definitely be a new experience for me if i accept and pushes me into thinking about it a little more as well.

not sure what man food is, but it sounds like it isn't vegetarian friendly?  i'll be sure and stock my van with crunchy stuff.  glad to hear the RV area isn't so good as i considered asking for it instead.  


sounds like you made some great friends :)

Thank You Barb for the valuable information on Mount Rushmore


A social network for those who want to compare and share their work and life experiences in great places.

CoolWorks Links

CoolWorks Journals

Real People, Real Stories

 Get inspired by the CoolWorks Journals.

Have a story to tell? We'd love to hear about it and perhaps feature it on the blog.

Email to get started.

CoolWorks Gear

CoolWorks Kids come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, and creeds. There’s one thing that unifies us all together – we’ve made the decision to buck the norm, to live for now, and pursue a lifestyle full of experience and adventures.

Now you can find your tribe and make yourself known with our Made in the USA CoolWorks gear! You’ll know just which kindred spirit to saddle up next to at the Brewpub for some great stories.

Visit the CoolWorks Mercantile!

© 2019   Created by CoolWorks®.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service