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The Employee Journey -- pt.6 The Last Minute Checklist

It is getting closer and closer to the summer season. Most of you are probably excited for your 2009 adventures. When I worked seasonally I always went a little stir crazy about this time. I knew where I was going and wanted to get there. If you are in the same condition I always was, you run the risk (as I did) of forgetting to pack something or make an important final arrangement. Excitement is the friend of forgetfulness in my household. So I wrote this last-minute checklist for you to hopefully help you avoid forgetting anything crucial.

1. Make sure your paperwork is complete and sent in – I’ve written before about the importance of returning your hire contract early so I won’t beat the proverbial dead horse again. But, please make sure your paperwork is sent back to your employer as soon as you can. You can’t work without it.
2. A packing list – I am a fan of lists, hence the blog. I recommend using the next week or two to make a list of all the stuff you want to pack. Think back to your interview and list all the stuff your employer said you might need. Think about the stuff you use on a regular basis. Then when you are rushing to pack the night before you leave, as everyone does, you can roll through your week long constructed list with assurance that you have it all. Some examples of things are extra memory cards for your camera, bug spray, your essential hiking gear. At the McKinley Princess we have a softball field on property. Even though I tell all my hires about this, you’d be amazed how many are kicking themselves in June because they forgot their gloves. If you wear glasses, you probably want to bring an extra pair of glasses along. Hard to find good repair when you are in the middle of a park or forest.
3. Round out your uniform – It is crucial that you have all the required uniform pieces when you arrive. Employers are not impressed when you can’t be in proper uniform on your first day because you forgot your black shoes or khaki pants. Another thing to remember, your hair is part of your uniform too. Make sure you get a haircut before reporting for duty, not many stylists in Denali National Park.
4. Finalize your travel plans – Make sure all of your travel arrangements are done. Unwelcome last minute surprises in travel can be frustrating and start you off on the wrong foot. If your employer picks you up at the airport, make sure your flight arrives in time for the ride. If you are driving to your workplace, check MyCoolworks for others doing a similar drive. You can find advice on roads and stops from others who have done the drive before. Another fun thing is to start up your own convoy. If you can convoy with other drivers with a common destination it can alleviate some of your fears about breaking down and getting stranded. If you are arriving early for work make sure you have hotels set up. Talk to you employer, they probably have recommended places and sometimes a discounted rate.
5. Think with your stomach – If you have special dietary requirements you need to tell your employer as early as you can. Employee dining rooms feed a lot of people and usually are understaffed and underfunded. Find a gluten-free meal for someone at noon in a packed employee dining room isn’t easy. If you tell your employer ahead of time they can formulate a plan to make sure you are both happy.
6. Stay connected – If you subscribe to any magazines, make sure you have your mail forwarded to your new summer home. Every season I have employees thrown in to a mess when they have unpaid bills due to the bills never making it to Alaska. It is hard to pay a bill when it is sitting in a mailbox unread. And with all the excitement of a new job and home it is easy to forget a cell phone bill or car insurance payment.
7. Set up the last minute referral – I’ve had 3 employees drop out of their offered jobs this week. So have my co-managers. If you have any friends still looking for a job, now is the perfect time to contact your employer and ask about openings. Many employers pay bonuses to employees who come with referrals. $200 for bringing a friend to work goes a long way toward paying flight costs or souvenirs.

Getting a job is only half the equation of a successful summer. The rest is preparation and thoroughness. Make sure you get everything squared away before you start work, and you’ll find your summer is all you hoped it would be.

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Comment by Bill Walton on July 31, 2010 at 2:24pm
Rick, I have read your blog and it is amazing. My wife and I are planning to apply for jobs with Princess for the 2011 season and I have been looking for anything I could find about them. I really had not found anything until I came across your blog. Your comments are insightful, down to earth and right on target.
You should really consider turning this into a book.
We were on Princess landtours and cruise earlier this summer and stayed at your "home". Everyghing was exceptional. We were particularly impressed by how well planned the entire two weeks were.
Perhaps we will see you 2011. Bill

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