Campers placed hot coals in a garbage barrel
Campers placed hot coals in a garbage barrel

Anyone who has workamped will admit that there are pros and cons to this type of work-lifestyle. 

Most workamp positions often include free (or reduced fee) campsite and or some sort of housing (i.e. park model, villa, cabin) either on-site or nearby. Usually this includes water, electric (or an electric allowance), sewer, garbage and amenities. 

One of the obvious pros would be the affordable living and the location to work. No need to spend time commuting to work when it’s right there! Yet a downfall is you are living at your workplace, most often, with your boss and coworkers. There is no way to “escape” from them. You need to be a professional at all times.

Some workampers may disagree with this and may feel that after they are off the clock, they can do what every they want. It may be okay to kick back a few brews with your coworkers, but keep in mind that you need to keep work and your social life separate. If this isn’t balanced carefully, you’ll find yourself at odds with your friends and coworkers for the season. This can really make a good workamp experience go bad quickly. A good rule to have is not to say or do anything you don’t want getting back to your employer or shared with your coworkers. So if you think your boss is a jerk and a coworker is fat, keep it to yourself!

If you are workamping at a campground or resort, you will be surrounded by guests. With every new arrival you find new “stories” and experiences to share. Yet once some guests know you work and live there, they may bother you on your time off. I have spoken to other workampers who have had serious problems with this. One said he received a knock on the motorhome door at 11 PM from a guest declaring that he had to open the camp store so they could buy some marshmallows to roast that evening!

As with your boss and coworkers, you should remain professional around the guests. Again, this can be a pro and con. If the guests staying near you break the rules and you are the one to call them out on it, it may cause additional problems. Most people are apologectic in situations like this, but a handful can make life difficult.

 Like any job you will have good days and bad days, especially if you are dealing with the public.

Most workamp positions are seasonal or temporary. For those who like short-term work and moving on to other locations, this is ideal. It also means that you have to constantly search for another position and set aside funds for traveling to it.

Usually workampers who apply for jobs have never been to that location or area. They rely on information from others, the employer and the internet. You may ask questions during the employer’s phone interview, but the answers may not be as detailed as needed. And, quite frankly, some business websites tend to be misleading.

For example, you may tell the employer you do have a big fifth-wheel or travel trailer and need a larger site. They may say that there is no problem, they can accommodate any size rig. Months later you arrive at the job to find not only does your rig barely fit, you have to park your tow vehicle a mile away in an a visitor parking area. A series of “little” things can add up quickly, making you dread your decision to work at that location. Although you may arrive to find that not only the site is big enough, but that your boss neglected to mention you had the best site in the park!

My advice on this is to create a list (and copy it off for each job) of what to ask employers during or before the phone interview. And review their website, especially if it is a campground. The amenities page and site map may generate more questions. Ask questions! This can help prevent a lot of problems.

Another possible problem with workamp positions is the lack of work. You may drive several days for a position only to get there and find they didn’t need your help or a change in management happened after you were hired and they immediately say “Who are you?” It is best to get a written (and signed) contract or agreement that outlines the important information. Having a contract is also a plus because even if business is slow, they must keep you on until the end date stated in the contract.

There are many more pros and cons of workamping; however, these are probably the most important ones. As with any job, you will have good and bad work experiences.

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