The one where I took a step.
The hustle for survival in today’s world is very real-for students, especially-with loans piled high to the sky and the ever rising cost of living. Getting a part-time job is usually the next logical thing and it is always a blessed day when the stars align and your job matches your hobby.
They aligned on the day I got employed at a local bakery near my university. Since I was taking courses full time during that semester, I worked weekends and holidays. It was minimum wage but I was finally taking baby steps towards adulthood and independence and the money I earned was enough to take care of groceries and miscellaneous needs. It felt awesome after a while!
I had always been hesitant about putting in any effort to get a job. Mostly because I feared I would wilt under the pressure of work and everyone else’s expectations. Then I came to the conclusion that I really had no choice. I needed the extra money. On the bright side, I would be gaining valuable skills and experience on the side. It was a new year and I was going to challenge myself.
Armed with all my knowledge from dramas, friends and google, I walked into my first day of work, hoping and hoping that my heart was nowhere else but my chest. Earlier, I had not been sure how formally or informally I could dress, what exactly to do when I first got there or if my co-workers would like me. I also wondered about the “lunch break policy”. I ended up overdressed. I also realized that they do not just throw you out there and expect you to work. New employees, no matter how skilled go through orientation and preliminary training. Old skills are either unlearned or adapted to the new workplace and I was going to be taught all that was necessary. My boss was neither friendly nor menacing and all was well as long as everyone did their work.
In school everyone always tells us how important it is to leave a good impression on our employer so that we could get great references in the future so I spent my first few shifts trying to be completely impressive. Making mistakes was so much easier though, because I was mostly nervous. Then one day, I made a new friend, finally. I learned another thing. Flexibility is great. (Once there was a jazz festival and we all got free tickets-perk of being staff ) Everyone loves that person who is willing and able to help manage the cash, restock racks, give customer advice and literally do whatever needs to be done especially in store emergencies.
My experience, enabled me to step out of my comfort zone. I was able to learn how to be a team player. School work requires working with many different people for projects and other course requirements but I find that the workforce brings a greater variety of personalities, qualifications and skills together in a professional environment. These days, I have a better understanding of the relationship between work, money and responsibilities, and it isn’t as gruesome or scary AT ALL! Most importantly, I have learned to be more appreciative of my parents who work so hard to ensure that their child has an awesome life .
The university has a careers service that can help students find part-time jobs, placements, internships and volunteering opportunities. You can find out more here.