Four things I learned while working way too many part-time jobs during college

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  • Peyton Callanan

Peyton Callanan

During my freshmen year of college, the community leader in my dorm called me “the girl who works” because I missed all the floor meetings due to my part-time job at the Sonic Drive-In downtown. For the better part of high school and almost all of college I spent about five days a week busting my ass on roller blades (yeah I was that one girl that skated there), coming home covered in ice cream after making shake after shake and getting some serious sass from customers over their $1 burgers. Somewhere along the line I also picked up two other jobs on local horse farms and an on campus job at this very paper.

What can I say? A girl has gotta pay the bills somehow. And as cheesy as it sounds, through the years I have learned some valuable lessons from each of these jobs that I probably wouldn’t have learned if I had just spent all of my afternoons in a classroom and all of my nights at The Plaza.

1. Hard work doesn’t always pay off

Yep. I said it. Despite what your parents, teachers and your favorite PBS shows may have told you growing up, being a model employee doesn’t always mean you will be the first one to get a raise or a promotion. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time or being friends with the right person just simply pays off more. But don’t let that discourage you from being the best employee you can be because you never know who is watching.

2. It is never too early to start networking and making good connections

You never know who knows somebody that knows somebody. It may sound simple but making connections is something you will wish you had done more of when you graduate with a degree, a blank resume and no idea where to start looking for a job.

3. Patience and loyalty aren’t just for Hufflepuffs

Yeah okay you may not get that 25 cent raise your manager promised you if you moved to night shift but don’t let that get you down. People really can surprise and for the most part if you are good to them, they are good to you. I have had some bad bosses but I have also had some great bosses. They were more than just the people who scheduled my shifts and handed me my paycheck; they were mentors and friends. The advice and support they gave me is something I will take with me to every job I have after college.

4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Cliche I know, but it is really easy to let your grades suffer when you take on too many hours at work. It’s okay if you can’t do it all. Don’t be afraid to trim down your hours if the workload is becoming too much for you. And if you don’t have to work during college, then don’t. You have the rest of your life work. It’s okay to focus on college while you are in college.