The Business of Work Camping: What happens if you’re let go?

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By Sam Suva
Getting let go from your work camping position – It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it can be pretty traumatic. In our travels we have been very close to work campers that have, for one reason or another, been “let go” or fired. Work campers and owners can be just wonderful and then have a personality conflict or disagreement about the work until it becomes necessary to separate. I will talk about a few of these examples and let our gentle readers in on how it turned out for them.

When we apply to work at a campground, we do it with the knowledge that work camping is seasonal or minimally finite, and anywhere in between. We will not be there indefinitely – there is an end date. With that in mind, there are some work campers that do not see the scheduled end date but, instead, a more truncated timeline.

There is an example of a couple that transferred from one corporate campground to another where we were work camping. The couple quickly became disillusioned with what they were able to do there and became vocal about it. They started to speak negatively about the campground manager, the district manager and the company. It finally became impossible to ignore and the company took action; the work campers left the campground. It was not a surprise to them except to say that they felt that by airing their grievances as they did, they thought the powers that be would bow to their demands and give them the concessions they desired.

Group sourcing issues against the company (i.e., publicly complaining) almost never works in a campground. When it does, something has to give. If the owner allows an upgrade for asphalt from gravel, for instance, the gatherings will probably go from catered entree to dish-to-pass. The staff will be downsized and the amenities like the pool and yard maintenance may suffer.


This couple settled a few states away and we kept in touch through social media. He found work in a small campground, he was very talented with machines, and she stayed at home. They even did fundraising excursions and looked like they were getting along just fine.

The second example is a manager couple. The first thing to know about the manager position is that it, and we, are expendable. The buck stops here, so if we cannot alleviate an issue, it can mean our job. This couple worked in an office and outside and were highly experienced in work camping. They were helpful and professional to staff and guests. When the contract came up, the owner demoted the couple. He explained it was because of lack of progress in the position, but shortly after he sold the park. The couple remained friends with the owner and eventually found a work camping job closer to family. They are all doing very well.

There are many examples of unforeseen circumstances where a work camping job is cut short, whether on the part of the work camper or by the owner of the park. It is important to note that both the campground and the work camper will be just fine. The work camper will find the next place and probably do amazing things there and the owner will get new help and hopefully expand his or her business.

We do not let such things stop us from contributing, nor do we encourage mobbing on (belittling or putting down) staff or owners. We have a job to do and we enjoy doing it. If we can no longer do our job effectively because of internal or external reasons, our house has wheels and the classifieds are full of workers wanted.

What about you? Have you experienced loss of work or have you stepped down prematurely from a position? What were the circumstances? How were you later successful? Let us know in the comments.

See you down the road,

Sam

Sam Suva and his wife are work campers. They began work camping more than 10 years ago and have spent a lot of time working as they traveled. In this new weekly feature, they will share their experiences with you, with an emphasis on how to incorporate work camping into a full time RV lifestyle.

Read more articles about Work Camping.

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