People looking to join the full time RV living lifestyle often decide they need work camping jobs to make ends meet. But, if they have never done this type of thing before a big question they may have is what are RV park jobs really like? You can visit my discussion on work camper job listings to see how to acquire RV park jobs.
Pam and I are now in our seventh year of full time RV living and having RV park jobs. We can give you some great advice on the best way to deal with situations, not only with RV park owners and managers, but also with fellow work campers. There are things you must not do in order to survive this kind of environment.
Don’t get me wrong, the full time RV living lifestyle and work camping is what we enjoy doing and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. We love it! But we have learned a few things along the way and I want to share those with you so you have a better experience right from the start!
Let us assume that you have decided on where you are going to work, you found RV park jobs that match your job criteria for what you are willing to do, and you have made contact with the park owners/managers. There are steps at this point we would advise that you take!
RV Park Jobs: Get Your Job Responsibilities in Writing!
If the RV park jobs employer does not have a work camper agreement for you to sign, then I would suggest you write one and send it to them. Do this before you commit to any RV Park job! You want your job responsibilities outlined long before you drive hundreds of miles only to find out that you are cleaning bathrooms when they said you were going to be helping with activities.
One of the phrases we look for in a work camper job listing are the words “and any other duties as needed.” What does that mean? It could mean cleaning toilets! Hey, I have nothing against that. I have done lots of that in my life so now I’ll leave that to someone else. Some people don’t mind, others prefer not to. We have been in some pretty disgusting bath houses after a busy weekend. I was glad I was not cleaning them!
My point is to apply for RV park jobs you want to do and be sure you get it in writing what your responsibilities are. If the employer changes things on you then you have it in writing and can approach them with assurance that you are within your rights to say no. If things really don’t work out after having a discussion with the “boss”, then you are also within your rights to consider the work camper contract null and void.
Pam and I have always had a clear understanding with our work camper employers and have not had an issue. We got agreements reviewed and signed before making the commitment, we kept in touch before ever showing up to be sure things had not changed: new managers who will dispute the agreement you made with the previous managers/owners, they decided they did not need you and forgot to tell you, your RV won’t fit in their campground, you discovered they don’t have 50 amp electric service RV site for you, etc.
RV Park Jobs: The Best Way to Get Started!
When starting out working RV park jobs we made the assumption that everyone was like us: they were there to work, just like a real job, and enjoy the work camping lifestyle and full time RV living! We found out that was not true! We wondered sometimes why people took these RV park jobs? They clearly hated being there and had no interest in giving their employer a honest days work. We call that the Ugly Workamper! So here’s how you can start off on the right foot as you begin your new work assignment:
- Watch what you say around others. There are always a few gossipers who want to talk poorly about everyone else around them. They will do everything they can to make you look bad around others. Just be careful till you get to know what people are really like, then form friendships with those folks you can trust. We have made some lasting friendships with people from all over the country from RV park jobs!
- Be thoughtful and encouraging around your co-workers. Don’t get involved in the gossip!
- Be interested in other people but don’t be nosey. People will be happy to share with you if they trust you and sense you are a genuine person who really cares about them!
- Be open minded as things change. We have worked RV park jobs where changes were needed for the park to function better. Support your employer and don’t be a know it all! Only offer suggestions if they are asked for.
- Be careful to not inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. It can happen! We have done it. The first thing to do is apologize, ask forgiveness and move on. When you live and work in close proximity with the folks around you stuff can happen. You just have to be mindful of that. Work Campers are like having an extended family. You can really create some strong bonds that will last a lifetime. And like family you can hurt the ones you love!
- Don’t worry what others may say about you. There are always people who will just be that way: they just have to stir up trouble. There are not many of these, but they do show up and can ruin an entire work camper workforce in short order. If you ignore them they will go away! Most times their poor job performance and attitude gets them rolling out of the RV park!
- Keep records of the hours worked just to be sure you are getting compensated for your efforts.
What to do if Things Changed After Arriving at your RV Park Job
Sometimes, but not very often, despite you best efforts to verify everything before you arrive at your new RV park job, things may not be as promised. So what do you do?
If you did what I suggested earlier and you have a written work camper agreement then you are within your right to ask for a meeting with your employer and discuss the variance between the job being asked to perform and what you have in writing. If they are unwilling to be open to the discussion then you have every right to pack up and head your RV right out the exit gate! Your home does have wheels!!
But, before you go be sure you have thought it through and are not just acting out of frustration stirred up by an incident that will probably blow over. We have not had an issue like that, but we have had friends that just no matter how hard they tried they just always seemed to blow everything out of proportion.
If you have never worked in the hospitality industry before, it is not like working in an office or as a tradesman. You are dealing with people of all kinds of backgrounds who are coming to have fun. They may have had travel issues before arriving, they may have traveled with kids who fought the entire way there, etc. They may not be at there best when they arrive at the RV park!
Our friends always seemed to get so easily offended at what people would say to them and threaten to quit! “I don’t need to be treated that way!” was the typical line we heard. It’s true, but that is what RV park jobs can be like, especially when it is really busy in the campground. We have worked at some parks that only had 200 RV sites, and they had more than half of them turning over on a weekly basis, and usually on the same day. We worked Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque NM one year. The park we were at went from empty to full in a matter of hours.
I was guiding RV’s to sites for that particular RV park job. Every few minutes a rig pulled in. Not all of them were having a great time yet. So, we greeted the guests with a smile, told them “now that they had arrived we are going to have a great time, and follow me, I’ll get you parked!” By the time they stepped out of the RV, at their site, they were happy campers!
You can’t have a thin skin and make it in this business. Just see it from the other persons viewpoint and life will be so much easier. Have compassion and you will do fine. You won’t please everyone, but you will handle most situations just fine if you take that approach! I worked with our friends to help them get a better understanding of the mindset needed to survive and they were able to have a much better work experience.
The best advice I can give you about having success working RV park jobs is to just communicate with your employer. If you are having trouble doing the job, it was not what you expected, they did not provide the work experience they advertised, etc., speak directly to them. If things can’t be worked out your home has wheels and you can change your situation.
I will say that in the six years of working RV park jobs, we have never broken a contract. We did our jobs, communicated with employers when problems arose, and things were always resolved. The one thing you really don’t want to do is give work campers a bad name by not fulfilling work contracts. Employers are counting on you to fill these RV park jobs for the timeframe you committed to. If you leave early you put them in a bind!
We would love to hear what you think about this topic! If you have questions we would like to help you out. Just leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
Enjoy your work camping experiences and your full time RV living lifestyle!
Howard and Pam