The concept of “work-life balance” is quite common for professionals. It is a constant struggle to keep a balance between work and personal life. For students, the concept changes to a handful, “work-study-life” balance.
As some of students who work during their college life realise, it is like fighting a two-front war with the third front – your family – taking a back seat. Both areas require full attention. One of the benefits to this lifestyle is obvious – as soon as you start working while studying, you have a job that takes care of your expenses immediately. But let’s not forget, this is a tough choice as it can lead to some very hectic schedules.
The hands-on experience gained by working full-time during studies is incomparable to the curriculum taught in business schools. You learn time management, networking, organisational behaviour amongst others. This clearly puts those working during their studies at a clear advantage when they graduate. An employer would be more inclined to hire a business graduate with some experience compared to a complete newbie.
Let’s talk in more detail about the benefits that you get while juggling work and study simultaneously.
Easily the biggest benefit and a very valuable skill on your resume, time management is learnt better when one starts working full time. The pressure of delivering projects/assignments on time, handling multiple tasks, balancing work with college routine, socialising, studying– all within a 24-hour day can be daunting. But as those who work and study together find out, this routine involuntarily prepares them for practical life and tougher challenges ahead.
Students who are working full time during studies are able to manage their expenses easily. They not only learn the value of hard-earned money, they also learn budgeting. They know that they have a finite source of income which they earn after putting in a huge effort every month and spend wisely. As their business managers later find out, such students are also more wise when their financial management skills are put to the test.
Work experience helps build contacts, which come in very handy once you enter professional life. People observe your work ethics, credibility and job commitment closely. If you put in a solid performance, you will go a long way in your career. Just be sure to try not to appease everyone and let them take their time in making an opinion about your work behaviour. Sometimes, trying too hard to make good relationships with your peers can backfire and may land you in hot waters.
Organisational behaviour is an invaluable skill that you learn in professional life. You work with people within the confines of a certain organisational culture – which at times may or may not be according to your liking. You understand that your colleagues belong to all sorts of age groups and preferences and it may be difficult in the beginning to break the ice. But as you gain experience and understand them and your workplace better, you feel more at home and less alienated.
Working full time during studies is a highly subjective and personal choice. If your employer is accommodating, you may be able to pull it off, but without a shadow of doubt, this option is not for everyone.
Despite that, the opportunity to work with people in real life – reporting to a boss, attending meetings and meeting deadlines – are invaluable skills that will benefit you irrespective of your career path. Once a potential employer notices a work experience on a fresh graduate’s resume, he/she will know that the candidate is well-rounded and has a solid work ethic – improving your chances of securing a good job.