Have you ever wondered what it would be like to leave your job and hit the road? If so, you are not alone. In fact, tens of thousands of American's do it every single year, and they aren't all retired! This group of mobile misfits is called "Workampers," a term coined in the 1980's by Greg and Debbie Robus. According to the Workamper News, Workamping is any activity that involves the exchange of work hours for anything of value. Think of jobs that include anything from trading work for a place to park to being paid as utility inspectors, Carnival crew members, advertisement agencies or Nascar ushers. Nowadays, "workamping" can be almost anything, as long as you have a little imagination!
So how did "workamping" get its start? Like anything, it began with a creative couple facing an unusual challenge.
Greg and Debbie, natives of Arkansas, were tasked with the job of recruiting seasonal attendants to live and work at the entrance of the Corps of Engineers' campgrounds in the vast state of Arkansas. It wasn't an easy task. Most people have traditional homes and jobs that keep them from picking up and living at a gate entrance. Suddenly it hit them: what about retired and semi-retired RVers? This group of gypsies was known for hard work and flexibility, and they might just make the perfect employee. The idea worked and Greg began filling his gate-keeping positions with that small group of overlooked people known as RVers.
Soon people were asking Greg and Debbie how to find other jobs that would fit the RV lifestyle. Would there be enough interest to support a subscription-based newsletter if Debbie and Greg could do the research? The Robus family believed there was a viable market and in 1986, they decided to give it a go!
The couple soon discovered that there were tons of job opportunities for mobile workers, and the Corps of Engineers was only a small start. Inspired, Debbie and Greg harnessed their experience with publishing and built what today is known as "The Workamper News," now entering its 30th year in publication.
The newsletter began as a small eight-page format. Over the years, the newsletter grew to become a magazine, a bookstore, a resume referral system and an email blast. Today Workamper News is an online clearinghouse for RV jobs and lifestyle inspirations. Members pay just $45 a year and receive the 72-page digital magazine, daily email job updates and access to online resume posting and topical webinars.
In 2005, Steve and Kathy Jo Anderson purchased Workamper News and added live educational events and RV Training classes.
So what types of jobs can an RVer find on Workamper.com? Here are just a few:
Work for Amazon
Work for Bowlin's Travel Centers
Volunteer at lighthouses, county parks, and private non-profits
Work on the Nascar Circuit
Work at RV parks around the nation
Work at amusement parks
Work at music festivals
Become a Gate Guard in the oil fields
Process the Beet Harvest
Sell Christmas Trees, Pumpkins, and Fireworks
And so much more.
Now over 14,000 members strong, Workamper is the premier go-to source for full and part-time gypsies. Workampers are no longer retired and semi-retired travelers. Today, workampers are couples, families, and even young singles, looking to explore the world and work along the way.
Want to become a workamper? Here are a few things you need to know:
1.) Not all jobs pay. In many cases, a job opportunity may be in exchange for free RV space and full hookups. It is important to calculate the amount of hours required for the position to decide if this would be worth your time.
For example, if the site rents for $450 a month and electricity and propane runs $100 and laundry is $50, you would essentially be earning the equivalent of $600 a month. If you are asked to work 15 hours a week in exchange for this package, your time would be worth $10 an hour. In most cases, this would be a good exchange.
If, however, the company asks that a couple work 15 hours each per week, then your time is only worth $5 an hour, which is below minimum wage.
These types of math equations are essential to finding the right mobile job for you.
2.) Some host jobs require a lot of on-call, after dark hours. It is important that you understand the hours and requirements so you are not surprised.
3.) Positions can be very short term (like two weeks) or full time, year round (not always a good fit for an RVer.) Be sure to understand and discuss the term commitment with your employer.
4.) Jobs may include hourly wage plus site, but these are much more common in the summertime. In the summer, every state in the union hires workampers. In the winter, there are only a handful of states warm enough to RV in. These available jobs are competitive and often trade only. If you want to live in a hot area in the winter, start your job search early. Applications are taken at many resorts as soon as February for the following fall and winter season.
5.) The quality of jobs vary. Be sure to get your information in writing before you drive across the country for a job. Remember, the cost of fuel is a significant consideration when deciding if a work camping position is a good fit. If it costs you $1,000 to get there, it may not be worth the time and expense.
It's been 30 years, and you can tell that "Workamper News" is just getting started. There are thousands of people who have yet to hear about the opportunity for jobs in this new mobile lifestyle. If anything, technology has made it even easier to become a Workamper.
You can even start without an RV!
Are you ready? For more information about the Workamper News be sure to check their website at WorkamperNews.com.