Seasonal job: the term comes with some negative connotations. Most people associate seasonal jobs with the holiday season, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. They imagine long, thankless hours, angry customers, and all for a job without any future security.
But you would be surprised at the variety of seasonal jobs out there (some are even fun and coveted!), and they might have more benefits than you originally thought.
How They Work
Calling a job seasonal is a pretty broad description. It can be full-time or part-time, a few weeks or several months, but the main difference between seasonal and temporary jobs is that temporary postings are available only for the listed timeframe.
Seasonal jobs are recurring, usually keeping to the same or similar hours and dates as the year previous. However, once you get a seasonal position, you don’t automatically get the gig for future years; if you want the position again, you’ll likely have to reapply the next year.
Types of Seasonal Work
Some seasonal jobs will get you a salary that covers your full year (think of school teachers or crab fishermen). These types of jobs will require some specialized skills and/or education. You can count on working some long hours or completing strenuous tasks as well–if you’re getting a year’s earnings after six months of work, there’s a reason for it.
With a specialized job like this, your employer may have you sign a contract for the following year, but most seasonal jobs you’ll find are entry-level and won’t look beyond your end date unless you give a five-star effort. Seasonal retail is what usually comes to our minds, but a few other types of work to consider are:
- Landscaping or construction work
- Film, art, or cultural festivals
- Haunted houses and corn mazes in the Fall
- Firework stands
- After school programs
- Summer camps
These types of seasonal positions are a great way to get involved in the community and build up sought-after job skills like problem-solving, flexibility, staying cool in high-stress environments, communication, and customer service.
In case you’ve forgotten, you get paid to do these jobs! And depending on the job, there can be tons of awesome benefits. Spending the summer days outdoors rather than in a dark office, working a flexible schedule, or getting product discounts or invites and tickets to organization events.
If you’re a bit of a free spirit and enjoy some travel and changes of scenery, seasonal jobs can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. These types of jobs also tend to attract high-energy people who are quick on their feet and know how to work as a team. You’ll enjoy the pay and the job, but you’ll have a great time with your coworkers, too.
There are definitely things to love about seasonal work, but you may miss out on a few comfort items with it. Because these jobs are usually shorter than a year, they likely won’t offer insurance coverage even if you’re working full-time, and finding housing could be difficult if the job is in an area that sticks to leases of one year or more.
If you’re planning to do the nomadic thing, it could get frustrating locking down new housing and employment every few months, too. Many of the organizations that have these seasonal jobs will also have volunteer programs, so you’ll likely get a few determined volunteers eyeing the paid positions. But if you think you can deal with those things without too much inconvenience, then there’s really nothing standing in your way.
When Should You Seek Them Out
Seasonal jobs are a great option for people who are looking to earn some extra cash or try out working in a new field or position. Because of their turnover, you won’t have to stress too much if you realize this type of work isn’t for you: the job will end soon and you can move onto something else.
They can also lead to further career options with that organization. If you can’t get right in with a paid position, start out volunteering with them so they can see what a great employee you would make. And if nothing else, it doesn’t hurt to apply for a job posting that you find incredibly interesting, seasonal or not.