Friday, April 1, 2016

The Nano-Season

In a sea of endless seasonal opportunities, how does one fit in all the fun living/working situation into this short tour of earth?  With a nano-season!

The idea to do partial seasons came to me, years ago, when I worked the last two months of a summer season, at the Park Cafe, near Glacier National Park.  Although that was a GREAT job, I realized, if I had been there the whole season, I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did.  Not because there was anything wrong with the situation, but because the nature of many of these living/working situations have a short shelf life, for my tastes...and attention span.

These situations can be intense.  Living and working in the same place, with the same people, can be really fun and really exhausting at the same time.  In addition, I pick the places I live/work based on their proximity to the recreation, I hope to have after work and on my weekends.  With built-in friends and easy access to fun (which for me, usually entails miles up and down mountains), on top of a full-time, usually manual labor, job, all this activity can really take it out of me, quickly.  I would much rather show up, knowing there is a short time left and give it my all, both with the job and fun, than try to stick out a whole season.  This is usually the state I find the rest of co-workers in, when I show up, towards the end of a season.  They are counting down the days and are no longer enchanted with the awesomeness of the place, they felt earlier in the season.  It has become like any other "real life" hustle to them.

Finishing out the ski season, at June Mountain in June Lake, California

There are other reasons, I would choose a nano-season.  In the past I have had a short window of time, so opted to fill it, with what I subsequently dubbed a nano-season or a "tweener".  This may take convincing an employer to hire me for such a short time and is why these are primarily for otherwise undesirable employers, such as ski resorts and National Park concessionaires. In a nutshell, these are undesirable employers, because they are so big and corporate. While, generally I find these to be undesirable employers, I find the location to be highly desirable. (This is so sad, but is the current state of affairs at most of these national treasures).  So, to reconcile...a nano-season.  Get in, explore, and take advantage of the good, and get out before I become disgruntled by the big, inefficient mess of (usually) crappy and/or desperate management and the (in large part) degenerate workers, these desperate employers seem to attract.  I used to not even bother at all, opting to only work at a small, private lodge or restaurant, near the attraction, until I figured out how to make it work for me (the nano-season!).

I consider my current situation, a nano-season.  I actually, planned on this nano-season, although I did not know where I would be.  Months ago, I foresaw wanting to be in the snow, this time of year.  Knowing that the nature and scope of ski resorts, requires perpetual hiring, I counted on working for a ski resort that had employee housing (as opposed to a small nearly lodge or living in a town, which, while preferable, isn't as easy to get into, spur of the moment), as I was not trying to commit to any exact plans ahead of time.  Success!  It was too easy.  I applied, interviewed and was on my way within a 48-hour period.

While the process of starting to work/live somewhere new, can be arduous, I have got it down.  I pride myself on being able to slip into a new role, effortlessly, and continue with my own daily routine, without too much interference from the new situation.  This the only way this lifestyle is sustainable to me.  This was the case with this job.  I jumped right in, with no problem or blip in my daily routines.  My current role, as a lift operator, does seem to have a bit of curve, for being fit enough to stand outside in the elements all day, while wearing 30-ish extra pounds of clothes, and dealing with the general public, especially lots of kids.  I have been pretty tired after work each day, but have been able to bounce back to fully take advantage of where I am, on my weekends.  As I start my fourth and second to last week here, I know opting for a nano-season, was the right call.  There is a time limit for my full engagement with this post, and it is dwindling as quickly as the snow here, in sunny California.  However, knowing the end is near, allows me to give it everything I have, the next week and a half.

This was a three week, nano-season, at Crater Lake National Park, a couple years ago.
Although most jobs in the seasonal work world, mirror the four seasons of this hemisphere, my internal clock, detects more like, 6-8 season, per calendar year.  Ideally, a mix of longer and shorter stints, seems like a healthy balance.  Adhering to my schedule, and not the arbitrary ones based around what the robotic tourists are doing, and therefore employers are on, allows for more fun, better work, living in new great places and feeds my insatiable need to continuously change my circumstances.

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