Working alongside your Studies

Working alongside your Studies



Studying is much more than going to lectures and writing exams, that's for sure.

Friends, parties, learning about yourself, managing the obligations of daily life. All that is part of your time as a student. Unfortunately, money claims some of your time as well. I find managing income, expenses and savings is nothing but stressful. Thinking about money is only fun if you imagine what you would do if you won the lottery…

There is one truth that can’t be compromised: If you have more money, that means you have to worry less. That’s against all romantic “All you need is Love” wall tattoos I know. However “Live your Dreams” gets significantly easier if you have no trouble paying rent.

But since winning the lottery is not on the daily agenda, we’ll have to get our money somewhere else. Here are some truths, tips and thoughts on working alongside your studies!

Finding a Job

This one is relatively similar to finding an internship. The concept of “Someone knows someone who knows someone…” works quite well.

You can also find a job on the typical job websites. As a disclaimer: In my experience, that means a lot of clicking through offers that don’t fit. Somehow the site proposes these “45 hours a week CEO positions” even if you originally searched for student jobs! When searching online I like to rely on smaller platforms that are tailored to the city you’re living in.

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The analogue way…

…also works quite well. Many businesses have flyers lying around searching for helping hands, or they advertise positions on their website (not quite as analogue I know). But the best tip I can give you is to talk to people. Asking in the small café around the corner if they need help and telling friends and family that you are searching for a job. Having a personal relationship with the people you’re gonna be working for is the best foot in the door!

A disclaimer on jobs in gastronomy: They always need people (especially around Christmas) and they like experienced people more than anything! It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It is harder to get started, but learning your way around waitressing makes it way easier to find future jobs.

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Hach… Bureaucracy

It’s the old story… but keeping up with the requirements of your contract is important.

In Germany you can have a “Minijob”. With a Minijob you can earn up to 538 euros a month without paying taxes.

In Austria, there is a very similar concept. With a minor employment, you are allowed to earn 518.44 Euros a month. If you earn more than that you are obligated to pay for insurance.

In the Czech Republic minor employment can be divided into completed jobs (for example seasonal work) and performed work in a part-time model. For jobs with a low qualification, the minimum wage is CZK 103.80 (approximately EUR 4.30) per hour.

In The Netherlands, there are no special conditions for minor employment

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Please note that these are very short summaries! There are a lot of rules, thresholds and bureaucracy and it varies from country to country. (The Czech labour regulations are a great mystery to me. I don’t even understand the German ones fully and I’m German!) Look up the conditions that apply to you and ask your employer!

Money and Time relation

Working a part-time job alongside your studies and earning money is great. But it demands some time management. And that’s definitely not the easiest task! The golden rule here is to keep things organised.
Keep track of your studies. When do you need to do what? How much time do you need? An easy way to organise your schedule is by making a weekly plan.

Many part-time jobs have relatively flexible working hours, so make sure to talk to your boss and colleagues. Do you like it better to work on weekends or would you rather fit everything between Monday and Friday to relax on the other days? This can be in your criteria when you searching for a job in the first place.

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If things are stressful because exams are coming up you often can work less in one week and do a little more in the next one. Regularly ask yourself if you thought of everything that needs to be done this week. For that keeping a little book with to-do lists or a calendar are the best tools you can have!

Be nice, take care

It’s hard to give specific tips for the actual job, there are so many different things to do. But all in all, it comes down to two important things:

1. Be nice to your coworkers, help out if you can, ask for help if you need to, and respect their policy. (You knew that before, I’m sure)

2. Take care of yourself. Quit if you’re working together with the worst people on earth (and it’s sure you can’t solve the problem), take a day off if you’re sick (it’s only gonna get worse) and communicate with your boss and coworkers if there’s a problem!

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And maybe… maybe you’ll actually win the lottery one day and all my tips are getting useless. Who knows…

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