Having a part-time job has become a common experience for university students. They usually find a job as soon as they enter university. Some work two part-time jobs at the same time! University students have all kinds of jobs in places like restaurants, bakeries, clothing stores, schools, academies, pubs, cafe, and factories.
Why do students work part-time jobs? Simply, they feel they need more money than they get from their allowance at home. Students want money that can go toward their tuition, be put in the bank or spent for fun. Yoon Ji-ye, a senior in the Department of Industrial Design, has had six different part-time jobs over the past three years. “I want to experience various jobs early and learn a lot from them,” she says. “I think of it as a great start to my career and even my social life.”
During summer and winter vacations, students work throughout the week. During the semester, however, they have to work much less and mostly on weekends. Students can work shifts between five and twelve hours long and earn between 5,000 and 9,000 won an hour. The students interviewed said they earn the most when working in factories and the least in restaurants or cafes.
How do students choose their jobs? People work to make money. So, naturally, students focus on their pay when choosing a job. Then they consider factors such as the physical demands of the job, flexibility of working hours, distance from home, work environment, and whether the work is interesting.
Despite these standards, only one of the ten students interviewed reported actually liking their jobs. Most of them acknowledge they don’t deserve better jobs yet, but not everyone feels that way. One student said, “I hate my job because it’s not what I want to do.” Another student said, “I really get stressed because my boss always nags me. I plan to quit my job soon.”
What are some of the worst things about part-time jobs? According to the students interviewed, rude customers are a major source of stress, along with extra work given by their boss. Trouble with co-workers can also make a job unpleasant, as well being yelled at or not being paid on time.
On the other hand, part-time jobs also have their good moments. Of course, they enjoy getting paid. Tips, bonuses and presents are also good morale boosters. The students said they feel good when they are praised for doing a good job. A “thank you” from a customer or simply being treated like a real person also makes a job more enjoyable.
“I often see the same customers at my job,” said Kim Yu-jin, a junior in the Silver Industry department, who worked as a retail cashier. “Once I had a cold, which a customer asked about. When I saw that same customer the following week, she asked me whether I had gotten over my cold. I was really touched.”
Through their part-time jobs, students gain an appreciation for the “real world” experienced by adults. They learn to seek jobs that are mentally challenging and avoid the ones that are physically demanding. And while good pay is important, most students said they would rather have a job doing work they enjoy.