A part-time job is a common phenomenon in many countries around the world. Nobody looks down on students who work in cafes, department stores, restaurants, hotels, or agencies, while at the same time students aren't hesitant to work in these places as well. As a developing country, part-time jobs are a fairly new concept for Bangladesh.
In our country, part-time jobs can become a taboo topic. Whenever someone is trying to earn a few extra bucks doing a part-time job there are bound to be some people who are going to make negative comments about it and think that the person is doing it because some ill fate has fallen upon him or her. What people should understand is a person might work a part-time job regardless of any compulsions.
Becoming a gym trainer or a waiter might seem like a demeaning task in our society, but it is high time we got rid of such stereotyping, not only because of the many benefits that part-time jobs have to offer but also because of the fact that Bangladesh's job market is facing a job shortage for graduates, which has contributed to the nation's unemployment rate.
With the adverse socio-economic changes caused by the ongoing pandemic, it is now more important than ever for us to be comfortable with the idea of encouraging students to participate in part-time jobs.
Working an odd job is not a crime. If we look at other countries, especially first world countries, almost everyone has done some type of part-time job at one point in their lives. This working experience has benefited them in future tasks as they are able to gain skills and confidence from it. Part-time jobs are something to benefit from, not looked down upon.
Firstly, part-time jobs are a good source for earning extra money, which can help students to pay some of their bills. Secondly, it allows them to understand how to manage their finances better every day which helps them learn how to save up from an early age. Thirdly, improved management and planning skills will help them create a routine life.
Fourthly, having work experience gives the CV credibility, and will make people stand out as potential candidates when applying for an internship, apprenticeship, or graduate job. Employees with work experience have a better opportunity to get jobs because they have a better understanding of workplace ethics, managerial behaviour, work environment, and so on. Furthermore, students doing part-time work are also considered good at multitasking because they are able to juggle both work and studies efficiently.
Part-time jobs would allow a student to develop connections in the professional world, which will most likely prove to be useful in the future. Part-time jobs also develop a better sense of time management in people. It increases a person's organisational ability and efficiency with time since working can force one to complete tasks in a limited time frame. This is especially helpful for students since this helps them structure their life at a much manageable pace since part-time jobs are much more flexible than full-time jobs.
A part-time job also provides people with the opportunity to find friendship which can sometimes last a lifetime. It is easier to build bonds with people who are your colleagues, because of the convenience of spending a lot of time together. Forming bonds with colleagues can make people feel happier, and social interaction helps release hormones, such as serotonin and endorphins, which help people deal with depression better.
Moreover, most educational institutions do not offer students with practical assessment-based courses, so part-time jobs are the best way to understand the work field. With so many recreational options available, it is easier for people to develop a lazy routine that removes focus and discipline from life. However, working part-time jobs can help one stay motivated and productive.
However, as students, the main issue might be to be able to balance work and study at the same time. Often it can be challenging as time is the best asset for a student in the sense that as courses get tougher, it becomes imperative to devote more time to study in order to maintain a result that will allow the student to be able to apply for a better job after graduation. But it is not impossible to find the correct balance between the two.
One should manage time wisely, taking into account the academic calendar. He/she should consider marking critical dates in the calendar (e.g. assessment deadlines) and reminding employers at least one month in advance if he/she really needs any particular work day off. But it is advisable for students not to work while the exams are being held.
Although working while studying has its share of benefits, attention should be given to whether the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. If it does, discussing and seeking flexible working hours with the boss will help establish a balance. In the event that a balance is difficult to reach, maybe seeking an alternative part-time job would be a wiser option.
In essence, part-time employment is less time-consuming and flexible than full-time work, which enables students to concentrate on personal growth alongside their career development and financial benefits. It does have some disadvantages, but nevertheless, the advantages may be far more significant and worth the extra effort if the correct balance is maintained between academic and work commitments from time to time.
At this point, reference must be made to the line from Yuval Noah Harari's book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century: 'We have no idea what the job market will look like in 2050'. Making part-time employment a new trend in Bangladesh may be uncharted territory, but with an unemployment rate of more than 4% and millions of students from financially insolvent families, this change of perspective will build a new window of opportunity for younger generations and stimulate the overall economic growth of our country.
Owakila Tabassum Mumu is an aspiring writer, doing a double major in Marketing and Human Resource Management from Brac Business School, Brac University.
Fahreen Sultan Labonno is a student at the University of London and a freelance writer.
Sajid Rashid is pursuing Bachelors of Science in CSE at Brac University.
Arin Rahman is pursuing B.Sc in Information and Communication Engineering from Bangladesh University of Professionals.
Deena Afroza Aziz is pursuing LLM from Eastern University, Bangladesh.
Arafat Reza is an LLB graduate from BPP University, UK.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.