Take Your Lunch and Your Gloves, and Do a Little Extra

Picking up rocks on my own initiative was why he kept me for a second day, even though he originally hadn’t planned on it. I learned that later on, along with a few other things about why I was kept on for one of the best jobs I've had while full-time RVing.

Coleen and I were flea marketing in southern Alabama several years ago. During the week while the market was closed, another vendor asked me if I wanted to work for a day doing some landscape work. He was working for a guy through a day labor agency, but his boss wanted another body. I told him I’d give it a try.

The next morning a little before 8:00 A.M. a brown 1-ton pick pulled up to take me to my new job. I met the new boss and we drove around, picked up two more men and did some errands for more than an hour and headed to the job site.

It was a newly built house. We were to clean up the yard to prepare it for sod. I put on my gloves and started. All the laborers were on the ground, while the boss was on the tractor.

I noticed as he was grading the yard with the tractor that rocks would pop up making it difficult to make a smooth surface. I would step over and grab out the rocks in between passes, along with picking up lumber, nails, and construction debris.

At lunch time, the boss took us to a fast food restaurant. My friend and I went to an outside table to eat the lunches we had brought with us, while the rest went inside. When they returned, we were pretty much done eating. The boss seemed quiet and the other two laborers didn’t say anything until after we were back to work. 

At the end of the day, we were all paid, and driven back to the flea market. My friend and I were asked if we could work for the rest of the week. At the end of the week, we were asked about the next week, and then another week, and another, until it was assumed we were working unless we asked for time off.

While working that job, I did a lot of unskilled labor. But after the boss found I could run a chainsaw safely, I cut trees and sawed logs. After he learned I was proficient on a backhoe and loader, I dug stumps, dug foundations, dug out for seawalls, cleared land, and dug drain fields and septic systems.

We built on to the back of a restaurant and tore down a building.

One day, we needed some welding done on the backhoe. I said I could do it if he had the equipment. He arranged for the equipment. I did that job and all the other welding jobs that came along.

He also discovered I had mechanical skills. We rebushed the boom on the backhoe, rebuilt the brakes on the dump truck, and worked on all the equipment down to the chainsaws and weed eaters.

During the course of things we moved out to the boss’s ranch. I was paid to put in hook-ups for our RV.

Beside picking up those rocks, I found out the boss was impressed that I came prepared for work. I had gloves. I didn’t expect him to buy me lunch on the first day like the other two workers did. I could work alone if needed. I would show up when I was supposed to.

I gave him plenty of notice before I left, and am always welcome back. We worked well together and respected each other. This one-day job, that lasted about six months, was one of the best work situations I’ve had while RVing. 


Coleen's comments: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article about one of his favorite jobs he's had while full-time RVing. He attended several trade-school programs -- welding, truck driving, heavy equipment operation and maintenance -- and frequently uses the skills he learned. While much of the work he does does not require certification, he has the credentials to go along with the ability to do the work.

Read more about getting started working while full-time RVing.

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