In a fit of nostalgia, I wrote “half the world away”. Then shared it with a few friends from the winter season. Will was the person I’d spent the most time with on the hill, and I was happy to hear that he too missed those days. We caught up a bit over text, and then, from my desk in the teachers’ office at Daejeon Middle, I got to thinking.
Unlike me, a first-year employee, Will had been working at Keystone for five seasons. It was obvious, when we went anywhere around the resort. Will was popular, because he’s a cool dude, but also, because over the course of his five years, he’d worked in several different departments. It was through Will, that I was introduced to the idea of working two seasons a year. So, two days later, when I’d reached a peak of frustration and isolation, I wrote him again. This time to ask about that summer job he used to talk about in the Tetons.
A Vail Resorts Property, like Keystone, applying to the Grand Teton Lodge was simple. From that familiar Vail Resorts Career page, I updated my resume, redrafted a cover letter, and in less than thirty minutes, I was done. Now familiar with the hiring process, I knew that the combination of my history with the company, and a personal reference in Will, would make me a prime candidate. And sure enough, after three days, an invitation to interview came through.
But, with three days of desk warming (no class) I’d begun searching further. I’d heard of coolworks.com, but never actually used it. It consistently kept appearing in my search. So, I created a profile, which allowed me to apply to numerous places nearly instantaneously. The idea of looking for a summer job was simple. I felt isolated in Korea, and I longed for a place with community.
Although the Tetons sounded nice, the purity of Alaska was ultimately far more appealing. I spammed the area with applications, applying to everything from hiking guide, to housekeeping. So, when Andrea, the F&B manager at the Grande Denali called me, I wasn’t even entirely sure what the position was that we were discussing.
Initially, I declined the call, and snuck out of the office to redial. Nervously, I watched for other teachers, as we chatted about the opportunity. “Well, I think you have a great personality, and I feel like you’d be a great addition to the team, so I’m not even going to ask you anything.” Two days after applying, without answering a single interview question, I had the job, it was that easy. That night, I packed up my apartment, and boarded a train to the airport the next morning. I really knew nothing about the job or the area. I wanted a place to meet people and speak English. I got so much more.