Bar-work will ruin your degree
And your liver
Student towns are never short of pubs, bars and clubs so if you’re going to be spending half your time in bars anyway, you may as well try to get paid for some of it, right? NO.
Because of my pathetic excuse for a student loan I have been forced to work 30+ hours a week on top of my degree and journalism commitments.
My loan doesn’t cover my rent so I need to work horrendous night-time hours at a busy bar to make up the extra money to feed myself.
I am just getting into third year and the work load is already mounting up with scary talks about dissertation proposals, projects, coursework and exams.
And everyone knows that a degree isn’t enough; if it isn’t unpaid free-lance journalism like me it’s volunteering and placements for others who understand the importance of work experience. Long gone are the days I could go out 3 nights a week and worry about my reading and bank balance later.
Everyone knows that bar work is the most popular job for people like me. Bars and restaurants are the traditional domain of student jobs. Why? Because it is said to fit nicely round our studies.
This may be true if I only needed a bit of pocket money from an easy 5 hour Sunday shift. It doesn’t fit so nicely when you’re going to bed at 5.30 am and getting up for a 9am lecture on Elizabethan literature.
If you’re considering working more than 15 hours a week, my advice is simple – just don’t.
The first reason being that you will almost definitely be on a zero hour contract. This means that the big companies who hire you have you at their disposal.
You may find yourself getting one 4 hour shift a week when students go home for summer and Christmas meaning stale cornflakes and pesto pasta could be all that’s fuelling you for the foreseeable future.
Secondly, you will almost always be drunk or hungover. Some may see getting pissed on the job as a perk but when you’re paralysed in bed with a suspicious pain in your liver it’s not all that swell.
Cleaning the lines in pubs requires you to try a pint of each tap to make sure it is suitable for customers to drink so you can imagine the state of me and my fellow colleagues after we were confronted with this table of refreshing delights. Lets just say I had a tricky time at work the next day.
Forget Fresher’s week, Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. No partying for you (unless you count slamming a few Ray’s with the bar backs in the glass-wash area) because you have signed your soul away to hospitality.
Think of all those Facebook invitations you will have to woefully decline. You will never be able to go out with your mates because you will be pouring pints for rowdy stags.
Your conversation will gradually be dominated by your job whether its “oh my god [colleague] got with [colleague] last night” or “I made so many tips last night” or “urgh we had to polish every glass in the venue and only got out at 7am” – much to the annoyance of your non-work friends.
If there’s no time to do stuff you do enjoy then imagine the time you have to do things you really don’t – like studying.
Forcing yourself out of bed to catch up with all the lectures you’ll inevitably miss is a toughie but a must. Cramming in your reading half an hour before you go to a seminar is the norm, as well as surprised looks from your tutors when you actually show up (even if you are 15 minutes late with Sambuca in your hair).
Working at a bar and being in third year is hardly ideal, I should be worrying about my dissertation and not passing my cocktail specification test.
I envy the lucky students who don’t have to work to get through uni. What do you do with all that time? No wonder you’re getting higher grades ; you’re diurnal, you can wake up and start each day with ease, you don’t have time restrictions or other commitments and you’re definitely more sober.
Yes, it’s better than having no job at all, it pays well and you’ll have a blast but bar work really could ruin your life and most definitely your degree.