There’s really no easy way to say this: having a job over the holiday sucks!
Jobs are tedious, thankless, and will, in all likelihood, eat away at time that could be spent participating in traditional holiday activities like going to house parties and festivals or looking at Twitter. Your jobless friends will text you while you’re at work incessantly – the pictures of them at the beach, broke but living, will weigh heavily on your mind while you scrub congealed cheese off an endless stream of plates.
Ridiculous as the idea may seem, there are many reasons you should still find jobs during the holidays anyway. For starters, teachers can provide knowledge and opportunities, but they are not connected on a day-to-day basis with all the tools, technologies, and procedures that fuel a specific business. By getting a job, students can learn firsthand from people who are actually out there living it. This can awaken the student to certain realities of the job force, and it can acclimate them to new skills that aren’t taught in the classroom.
Besides, many employers today have high expectations of their workers. They want the employees to be highly educated and experienced. Is this the criteria for a Form Five or a senior three student looking for a job? Reality as it is, is that low academic qualifications limit a students’ chance of even being called for an interview. Even though these students may have taken part in various extra-curricular activities, it wouldn’t be enough to prepare themselves for the type of work they would be asked to perform.
Similarly, having a part-time job may seem useless in the grand scheme of things, but don’t be so quick to dismiss what you’re accomplishing in showing up for work every day and being a good hand for whoever hires you. When it’s time to apply for a real job, you don’t want to be the one with an empty resume. Sure, it might hurt your pride a little to fight for that paper hat, but you’ll be ahead of a good chunk of other people your age (your competition!), and down the road, you’ll be glad you did it. You’ll have the opportunity to see how businesses work from the bottom up, and you may even see areas that you can improve upon, thus tapping in to your leadership qualities and entrepreneurial spirit.
A part-time holiday job will also give you a chance to explore who you are and what you want in life. One of the toughest things for me growing up was figuring out what the heck I wanted to do with my life. A holiday job can be especially helpful in waking you up to what you don’t want to do. So many of these positions start at the point of lowest experience and education, and whether through working conditions, job responsibilities, or poor pay, a young employee can get a sense of how valuable education truly is in rising to the next level. Taking a more positive stance, you may end up loving your job so much that it turns you toward the career that will ultimately define you. Either way, the opportunities to explore who you are and what you want out of life, are great perks.
Much has been said — and will continue to be said — about how our schools are not adequately preparing students for the job force. While this is a good talking point for politicians and parents who wish to divert all responsibility to anyone but themselves, the truth of the matter is, teachers will never be able to “adequately prepare” anyone for a job as well as the job itself. Only by getting out there in the real world and getting firsthand experience can a student truly know what to expect from the world of employment.
The writer is a Language Consultant