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Oxbow Bend, Snake River

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

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The ABC’s of a Seasonal Gig – a Few Logistics to Consider

Kelcy Fowler kelcy@coolworks.com

There are loads of factors to consider when you’re contemplating taking the leap of working, traveling, and living somewhere new. We’ve put together a short and helpful guide on some of the basics. So put your mind at ease and get excited for the adventure that awaits you! 

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Adjusting
– It’s important to keep in mind when embarking on a seasonal adventure that the first few weeks can be challenging.  Acclimating and getting comfortable in new surroundings -meeting lots of new people, getting accustomed to a living situation and often different foods, learning a new job – it can feel overwhelming.  In these weeks, homesickness and anxiety can creep in.  It is important to remember that everyone there is in the same boat!  These feelings fade relatively quickly.  Seasonal jobs often lead to close and long-lasting friendships with people from not just around the country, but from all over the world.


Attitude – The right attitude is the most important key to success in a seasonal environment. With a solid work ethic and a positive attitude, the likelihood of standing out in and rising through the ranks or being promoted is higher than in most other work environments. Because of this, in a single summer season it is possible for one to gain a wealth of experience in multiple departments, or varied positions, whether due to a promotion or transfer, or just picking up extra shifts in a different job.  In some scenarios, such as some ranches, all staff members pitch in, in every aspect of the operation, and do a little bit of everything.  In the long run, this is valuable work experience.

A good thing to keep in mind is that the work can be challenging and the days can be long. Although most employees don’t get rich working a summer seasonal job, there is an opportunity to save money because room & board is either included or offered at a very reduced rate, and expenses are low.  The most valuable fruits of a seasonal job are the new experiences, skills, friendships, and memories you gain that will last a lifetime.


Health Insurance – Seasonal employers generally do not provide health insurance. Individual policy research can be done at www.healthcare.gov, or another consideration might be a travel insurance policy.


Health and Well Being – Being in an unknown environment with new things to learn, new people to meet, and exciting things to see is incredibly stimulating, but it can also be a shock or a stress to the system.  It’s important to remember to take care, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep, especially when in a mountain environment or a higher elevation than one is accustomed to. Particular attention to hydration is a matter of safety.


Living in Remote Locations – Seasonal opportunities on CoolWorks are often located in rather remote settings, which often allows for one-of-a-kind experiences to be had.  At the same time, it is a really important element to consider when looking for the right fit. We recommend you map the location of the employers you’re considering so you can get the lay of the land, establish some expectations of where you’ll be, and learn about what near-by amenities, if any, will be accessible.


Necessary Documentation – In order to legally be employed to work in the United States, all employees must complete an I-9 Form.  This form, along with additional employment paperwork, is generally completed on the day that a new employee arrives at the employer’s office.  It is necessary to arrive with certain identification documents in hand to complete these forms.

Full details on the I-9 form and the complete list of acceptable A, B, and C identification documents can be found here: http://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/acceptable-documents.


Packing Essentials – Seasonal accommodations are often small and shared, and storage space is limited. Packing light is always a good idea when embarking on a seasonal adventure.

Employees will encounter all types of weather – especially if headed to the Rocky Mountains or Alaska. Your new job will likely have specific work uniform requirements. Be sure to confirm what you’re expected to bring before you arrive. Good shoes or boots for hiking, a waterproof jacket, and multiple warm layers to use for cold weather are all essentials.


Payday – All employers are different: some pay employees every two weeks, some once a month. It’s important to keep in mind that whatever the pay schedule, the first payday is often weeks away from arrival, and some essentials (laundry detergent, for example) might be necessary prior to the first paycheck.


Room & Board – Many of the employers who list their jobs on CoolWorks offer a room & board package, which is most commonly a shared room and three meals a day, but there are many variations. Details will be noted on Employer Profiles and/or hiring documents.  Some employers offer Room and Board, and some charge a nominal daily fee that is “paid for” with a payroll deduction.


Transportation –Transportation to the job site is generally at the expense of the employee. Commonly an employer will arrange a pick up from the local airport, bus terminal, or train station. Transportation throughout the season varies greatly depending on employer and location. Again, details may be listed on the Employer Profile and/or on other hiring documents. Having a vehicle allows for maximum freedom. For those that do not bring a car, ride sharing is often an option. Job seekers should be sure to read the detailed information to identify whether a vehicle is necessary to travel from employee housing to the work site.

Transportation throughout the season varies greatly depending on employer and location. In ski resort towns there are often shuttle buses. Some of the more remotely located employers need to do town runs for supplies, and staff are able to catch a ride, if there’s room. (Sometimes, remote employers will actually require you to have your own car.) Ride sharing with those who do have cars is pretty common, but you shouldn’t count on it. And then there are some locations where having a bike is a great option. Mackinac Island, for instance, is a car free island, so walking or biking gets you everywhere you need to go.

We suggest mapping out the area where you’ll be living and working, consider what activities you’d like to enjoy, and if a car is required to make those happen, then driving to your new home/job is probably the way to go.

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