Ah the summer time. Long days, the scent of freshly cut grass, blue skies and not a care in the world. Or that would be the case if you are about 12 and lived in L.A. or some other area of the world that seems to be constantly bathed in sunshine. Here in the Emerald Isle, however, it is a rather different story.
If you know anything about this little island I begrudgingly call home, you’ll know that it rarely sees the sun, the sky is mostly made up of off white cloud and that the Heavens piss down on us every chance it gets. But I’m not here to complain about the weather. Instead I am here to rant about a particular summer niggle that nearly every third level student knows only too well. I’m talking about seeking a summer job. Dun dun dun. Now I don’t want to seem dramatic or over-reactive and I am very aware that this issue does not affect all students. I merely wish to vent about my own experiences.
My summer job struggles began back in June 2013 after my Leaving Cert exams finished and I would never have to discuss mitochondria or solve for x ever again. I was 18, the perfect age to enter the world of work. C.V.s at the ready I was set to find a cafe or shop that would occupy my summer break. Alas no such luck. It was the same thing everywhere I went. “We’re looking for someone with experience”, “We don’t hire students”, “We’re not hiring anyone”. Well damn. Like first of all if every establishment on the block wants someone with experience how am I ever supposed to gain any when no one will give me any?! Kind of a quandary that. Secondly, while I do understand that students are not readily available once summer ends due to their obligations consisting of essays about the characteristics of Gothic novels and house parties where one of your four crushes might be attending, we do really need the money. College ain’t cheap y’know. I’ve seen some textbooks worth 180 quid. And the SUSI grant? A pittance. Not to mention the crushing boredom and the general feeling of worthlessness. Thirdly, yes some places are up to their eyeballs in staff members already but maybe give some of them a break and let me do some work.
So summer of 2013 came and went with me, jobless and strongly considering leaping out the window for want of something to do. Then 2014 came around. I started handing out C.V.s in March in both my hometown of Nenagh and around Limerick city. While some places showed some interest I knew they were just fobbing me off. “Oh we’ll give you a call if anything comes up”. Yeah right. It was all basically a repeat of the previous year. It was seriously disheartening. Then in December that year, I had a breakthrough. Dunnes Stores in Childers Road were hiring extra staff for Christmas. I was nervous and excited as it was my first real part-time job. It was tough work and the hours were long but I loved it. I felt like a useful member of society cheesy as that might sound. I had money to hand up to my mam and to buy Christmas presents with. And I finally had experience. I regarded the following summer with a little less dread as I believed that this season in Dunnes would give me a better chance of obtaining work. Oh how wrong can a girl be?!
Summer of 2015 was just as fruitless as the previous two had been. The same old excuses from everywhere I went. Summer time had become a time of sleeplessness, frustration and ugh. Even though I got another season in Dunnes in December I didn’t have the same hope about the following summer as I did before. And now it’s the summer of 2016. This year I was supposed to be spending 6 months in Nice, France for my coop. I actually only spent 3 months there due to unforeseen circumstances but I absolutely loved it. I was working as a journalist for a fancy magazine and I mean it was the epitome of swanky. They advertised yacht insurance for crying out loud. Still it was amazing as I was doing a job I loved and I was getting paid. Perfection right? Right! And it gave a huge boost in self-esteem, like I felt really good about being me. Even when I was in a second unpaid placement back here I still felt good. Of course that all went to Hell when June reared its ugly head saying “Hey! y’know that great feeling you had when you were working and earning money? Prepare to kiss it goodbye ’cause now it’s over and you won’t be able to find a measly summer job despite your experience!”.
I’m trying to not let this get to me but it’s hard especially when some of your friends actually managed to get something. And you might be thinking “Well if they could find something why can’t you?!” Good question, why can’t I? I’m hardworking, I have experience and I am willing to do anything an employer might ask of me. Want me to clean the toilets? Done. Want me to clear out the storage room? Done. Want me to scrub between the floor tiles? DONE. I’m not proud or fussy about where I’d work. If they want me I’m there. And while I know that this is not a reflection on me and is basically the luck of the draw, it’s really hard to feel good about yourself when you can’t even get a part-time job in a fast food restaurant. At this stage I’d settle for just an interview even if it went no where, just to feel like my efforts have been worth something.
To end this rather lengthy rant all I can say is roll on September when I’m back in university and have something to take up my time again.