Part-time or student jobs tend to be utterly demoralizing and wildly fun at the same time.

CHANÈ MACKAY

Part-time or student jobs tend to be utterly demoralizing and wildly fun at the same time.

Most students would do almost anything for a little extra ching to support their vices. By anything, we mean work impossibly long shifts in harsh conditions for very little thanks or pay – like voluntary slave labour. By vices, we mean the little things individuals simply cannot live without – cigarettes, beer , T-shirts from JayJays, Joker Pies – whatever the poison, at some point, we all work crazy jobs to make ends meet.

Finding, keeping and profiting from a minimum wage job can be tough, so Perdeby put together some tips and suggestions to help you make the best of your adventures into the crazy world of supply and demand.

Bartending and waiting tables are quintessential student jobs as the work is reasonably easy to find and it’s not exactly rocket science. However, the hospitality industry is not everyone’s cup of tea. Luckily, there are many other options available to inexperienced job seekers. To find a student job that is right for you, you simply have to know what you are interested in, what your strengths are, where to look and how to go about making your job work for you.

There are various part time jobs available to students, some pay better, some are more interesting and ultimately it is up to you to find the job that suits you best. Websites like gumtree.co.za and jobmail.co.za advertise numerous positions ranging from promotions and baby-sitting to admin posts and retail jobs. Companies also advertise jobs on the campus notice boards. Enquiring about vacancies in person, by popping into a restaurant or bar with your CV and asking whether they are looking for staff, for example, is often the most effective way to find a job.

Finding work that involves your interests and that you enjoy is the golden ideal. You are more likely to stay motivated, and thus perform better, at a job that stimulates your interests and development than if you are doing something you loathe simply because you need the cash. If you are a movie buff forget babysitting and look for work in DVD stores, recording studios and theatres. If you can play a musical instrument, why not give music lessons instead of handing out fliers or serving drinks? The key is to work smart, not hard. Earning money by doing something you enjoy is much easier and smarter than slugging it out in some menial job you hate anyhow, right? We all have talents and skills, use yours to your benefit.

If you are interested in learning more about your rights in the workplace, visit The South African Labour Guide(labourguide.co.za) or find them in the labour law books in the campus library. Having a written contract between yourself and your employer is the best way to minimise possible future disputes. The contract should clearly describe the terms and conditions of your employment, your exact job description, wages and the length of your employment. Contracts serve as a starting point if workplace disputes cannot be resolved without legal counsel and they give clarity to discrepancies before legal action is necessary. The Law Clinic on campus offers free legal advice and services to all registered UP students.

Theresa Bolhuis, General Manager of Rust Cocktail Lounge and longstanding employer of students and young folk, afforded Perdeby some insight into the employers’ perspective on minimum wage employment. Bolhuis generally loves her younger crew and says: “They need the money, so they work harder. And because they aren’t nine to fivers, who spend too much time in the same office or in a set routine, they are therefore generally great fun to have around.”

When asked what she looks for when considering prospective employees, Bolhuis emphasized the importance of confidence, a positive attitude, an aptitude for the industry and of course, being neatly presented. These qualities, along with an updated, well structured CV, are crucial basics of any successful job application strategy.

Internships are possibly the most beneficial jobs for students. Although interns rarely get paid to work, the experience and references earned look great on a CV. Internships also allow you to network and build contacts that may be very useful later in your career. Bizcommunity.com offers various resources to help young professionals with information about the best companies to work for, both locally and internationally. Knowing which companies to approach could greatly enhance your internship experience.

Perdeby asked a few student employees how the working world was treating them:

Mia Ungerer, a second-year BCom Accounting student, says, “I’m a jack of all trades at an accounting firm. I do everything from data mining to asset counting. I love working for money, it feels like such an accomplishment, and it helps to develop different skills.”

Chézne Dowd, a second-year BA Audiology student who works at a doctor’s office once a week, says, “I do all of their filing. It is hard work but it is worth it, because the money helps a lot to go out and enjoy myself.” Wherever you choose to work, student jobs can be great fun, allowing you to gain experience, confidence and independence by earning your own money in a minimum stress, maximum enjoyment kind of way.

Image: Desré Barnard