Avalanche Center Home Join the Team - Part-Time Paid Staff

[Board of Directors]

Paid Staff - Part Time, Flexible Hours

Location: Must be local to our physical office location.This has been Corvallis, OR since we began but may change during the summer of 2007.

Duration: Things pick up through the fall, often to the point of being frantic. In the spring the number of hours slowly tapers off although there may be various project work to do.

Hours: Generally up to about one-quarter time, maximum. Work hours are not fixed - work pretty much when you want to, as long as the job gets done quickly with minimal need for direct supervision or direction. The number of hours per week varies throughout the season. While flexibility has a great deal of appeal to most people the inability to manage it has been a common problem. There are many tasks which can be done at almost any hour, but most of them still need to be completed in a timely manner and done right. (Timely often means within 24 hours.) If flexibility equates to putting things off you will quickly be left behind. (We have never outright fired anyone, but quite a few potential employees have been left in the dust when they couldn't keep up with the pace. If somebody can't keep up we generally don't chase them down, we just look for a new person.) If you want to earn money by working you need to put in hours. Seems obvious? Most student employees don't get into the office within a quick enough time frame (often twenty four hours), and somebody else ends up having done the work. Which means the hours are no longer available to be worked.

Compensation: Oregon minimum wage. Discounts on outdoor equipment of up to 50% are available. Employees have access to the office and our computer facilities, including our dedicated music-sharing computer. This position provides, if desired, an opportunity to learn about snow avalanches, about operating a major website, about the non-profit sector, and about e-commerce. It is not a requirement to learn much about any of these things but the opportunity is there for anyone with the interest and initiative to pursue it.

Skills Required: Must be reliable and able to work with minimal supervision. The ability to take on basic tasks and successfully complete them and the ability to keep up with a very fast paced project are essential. Must be well organized and have good communication skills, particularly using e-mail. The ability to filter e-mail helps a lot. The ability to control your From:, Reply-To:, and Cc: headers is essential. It is a great advantage to be able to read current and saved messages from any computer anywhere. Without exceptional e-mail skills you will quickly find yourself left in the dust, and your hours will be limited because things will have been done by the time you figure out they need to be done. Should be generally computer literate and know at least the basics of Windows XP and Office (Word and Excel). The ability to quickly become proficient using basic applications software is more important than knowledge of one or two applications. The basic skill most often lacking is the ability to keep up with volumes of e-mail and issues which move at a fast pace.

Job Description: There are several types of task to be covered:

1) General office work such as filing, record keeping, etc. An employee is expected to know what needs to be done after the first month or so, and to do it without being told to.

2) Filling store orders, including replying to customers and correct record keeping. This is where email headers become essential. We often order items as we need them, and in order to minimize delays to the customer this means our orders need to be placed within 24 hours, and items need to be combined and shipped out within 24 hours of everything in a customer order being available. Ordering and customer relations can be done by email and phone and does not require a trip to office. (Shipping orders does.)

3) Helping to post accident reports quickly and correctly through the winter, with attention to detail. This is secondary to the above tasks.

Supervision: This person is primarily responsible to the executive director who is unpaid and travels a great deal. They may also be partially supervised by a store manager who lives in Grants Pass. Therefore it is essential for this job to be filled by somebody who is highly reliable and requires minimal direct supervision.

Monthly Payroll Requirements:

To be paid at the end of the month the following criteria must be met:

  • The store spreadsheet must be accurate and match the inventory on the shelf
  • All outgoing orders must have the shipping amount recorded. We have had a major problem with employees never bringing the receipt back and recording the shipping amount.

Work Environment: Everyone involved works on their own schedule and comes and goes largely as they wish. (Most people involved are geographically scattered volunteers anyway.) While it is important to be able to work efficiently unsupervised we try to offer as much guidance as necessary when starting something new or when an unusual situation arises (which is frequent). The CSAC is a small public-service project (with 501c3 status) which operates on minimal funding, most of which is directly contributed by users of the website and our related resources. A sense of pride in the project and in public service goes a long way and is common among volunteers as well as the few part-time paid staff. As a web-based project there is no personal (face-to-face) interaction with customers or the public. (You can work in your pajamas for all we care, if that's what you want to wear to the office!) Likewise there is no traditional office setting with fixed hours of operation and a receptionist by a phone.

Contact: snow@csac.org and:

1) Send your email with a "Reply-To" header of "store@csac.org" and a "cc:" header of "office@csac.org" so that its clear you can do this. Remember to set it back after sending csac mail or we will get email from Mom, drunken late night messages from friends, etc. (These misguided replies don't hurt anything and amuse the rest of us, but they don't reflect well on your email skills.) The cc: field is trivial, the Reply-To is the one college students seem to have a lot of trouble dealing with.

2) Do not submit resumes or other information. Given the unique nature of our project this has proven to be irrelevant in the past. Attachments (such as Word documents) are deleted without ever being opened since e-mail is read in text in a Unix environment.

3) Include your impression of what the avalanche center does and why its important, a short statement of why you are interested in working for us, and a description of how you can fill our current needs and help the project and our cause. If you don't really understand the organization and you can't explain what you can do to its benefit we have little reason to talk to you. (For students who've never sought a job in the business world - no company will be interested in you if you don't even know what they do! Again this should seem obvious, but most students who have responded in the past have never even bothered to look at our website.)

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