Monday, August 20, 2018

Post mortem......

7:50 am - Monday - August 20th - Southwest Harbor, ME - 62º F, 88% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the north by northeast......partly cloudy, becoming clear later in the morning with a forecast high for today of 67º F.

 I've been contemplating where we went wrong in our summer job search that led us to work at Smuggler's Den Campground.  In the past we have only applied for/taken jobs at places where we knew someone who had worked there before, and had a good experience.  We've had really good experiences overall as a result.  We, obviously, left Tahoe Valley Campground under a cloud, but that was after 3 mostly really good summers there.  When we applied to work at SDC we knew nothing about them.  We found their ad on, but there were no 'employee experience' reviews for their campground as there were for most of the other campgrounds in the area.  We knew they were family owned and operated as that was disclosed in their ad.  What we did not know was that there were numerous negative employee experiences, but they were all had by locals who got their jobs via word of mouth.  They did not belong to a forum such as where they could record their experience, plus they live and work in a very small, cloistered community where everyone knows everyone.  

There was a workamper couple from the year prior which had left in August, just as we did, after working at SDC for over two months.  We were told by the owners that the husband had some health issues arise causing them to leave early.  We found out later that this was just the excuse they gave for leaving.  As it turns out they were treated terribly by the owners, and that is why they left.  Over the course of the summer we met numerous other locals who had worked at SDC at one time, or another, but had quit for much the same reasons we had.  When I say they 'quit', I mean to say they declined to return to work at SDC the next summer, because they were tired of being mistreated.

At any rate, we thought we asked all the right questions in our phone interview, but we obviously did not ask enough of the right questions.  Perhaps we should have asked for references from past employees regarding their experience at SDC, and that is something we will do in the future.  They would have been hard pressed to come up with any former employees who would have said good things about them.  That's our bad, and we have learned from our experience. At least, now, there are 'employee experience' reviews for SDC on several seasonal worker sites, so at least future applicants will be forewarned. 

I do not want to leave the impression that we were under continual assault by the owners, as that is not the case. There were, however, enough instances of the kind of behavior I described previously so that all of us who worked there were always walking on eggshells wondering when the next explosion would be, and what would cause it.  When you find yourself waiting for the proverbial 'other shoe to drop' all the time it kind of spoils your day, and overall experience, wouldn't you agree?

In the end we learned a valuable lesson, and in spite of the bad experience with our employer we have really enjoyed our time outside of work here in northeast Maine.  We have made several good friends, and feel all the richer for having made their acquaintance.  In the end we cannot imagine not having them in our life.  Now that we are just tourists we have plenty of time to finish all the hikes, bike rides and sightseeing we planned to do in a much shorter time frame, and then continue exploring the other New England states we have not yet visited before it is time to head south.

Sunday was a marvelous day to be alive.....we watched two more English Premier Soccer matches in the morning, and the weather was so wonderful that we spent virtually the entire afternoon outside sitting on our patio reading and listening to music.  I finished one book, and read two more short stories over the course of the day.  We both feel well rested and energized, and could not be happier.....well, I guess we could be happier, but I am not sure how that could be remotely possible.

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  1. It is unfortunate that lessons are sometimes (often) learned the hard way. You are to be praised for taking the good (meeting so many new friends) with the bad and not dwelling on it. Enjoy your future experiences! Maybe we'll bump into each other again this winter.

    1. Patsy, we will be back in the southwest again this winter.