Experience, as I sadly discovered, especially too much experience for job seekers can be detrimental. As a student I had to weigh my opportunity costs: leave an unpaid position for a paid one, leave a paid position for one where alcohol wasn’t falling on my underaged head, and then leave again when the labor was affecting my studies but not so much my bills. Do you know how a prospective employer will look at my job experience? They will think I have 1) no loyalty 2) no discipline and/or 3) an interest in money above all else. You know why? They never ask you about your personal life. They don’t ask you how working while studying affects you personally, whether your family has an EFC (Expected Family Contribution) that is or isn’t zero, or whether what they want to offer you can actually PAY your bills! I don’t need my yearly income to be excessive because I am a student and I don’t buy my childish desires, but let me tell you that minimum paying jobs for anyone who is not a CS major or lives with their parents will not fully cover expenses of living. Do we still need to question why student loan debt is so high? I don’t think so.
Let me take a second to note that a lot of people have even greater struggles while in school like supporting a family, combating homelessness, or other personal issues. The financial struggle will fall on someone’s shoulders! Could fall on a parent, a guardian or most likely on the student. That means loans and work.
So let me break down how I have come to see things:
1) According to my job seeking experience I am not allowed to explore different types of work while in college <– Is the right time to do so never?
2) Jobs don’t want to enrich your life, they want you to mindlessly believe and beg for hours in order to barely make it every month
3) Employers will believe that because you don’t want to suffer for them then you must not have loyalty or drive
4) Apparently my basic human needs are less than the needs of an organization. As part of labor, not capital, I am commodified and sold at the sad, low prices offered in the market.
5) Once you mess up, your record will be with you forever. So remember to be perfect because people don’t make mistakes!
6) If you don’t have experience, you can’t get a job; if you have too much experience you can’t get a job <–but you can CREATE one
7) If you like doing a lot of things, find amazing people who will allow you to perform a multi-tasking job. Or become a parent. Or an entrepreneur.
This is a reflection on MY work experience. I was denied employment on the grounds that I did not choose to work for longer at minimum wage jobs that could not enrich my knowledge or fulfill the task of covering the bills. It was not stated that way, it never is, but beware of the red flag that you raise in the employer’s mind. I guess it was my bad for mining jobs for knowledge, experience and skills. I already knew that I was going to be self-employed someday and that my commitment extended to the point where the relationship was no longer mutually beneficial.
It is not supposed to be beneficial for the employee who wants to earn, it is supposed to be beneficial for the employer who wants to maximize profits and cut costs. Lower costs would be awesome if producers could afford what they are making, but the higher profits mean less earnings and high prices. Sounds crazy.
I grew up thinking that minimum wage jobs were stepping stones. A necessary path to better things, not a job that pigeon-holes people. It is no longer an opportunity, for some people it’s the fine line between nothing and scraping by. I guess this is supposed to be an apology. I’m sorry that I wanted to spend a brief time learning from your establishment, I should have known better than to look at the real world for learning, right? Stick to the expensive books, you say? Oh, I might have to work a few weeks to afford the textbooks required right now.
Most of all, I’m sorry that you were too busy seeing how you could profit from me and not seeing the two-lane street of how a young college student could learn and flourish and then move on to better, and greater things.
I’m sorry you couldn’t see it! But also thank you, because if you had, I wouldn’t have. I would have had just one more job to add to the list of my experiences, one more job that wants to hold on to me and shape me, rather than nurture me.
I’ve been set free to pursue my dream. The kind of dream that doesn’t fade hazily when you awaken in the middle of the night. The kind of dream that defines your courage and erases your doubts.