Characters not supported by a Covenant get some seasons of "work" and some "free" seasons every year (typically two and two, unless the character is Wealthy or Poor). These are not like the magi seasons, however: a merchant with two free seasons works throughout the year, but has enough free time to spend the equivalent of two seasons per year on other pursuits. This poses the problem of whether the experience (and other results such as a progression in Wealth) gained in one "season" affects the character's activities in the other "seasons".
We simply allow the player to treat such "seasons" as if they were one after the other, and choose the nominal order in which experience and other results are applied. It's not overly unbalancing, and it makes things way simpler. How about you?