balancing a job and university

2017, lifestyle, student

Hello!

This past week has been difficult – I was at work four days in a row and I have two deadlines this week and it’s all kind of getting on top of me. I’m not doing very well at the moment, I just kind of want to be a bit sad and not do anything but everything bad is happening while I have lots and lots going on and my assignments are piling up and what I’m making is just really bad and I can’t figure it out or make it up or get it right and I’m a bit overwhelmed right now.

But before this week, I’ve managed having a job and keeping up with uni for a good couple of months now so so I thought I’d collate a few tips for anyone who isn’t sure if they should get a job at uni or anyone who needs a bit of help, like me, right now.

Make a list of everything that needs doing – I talk about lists a lot, I’m a bit of an advocate for a list, but I find that listing out all of the uni work I have to do in more detail than just ‘this assignment, that assignment’ and also writing down when I’m working and when I’m in uni, means I can spread my workload out evenly over the days I have time to do work and I’m finding that it’s really helpful. Just doing a little bit every day or whenever you have time is so much easier than waiting till the day before it’s due and getting really stressed.

See if there’s any work you can do on paper on shift – obviously this depends where you work and what your manager’s like, but where I work if it’s really quiet and there’s nothing to do, I’m allowed to write out a to do list or if I’ve got any work I can write out on paper that’s fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with customer service (because contrary to Paperchase’s belief, I’m good at customer service, the managers at Paperchase are dicks).

Sacrifice social time if you have to – it’s difficult enough to manage having a job and uni but throwing a social life into the mix is even more difficult. I’m not saying don’t have a social life, I’m saying just be really sensible and don’t throw uni work out the window just because you want to see your friends – sometimes you have to say no to the pub or a night out or a movie night if it means you have to get work done. And that sucks but once the assignment or the work is done and summer rolls around, you’ll only have to balance a social life and work and that’s much easier. Well, for now, I think it is.

If you have an hour break at uni, go to the library – it’s easy to say ‘yeah sure, I’ll come to McDonalds’ or just chill with your friends for a bit but if you’re struggling for time and you have work that evening or over the weekend, make the most of the time you have to read a couple of chapters, write up some notes, make a list, write down some ideas – you can do a lot in an hour.

Now that I’ve written this all out, I should probably stop using my blog to procrastinate and actually do some work. I know it’s really easy to say ‘make a list, make the most of your time, it’ll be fine’ and not do it – god knows that’s what I’m doing – but at least trying is a step in the right direction.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Working in Retail!

2016

Hello!

I’ve been working in retail for three months now and it was my first retail job and comparing it to my last job in customer service and fast food, it’s a very different atmosphere.

I work in the stationary store Paperchase and you get a certain type of customer, so I’m lucky that I don’t have any particularly bad customer experiences but people still treat you all kinds of ways. There was a woman who kept me for about ten minutes once just to tell me how she didn’t like any of the notebook designs and I should pass it on to my managers… like we have anything to do with designing the products… so that was fun!

The only instance where customers really don’t want to be bothered is loyalty cards. We’re not supposed to call them loyalty cards, they’re ‘Treat Me’ cards and they’re actually really great (no joke), you get money on your birthday and discounts and vouchers left, right and centre, it does literally take a minute to set up and they’re actually really useful cards. But people don’t want them, I know that but I have to ask if you want one! We get scored based on how many cards we issue or scan against how many transactions we make so I have to ask, I’m not trying to slow you down or irritate you!

The thing that annoys me the most about working in retail is when someone decides they no longer want something and they just dump it on the nearest shelf. That’s not where it goes is it? It clearly doesn’t belong in that range and it’s my job to keep the store tidy, though I suppose it gives me something to do while the store isn’t massively busy and there’s no stock to put out.

Don’t get me started on how messy the card wall is, but if I started tidying that I’d spend literally all day there. It’s so messy.

Another part of my job is greeting and engaging with customers – I didn’t expect this to be part of my job description when I started at Paperchase because that’s something I never expected or recalled encountering at the store before, but it’s part of being a Sales Assistant so I have to say hello to everyone and offer my assistance to anyone who could need it.

It’s mostly just ‘do you have these cards’ or ‘do you have this specific product’ and occasionally someone buying a present for a partner or relative and not quite being sure where to start. But if someone asks you if you need any help and you don’t, a polite ‘I’m fine thanks’ is okay – no need to be snappy because I’m doing my job.

And I think that’s what is the best thing to take away from this – whether someone is working in retail, customer service or waiting tables in a restaurant they’re just doing their job. If something they do annoys you, it’s unlikely it’s personal and it’s probable their manager asked them to (I know in fast food, I had to ask if every meal ordered was a large and 90% of the time people would say no).

Treat staff respectfully, because they’re just doing their job.

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

 

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