At Mobilize, we deploy workers in pods – these groups spend the season working and living together. Known as podmates within the program, workers are assigned roommates by us during the orientation process and right before a deployment. We match roommates by program profiles that are completed by new workers during the onboarding stage. The podmates spend the season working, exploring and living together. They share supplied accommodations that include a sleeping space, living space, kitchen area, and bathroom.
Moving across the country and rooming with new people that you’ve just met can be intimidating, or it can be an adventure of a lifetime, where you meet new friends and create lifelong memories together. Figuring out how to get along successfully live with new roommates is pretty important to your level of happiness in this work/travel adventure.
So here are a few tips from our experience with working with 160+ Mobilizers since the program first deployed in January 2015.
Figure out what you have in common. Get to know each other. Talk, ask questions, and just do stuff together. One Mobilize pod made a list of activities they all wanted to do, then did those things together. Another pod broke the ice by grocery shopping together – it was a great way to get to know what everyone liked. Need an easy bonding idea? Go for a hike and explore! Hiking is one of the all-time favourite ice breakers with Mobilizers in the program, especially when it’s in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
Set ground rules. Sit down, get to know each other’s living habits and figure out some basics. This includes noise levels in the morning and late at night, cooking duties, taking out the garbage, identifying common expenses to split such as toilet paper and kitchen soap, etc. It will help avoid conflict down the line.
Keep track of expenses. Keep a simple log on the fridge, and download Splitwise or Venmo to split bills instantly. Since these apps connect to your bank account, sending a few bucks to a roommate is easy and instant – no more “I don’t have any cash” excuses.
Be empathetic. If you all have different shifts at work and someone is sleeping, don’t turn on the lights in a shared bedroom, play loud music or turn the TV up. Use your headphones, and prep your clothes for work the night before so you can get dressed in the bathroom.
Communicate – especially on the small stuff. Differences in living styles and habits can lead to conflict. Tell podmates if there’s an issue. Don’t blame, but be specific about your concerns. “I feel annoyed because someone keeps eating my yogurt,” or “I feel upset because you don’t do your assigned chores.” Address problems as they occur, or they’ll build over time and lead to a much larger argument. Making a point to address an issue while it is happening is also a good skill to learn as it helps build healthy relationships with roommates.
Strategies for roommate success: tips from the ‘superpod’
There’s one particularly tight-knit group of Mobilizers who seem to be doing it right. We call them the ‘superpod’ in HQ. These Mobilizers are all from different places, but they have amazing synergy with each other and have become a very tight knit group of friends. It started out as a pod of five workers and has now grown to be 10+ workers. Here’s what works for them:
- Include everyone – and do a ton of activities together.
- Be open and willing to share each other’s experiences.
- Be mindful and respectful of each other.
- Listen to each other.
- Talk through your challenges together.
Whether your podmates end up being lifelong friends or just roommates for a season or two, putting effort into building your relationships will make your experience much more enjoyable. By following the above tips – you will be able to enjoy your work/travel adventure with Mobilize and live by our motto: Travel around Canada and earn, learn and have a blast!
Haven’t applied to Mobilize yet? Our youth employment program is all about helping you build skills and gain experience while travelling throughout Canada. Cool jobs and adventure await! Go to www.mobilizejobs.ca/apply.