Welcome to the first part of our work camping series. In this series, we are going to take each work camping job we have had to this point and detail the experiences. Things like how did we get the job, what made us take the job, what did the job entail, and the overall experience in general. With this series, we hope to provide information for anyone who is thinking of starting this lifestyle.
Let’s Get Started
I retired from my regular job in October of 2016. Being that I retired early and Chris had no pension from her job we knew that work camping was going to be a part of making the transition into full-time life. For how long still remains to be seen but at least for a few years.
Since I had just retired and Chris left her long-time job we decided that we would take the first season off and do absolutely nothing. We had booked a monthly site at the KOA in Lake Panasoffkee Florida (which is no longer a KOA) and settled in. We did a full review of this campground. If you would like to check it out, click here.
Nothing But Relaxing
The first couple of months were exactly what I had planned. Nothing but relaxing and sightseeing. I was thoroughly enjoying myself (and gaining a ton of weight…lol) but Chris was starting to get antsy. She talked about getting jobs. What? Me? A job? I’m retired!!! I made a pact with myself. No work the first season!!! So I relaxed and continued to gain weight and Chris started looking for work.
She inquired at the campground but they already had plenty of workers. She checked the usual work camper sights and nothing was available. She then decided to explore other avenues. She would look for help wanted signs on stores whenever we went out, check the local “help wanted” sections of the local papers and even searched on Craigs List.
She found a job on one of the job boards for a clerk at the local Dollar General. She applied and even interviewed for the job. The job wound up going to one of the local residents. We started to learn our first lesson here which has rung true on more than one occasion. It seems if you apply for a job (not on a campground) and they know you are a seasonal resident (snowbird) they know you will only be around short term. It’s not worth it for them to take the time to train someone just for them to leave so if a local permanent resident applies, regardless of experience they will probably be hired over you.
What’s Time Study?
Then one day while we were sitting around a campfire she asked me what a time study was. I said I had no idea and asked her why she wanted to know. She explained that she found a company looking to fill a temporary position doing a time study on Craig’s List. Since we didn’t know what that was she decided to just apply and see what happened. Knowing some of the listings on Craig’s List can be a bit sketchy, we Googled the company name. We also did a Google aerial view to see the location on the map. After researching the company and the location it appeared the company had a good reputation and we were comfortable with what we had found. She then responded to the ad.
A Quick Note
Anytime you are applying for a job through any type of service or ad, please do your research. It is unfortunate but in today’s day and age, there are many scams. Know what you are getting into. A good reputable company will have reviews somewhere on the web that should give you a good starting point.
Shortly after applying she was called in for an interview. After interviewing for the job she was hired. It was a perfect match. They only wanted someone short term and we were leaving the area in April.
The company built large tanks to store things like oils and fuels. They would have the materials delivered and assemble the tanks by shaping and welding. Once they were assembled they were tested, painted and fitted with valves. They wanted to know how long each section of the building process took so they could determine if they were making enough or losing money.
The Click Chick
Chris would be assigned to watch someone for the day as they were starting their piece of assembling a tank and would use a stopwatch to time how long it took. At the end of the day, she would document the results of her findings. As you would imagine most of the workers felt threatened and she was not their favorite person to see. We nicknamed her the “Click Chick.”
A 4 Month Assignment
She continued to work there for the remaining 4 months we were in Florida. Although she was not the most popular person in the company, there were never any problems. Everyone treated her with respect and she even got friendly with some of the workers even though this was a short term position.
She continued to work there until the completion of the assignment and left the job in April. This particular job worked out well because everyone involved knew it was temporary so there were no hard feelings at the end. As a matter of fact, they liked her so much they gave her a letter of recommendation to use for future jobs.
Going into this lifestyle we thought since we were not seeking high paying jobs and we had a very good work history, jobs would just fall in our lap whenever we wanted them. This turned out to be false. A job is a job. Whether you are making $50 bucks an hour or minimum wage, you have to go through the same processes as everyone else.
We also learned that even though it might be difficult to compete with “the locals” for the reasons we stated above, it is still possible to find local area jobs. You also need to check as many resources as possible. Local papers, internet job boards, word of mouth, and even signs on business doors are great places to start looking. We have also used “Temp Agencies” although that has not been all that successful for us. More on that in an upcoming article.
If you have any questions about this article, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. We would also love to know if you have had a similar experience. If so, leave us a comment and tell us about it. It might just help a fellow work camper out.