The Cyclical Nature of Seasonal Employment

Monday, October 3, 2011
If you're lucky enough to be employed in this part of the world, chances are, you have some sort of season work. A few resorts, like the one Andy works for, have year round business, although he'll be the first to tell you, they're all shocked if someone books a cabin in April and November. And of course there are certain year-round positions that must exist in any small community: grocery story owners, doctors, the mail lady, gas station employees, etc.

But I have always seemed to end up with the seasonal job: the one that goes from May through September, or at the very latest, into October. Although my job now is full time and pays quite well, it only lasts for just over 5 months of every year. Not only does seasonal work make for interesting, creative finances, it also perpetuates the feeling that you should head off to school -- or some place new -- every autumn.

In fact, there's a certain cycle, a certain rhythm to each season. It begins with shock, horror, and more horror . . . oh wait, I made a graphic to explain it all better:
You're welcome.

So, as I was saying, there's a cycle to this seasonal employment thing. The cycle repeats its twice a year: once during the "on-season", again in the off.

It begins with shock. This settles in around the end of April. The inner monologue goes something like this: "Nearly time to go back to work again. Crikey where did that come from? Wasn't it just October?"

The shock is quickly replaced by horror. "I have to back to work?! What about baking bread, knitting sweaters, listening to NPR, and counting "not going broke" as one of my highest accomplishments? I was just getting settled in. You honestly don't expect me to go deal with real problems and real people, do you?"

But once you get back in the swing of things, say, after a couple weeks or so, some excitement builds up. It's going to be a great year. There's so much possibility, so much to do and conquer. At long last, out of the stuffy old cabin.

Unfortunately, the excitement is tarnished by terrible realizations. Realizations such as: you don't like people, you have no idea how to coordinate volunteers, despite your 26 years of life, you remain deathly afraid of the telephone. Expect these realizations to start trickling in around the Fourth of July.

As those realizations stop trickling and start gushing, you enter a state of blase. Blame your piss-poor attitude on Mercury Retrograde. That's what I do. 

But those grey skies can't stay grey forever and blahs are eventually pushed aside for a long, calm period of acceptance. It is what it is. It's a job. It pays. And there are way more good days then there are bad. It's a pretty sweet gig after all.

Which brings us back to shock. The state in which I currently rest. Somehow September got gobbled on down and now we're in October, less than two weeks away from the season's close. How did that happen? Wasn't it just May? I'm not ready for this. I can't handle it. Oh, the horror. The horror!


  1. Wow... I've never thought about how hard it would be to be a seasonable worker...

  2. Ada--- this post cracked me up. I always had seasonal jobs growing up. I coached swimming, so the first day was like the first day of school--- except, I was the teacher!!!!

    Now I have a year round job--- but alas, I work from home. Which means I spend a lot of time alone and absolutely work much more then the required time....

    I hope you have some fun fall/winter projects planned!

  3. Good luck with the adjustment! I'm afraid of going back to work since my surgery- and its only been a few weeks so far, but my life has completely changed!

  4. It is like this for teachers too, who have the summer off. Although most teachers now need to work at something during the summer to make ends meet anymore. Ugh. But anyhow, similar thing. Both seasons, the working and the non-working, have their pros and cons don't they? I love your chart!! I hope you enjoy the next season in your life....


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