This is the third part of our workamping series. We hope you are enjoying and learning from our series. If you missed the first two articles, you can check them out by clicking on one of the following links. “The Click Chick” “KOA Amarillo“
Now that you’re caught up let’s move on. As we were working in Amarillo we were looking for a winter job. We were hoping to score one in Florida. Each and every job that interested us we submitted resumes. If we did not hear back within a week we followed up with either another email or phone call.
Hard To Come By
What we started to find out was that jobs with site and salary are hard to come by for Florida winters. As a matter of fact, campground jobs with site and salary were hard to come by for Texas and Arizona also in the winter months. These three states have the warmest weather during the winter and there is an abundance of RV’ers seeking employment and not as many jobs available. We determined for us at this stage we were not interested in jobs for a site only so we continued our search for jobs to suit our needs.
As the summer season progressed we started getting discouraged. We had to go to plan B. Wait, did we have a plan B? Not really but it was time to come up with one. As we were trying to figure out our plan B we received an email from a campground in Lake City, Florida.
When we followed up on the email we were a little disappointed to find out it was for the site only. At this point, we started to come up with that “plan B.” What if one of us got a job for site and utilities and one of us worked off-site for a little extra cash? Maybe this would work.
I Accepted The Job
We decided to respond to the Lake City email and see what was being offered. We set up a phone interview and spoke with the managers for a little over an hour. It was an outside maintenance/landscaping job and they wanted 16 hours in exchange for a full hookup site, propane, and a laundry stipend. Everything seemed to go really well and by the end of the conversation, I decided to accept the job. We agreed on a start date and as we always do, we asked them to send an email detailing everything we spoke about on the phone.
Now that we had a place to go, the only thing left was for Chris to get a job off the grounds for a little cash. We google mapped the area and found that Lake City had an area that was very commercial with many businesses and we figured getting at least a part-time job should not be a problem. We felt as if we were all set.
Sometimes things can take very unexpected turns. Such is the case with this. Upon our arrival on our agreed date, we met the managers we interviewed with. After the introductions, they informed us that they were retiring at the end of the following month. They assured us the couple taking over was very nice and we would have no problem. Famous last words.
The job started out as expected. I would come in and get my assignment from the manager for the day. This quickly changed over to getting my assignment from the boyfriend of the manager to be. We seemed to get along ok but just listening to him you could hear there were some problems brewing between him and his girlfriend and the managers. It appeared they wanted to make some changes and the managers did not want any changes made until after they retired.
Chris Hooked Up With Publix
As this was no concern of mine I just continued to get my assignments and work my hours. The park itself was nice and the other workers were also nice but the tension between the retiring managers and the new managers was growing. In the meantime, Chris hooked up with the local Publix supermarket for a part-time job.
After about a month of being there, I received a knock on our door and it was the incoming manager. She said she just wanted to let me know that she and her boyfriend just broke up and he would be moving off the campground shortly. She advised that going forward I would meet with her in the morning and get my assignments for the day from her.
Started Getting Awkward
Things got a little awkward as I had been getting my assignments from her boyfriend up until this point and now I would see him on the deck of the clubhouse looking sad and just watching over the grounds. Things took a turn for the worse as one day all of us maintenance/grounds workers were called in for a meeting.
We each worked four days, four hours per day.We were informed that moving forward on the days that we worked we would now have to remain on the campground and handle any maintenance calls that came in until the office was closed. This was not what I agreed to in my interview.
The Way It Was Done
I calmly informed her that I would not commit to staying on the campground after my shift was over. I told her I had my job duties outlined in my initial interview and being on call after my four-hour shift was not in the agreement. I guess the thing that annoyed me most was the way it was done. I was not asked if I would help out by doing this and I was told I had to do this!!!
After my shift that day I told Chris that my time was probably limited there and we should start looking for a new campground to stay at for the remainder of the winter. This would be no small task as trying to find a decent campground in the winter months in Florida can be a challenge.
Over the next week or so the tension was building and it seemed like the new manager was just waiting for the opportunity to let me go. My guess is she was conducting interviews and as soon as she got someone to replace me I was gone.
One day she informed us that the owners were coming to look over the park and were taking the retiring managers and her out to lunch for the “changing of the guard” so to speak. Time was up and the retiring managers were moving out of the manager’s house and she was moving in.
The day had come and the owners were walking around checking the place out. The other maintenance guy and I were raking leaves. The owner’s wife and son stopped me and started asking me a lot of questions and talking about the campground. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the owner and the new manager staring at me. I had a feeling that this was the beginning of the end.
A Big Bang!!!
The wife and son started walking away from me when all of a sudden there was a big bang. It turns out one of the campers was leaving the park and cut a corner too sharp hitting a fifth wheel that was parked in another spot.
As a former EMT, I went over to make sure everyone was ok. There was a couple in the fifth wheel and they were visibly shaken. After I determined everyone was ok, I informed them the best thing to do was to call the authorities and their insurance company. As I turned and started to walk away, I noticed the owner and manager were again staring at me so I went over to inform them of what happened.
To my surprise, they were angry at me for going over to investigate the situation. They said it was of no concern of theirs and they got into their SUV and headed off to lunch. Wow, really? No concern of theirs? After all, they are just the owners and managers. I knew at that time just what type of people I was dealing with.
Not Two Days Later
Well, it wasn’t two days later when I received another knock on my door. It was the new manager again. You can tell she was a little nervous and I knew right away what was about to happen. She awkwardly informed me that the owner said I talked too long to his wife instead of working and she had to let me go. I was not surprised at all. As a matter of fact, I knew it was coming I just didn’t know how they would go about doing it.
I asked her how long we were able to stay since we still had not found another campground to relocate to at that point. She gave an approximate time which I think was about two weeks which was fine by me. As luck would have it two days later one of the parks we had previously called got back to us and said they had three sites open and it was available on a first come first serve basis. We were packed up and gone the following morning and were the first in line to get a site. We spent the remaining time that winter at this campground.
Casey Jones RV Park
The campground we relocated to was a no-frills park on the other side of town. It was inexpensive enough that we could stay there and Chris would keep her part-time hours at Publix and I would work on our website and do some maintenance to our RV. The campground we stayed at was Casey Jones RV Park and if you are ever in Lake City and need a no-frills campground to stay at we highly recommend it. Check out our full review of Casey Jones RV Park by clicking here.
Even though this workamping experience did not work out well for us, we learned a few things from it.
- Just because you have a written agreement from the employer and in this case it was an email confirmation of all duties to be performed, the job requirements are not etched in stone and the situation can change upon arriving at the workamping location
- For the interview process, we had made up a list of questions to ask. After this experience, we added a new question to our list: are you as owner or manager planning to retire or sell the campground now or during the time we are working
- If you are uncomfortable with any aspect of the job or if any changes are made, request to have a private meeting with the owner or manager to discuss your concerns, job duties and expectations
- Always have a plan B
- Don’t change who you are for anyone or any reason.
I realize now that when the new manager made a change to the agreement I had made in my interview I should have requested to have a private meeting with her. Unfortunately, I did not do this. It was also obvious to me that she was inexperienced as a manager. As stated, this was also our second workamping job on a campground and very different from our prior experience which was a good one for us.
This workamping job was a very good learning opportunity. We were faced with some new challenges and now realize that each workamping job will present new challenges. Like anything, the more experiences you have, the better you can handle the situations that arise.
Have you had a similar experience? How about a job that did not go as planned? Share it with us in the comment section below. It might help out a fellow workamper.