The Life of a Seasonal Employee

“So Lindsey, what do you do?”

The most common question in American society.  Those of you that work seasonal positions, especially those of you that, like me, work a different seasonal position every summer, will understand how hard it is to answer this question.  Up until a few days ago I was in the liminal part of my year, the restaurant-retail-let’s-just-make-some-money-and-wait-for-the-next-big-thing part of my year.  And although this part of the year is often a lucrative and relaxing one, when people ask what I do, it is very rarely something that I want to claim.  Not because working in a restaurant isn’t challenging or real or legit, but because I am not passionate about it.

Restaurant work is hard, and my current restaurant job has shown me that ten fold.  I am working at an incredible fine dining joint in Ballard, the Golden Beetle, with some of the most passionate foodies I have ever met.  These people are serious about representing and selling food and creating a dining experience that a patron won’t soon forget.  I’ve managed to fit in because I am stubborn and hardworking but I know that what I am lacking is passion.  Not passion for the food, the food is incredible, I would be the most passionate customer ever, but passion for the experience.  I have said it before and I will say it again, servers are treated like servants and even in a restaurant like my current one, where servers have a ridiculous amount of knowledge about the food, the ingredients, the booze, the song that’s playing right now, we are still occasionally treated like flunkies, dummies, bottom of the totem pole… so then I lose faith in all of humanity, find myself hating people, and want out, fast.

This time I did get out fast. After only a couple of months back in restaurant biz I landed myself a job on a King County Backcountry Trails Crew as a Crew Member for the summer season!  I can finally announce this because yesterday I went and had my pre-placement examination and I am pretty sure I passed despite having either a terrible cold or the tail end of the flu.  Mostly they were looking at flexibility and strength (I had to do ten sit ups and squat and lift a fifty pound box ten times) but they did require a hearing test which I was worried about because my ears are completely congested… I passed with flying colors none the less.  After also killing my vision test and showing the doctor what it looks like to touch the floor (poor guy could barely make it past his knees) I was home free! Such a fast process, if one doesn’t count the hour I spent waiting in the sitting room…

So now I am about to start a new job that pays great, has full benefits (it even has dental), allows me to go home every night to Kyle, get’s me outside and moving every day, and works a four/three scheduling, gifting me three-day weekends right in time for spring and summer!  I couldn’t be happier.  Plus I am back to having an answer when people ask me what I do because working outside every day building and maintaining the ground people hike on is something I am truly passionate about.

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As Edward Abbey said, "An indoor life is the next best thing to a premature burial."

14 thoughts on “The Life of a Seasonal Employee

  1. And now your grandparents also have a job description to tell others, who ask what are your grandkids doing? Good for you and us plus I know you will excel at this job as you have at all l of the jobs you take on.

      1. I’ve made the leap to permanent now, but with all the comings and goings of friends and coworkers in the public lands world, I’m not sure I’ll ever quite escape!

      2. Ooooooh public lands world, lover of the seasonal gig. This time round I was actually looking for a seasonal gig though, believe it or not! Because with the PCT next year I didn’t want anything to permanent. Quitting awesome permanent jobs sucks…

  2. Way to be hard headed and stubborn which has led to you once again being immersed in your passion. Love that about you Lindsey. Once again, been there done that job wise. I have been a bottom feeder in the eyes of people several times and it takes eyes off the situation and their expectations for sure to rise above, plus a lot of help from above. 🙂 You rock sister. love PMS

  3. Congrats on your new job and the ability to follow your passion for the outdoors. We completely understand the challenge of having to answer the “what do you do” question. Having an unconventional life is not easy to explain.

  4. I wish you luck in your new job and hope you really enjoy it. Is that your chain saw? Looks v. dangerous and scary to a non professional!

    1. Not my personal chainsaw but I have used a chainsaw during my last two jobs! I was terrified to use one before my chainsaw training in Arizona but after A LOT of hours on one I feel really good about them. Just like everything it is about skills, knowledge, and good risk management.

      1. Well I think you are amazing. Once in a while I have to use my circular saw and terrified doesn’t begin to describe how I feel. But you are right proper training is essential and obviously your are fit and strong. And, so importantly passionate – all the best.

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