The Aspect Of My Life

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last Man Standing

Well, almost.  There will be one workamper left after today.  Since I have been here 9 workampers have left.  One left so quickly I never even met her.

This has been my experience of the management style:
You arrive happy to start the season and happy to have such a pleasant management couple to work with.  The agreed upon working hours are great and there are a few other workampers to befriend.  Because you are so happy, you want to please the couple and do your best work possible.  That is when it starts to get interesting.

Nothing, nothing, is good enough for them so you try to work even harder.  They just keep raising the expectation bar until you crack.  And most left.  And when they left, others were expected to pick up the slack.  The management couple actually said it was easy for them to always get other workampers.  But I guess it wasn't so easy for them as we never got anyone new until just recently.  And that man is working so many hours he is actually paying them to work here.  A few conversations with him and he has come to this realization.

They made it clear from the beginning that they would not tolerate any gossiping.  I thought that was a good policy until I realized they didn't want any of us talking together because then we could compare notes.  I kept to myself but as each person prepared to leave earlier than anticipated, they came to my door to tell me their stories.  No one left on good terms and no one had anything good to say.

But I stayed because I liked the park and I liked the job.  And I learned a great deal for future workamping jobs.  I will always have a written agreement that specifies how many hours I will work.  That came in handy when they asked me to work extra hours and I could refer to my agreement and politely decline.  Another woman in the office started working extra hours for them and in the end she was working 5 days a week.  Her choice, but she just couldn't say "no".  A written agreement makes it easier to decline.

I did stay out of the gossiping, but it also kept the workampers from feeling any sense of community.  It was only upon their leaving that we bonded.  Beware of managers who don't want workampers socializing together!  I constantly had the feeling that we were being watched and scrutinized. 

Beware of managers that leave notes instead of personal communication!

Beware of managers that immediately become defensive if you ask to talk to them!

Beware of managers that are too young to have the maturity skills necessary to manage!

Beware of managers that believe they are your "boss" and you are an "employee"!

As I said, I learned a lot and now I am ready to be done.  Today is my last day of work.


  1. How unfortunate, I would never last in a place like that. If you stick around I hope it gets better or somebody puts this couple in their place.


    1. Actually, I think they got some type of promotion :)

  2. I really enjoy my job working for Aramark at a national park, and I get paid too. Our rent is only $25 week and we get food discounts. It is more hours per week than working at a private campground. I'm not sure if I will work at any private campgrounds. In November I move from here to a National Wildlife Refuge which is a volunteer position for a free site.

    1. I know some other people that worked for Aramark and they also had a good experience. Maybe I should look into it.

  3. At least you learned what to do the next time and what not to do. At least you liked the CG. I hope your next stop will be a good one.

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  5. I workcamped this summer in Mt Hood NF, free site and paid for hours. While a few hosts left early, almost all worked all summer.