Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stress and the short work season

With the coming of spring I find myself once again returning to the civilized world for a time, to earn that almighty dollar, that keeps the dogs and I, in food for the rapidly approaching winter. Living in a small enclosed community, makes the competition for work rather fierce. The food service people all vie for the most coveted jobs. Longevity in an area helps, as you begin to be known, and earn a reputation of being, either a good employee or a bad one.. In a small town word gets around.
The men who don't relish the idea of washing dishes, or waiting tables take on bus driving jobs, or whatever else presents itself.
Then there are those such as myself who really tend to shun the public, and prefer to be by ourselves. The number of "Handyman" flyers increase greatly in spring. Everyone being handy with a hammer, whether they (I) am or not. Posts on the local bulletin boards range from hand scrawled notes on tablet paper, to more ornate printed material that is computer generated.
The number of people,, at least professing to be looking for work ensures that wages will be low. As in the above paragraph, being in an area with a good reputation helps, and the longer you stay at it the more references you will have.
I am fortunate in that the bulk of what work I go get in, is from just a few people, and I tend to stick with them, as my main source of income.
Early in the summer work season, the wheels turn slowly, and the stress mounts as you are sure there will be no work, and you will end up freezing or starving come winter. So far that hasn't happened, but the thought still sticks with you.
With each tiny check, you plan and plot, how to make it last as long as possible or go as far as it can. You know what it will take to feed the dogs, the chickens, whatever, so you prioritize and spend away! Leaving just enough to get by until next payday. 
Does the stress leave?
No.... not entirely. It's not easy providing for a year in just a few months. Regardless of how much you make there is always a vast hole where the money needs to go. It's more, a matter of what can I do, to NOT break things, or create more places the money needs to go.
This is one area where the "weekenders" have a supreme advantage. They work year round, go into debt for all the nice toys, and spend 2-3 weeks a year at their little rural cabins. I'm not sure I could do that either.
Honestly I'd be trading one type of stress for another. And the thought of just being at the cabin a few days a year is actually depressing. Rather than enjoying the few day's, I'd probably just forget the whole thing.

This summer work season has about 90 day's left as I write this. What will it hold? I honestly don't know. You can get a windfall just as fast as a crisis which takes money away. You take it as it comes and you adapt. Learn better way's. Get more frugal. Just do the best you can.
In 100 day's I'll know if I have failed or succeeded. I'll know if my fall, winter, and spring will be home, or if I'll need to stay in town, or go looking for work in a bigger city.
I guess that's what makes it the great experiment and adventure??
Well.. I'll know when it happens and I'm sure I'll write about it.