I remember when I applied and was hired for my very first job, I called my mom in excitement and she was with her friend at work. Her friend said over the phone "Why did you do that?! You should have went without a job for as long as your parents let you!" part of me thought she was right and part of me knew that I wanted to start making my own money. I went off to work and it took a short amount of time for me to realize that maybe she was onto something and I should have never gotten a job, I mean my parents were taking care of me and I should not have interrupted that beautiful thing, or so I thought.
It has been almost two years since I heard my mom's friend say those words and they still replay in my mind from time to time. Besides for being able to pay my bills I never really felt as though having these little part-time college jobs would mean anything more to me than a paycheck. I never believed they would impact my life in any way but I have come to realize recently that these jobs that I am working during college actually do mean a lot more than a paycheck and are something I think every single college student needs to be a part of: not because these jobs are fun, but because they are a life lesson waiting to happen.
When you are working long 8+ hour shifts, and bringing home maybe, in a best case scenario, $80 for that day: something clicks in your head. When you have to attend classes all morning and work all evening creating 12-15 hour days for yourself: you begin to realize things and put the pieces together in your head. When you have that job you simply hate but unfortunately, you need to get you through school, you begin to put things into perspective.
I am, by no means, demeaning anyone who enjoys or chooses to work in retail, fast food, or any other job that is often seen as a 'college job' and I actually would like to applaud these people who pick this as a career because I know I sure as heck could never do it. These people work hard, they work long hours, and they truly earn every dollar they get in their paychecks. But my point is that when you are working at a job you dislike and want to eventually earn a college degree, it is a life-changing opportunity to get a taste of how hard it can be to live and survive without a degree in an environment you dislike.
I know that personally, I highly dislike retail, and working my 30 hour weekly job in that field shows me, every single time I walk through those doors, why I do not want to work in that job for the rest of my life. Working those hours and getting to experience this job is one of the many factors that keeps me motivated to continue college. While some people may actually enjoy retail and want to pick this as their career, I have found that I am quite the opposite. And it is important to remember that above all, it is never a bad thing to test out different things during college and find out what you do and do not like: that is kind of the purpose of college, after all.
So my message to all college students is to go out and find a job you hate. Find a job that you think is dumb, one that you could never see yourself doing, one that is insignificant in your eyes. Because while you may think it's just a silly little job to help you get by, it may become much more than that. It can become a life lesson which presents to you before your very eyes exactly what you do and do not want in a future job. You will begin to recognize your own work ethic and realize what kind of worker you are. You will learn things beyond how to work a register, I promise. While it may not seem like more than a paycheck now, it many ways it is far more than dollars earned. So go and get that job you hate, your future self will thank you.