The Necessary Evil

November 11th, 2011

Over on our facebook page, Sean asked “Out of curiosity, where does the money to live come from? Even living inexpensively would seem to cost money, food, gas, repairs, etc..” I started to reply there, but it got way too long.

Hi Sean,

First, I have to ask: Do you work for the IRS?

Well, the money comes from a variety of places. We work camp on occasion. That usually gives us a few grand a year. Work camping, if you don’t know, is were your employer supplies your campsite and utilities in addition to paying you your regular wages. We also have a couple of websites, like FreeCampsites.net, that generate ad revenue. Lastly, there are our savings. In our previous lives, while we had good careers and well paying jobs, we didn’t live lavishly. We were two renter DINKs. That left us with a decent cushion for this adventure.

Johnny Hiking Bryce Canyon, Utah

We save money on hair cuts, too!

Most of all, we live on the cheap! We don’t EVER pay for camping. On average, we have traveled about 12,000 miles a year. This year we have only driven around 6,000 miles. We cook all of our meals even down to making our own bread and yogurt. We try to average about $1000 in expenses a month. That’s everything, including auto and health insurance.

We try to do all of our own repairs. When the bottom of our camper fell off, it could have cost us several thousand to have an RV shop repair it. Instead, Johnny did it for less than $200. When our wheel bearings went out, we replaced them as well as the ball joints. However, we aren’t as brave as our friends over at Raven’s Roads. Unlike them, we didn’t rebuild our transmission while on the road, we bought a new one when ours gave up the ghost. We’re not that cool!

We could easily work camp year round, like our friends The Gypsies Townsend who never touch the blessed nest egg, and have plenty of left over cash, but we aren’t going that route. At the moment, we are enjoying lots of free time and working on web development in hopes of creating a sustainable lifestyle. Which, in all honesty, it isn’t at this moment. It’s getting there, though.

Even though I have a web log, I am a private person when it comes to money, sorry if my answer is a bit vague.

Thanks, But No Thanks

December 24th, 2009

Tonight, I worked my final night at amazon.com. They are unaware of that fact. It would appear that they had planned on hiring me on full time, but neglected to tell me.  Now they want two weeks notice if I am going to leave. They aren’t getting it. Apparently that means that I will not be welcome back. So be it. While its a nice compliment to be chosen out of the 1000s  that wanted to stay, I had always planned on leaving after the holiday. I never asked to stay. I was just myself. I feel like they are the ones that broke our deal, not me.

notice? You have to be kidding me!?

Image from www.toothpastefordinner.com

Integrity treats their people like crap and the only way I would work for them again is if I was COMPLETELY desperate or they were the only means to a job I really, really wanted. One example of their total disregard for people: Last night they let 100s of people come in and then laid them off before they even got 5 minutes on the clock. Most of those people had just driven 30-40miles to come in. It sucks being laid off when you want the job. It really sucks when you waste hours and dollars only to be told you no longer needed.

Integrity played so many unnecessary head games. They would write people up for things that were completely out of their control. Almost everyone who started the night I did got wrote up for not making their week four numbers (270) during week one. In orientation, they handed out a piece of paper that said what our expected UPH (Units Per Hour) was. In your first week, you were supposed to make 120 (I don’t have the sheet with me so that’s from memory). Each week it would ramp up. I think it was 180  in week 2 and 230 in week three. At the end of week 4, you are required to be at the same as the full time employees 270.

By the time my week 4 rolled around, there were too many people on the floor for anyone to get the UPH. Still, they kept writing people up for not getting their numbers. They didn’t write everyone up either. Just the majority. It was painful watching friends who really needed/wanted the job get picked on.

I wouldn't call it the best way, but it sure is different


But, I do hate to burn bridges. And, its my understanding that in addition to my attendance, attitude, and numbers, someone had to stand up and speak highly on my behalf in order for me to make the cut. I would really hate to make that person look bad. The individual people there are nice, and I got along with everyone. I will miss them.

But, I will not miss the Integrity head games. Amazon seems like a decent company to work for. After what I experienced tonight, they do take good care of their employees and most of them are happy with their jobs. It was a completely different environment tonight after the temps had cleared out. Everyone was joking around and having a good time. And, even though there wasn’t any work, they found ways to keep us busy and paid. It didn’t seem like such a bad place after all.

This will probably be my last post about Amazon.com.

We discovered a pipe in our camper that had busted due to ice tonight. It is still frozen. I guess I know what we are going to be doing tomorrow :).

We hope everyone is enjoying their holidays.

Two Years of Two People and Two Cats in Two Hundred Square Feet

December 5th, 2009

As of December 1st, we have been living in our truck camper for 2 years. I can’t believe I almost let it slip by nor can I believe that it has been that long. It just seems so natural anymore. Its home no matter where it is parked. And, regardless of where that is, we are in a much better place than we were on Nov 30, 2007.

Back then, we were in soul sucking, yet somewhat prestigious jobs and running the middle class treadmill. Well, I guess that by then we were only walking on it. We had already purchased the truck and camper. We had gotten rid of most everything we owned. We had had the camper for a couple of days and were moving what little of our stuff that remained into it. We were still working but only because we wanted to earn some additional money. At the very least, I wanted to make sure that I made the difference between what my Xterra sold for and what my truck cost back before we left.

Where our desks lived.
The building we used to work in.
The place we used to work. Our desks and the building.

Continue Reading »

All work and no play….

November 11th, 2009

We have stated our commitment at Amazon. Its pretty darn rough, too. its one of the toughest jobs I have had… physically. I am red, sweaty, and sore at the end of my shift. Its probably my fault, though. I push myself pretty hard. Your progress is given to you in the form of numbers every 2hrs along with everyone else and well, I have never been very good at not being at the top of the class when things are graded.

I can’t say too much about Amazon yet, as we signed an NDA stating that it was all hush, hush.

Our days are pretty much coffee, breakfast, work, dinner, and then sleep. We haven’t seen any of the local sights. Well, other than one smokey casino lounge where we enjoyed a couple of nice breakfast (for us) beers and after dinner (for them) drinks with Jim and Rene of liveworkdream.com. It was great to finally meet them after a year+ of cyber stalking. I hope to hang out with them again while we are still in the same area.

Currently, our days off consist of laundry, baking bread, cooking big meals that we can eat for dinner during the work week, and sleeping. Fun, fun, fun.

We aren’t sure if we would do Amazon again, yet. We will have to wait and see what the final compensation is before we can decide.

Its gonna be a work Christmas

October 14th, 2009

I spent most of last month trying to figure out where I wanted to work this winter. While I have been enjoying our “vacation”, I had always planned to work while on the road. The plan was/is to see and experience new things. Some of those new things are jobs. And, even though we spend next to nothing (you would be amazed) on bills and food (fuel can be another story sometimes), I hate seeing money going out and not much coming in.

So, after going through many of the sites on our work camping page, writing countless cover letters, and making numerous phone calls, we have decided what we want to be for Halloween. Amazonians. We are going to follow suit and join the other work campers who work for amazon.com over the holidays.

So, be careful of what you order this year.. we just might see it!