If you've ever worked a seasonal job, there are few aspects that bear an entirely different connotation than most people might understand. Take a peek at a few of the topics that shift when you work in the wonderful world of seasonal employment.
Meeting your New Team
You may be a returning team member, or you may have been recruited as the newbie- either way, there will be people who might be your new best friends, but there may also be people you don’t mesh very well with. But just like how you don’t get to choose your family members, you don’t get to choose your seasonal team- but at least you only have to put up with them for a few more months and learning how to work with all types of people is one of the greatest skills you can learn in life.
What this term usually means is a time to relax and enjoy time off with your loved ones, but when it comes to seasonal jobs, holidays turn into a whole different ball game. Whether you’re working retail during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Holiday Season rush or you’re at a resort that experiences the results of respective country’s different school holiday schedules, the holidays are no longer a time to relax. They are a hectic period of time where your managers will want you to take advantage of the money wielding vulnerability of customers during these periods of liberation from work and school. Many seasonal workers will find that as they are bombarded with waves of people demanding more and more from them, the stock room or their staff break rooms will become their only sanctuary.
When it comes to seasonal work, you can usually count on the fact that you won’t be walking away a millionaire, but you might still be able to make some decent cash depending on the industry you’re involved in. Retail and food service jobs that are reliant on seasonal tourists will usually only pay minimum wage or you might only rely on tips as your source of income. Keep your hopes up that they will award the holiday pay and over time, but keep in mind that industries like eco-tours and fishing can earn you much more than any waitressing job. Tour guide jobs will usually pay per day or per tour given, so per day on average you can earn a few hundred, while working on a commercial fishing boat can earn you numbers in the thousands!
Often the trade off with seasonal jobs is that in exchange for a few months of living in paradise (snowy, cultural, tropical, whatever your paradise of choice might be) you will likely be working long tough hours of difficult manual labor and/or customer service. Although you may not receive many breaks, the few hours of time you have to lay back and watch the sunset with your toes in the sand or climb glaciers with you buddies on your day off is worth all the long hours. Not to mention that since you don’t have a great deal of time (sometimes not even anywhere) to spend your money, you’ll end up saving a lot more throughout the season!
Depending on what seasonal occupation you've gotten yourself into, you might find that the deals are just too good to pass up with that delicious employee discount of yours. Whether it’s working at a surf shop where boards that are usually thousands come down to manageable hundreds, or perhaps the restaurant you work at is giving you discounts on gourmet food, be careful not too spend all your hard earned money at the same place that you work, because at the end of the season, you don’t want to be left without a single penny! (Unless of course it was your ultimate goal to snag that employee discount and pick up that perfect pair of jeans in every color)
End of the Season
Inevitably, the season will come to an end. For some that may be the end of a great season with a team you now consider family or it is a time that couldn't have come soon enough. I've experienced both sides of the ‘end of the season’ syndrome and what it really comes down to is how balanced you are in your position.
Having your dream occupation can seem like it would be all you need to be happy, even if you aren't making that much money, the experience of working your perfect job and fulfilling your passion can seem to be all the compensation you need. However, if you have a less than enjoyable co-worker, a difficult living environment, or perhaps really negative customers to interact with- your great experience will be compromised and you might be praying for the season to hurry up. There are several other components that can make or break your seasonal experience such as your work and personal life balance, because even though there is still that great job, if you have no friends to share it with, no relationships to truly cherish the experience of living in an exotic seasonal lifestyle, then you might find yourself feeling unfulfilled, isolated and unhappy.
On the other side of spectrum, you may have truly found a perfect job, and now your path in life seems to truly have the clarity that you had been searching for all these years. There was passion, there were relationships and friends who became family, there was an exciting and unique location and all in all, you can envision yourself working here forever. In this case, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve proven yourself a worthy employee so that you can come back next season! Make sure to exhibit how dependable you are by being punctual and reliable when tasks need to be taken care of or problems arise. By demonstrating how hard you are willing to work, you distinguish yourself from those who are just looking to earn quick holiday cash, or those who are just showing up to show up. If this job is truly important to you and this industry is the one you want to be involved with, then you should also make an effort to network with your managers, you can establish some valuable connections that might be able to help your career really blossom. However, be careful that you do not mistake networking for brown-nosing or gossiping too much in attempt to establish a relationship with your manager, as this will more than likely reflect negatively on your priorities and values.