College Crisis: Hating Your Job

Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.


It’s not exactly surprising that college students don’t have the most glamorous part-time jobs. Sure, you or someone you know got lucky and got a great job that requires very little physical or mental effort and somehow pays more than minimum wage. Unfortunately, I don’t happen to be one of those people. It’s beginning to take a toll on my sanity.

When I was first hired at my job 11 months ago, I was just so excited to get a job in the completive job market that is downtown State College. I was over the moon; I lived within a couple of blocks of my place of employment and I was allowed to come to work in basically whatever clothes I wanted as long as it wasn’t considered “family-friendly inappropriate.”

The first couple of weeks were stress-free and exciting. I was finally getting a paycheck, but then I hit a bump in the road. I needed a day off, and I was scheduled to work that day. At my place of employment the schedule is  set in stone at the beginning of the semester. I was advised to check the employee Facebook group to find a replacement because my employer does not grant days off requests.

Even with over a month’s notice prior to this needed day off, I was helpless. I’ve been lucky enough to find someone to switch shifts with for most of my conflicts but sometimes my fellow employees and I are forced to resort to desperate measures. If it comes to a couple of days before the day I need off and no one has taken my shift yet, I have to offer to pay cash to a fellow employee to get them to even consider taking my shift.

This is frustrating. They’re already getting paid to be there and if they ignore my original pleas for a shift switch, but then agree when there’s an extra incentive. I feel gipped. I’m already losing the money from a shift I cannot possibly make, and then I have to incentivize my fellow employees with cash.

I know I’m not the only Penn State student who’s had enough with their inflexible employer, but I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I can’t quit – it’s impossible to find a job at school and there are so many things I love about my job. I’ve had friends vent their frustrations about being scheduled for 30 to 40 hours a week when they’re only part-time. I’ve heard of friends being passed up for promotions based on “lack of experience” only to learn that the person who got their potential position was even less qualified.

So what’s the deal with State College employers? It doesn’t seem fair to take advantage of students and treat them as disposable. If these were full-time careers I would be more understanding to the strict rules of certain managers. But for now it seems like our bosses would rather act as if we had no other commitments than the jobs we need to fund our education and social lives. It’s not as if we can all quit and find new jobs that pay as well or fit our class schedules finalized months ago. I guess it’s just time to suck it up until we have a chance to find a job we feel truly works for all aspects of our busy lives.

Photo by Jose Ponte

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.