Just months after retiring from his job as a postal carrier, Steve Booher tragically died in a workamping accident in Iowa. The June 2016 accident serves as a reminder that workamping can be just as hazardous as any full-time job. Whether you’re applying for your first or fifth workamping job, here are some workamping risks and rewards to consider.
Am I Physically Able to Do the Job?
Many workamping employers recruit for jobs that most Americans view as unglamorous and physically difficult. From rural RV parks to Amazon fulfillment centers, these businesses are hiring for positions that almost always require movement and physical activity.
For example, I’m currently working in the office of a dude ranch, but in-between answering phones and taking reservations, I’m constantly traveling up and down a narrow staircase to wash cabin laundry. Each trip involves carrying heavy loads of laundry and precarious stair stepping. I also have to be ready for other impromptu tasks like fence building!
Even amusement park jobs require workampers to be able to stand all day, outside under hot sunshine. There’s just no getting away from it. Before you apply for any job that requires you to be on your feet, carefully consider your current state of health. Be honest with yourself:
- Are you healthy enough to go for a 30-minute walk?
- Does your weight or creaky joints prevent you from doing physical activity?
- Do you have a chronic health condition that’s unpredictable and painful?
If you have health issues, choose your jobs carefully. Learn every aspect of what’s involved with a job before you apply. If you have doubts, don’t apply with a “see how it goes” attitude. A sudden onset of symptoms can cause you to miss too much work, leaving your employer with no choice (and every right) to ask you to vacate the position – and your free RV spot.
What are On-The-Job Hazards?
Let’s say you’re physically capable of doing a certain workamping job. Congratulations, you’re hired! Once you get to work remember that your employer owes you a safe workplace. Speak up if you’re asked to do a task that you would feel more comfortable doing with certain safety equipment. Many small business owners don’t always exercise the best precautions for themselves when they’re doing a job, but the safety and comfort of employees is their bigger priority. Whether it’s a dust mask, a back brace or a pair of new gardening gloves, let your employer know that you need these tools to do a safe, effective job. If they don’t comply and you feel unsafe, leave (but do let them know why).
The Ultimate Workamping Risks and Rewards
Before we hit the road my husband and I were soft and pale from too many years working behind a computer. If someone had told us that tasks like log splitting, haying and moving deceased livestock would be rewarding, we would have laughed hysterically. Over the last nine years, our workamping jobs have whipped us back into shape. Forget a gym membership or daily runs, our summer workamping job is our daily workout.
Many workamping jobs are decidedly unglamorous. However, their physical requirements often grant us the biggest gift of all: better health. When you have more stamina and your pants are a little looser the outdoors becomes your playground. Just when you think the full-timing life couldn’t get any more exciting, a whole new assortment of rugged mountain trails and meandering bike paths are calling out your name.