Making time for work & play: Why part-time jobs are important
The day after I turned fifteen, I applied for three part-time jobs. The idea of making my own money and being able to spend it how I like made me feel like an adult, though I was nowhere near it. Two days later, I was hired at the local McDonald’s. Here are the five things I learned over the four years I worked there.
- I learned more than I ever imagined. Whether it is how to properly clean a grill, sort a cash register, or deal with a rather difficult customer, there are lifelong skills that go alongside having your first job. Today, McDonald’s is at the top of my resume because I know that there are so many tangible skills I learned at a young age that could easily translate to a future position.
- You’re going to be busier than you’ve ever been if you have a part-time job and go to school full-time. It doesn’t matter if you are in college or if you are in high school, having a job and going to school is demanding. The first semester of my senior year of high school, I was playing varsity volleyball, working 16 hours each weekend and taking four, dual-credit courses. Looking back, that seems like a lot, but it did not give me any time to procrastinate. When I had the opportunity to get any schoolwork done, I had to take advantage of it.
- The ability to budget is one of the most valuable skills we can learn. The sooner we learn how to maintain and balance our income, the easier our lives will be going forward. Luckily for me, I started having an income before I had bills to pay. I would go to the mall and buy way too many shirts that I didn’t need or shoes that I would never wear. But when I received my driver’s license, I had to make sure that I had enough money to pay for gas to get to and from work. It took a couple of years to learn that I needed to set aside money after each check to use specifically for gas or for a snack during my weekend shift at work.
- Do not call in sick if you are not really sick. It is so hard to build up credibility with an employer if you are not dependable as an employee. Sure, there’s a ballgame that is going on. You could have planned ahead. But, all of my friends are going to the mall. You could have planned ahead. McDonald’s was very flexible with my schedule and gave me the hours I desired on the weekends. A lot of times though that put me with a very hectic schedule. Saturday morning I would work 8am-4pm and usually hangout with my friends after. Sunday was left for church in the morning, work from noon-8pm and then go home to determine what I needed for the school week. In the four years I worked there, I called in four times. I know that type of discipline is something that will prove valuable in the future.
- You will make lasting relationships. Today, I still put some of my managers from McDonald’s as references for internships and applications. They saw me grow as an employee, and have proved a valuable resources for applications.
If you have not had or don’t have a part-time job today, I suggest you consider it. You will be tired, but the feeling of earning your own money and gaining invaluable skills provides all of the energy you will ever need.
Mackenzie is a senior at Indiana University majoring in Media with a concentration in Management, Industry and Policy, with minors in Creative Industry Management and Marketing. She is a member of the African American Chorale Ensemble, and interns with Northwestern Mutual as a College Financial Representative. From Spencer, Indiana, Mackenzie enjoys singing, playing volleyball and spending time with her three-legged cat. With Pearson, she thoroughly enjoys writing for the Students Blog as well as being a Campus Ambassador. Go Hoosiers!