Days of Part-Time Job

This is the eighth post in the “Christa in the UK” series – stories from the year 2009 and 2010 during my time living, studying, working and traveling in a small beach town called Bournemouth in South West England.

As a broke student student with limited funding, I was challenged to work part – time during my time in the UK. My student visa allowed me to work maximum 20 hours per week part – time, so I began searching for a part – time job after I considered myself settled in, approximately soon after my second term started. I figured it was the perfect activity to actually immerse myself in student life. Okay I was being subtle, truth is I desperately needed the job because I spent all my money traveling throughout the UK on my Christmas break … hahaha :p

I wanted to work in fancy department store or at least one of those high-street brands, so those stores were my first destination. I didn’t even get called back. I thought working in cinema sounds cool, again I didn’t hear a thing back. My last resort was the fast food industry. I saw an ad in front of a particular fast food restaurant; let’s just call it “The Burger”. Apparently luck was on my side – I got the job after my first interview! I started the next day for training as “Restaurant Crew Member”. Sounds fancy, right? In reality I had to handle everything from cleaning – cooking – as well as working in the cashier. I worked there for approximately 7 months until I was about to finalise my dissertation and I can tell you it was one hella experience!

Because my uni life was a priority, I did not take 20 hours per week; I think I took around 10 – 12 hours only. I worked mostly on weekends taking long shifts so I could focus on my study on weekdays. There are three types of shifts based on my experience; morning – afternoon – night. Morning shift means I started my work at 7, got 1 hour to prepare before the restaurant opened at 8. I liked morning shift, the restaurant was pretty quiet during that time and I loved the restaurant’s breakfast menu which I could get for free after several hours of work :D. Night shift means I had to close the restaurant which also means cleaning the whole thing. From tables to the toilet, everything must be crystal clean before we left the restaurant. It’s a lot of work, but in return it’s always a longer shift so more £££ for me and sometimes I got to bring home leftover meats (if any) which I can recook at home as a topping for fried rice (SCORE!! :p).

What I like the least was afternoon shift. Especially on weekends, the restaurant got very busy during that time and I always got the cashier position, so I had direct interaction with the customers. Let me tell you this, fast food restaurants have very “unique” customers. No, I’m not talking about the drunken ones. They were considered normal compared to this particular customer that I met on a very particular day.

So this woman came with her son. I greeted her, “Hello welcome to The Burger, how can I help?”. She ordered the most expensive meal and asked to upsize everything. In total she spent around £30 which was considerably a lot to be spent at a fast food restaurant for just 2 people. Not long after, she came back to me, shouting that she wanted to see my manager. She complained to my manager that she found some hair in her burger!!  Uh-oh… My manager quickly offered to give her a replacement but she refused. She told him that she just wanted her money back because she lost appetite. She started to make a scene but my manager handled her quickly, she got her money back in no time.  After she left, another customer approached my manager and told him that SHE DID THAT ALL THE TIME!!! That customer had a restaurant and she had used that trick to him too, to get her money back. Guess what, when we checked her food leftover, we saw that the hair there was dark and long – more or less like hers, while in fact all of our kitchen staffs that time had short and light hair. Unbelievable! Me and my fellow crew members could only laugh about it.

Talking about my fellow crew members.. I met very interesting people during my time there. There were the annoying locals who thought they were better at everything simply because they worked there longer, had better accent and well, they’re local. There were the immigrants who were trying to make it. Most of them came with a student visa like me but they wanted to immigrate eventually because they wanted a better life. If not working, they were busy studying English in a local language course or taking a short course to enrich themselves. What I found amazing was the fact that some of them actually had decent career in where they came from. There was this one guy from South America who was an Engineer but wanted to study English. There was another girl from Eastern Europe who had worked as an accountant but left her country to find a better job. This post can be too long if I share all their stories but surely they have changed the way I see the world now, I used to hear that this world is big but it was not until I met them I realize that it IS big and the opportunities are endless if we want to leave our comfort zone. I now believe that it’s ok to start over and leave everything, and there will always be opportunities for those who want to work hard :). Well I don’t know where they are now, I do hope they have made it because I saw that they worked hard in the process.

So that’s a glimpse of my part-time work experience. There are ups and downs, I cried but I mostly laugh, and most importantly it helped me survive financially… plus I got to splurge on discounted high-street brands too! 😀

Bought with my first pay check :D
Bought with my first pay check 😀

Have you ever worked part-time? What was it like?

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57 thoughts on “Days of Part-Time Job”

  1. I worked part timer as an English teacher 😛 gave a short course to little children. Hehehe.
    Anw, I have no respect to that customer who tricked to get the money back 😦

  2. Having a part-time job while studying is definitely challenging! But I loved the chances it brought me to meet new people, so definitely worth it 🙂

  3. memang part time asyik, yg plg berkesan jadi guide turis saat musim panas…kerjanya ya ngiter ke berbagai situs bersejarah sambil mendongeng indah…

  4. Yap, mulai semester 5-7 kerja partime. 4 jam atau 7 jam, dan kayanya bisa kerja 5-6 hari dalam seminggu, bahkan tiap hari. Hahaha.. Gila banget emang. Udah gitu pernah ada satu masa ketika part time aku jalanin job yang lain. Jadi ada tawaran SPG majalah watch di senci dan aku ambil lah ya 😝 haha. Cape banget, but itu yang buat aku jadi tau sulitnya hidup ☺️

    1. Ahh aku juga dulu suka jaga Puji.. tapi jadi LO atau Usher gitu buat seminar2, jadi SPG kurang tinggi hihihihi modalnya blazer, dapet ongkos sama makan gratis di hotel2 hihihihi. Iya cape ya, tapi bener jadi belajar banyak 🙂

      1. Ga ada waktu aku Chi kalo jadi LO atau Usher, sok minta digetok haha… Waktu itu bisa fleksibel jaga di sbux pagi-sore, sore-malem lanjut spg-an. Kalo dipikir ulang, ko bisa ya aku kuat hehe…

      2. Kayaknya waktu kuliah tuh semua juga kuat deh Ji, aku pas di Inggris itu kuliah-ngerjain tugas-belajar-kerja-siaran radio terus masih main juga! sekarang mah boro2 jam 11 udah kriyep2 hihihihi, energi abis di macet :p

    1. Pengen makan gratis Diiit, jadi makanya dia pesen combo yang paling gede, terus dia kan udah makan sebagian, terus dia masukin rambutnya, protes, dibalikin deh duitnya, tapi dia udah lumayan kenyang kan.. zzzzzzz

  5. I also worked part-time during my Bachelor years (in Indonesia) and my Master years (in Delft) as well, but as student assistants though so at least I didn’t have to deal with strange customers. But then of course I had to deal with some strange students as well, lol 😆 .

    Lol at that lady. I wonder if at some point she got blacklisted from all the restaurants there 🙂 .

    And indeed learning the story of people are nice too. That is the joy of studying abroad indeed!

    1. Oh strange students? how strange? kapan2 tulis ceritanya dong Ko :p

      That lady is just crazy.. when I discussed it with my colleagues, it was her way of eating free, so she ordered the biggest combo, ate half of it, felt full, and created a scene then got her money back. Crazy righttt… :O

  6. I was on a scholarship back in my college days so money was tight. I had to hustle a couple jobs to be able to buy books and have some spare money. So I did everything from a linen crew at the campus hotel to joining my campus painting crew in the summer to being a receptionist and a baby sitter on weekends. I’ll take any odd jobs that suited my schedule. It was the best experience ever cause they prepared me for better things in life 😊

    1. Hiii Mikan! udah lama ngga kedengeran kabarnya euy.. apa kabarnya? 🙂

      And yes I get what you mean, it’s definitely a memorable experience and helped shaped who I am now 🙂

  7. Gue waktu di Inggris kerja di bioskop jadi mbak pop corn. Yang nyebelinnya bioskopnya letaknya di kota sebelah dan kalo dah malem udah gak ada bis. Jadi terpaksa jalan kaki 20 menit dari stasiun kereta ke rumah, dan jalannya nanjak. Perjuangan mencari sesuap nasi. 😛 Tapi asiknya bisa nonton bioskop gratis di seluruh Inggris. horeee

  8. Have you read Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential? I’m currently reading it, and maybe you’d like to check it out if you haven’t done so. It makes me see restaurants differently now 😉

  9. Seruuu Christa ceritanya. Itulah kenapa aku sejak dulu jadi pemburu beasiswa keluar negeri soalnya ngelihat di film2 mahasiswa diluar negeri bisa kerja part time. Berasa keren aja gitu, padahal capek banget ya haha. Aku pas kuliah s1 kerja part time jadi asisten dosen dan bagian administrasi di sebuah kantor. Pas kuliah s2 part time penelitian projectnya dosen. 2 bulan lalu part time 2 minggu kerja di Toko Indonesia dekat rumah yg jual makanan siap makan dan makanan lainnya, dengan modal bahasa Belanda yang blukutuk blukutuk melayani pembeli. Seringnya ga paham mereka ngomong apa, tapi aku nekad saja. Sekarang sedang part time di rumah khusus perawatan untuk orang-orang tua (oma opa gitu). Senang soalnya sering ngobrol sama mereka dan bantu merawat mereka.

    1. Aku nyesel deh waktu S1 ngga jadi asisten dosen Den.. kebanyakan main nya waktu S1 hahaha.. padahal kayaknya seru juga.

      Wahh seru sekarang lagi part time yah disana? gapapa Den kalau kerja di toko gitu itung2 melatih bahasa Belandamu kan ya, apalagi sekarang sama oma-opa, pasti banyak cerita dan banyak ngobrolnya 🙂 semangatt Den!

  10. I was working part time at the Chinese restaurant in SanFran when I studied there. Ughh not that I liked it very much tho, but I got free meals to bring home at least! Terus, petnah juga did car wash thing with my girlfriends in summer time. Sekarang pun after become a mum I still work part time in the fashion industry because it suits my situation and condition and I like it👌🏻

    1. Hehehe yepp free meals are always the best :p Oh I wanted to work in fashion too.. well retail, but ended up in fast food lol lol.. anyways enjoy ur part time work Ria 🙂

    1. Waaa seru banget radio di Medan? aku dulu sempet siaran juga pas disana, radio pelajar online gitu, sampe sekarang masi kangen siaran.. tapi kayaknya kalo siaran di radio beneran gak laku deh aku :p hahaha

      1. DI radio emang seru ya 🙂 aduh aku masih suka kangen hehe. Pas pindah ke Medan ditawarin lagi sih siaran tapi susah sama libur2nya haha.

        Siapa bilang gak laku, cobain lagi

  11. Eh itu betulan jahat banget deh Mbak si Ibu yang pakai rambutnya sendiri. Hadoh nama pun persaingan usaha ya. Tapi kerja dengan menghadapi pelanggan–banyak orang–memang pasti banyak cerita serunya. Yah orang kan ada macam-macam ya… dan semua jenis orang mesti dihadapi setiap hari.
    Saya belum pernah kerja part-time sih… pekerjaan pertama saya langsung full-time :hehe.

    1. Iyaa niat banget ya Gara… niat untuk curang huhuh :\
      Iya jadi kasir itu bener2 menghadapi banyak orang, ceritanya banyak Gara, mulai yang aneh begini sampe yang ngaco sampe yang ngeselin dan yang super sweet ada juga 🙂

  12. Tosss mba, aku juga part time waktu kuliah, cuma ga pernah di restoran supaya bisa hemat ongkos transportnya. Rasanya bahagia yah pas bisa dapat duit hasil keringat sendiri meskipun belum banyak.
    Aduh, ketemu tamu kayak begitu benar-benar nyebelin ya mba. Niat banget buat untungin diri sendiri.

    1. Tosss.. dulu part-time nya dimana Wien? iyaa rasanya pas gajian puas walaupun kerjanya jungkir balik :p

      Iya banyak yg begitu lho disana, cari untung dengan cara yg licik huhuhu

      1. Di sekitaran kampus Mba Christa. Kadang sambilan ngajar teman juga atau kerjain project mereka. Pernah jadi inputor data juga. Haha.. Iya berasa ada kepuasan tersendiri ya. Padahal sebenarnya kelakuan seperti itu 50:50 ya mba. Kalau duitnya dibalikin si gapapa. Kalau engga kan mereka yang rugi

      2. Ouuu seruu.. Hehehe

        Iya Wien, kalau di Inggris dan Amerika sih customer satisfaction penting bgt, pengalaman aku hampir semua tempat kalau kita protes pasti gampang bgt minta uang kembali, makanya muncullah org2 kayak gitu :/

  13. Dulu mau part time di Pizza Hut, ehh ga diijinin si Papa dong… Takut ganggu kuliah katanya..huhu.. Tapi ngerasain juga waktu ambil s2, soale udh kerja duluan baru kuliah..wkwkw..

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