| things I've learnt: working part-time

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Things I've Learnt Working Part Time
Compared to the average 19 year old, it's fair to say I've racked up a lot more work experience than most. My first job began at 15, and since then, I could only say I've been unemployed for around 5-6 months. I held a part time job during my first year at university, sporadic temporary work over the summer, and attempted to maintain my part time job back at uni this year. However, I finally gave up a bit of my financial comfort to properly concentrate on my academic performance. I've learnt some valuable lessons through working at the weekends though, some positive some negative.

1. Working with the general public, especially in retail, can be extremely testing on your patience
Anyone who's worked in a shop, cafe or anything related to dealing with weekend customers will understand my pain. Don't get me wrong, some customers are absolutely lovely, but there will always be that one moody/snooty/downright rude individual that will single-handedly ruin your entire shift. What I've learnt from this, is that it's never personal, and if they make you feel that way, then that reflects more on their personality than yours.

2. Never get complacent
I've had to learn this lesson recently, as with one company I'd been with for over 2 years. It's easy to fall into a routine; turn up for work, clock in, do the same tasks, go home. Before I left I had really started to grow bored with the routine. Even if it was a job on the side to fund my student life, I felt severely under-challenged. If the opportunity rises, try and do something different. Volunteer for a section or task you've not had to do before. The more varied your experience, the better your CV will look!

3. Take note of any new skills learnt
If part-time working isn't your end destination, it doesn't mean your job won't be of any value for your future. Even if the sector you aim for is the other end of the spectrum of what you're doing, skills especially in retail can be taken to translate into anything. Customer-facing skills, till operation, experience of working in a team, time management, the evidence will all be there.

4. Some customers do care
It's easy to feel like the customer really doesn't give a hoot about the person serving them, and in all honesty why would they? They'll take their bag and carry on with their lives. But I've had some of the most stimulating and enjoyable moments, getting to know a snippet of stranger's lives for a few minutes or less. I've been able to speak in other languages, I've talked about my possible future, I've congratulated on people's anniversaries and commiserated people's unhappiness.

5. Stand up for yourself
In life, we can't choose who our managers will be. Sometimes this a good thing, I've had some amazing managers who have made me feel valued, and others have left a lot to be desired. This is not uncommon, many of us have had to deal with difficult managers. But as a part-time worker sometimes treatment can be worse, and when working for a particular company at 17 I would often be treated like the employee to pick up the tasks for everyone else because I was young. After a point I started to ask why, not argue, but defend my corner. It's important to know what is in your job description and what certainly isn't.

What have you learnt from having a job? Thanks for reading! xx

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Thoughts by Fi. Design by Berenica Designs.