Despite its importance to the workforce, seasonal employment often gets a bad rap among job-seekers. Our culture still tends to value longer-term work, and many seasonal positions (retail, food service, housekeeping) are low on the wage scale, with limited room for advancement unless you can stay with the same employer over consecutive years.
Yet ignoring seasonal job opportunities cuts job-seekers off from a key part of the BC economy, and our local economy in particular. After all, the tourism industry -- which is primarily seasonal -- contributes a sizeable chunk of the jobs available here in the Pacific Rim, especially in Ucluelet and Tofino. Further, the skills and experience developed through seasonal work count just as much as what you gain through year-round employment.
Some people automatically associate seasonal work with summertime. Yet by a strict definition, “seasonal” means any work that lasts only a few months and is tied to a specific time of year. Most commonly this means either summer or winter, but there are exceptions… including our local Fall Fair, which travels between various Island communities between August and October.
Some workers travel with the fair to each of its stops, and so earn a seasonal paycheque that could develop into an annual commitment. But since this time-limited income isn’t enough to see most folks through the year, these same workers might then put their energy, customer service and people skills to work in the skiing industry, which starts recruiting in September and October. Then, when the spring thaw draws the skiing season to a close, it’s nearly time to look ahead to summer again, and start pursuing jobs related to warm-weather tourism and recreation: hospitality, food services, sales, boating, and the like.
In between these seasons, there are additional job prospects available for berry harvesters, tree-planters, flower pickers, fish processors, and so forth. What job-seekers need to make such arrangements succeed is flexibility, commitment, and hard work, along with the willingness to switch employers a few times during the year. This sort of arrangement may be an ideal fit for workers who thrive on variety and change… qualities which, incidentally, will serve you well in any area of the job market, seasonal or otherwise.
In sum, one key to job-search success in today’s workforce is the ability to be flexible and think creatively. The concept of work is evolving: the schema of one long-term, permanent, full-time job is gradually being broken down into smaller segments of temporary, part-time employment. Today’s job-seekers would be wise to consider ways of building a year-long income out of smaller parcels of work, rather than restricting themselves to the pursuit of one all-encompassing “job.” Tapping into the multi-seasonal market is one more means to develop your skills and reputation, and find fulfillment in the work you do.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: “Men are not troubled by things themselves, but by their thoughts about them.” (Epictectus, Greek philosopher, AD 55 – AD 135)