Well sort of. We have now been at the same campground for over a month and for the most part we have enjoyed our time here. While Mrs. RVF continues working her full time job I have spent most of my time doing strenious activities like hiking, fishing, vehicle maintenance and tending to our new mini dividend portfolio.
One thing you get to see when you are at a campground for an extended period of time, as opposed to just overnighting or stopping for a weekend stay, is the business side of running a campground. The daily chores, maintenance, unexpected problems, contractor delays and the never ending projects that campground owners work so hard to complete in order to better their property. All of this is going on while at the same time trying not to disrupt service or create a negative experience for their customers. It’s a delicate balance and as much fun as it sounds like it would be to own a campground it really is a tough business.
As with any business employees come and go. As someone who spent most of my career in corporate management I have been on that side of the process and its not always fun. Most employees are hard working, eager to learn and reliable team players. But then you have those that spend more time complaining than working and those same people also just so happen to be the ones that may or may not show up for work. And I get that sometimes companies suck but in my opinion if you obligated yourself to a job then it should be getting done until you decide to move on. Sometimes you are not going to agree with how things are done but that decision ultimatly falls on the owner of the business.
Over the past month we have established a friendly rapport with some of the other monthly folks many of which just happen to be work camping couples at the campground. We see them every day either riding by in the golf carts or taking care of the property and on occassion we have sat and chatted durning their off time. Some have talked about their jobs and how they travel the country working at campgrounds from one season to another. This is something we had discussed and planned on doing in the future but as Mrs. RVF still works a full time job it was always a back burner item to revisit at a later date.
One day last week I was taking our dog out for our morning walk and I saw one of the work campers trimming trees so I waived to him and gave a friendly “good morning”. When he saw me he stopped working and walked over and asked if the owner of the campground had talked to me yet. I answered no and asked if we did something wrong to which he thankfully also replied no. He went on to tell me that one of the working camping couples left in the middle of the night with no notice and that he recommended that the owner ask us if we are interested in filling the open positions. I’ll admit I was kind of shocked when he said this but also very grateful that he would even think of recommending us. I was also a little skeptical because when people leave without notice it’s usually because they didn’t enjoy their position or the people they worked for and we don’t want or need that at this point in our lives.
Later that day the owner came by our site and told us about the compensation and then offered the positions to us. The compensation is typical for work camping, you make a small wage and get your campsite at no cost for the duration of your stay as long as you work your shifts. We explained that Mrs. RVF still works a full time job but I would gladly come on board if we could work something out but the problem is that this is a couples position and two people are needed. He asked us to give it some consideration and said he would see if he could arrange the schedule to be more accomidative for both of us to work. The next afternoon we were provided with a tenitive schedule and we decided we could make it work and signed on.
The one caveat with accepting these positions is that Mrs. RVF will now be working seven days a week between this and her regular full time job. Additionally, she will have two days a week where she be working her regular job and then also working this job in the evening. That’s alot for any person and not exactly what we had in mind moving to this lifestyle. Because of this the decision was not an easy one, but after we discussed it we decided that getting some experience now doing campground reservations, maintenance and groundskeeping would be a good idea so we can show that experience for future jobs. Plus these jobs fell in our laps and were offered just based on conversations. We didn’t need to apply, send resumes or interview for the positions and future jobs might not be so easy to get with zero campground experience. So other than the work conflict it’s a good time to learn some new skills.
So we are now offically work campers! We can also tell you that after just a couple of days on the job we already have a renewed appreciation for the people who have been doing this and even more so for the people who decide to own a campground. It’s a great and fun enviroment to work in, but the things that go wrong are usually messy, cost alot of money to fix and cause visitors to be unhappy. In those instances it is a no win situation for everyone especially the owner of the business.
Since we will only be at this site for a couple more months this will be a great test run to see if this is something we really want to do in the future. Who knows, we might not enjoy it and decide it’s just not for us or we could really like it and make it a part of our travel plans. Either way for the rest of our stay here we get free camping, free ice cream, make a little money, save a little money and learn some new skills that could benefit us in the long run. Not a bad situation.
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