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Seasonal Jobs & Short-Term Contract Work

I held my first seasonal job in 2005, working in Guest Services at Houston’s Six Flags AstroWorld.  Seasonal work by definition is a short-term, temporary position. Depending on the location, Six Flags is usually open March to December every year.  Little did I know that would be the last season for AstroWorld; they closed their doors at the end of the 2005 park season.

Guest services was your typical customer service position for a theme park; we handled various ticket transactions that included advanced sales, group sales, comp tickets, season tickets, promo tickets and any other ticketing event you could think of.  

We heard our share of customer concerns, complaints and compliments.  Be it in person or over the phone. We balanced cash registers, handled large amounts of money, answered tons of questions and even met the occasional celebrity.  It was an easy job; full of youthful energy and fun conversations.  It was also fast paced; on our feet and busy most of the time.

At that point in my life, I was still figuring things out. A couple years prior, I had been honorably discharged from the United States Air Force, after serving eight years on active duty.  It was by choice but I was still unsure of the direction I wanted to go in my career.  So working a season at a job until I figured it out, prove to be intuitive for me. 

Shortly after I left AstroWorld, I ended up in Hawaii working on a cruise ship for nearly six months.  From my years in the military, my wanderlust was already full throttle.

For those interested, working on a cruise (Norwegian, Carnival, etc.) anywhere in the world is a stable contract position that’s good for generating income. It’s an opportunity to work in beautiful locations while also experiencing local culture.  

While in Hawaii, I visited a winery in the mountains of Maui, attended a spoken-word open mic in Wailea, partied in a tiki hut in Pāʻia, and witnessed an active volcano on Hilo.

One caveat: working on a cruise ship is hard work. Think of it as a floating hotel; guests are on vacation and the expectations are high.  It’s essentially a 24-hour operation. I have seen many a folk leave the job after only a couple of weeks onboard, because they thought they were on vacation, too.  

Six Flags was heavy work but it was from the confines of an office or rather a booth. There were no shortage of things to do.  And like I said, it was mostly fun and time would fly by. 

That said, over the last 10 years I’ve worked several contract and seasonal jobs.  I’m working both a seasonal and contract gig right now.  Because. I‘m leaving the country before the end of the year (see one of my last posts “Teaching, why I love it”) — so there’s no point in finding something long term.  Plus, it’s the holiday season and the hiring process was quite easy.

For those who really know me, you can probably guess the seasonal gig I’m working; it’s one of my absolute favorite shops in the whole wide world.

Anyway, seasonal work is not hard to find.  

• Retail is the easiest to get hired with.  Most major retailers ramp up employees for the holiday rush (even for the summer).  Pay is mostly good with bonus incentives. Simply type in ‘seasonal jobs’ on any job search app and you will garner several pages full of positions.

• Contract work however, will depend on your field of study. As a freelance writer with varied interests in music, movies, books, food, health and wellness, among other things — I’ve worked with a TV network, a radio station, magazines, blogs, businesses and organizations big and small.  

It’s really about finding your niche, locating your market.  But I have had contract positions in marketing, communications, and research.

For a long time though, I wrote entertainment pieces; album and concert reviews, artists interviews and such.  Now I want to focus on writing about places.  Hence, the start of this blog.  So, stay tuned for more posts geared towards travel, culture, and inspiration.


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