The rising costs of attending college are forcing more students to work jobs on top of the presentations, studying, research papers, midterms, and finals that students are already expected to complete. While getting a job might be inevitable, there is no reason why you can’t head into the job market prepared.
In order to be prepared, there are some general guidelines that students can follow to help them tolerate employment. Their job opportunities include occasonally humiliating jobs in food services; retail mall jobs that require sales techniques; or other jobs that involve dreaded, infamous customer service.
Luckily, there are occupations that have flexible hours, require little or no work experience, and will pay a little more than minimum wage, all of which occasionally desperate students can benefit from. Unfortunately, as students our options are limited to such exciting job opportunities as being a barista at the neighborhood Starbucks or an office slave for some namless business.
A few aspects of these jobs are tough to deal with, but it is possible to do everything and still maintain sanity – well, maybe. One of the forces fighting against your sanity is the general public, which can make retail seemingly unbearable. Almost any job that a student can get while in college will put the student in a position to deal with the general public, however, so that joyful experience is unfortunately unavoidable.
It isn’t right to call the general public “stupid,” but it can seem like that sometimes – let’s face it, most of the time. One reason behind this is because they aren’t putting effort into their interaction with you, nor do they want to.
These people want to get in and out as fast as they can, and that doesn’t leave them time to think of you as a human being. This is something you have to accept as a college student who needs a job before you can get your degree. The best thing you can do is learn how to tolerate this mistreatment, and understanding that it isn’t personal is a good start. A long life of misguided bitterness awaits you if you let customer experience now rattle you too badly. The average person is under a lot of stress, and will do whatever they need to in order to get their way quickly when they come in to your work.
Pick your battles with these people. You don’t have to tolerate everything, and it isn’t hard to know when someone has crossed the line. Don’t put up with anything that feels like it’s a personal attack on you. Any person who turns their bad mood into a personal attack can find somewhere else to go. If a boss has a problem with you getting rid of a customer like that, then find a new place to work. Or this is how it would work in the perfect world, that is. Sometimes, without many other options, a student does have to put up with bad treatment, at least to a certain extent.
The average college job has a boss or manager to look over you. If you’re lucky you’ll get multiple bosses to make sure you are doing your job correctly. The rule here is also to pick your battles. Draw a line in your head, and don’t let these people cross it. If they do, speak up about it. There is no need to be rude. Even if they are, killing them with kindness can work well.
Try to create an environment that you think you’ll be able to deal with as long as you have to. It’s different for each person, but try to be realistic, or else you will never be able to hold down a job on top of everything that is expected from you.
Your rights as an employee can be found at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. At that website, click “Labor Code” and search for what you want to know about.
Reach William Kammer at firstname.lastname@example.org.