Community Management in Costa Rica

Working while at Jicaro Island Ecolodge

After the last post, I thought I’d write about something a little more lighthearted and fun.  I purposefully chose the title for this post just to shock some people who don’t understand exactly what my job is, while living here in Costa Rica.  I can hear them now…WHAT!!!  You’re doing community management there? That’s your job? Why in the world would you return to that god awful job that beat you down for 7 very long years?

Not to worry, everyone calm down…I’m not managing board of directors who think they’re running the world or crazy homeowners who call me names and scream at me all day.  Saying that there were pitchforks and torches at monthly meetings is really not too far from the truth.  But now, while I am managing “communities”, they’re all online and the people I interact with all want to live vicariously through what I post.

So what is it that I’m doing?  I’ve entered the new and ever-changing world of social media.  When I want to joke about my job, I tell people, “I play on Facebook all day”.  It’s somewhat true.  And while it is a lot of fun and I get to engage with lots of people who love the places I work for, it’s also a lot of work.

When I’m visiting the hotels and I meet guests, they always ask me the same question – what do you do for the hotel?  And when I tell them, you can actually see the faint hint of jealousy come across their face.  Which is almost always followed by the question: How in the world did you get that job and do you need an assistant?

The nice thing about my job?  I can work for anyone, anywhere and do it anywhere in the world.  I’ve chosen Costa Rica as my home base but as long as I have an internet connection and either my laptop or iPad, I’m good to go.

I have also somehow landed with honestly the best company to work for on the planet.  I’ve been working since I was 14 and over the last 23 years, have worked for many different companies.  But with the exception of this one and one other, the companies I’ve worked for have all been, in one way or another, abusive, harassing, unethical, chaotic, inefficient and just plain crazy.

In contrast, this company actually cares about its employees.  They want their team to succeed, both individually and collectively as well as both professionally and personally.  They listen and they really want to hear what we have to say.  They want our ideas.  They don’t go off and hide in meeting rooms all day and then never tell anyone what was decided.  And oh, decisions actually get made and things get accomplished.  That’s a new one for me.  They give their employees freedom and space to be creative along with the tools and support to get the job done and do it well.  Yes, we all work a lot and we work hard.  But the truth is, it’s not really work when you love what you’re doing and the people you’re working with.  And the icing on top, it’s a company that truly talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to sustainability.  Just this week, we were awarded with our second World Saver Award from Conde Nast Traveler.  I’m so proud to be able to work for a company that truly lives up to its mission and vision and is an inspiration and role model for others.

While I do wish we’d come up with a different title for me since every time I hear it, I cringe, thinking of my seven years of hell and being called, amongst other names, a nazi fascist…I’m alright with it for now.  Honestly, there isn’t anything that I can complain about in this job.

One final note: Whoever came up with the idea that a job requires 4 walls and a desk must not have been very openminded…or tan.

Pura vida…Chrissy