After our interview we spent quite a bit of time finishing up errands, writing/rewriting blog posts, and talking. One positive thing that came out of all this was we had some long discussions about our role in everything that happened. Dealing with these work issues as a work couple is complicated. I have an approach that is honed over years and Lee has his own approach. Because he always worked in a creative environment and I worked in conservative corporations it is not surprising those approaches are different. We are also different people, with different limits and different hot buttons. What bothers me doesn’t always bother him and vice versa. But when you are working as a team, every decision you make impacts the other person. This can be difficult to navigate, and unless you worked together prior to going on the road, it is unlikely you will have dealt with how to handle things prior to them happening.
And that’s a problem for us. Because in the heat of the moment, when things aren’t going well, we don’t always band together. Sometimes we flatly disagree or other times we know something needs to be done but don’t agree on the approach. Based on our most recent work experiences though, we definitely knew this had to change. Essentially we felt we had two basic choices. We could either accept whatever happened once we arrived on the job site or we could address the issues as soon as they occurred. Although it’s tempting to just say “as long as they pay us, whatever, we don’t care” that tactic simply won’t work for us. Neither of us is temperamentally suited for it for one thing (our friends are all laughing right now and nodding their heads) but more importantly it feels way too much like our old life.
Some people become full time RVers because they want to travel, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but we wanted to change our lives. We wanted more freedom, less pressure/stress, and the ability to have more choices. We can say we can tolerate anything for short periods of time and there is definitely an element of truth to that, but we have reached the point where we can see where too much compromise would make this the same as our old life, simply one on wheels. That’s not OK for either of us.
So that leaves us with addressing issues as they occur. That’s the “grownup” thing to do in any event, but it’s not always that simple. I tend to be too Pollyanna, waiting until it is too late to recognize there is a problem, and Lee takes the opposite approach being very bothered when things aren’t as promised and generally assuming the worst. (I like to think of it more as expecting people to keep their promises and being prepared. – Lee) Basically we need to find a way to meet in the middle, and not only meet in the middle but also construct a joint strategy prior to having the conversation. Let me give you a simple hypothetical example. We accept a camp host position this summer and are told where our site will be. This is an important benefit to us, so we google earth the spot and are pleased to see it is off the main road and in the back of the campground, and overall a pleasant place. Awesome…looks perfect. Once we arrive at the job, we are told the owners changed their minds. They feel we need to be closer to the front for convenience sake and take us to a campsite right next to the road and the dumpsters and dump station. We have two choices in this scenario. We can either accept the change and make the best of it, or we can talk to the owners and try to work something out. We also of course always have the “nuclear” option of leaving, but no one wants to do that over something relatively minor.
So most people, ourselves included, just accept the change to the verbal or written contract and live with it. The problem though is it doesn’t generally end there. More changes are made and before you know it, the job you are doing is not the job you signed up for. That’s why I think it’s important that going forward we to try to talk it through right from the beginning. It accomplishes two things. First and foremost, you might get what you were initially promised, but even if you don’t you have made it clear that you have limits, and are willing to stand up for yourself. You also get a really good feeling for how the job is going to go, by seeing how the owner/manager handles the conversation. If they are vague/evasive, that is probably not a good sign. If they are hostile and shut you down, that is really not a good sign. But if you talk about it openly, even if you don’t get what you want as an end result, I think it’s a good sign for the future work relationship. This approach may seem obvious, but for us it’s a stretch, especially as a couple. We tend to gravitate towards a “give it a pass and wait and see” approach and that has not served us well. Both of us feel like this is an ongoing process, and as long as we’re making progress, that’s something.
In addition to solving all the problems of the world through talk therapy, we also took care of some business. Lee found a way to replace the hose on the blue boy which was MUCH cheaper than replacing it, ($30 versus $250) and we took our truck in for its 60K mile maintenance service. It wasn’t that surprising when they called and said the front tires needed to be replaced. The tires had less than 2/32 tread left of them, and are about a year and a half old. Our front end has been out of alignment pretty much since we hit the road, so Lee wasn’t surprised. (This has been incredibly frustrating, because I’ve had three alignments since we hit the road, and because of our travel schedule by the time I realized that the alignment was still off, we were hundreds of miles away from the dealer where the work was done. The last time was when we were getting ready to leave Alaska. They needed a kit to do it, and couldn’t get it fast enough, because Alaska, and we had to leave. Now we are going to be within an hour or so of the dealer for at least a month, so if it isn’t properly aligned I can go back and raise hell. – Lee) So it was $492 for tires and an alignment that we weren’t expecting, but everything else looks great, and we feel very confident in the alignment so far. We also watched the tent company and fence company completely empty our Christmas tree lot, which was actually pretty interesting. I took lots of pictures, so why don’t I just show you how it happened. The tent came down in about an hour, and the fencing in about an hour as well.
So next up is Camping World, and our first visit to a service center. We have been having a problem with extreme uneven wear on one trailer tire and want to get that looked at before we figure out what’s next. (Oooohhh, foreshadowing! – Lee)
Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links. There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog. Thank you. Search Amazon.com here