Last Saturday I went to Hart House to work on a cover letter. A haven for the studious and the sleepy. When I discovered Hart House library in the second week of first year, I knew I was home. (#startUofT Have you ever slept in Hart House?)
Anyway, come September I will no longer be a groundsman at Victoria College. Yep, all things come to an end. But then new things come along, too. At least when I look in the mirror I won’t see this guy anymore:
Now, once again, I must enter the proverbial job hunt!
In first year I was fortunate enough not to need a job. Oh, those were the days! But come second year I was in a much different boat. It was an uncertain decision whether to work while in school. What if a job affects my grades? What if I like the job, get promoted and start making real money, then what’s the point of university?
So I weighed the pros and cons. I made a list. Like this:
Pro: Pocket Money
I am always hungry. If I have gained one thing, definitively, since coming to university it is an insatiable hunger. I’ll eat anything!
Having a few extra dollars in my wallet can be a blessing. When I’m studying on campus and my stomach starts to whine and complain, I can quickly pop out for a slice of pizza. When I’m writing an essay and too busy to cook dinner, I can order Chinese food. A few extra dollars often means a few extra minutes, a convenience that money literarily can buy.
Con: Time Commitment
Unfortunately, the equation works both ways. To get that pocket money you have to exchange your free time. This point should not be overlooked. In first year I was unemployed because fitting a job into my schedule was impossible.
For some of you the idea of even fitting in social time seems impossible. It’s a matter of priorities. I got a job because I had to pay rent. What do you have to do?
Pro: Time Management
I worked as a waiter in second year, mostly evenings and weekends. And I found having a job actually improved my time management. If I had a paper due on Thursday, but I worked Wednesday night, then I was forced to write the paper on Tuesday. There were a few assignments left to the last minute, to be sure. But most of the time I completed things early. I had to.
Con: Terrible Bosses
Not really. But I have come across a lot of job postings from people who seem more than willing to take advantage of eager, hard-working (starving) students. It’s a matter of discretion. It took me a while, but I now know what my time’s worth, and I won’t commit to a job that’s wasting it.
The #1 asset that employers want is experience. I doubt we even need names anymore, just a list of our previous jobs and internships. Who remembers names anyway? Employers remember only that this applicant has two years of related experience, while this other person has five. The cover letter that I wrote at Hart House was just a jazzed up list of my experience. But I realize now that all my part-time jobs have been investments, even if they were unrelated to my career. All work is experience:
Also, if cover letters and resumes make you anxious or confused, I’d recommend INI300H1 Strategic Writing, it really it helped! Also, there is the U of T Career Centre!
‘Til next time U of T. Stay Diamond!
2 comments on “A Part Time Job: Pros and Cons”
I’m going into my first year at uoft and I found this pretty helpful because I’m debating if I should keep my part time serving job. I think I’m going to try it out for the first month or so and see how it works out. Thanks for posting this.
You’re most welcome! I think you’re decision to keep your serving job is wise. See how it goes for a while.
Working in a restaurant is nice because the hours are flexible and there is usually a large staff, so it can be easy to accommodate a school schedule. I used to work Wednesday nights and Sunday during the day. I could have worked more, but I didn’t want to over burden myself.
In first year especially, when I was meeting new people and joining extracurricular activities, it was important to know my limits and set a steady pace. Pocket money is nice, but so is having fun!
Glad my post was helpful! Take care,