Working In College
I always wanted a job.
Even before I went into college; however, I was told to focus on high school and not to worry about it. Then, at one point, I was finally allowed to apply for jobs but I was never able to get one until I was in college. It was very hard to find a job without job experience because jobs required you to have job experience before hiring you, but it was never that simple.
How could I get a job with job experience when no one ever wanted to take a chance on me for me to gain the job experience I needed?
Luckily, I was able to get my first job at a Cracker Barrel in the area and I began my four-year journey as a waitress.
If you're looking for money to make on the side or need money to pay for tuition, I discovered that waitressing was actually one of the most flexible jobs you could get. I started off working throughout the week and weekends, then I eventually went to working exclusively on the weekends. This helped me immensely when it came to focusing more on my studies.
Here are some things I learned about working through college with a flexible job that may or may not be beneficial.
Flexible Jobs Do Exist
When I first realized that living on campus was horribly expensive, I realized that I needed to get a job in order to pay bills if I wanted to save on tuition. That was the only way I'd be able to stay off-campus, after all. In addition, I was able to find a roommate and quickly snagged my very first apartment.
I will admit it was very scary trying to figure out how I was going to be a full-time college student, work, and pay bills; I was horrified.
Cracker Barrel helped me in this department because they were able to work around me for the most part. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes they would put up a fight or try to deny the days that I needed, but they eventually got it right when I gave them my school schedule. All the more, I was a chemistry major so I needed to take the labs that came with chem classes, and often time the labs were in the afternoons.
From my experience, it was usually fast-food places or restaurants that promised flexible scheduling; these are often great jobs to work throughout college, but it has its cons because you will deal with rude people.
It is a fast-paced, stressful, and variable environment. There will be some nights will you make exceptionally great tips (usually on the weekends) and there will be some nights, you make horrible tips and wondered why you bothered to come in. At the end of the day, though, you will be granted the flexibility that you need and if you don't want to deal with the extra baggage, try to look into work studies on campus.
Number 1 - We Are All Human
I can't tell you how many times I have dealt with rude customers, but it certainly made me realize that every job is important because someone has to do it and it helped me gain respect for people that worked in customer service. For some reason, people see fit to demoralize or talk down to the people that waitress, take out the garbage for a living, or work in retail (or etc), and I find it detestable.
Everyone has a story and everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
You would think that everyone conducted themselves as adults, but people can be really rude and testy when it comes to their food. Ironically, you really shouldn't be rude to someone that handles your food, but it does happen. Unfortunately, that is just the world that we live in and it's something you don't realize until you get into the restaurant business.
Number 2 - You Can Control Your Own Schedule
Let's say you have a big exam coming up and you're freaking out, you'd be able to tell them that you need to study for the exam and that you have to focus on your studies. All it takes is asking if someone can pick up your shift, swap shifts with you, or even tell your manager you need that day off - given that you gave them enough advance. Usually, if you're upfront when you're hired, they can't fight you too much about being a student in school and trying to work. They had only asked me for my school schedule when I told them that I was attending college during my interview, which I thought was pretty fair, but it does show that they are willing to work around you at least.
Obviously, this does work the other way around as well. If you need extra cash and things are light at school, you can pick up extra shifts in the same fashion if something comes up.
Number 3 - Teaches You Money & Time Management
When you're working and studying to get through college, it ends up teaching you balance and organization. Now, working and studying through college is not for everyone and it is definitely not easy; however, prioritization and money management is something you will need for the rest of your life. In addition, if you work through college, it gives you some job experience to put on your resume. Then when you get out to the real world, you already have a feel for how to handle your money.
Also, if you're lucky to be able to squeeze in some extra cash while saving for tuition and paying bills, you may be able to save a little extra money on the side.
Number 4 - You Can Work Anywhere
I firmly believe that if you can work in a restaurant, which is fast-paced and operates under a lot of stress, you can work anywhere. You'll be able to prioritize, manage your time better, be effective and efficient, and you'll learn how to deal with people. Honestly, no matter where you go, you will always have to deal with people and you end up meeting all types of people in a restaurant.
These are all great skills to bring with you in any career, so I honestly believe that the skills picked up in a restaurant can definitely be utilized elsewhere.
Let me know what you think! Do you have some experience of waitressing? What did it teach you or prepare you for? Leave a comment and/or like below!