In this piece by Indian student Rochelle Vaz, written before the Covid19 pandemic hit Ireland in March, she weighs up the pros and cons of taking on a part-time job whilst in college.  The upshot?  It’s worth it, but take your time making the decision.  

‘Earn while you learn’ is one of the most click-baity advertisements you will see online. But doing a part-time job while studying can be daunting. It can be a serious dilemma.  Ultimately, you need to determine if the time investment is worth it.

When I first came to Ireland, I had no idea what to expect from the job market here. Moreover, I did not want to rush into a job without knowing the workload that would be coming in from the university, which is why I waited for two full months to take the plunge.

Before I delve into the pros and cons, here are some things you should know before making the decision to work.

The industry you want to work in:

Some of the most popular part-time jobs are in the hospitality and retail sectors. Waitressing, working as a barista, managing billing counters, organising shelves and helping customers in store are just some of the kinds of jobs available. These jobs do require more physical resilience as they involve long hours of standing and a fair amount of technical know-how. For example, as a barista you would be expected to know how to steam milk and make coffee.

(Note: obviously the Covid19 pandemic has radically altered the employment situation, but with the economy reopening, there will still be jobs, though more competition to get them.  Supermarkets have thrived through the pandemic though, and there are some jobs there).

Legal requirements:

If you want to work part-time make sure you get a Personal Public Service number (PPSN) so that you can be legally employed and avail of employment benefits. As a university student you are only allowed to work for 20 hours a week. Ideally, everyone should receive the basic minimum wage of 9.80 Euros per hour, but depending on your skills, you could be paid more.

Setting some ground rules:

It is good to speak to your manager at work and maintain transparency during the recruitment process. Let them know what time and days you can work and if you need a break during your exams and study week.

What are the advantages?
Money, DUH!

If you are paid the minimum wage for 20 hours a week you should be able to pay your own rent and overheads. Since I live in Galway and the rents are lower, I manage to put away a small amount for emergencies.

Making new friends and learning new skills

You will definitely meet people of different ages and nationalities at work. You can learn a thing or two about their countries and cultures. It is always good to have a diverse circle of friends.

What are the disadvantages?
Not getting a day/enough time off

If like me, you are in college from Monday – Thursday and at work from Friday to Sunday it can get frustrating after a while. Everyone needs a day off to relax and do laundry.

At weekends, you may just want to snooze!

Cannot make weekend getaway plans

If you don’t have a weekend free, you cannot make a plan. Everyone would like to explore new places, and these are the kind of things you would want to use your weekends for.

Personally, I enjoy working at a Deli, I have picked up so many new skills in just three months. It is totally up to you to manage your schedule and make the most of your time in Ireland.

If you have any other questions pertaining to this, do write back to me and I will be happy to help.