Seasonal Staff Experience
Each year, from April through October, approximately 350 Seasonal Staff join Omega to be part of something larger than themselves, practice compassionate service, and enjoy meaningful work. Omega’s seasonal staff are also known as our Service Corps. They are instrumental in all aspects of producing the participant experience at Omega. They live and work on our beautiful 200-acre campus, enjoy delicious meals in our mostly vegetarian dining hall, and have access to more than 3,000 staff classes, in everything from yoga to the arts to professional development.
From 18 year olds to retirees, seasonal staff come from all walks of life. There may be teachers on break from school working in the garden, lawyers serving in the Dining Hall, and college students eager to gain team-building skills welcoming participants and helping with their luggage. Many staff in mid-life find that a season at Omega is an ideal experience during a life transition or career change. It is also perfect for young graduates and active retirees who want to participate in community living.
Living in Community
Together, Omega staff, teachers, workshop participants, and guests each play an integral role in cocreating Omega’s vibrant learning community—a responsive, nurturing, and supportive atmosphere in which to work, study, play, rest, and recharge. The Omega staff community is committed to serving and supporting all who come to Omega.
Along with many rewarding benefits, being in community can also present new challenges. Living and working with others over long periods of time and in close quarters while on seasonal staff inspires us to take responsibility for our own life, and teaches how to live in community with creativity, compassion, harmony, and humor.
Working in Service
Omega provides innovative educational experiences that serve as catalysts for personal growth and social change. In support of our mission and programs, everyone on staff works hard. Signing on for a seasonal work experience at Omega means committing to a 30–40 hour workweek. As part of our Service Corps, the seasonal staff is essential in producing a fantastic guest experience in Rhinebeck. The work itself is sometimes very basic or can be strenuous, whether it is washing dishes, cleaning rooms, or moving luggage. But these challenging and rewarding jobs offer their share of fun, too!
Regardless of the specific tasks, all jobs at Omega are important to fulfilling our nonprofit mission. If we can approach all our work tasks as an offering of compassionate service to our guests and to each other, our work becomes meaningful.
Service at Omega
Originally, Omega’s Staff Programs developed as part of the vision Ram Dass had of Omega as a “School for Service,” where staff could practice service as compassion in action. Through service, we learn about ourselves, others, and the world. Omega staff practice two essential components through their work: offering compassionate service and providing excellent customer service. Compassionate service is a way of being rather than an act of doing. It means truly caring about another’s experience and it requires us to be fully present and engaged in every interaction.
Customer service is equally important. Customer service is an act of doing. It requires each of us to anticipate and provide for the needs of others, while following a set of standards that ensure a quality experience. All jobs at Omega offer endless opportunities to explore the heart of service in rewarding and meaningful work experiences.
Education & Development
Omega’s programs, which staff attend or support through their work, embrace the holistic concept of equal emphasis on developing mind, body, heart, and spirit, as well as the social dimensions of the self. Our exclusive staff education program is designed to support this process of self-discovery within the context of community. During the season, nearly 1,800 exclusive staff classes are available.
In addition to staff classes, there are a number of special events, including purification lodges, community dances, talent shows, arts and crafts fairs, and a weekly Staff Sanctuary Hour, where we gather as a community to hear special guests share wisdom from their life experience. Speakers have included Seane Corn, Julia Butterfly Hill, Bobby McFerrin, Alex and Allyson Grey, Alan Arkin, and our cofounders Elizabeth Lesser and Stephan Rechtschaffen.
Since 1977, Omega has served as a meeting place for great thinkers, creative talent, and leaders of the day—a resource for those who wish to be at the forefront of lifelong learning. Most staff work at Omega because they feel a strong connection with Omega’s mission and values and they have a commitment to personal growth and social change. Through work, participation in staff and community events, and a dedication to compassionate service, seasonal staff also have endless opportunities to learn more about themselves, others, and the world.
In addition to the unique and meaningful work experience and exclusive staff classes, there are many other benefits to being on seasonal staff, such as healthy meals; discounts at the Omega Wellness Center, Bookstore, and Café; and the use of campus facilities. A complimentary catalog workshop is available for staff who are contracted to work the entire season, including full-time staff who arrive in April or early May and stay through October, and part-time staff who arrive in early May and work three consecutive work periods.