Seasonaires & Self Employed, when are you going to get a real job?

“You have such a great life! But when are you going to get a real job?”

“Oh so you admit that ‘a real job’ is awful, so why would I want one? Thank you for your input, but I guess… never.”

That’s what I’d love to say as I shuttle the bus full of insurance brokers out for a “lads holiday” skiing, drinking, overpaying for coke, getting rejected by the chalet host, so having to pay sex workers to fly out to them, so they can carry on cheating on their wives.

“Aww I’m so jealous! But one day you’ll need a real job”

“Ahh maybe one day, but I’ll avoid it for as long as I can”, I say through a forced smile of gritted teeth as I swipe your husbands -who’s on a sun lounger, hungover, overfed and overpaid- credit card for 800 Euros worth of watersports activities that I can do in a day off for free. Now get back to your sunburnt kids Karen.

Maybe this is being harsh, but my truth is I have never heard the “real job” phrase uttered by someone who I would have liked had they not said it (Outside of my friends or family). The underlying truth of it is, because they’re jealous; now don’t call me cocky just yet, this is an opinion I didn’t fully realise until I started speaking to someone who had been self-employed for over 30 years with her own various businesses, is writing a book and supports many people in starting their own businesses and inspired me to start writing this blog. She told me that in all her time being self-made, people still now asked her “when was she going to get a real job”, not just despite her success, but -as I now realise- because of it. Seasonal Life and Self Employed life are very alike in some aspects; we rejected the regular 9–5 slog to instead chase our passions. For one, the passion comes with risk, but also the opportunity to make you a comfortable independent income, the other comes with less risk, (avalanches aside) less security (pensions, buying a house, building savings etc.) but still that rejection of the 9–5 for a lifestyle chasing passions.

Now that being said, in peak summertime I work almost 12 hours a day, definitely 7 days a week, with days off only for high winds or rain. But because it’s on a beach it’s viewed as not “real work”. Despite making hundreds and thousands of euros in sales that day, providing safety and actively running activities, managing a team, helping the new kid learn his duties, and the fact I still won’t be finished until the boat is fuelled and cleaned ready to do it all again the next day; it’s still not seen as “real work” because I’m not in a suit, in my office space. But would I change it? Absolutely not, I have never had a job where I laughed more than I ever have before, a job where when everything is go go go, and when its running well it’s getting to enjoy being part of a well-oiled machine, being part of a fully performing team is an amazing feeling, but also when s**t hits the fan it just becomes more exciting. I’ve never had a day where I’ve woken up dreading going to work, laid in bed thinking “I just can’t face it today”, can you with your “Real Job” say that?

Then comes winter, where my work/passion balance goes into overdrive, I can get up, have a fresh croissant and coffee from the local bakery, take my board and do several of my favourite ski runs, or if its fresh snow, hit the off piste, grab a quick lunch and then shower and get ready for work, do a full work shift and still be back in-time to have a beer (or 2/3/4/5) in my local bar with all my friends. All before doing the same thing the next day, or the choice to sleep in and relax, depending on how sore/hungover/tired I am. This once again is a lifestyle I love, I pay rent, tax, work 35 hours a week on average, but because it’s seasonal, I still get asked the “real job” question.

The best advice I got told for how to respond to the question was to say “I do have a real job, in fact I have two, just because my contract is for 6 months doesn’t mean it’s not real”, that sentence is even better when you back it up with the fact you’ve been doing it for 3 years plus, add in how many hours a week you work, and depending on your circumstance and employer, still pay tax and rent.

My advice to you, if you are going to do seasons, you will face this question; if it’s a one off season before you go to uni, go to another job or whatever, brilliant, the punters love to hear it. But if you’re wanting to keep doing seasons, I recommend taking the route above, always said with a smile of course… you wouldn’t want to harm, Chad, Brad, Dave, Little Pete, Big Pete’s, and (insert random sh** nickname here)’s ego’s and thus your tip at the end of their trip.

If you are a holiday maker who feels I am wrong, I truly do hope you enjoy the job you have, that pays for your house, which means you have to keep your job, so you can keep paying for your house and just remember therapy is cheaper than a ski holiday.

A place to share my experiences of Seasonal Working, discuss the impacts of Brexit & Covid, from someone who chose a life of working abroad