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Working at Signal Mountain Lodge?

I visited Yellowstone and Grand Tetons with friends at the end of May. The entire trip I was wondering how I could possibly work there, but in the back of my head was the dreaded thought that I've failed at getting any "cool jobs" that I've seen the young and tragically hip doing. During the trip I found something out there that appealed to me so much, that if I don't at least try to take this opportunity, I'll spend the rest of my life miserable and regretting it. I loved Signal Mountain Lodge - so much that I asked for an application. Everyone there seemed to love what they do and I wish I could have realized this sooner because I feel that it may be too late in the season.

I sincerely hate my degree field and career but will most likely be working here until the end of July. There are too many loose ends to tie up. For the first time in my life I have close friends in an area with few single adults under 40, and I don't want to give that up so soon.

I feel that I'll have to set a date for quitting my job in advance if I'm to apply at Signal Mountain Lodge. This late in the season, I'll have to accept "any" open position and be able to fly out at a moment's notice (2 weeks notice may be too long). I'm afraid of not hearing back, and being stuck without a job here.

Also worried whether I'll "fit in" at SML. I love having fun, love the outdoors, love to work hard, and enjoy having lots of friends. But it seems that people who party have a tendency to shun me. I'm more laid back -- not a loudmouth -- and others pick up on that. I definitely noticed an after-hours party atmosphere among the SML employees. I thought I'd spend one night in the bar and get to know some of the employees but was pretty much ignored. It seemed like a couple of them were trying to get away from me when I tried to make conversation and tell them I wanted to work there. It seemed very cliquey. That left a bad taste in my mouth and after that I wonder what I'm getting into.

I'm afraid that if I make it out there, I'll be in paradise, but I may be lonely and washing dishes 8 hours a day, although in a incredibly beautiful environment. I know I'd love it there, but afraid of loneliness and whether I'll enjoy possible menial work late in the season. Though going to bed early on Fri/Sat nights while everyone else is partying, and exploring the mountains early the next morning while everyone else is hungover doesn't sound so bad.

Are there any SML employees here? What can I expect from applying at SML in late July? Would a young cube rat trying to break into a group of college students and returning seasonal workers ever fit in, and would I have better luck with Xanterra?

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Comment by reggiecohen on August 18, 2008 at 9:13pm
i work there in 06 it wasnt that bad it wasnt for me the one thing that got me was the pay plus sometimes i had to close and turn around and open the next day me im always fond of alaska but next summer i could end up at basin harbor club
Comment by DavidRei on August 18, 2008 at 8:15pm
I do like partying, just worried about not fitting in. I'm several years out of college and get the feeling I may be an outsider with the college-age party crowd that's attracted to these types of jobs. If I'm still stuck behind a desk next year I'm definitely applying at SML - applying the first day I can and applying for every damn job they have just to get out of this 9-to-5 computer support trained monkey cubicle hell.
Comment by cody on June 14, 2008 at 6:34pm
i worked at sml in summer 07, and even though i couldn't make it this year, i hope to go back for summer 09. there are so many different kinds of people working there, but everyone has atleast one thing in common- a love for the great outdoors. and yeah, the bar is the best job money-wise there. serving is good for decent money and a flexible schedule. i was in housekeeping and, believe it or not, we had a great time, toilets and all. not everyone there parties, although i would say the majority does, but i recall everyone being pretty excepting and friendly. i'm sure you've read how something like 85% of employees are returning! good luck and have fun! always bring rain gear!
Comment by Linda on June 13, 2008 at 7:42pm
Hi David, I feel your thoughts as I am in a similar boat, except I quit my job a week ago. I gave them 6/20 as my last day. And you know what? I have no job lined up. If nothing pans out, I may stay with them until 6/27, just for the extra paycheck. Here is the deal, if you want this, throw caution to the wind and just bite into it. I did it and it's not as scary as I thought it would be. I think because I'm following my gut. I did, however, "tie up my loose ends" over the last year. You need to do what you are comfortable with... but I honestly think if you go for it you won't regret it. You might be nervous, but the payout could be priceless.... life's to be lived, not to hate your job. That was my push anyway. I wish you luck with whatever you decide. You're not alone, know that!
Comment by Keith Larson on June 12, 2008 at 3:28pm
David, I see Signal posted some positions today. I worked there in 2006. It is a fun place and eventually I'm thinking about making a return trip. About all it takes "to fit in" is to get your work covered. The rest comes about naturely.

Late July...that might be way to long for them to wait. If they need some BODY now, they needed them there last week, not 6 weeks from now. It will stay very busy thoughout '2-fer' September though.

About the employees in the bar reaction...when you're there you'll get told every day by someone that they'd like to work there. It sometimes gets old and annoying quickly. Most of them would never even apply, and half of those that do have no idea how much work is actually involved.
Comment by DavidRei on June 10, 2008 at 2:47pm
Is there a big difference between working environments in Alaska vs. Yellowstone/Tetons? When does the seasonal work start up there?
Comment by AlaskaBound! on June 10, 2008 at 2:31pm
Come to Alaska instead!

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