"It’s a great company to work for, but there’s one problem with it and it’s not their fault. It’s made me dread Saturdays" - one writer gives a personal account about his part-time job.
Most people say weekends are too short. I’ve heard others say they need a day between Saturday and Sunday to “rest”. What utter nonsense.
Every weekend (excluding Bank Holiday weekends) consists of just two days, Saturday and Sunday. That’s 48 hours for the mathematicians among us.
Now that we know how long the weekend is, how do we spend it? Partying? Studying? Helping out around the house?
Well for most young people it's work. Work wherever we can find it and for whatever hours we are given. Minimum wage and zero hour contracts abound, but fret not, there are some lights in the dark tunnel of part-time labour.
Some of the larger companies in Ireland such as Tesco and H&M offer contracts with minimum hours guaranteed per week. These companies can also offer an hourly wage usually above the minimum, even if only by 50 cent or so, and time and a half or double time on Sundays and Bank Holidays. However, this work may not necessarily be the most exciting or enjoyable.
Most young people employed in part-time jobs are not interested in the place they work. They take the job because they need it, and let’s be honest, no one can afford to be picky.
Now before anyone starts calling me cynical or spoiled by my parents, just give me a chance. I have one of these jobs.
I spend my Thursday and Friday evenings, every Saturday and a few Sundays every week in a large clothes store helping people in the men’s department find the right size shoes, checking if they’re reduced (even if they clearly aren’t) and answering questions like “what size neckline do you reckon I’ve got?” or even more comically “how do I button a shirt under a suit?”.
Seriously, I answered that last question the other week and had to use every generic sales assistant phrase in the "Generic Sales Assistant’s Phrases" handbook.
I can’t complain however, as I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a good wage and guaranteed hours every week, which makes it easy for me to budget my money and attempt to save at least some of it for a rainy day.
If I need time off for whatever reason I can get it if I provide my managers with enough notice. The managers themselves are kind and easy to talk to and I’m fortunate enough to say I enjoy both their company and the company of my co-workers. The craic gets you through the work at least.
It’s a great company to work for, but there’s one problem with it and it’s not their fault. It’s made me dread Saturdays. The typical routine for the last year of college was go to lectures, do assignments, have fun, then drive home from Dublin on a Friday afternoon in time to start the strangely timed evening shift of 5:55pm to 9:55pm.
My usual Saturday shift is 12pm to 9pm. No one, especially a student, wants to be stuck in a big anonymous shop that looks the exact same as every other outlet in the chain folding the same t-shirt table for the fourteenth time that day at 8:37pm on a Saturday. I used to look forward to the weekends for goodness sake!
“That’s so awful, you poor thing,” I hear you say with no sarcasm what so ever. But again, here me out. Students are in college for a reason. That reason being to get their degrees. Sadly no college pays you to attend.
I don’t want everything handed to me by bleeding my parents dry, so I need to earn money to pay for my car, groceries, socialising and other adult things I thought I’d never have to worry about.
I know I’m not the only one who works for these reasons in a job they aren’t exactly crazy about. These jobs may seem like the worst place to be right now, but you could be flat broke as well and without money, you can’t get by in this world.
My advice is simple. Go in, do your work, be polite and helpful, keep your sanity somehow, collect your pay check and above all else; keep looking at the big picture.
One day soon that distant picture will be behind you and you’ll looking back at it from a million miles away.