Faced with the cost of higher education and the need for financial autonomy, student jobs are a must for many young people, especially those not eligible for student grants. But be careful: to strike the right balance between work and education, a job must above all help you to support yourself while you study, not prevent you from doing so! Here are some helpful tips to achieve this.
Let’s start with finding the job itself. What should you do? What should you be looking for? When people think of student jobs, they often picture fast food restaurants. And with good reason, as the food service industry is indeed a sector that draws a lot of students looking for work. However, you should be careful about accepting late shifts, as they can be very tiring. Alternatives are available in other retail sectors (supermarkets, clothing), as well as in the tertiary sector of course (banking, administration). Child-minding and homework help are also popular options. Finally, in Luxembourg, you are never too far from vineyards and countryside. Farmers may need an extra pair of hands on a regular or seasonal basis.
In addition to using the obvious websites like monster.lu and jobs.lu for job hunting, there is also a website dedicated to jobs for young people. It can also sometimes be a good idea to visit local businesses or retailers.
Does it have to be related to my studies?
This article covers temporary work, which should only serve to provide financial support while you study rather than being a job for life. Do not let working in an area unrelated to your studies put you off. All professional experience has something to teach you. Serving in a restaurant forces you to work on memory skills, client relationship skills and organisational skills, which will certainly come in handy in the future.
Of course, if you have an opportunity to work at a bank while studying economics, that’s even better, but is not strictly necessary.
Do not undertake any paid work without an official employment contract.
Do I need an employment contract?
Do not undertake any paid work without an official employment contract. Even if undeclared work can seem attractive, in reality this is not the case. In the event of a dispute with your “employer”, you will have no recourse against them and run the risk of incurring criminal penalties. Furthermore, having an employment contract means that you benefit from social security cover and are paying into your pension. It is never too early to start.
Whatever the case, we recommend you read up on the Grand Ducal legislation relating to this type of work for young people.
Does it have to be part-time?
Although there is less class time at university, you should factor in time for revision and study in the library. Let’s be frank, juggling a full-time job and your studies is no easy feat.
Part-time work therefore seems to be the best solution. Employers are fully aware of this and you should be able to adjust your working hours fairly easily to fit in both paid work and your education. Remember to follow this golden rule: working hours must fit around your classes, and not the other way round.
Working alongside your studies will require energy. This is something you must think long and hard about when choosing your student job. Be sensible, reasonable and know your limits.
If you usually go to bed early or if you need nine hours’ sleep, working nights at a bar is probably not the best idea. If you have back problems, you should rule out lifting crates and working on your feet. If you have little patience, you should perhaps steer clear of child-minding. Basically, if your job consumes all your energy and therefore hampers your ability to learn, it becomes counterproductive (apart from the financial aspect). Unless you really don’t have a choice, perhaps it would be better to invest all your energy in your studies and quit your student job.
What about holidays?
Sorry, this article is about work, so here we are going to talk about holiday jobs. This might be an appealing alternative if you are worried about not being able to cope with a term-time job. Working full-time for two to three months will allow you to put some money away to cover costs during the year.
Another advantage is that during the summer, businesses and shops have many vacancies to cover staff holidays. You may also consider seasonal work in the tourism industry.
Choose a workplace close to your home or place of study. That way, you will avoid wasting time and energy travelling, especially if you work in the evening.
The closer the better
Choose a workplace that is close to your home or place of study. That way, you will avoid wasting time and energy travelling, especially if you work in the evening. The ideal solution would therefore be to get a job on campus. One great place to find vacancies is uni.lu.
The best of both worlds
The best student jobs are those that help you to earn money while letting you study at the same time. Such positions include school assistants and library workers or even posts that only require your physical presence (e.g. on a reception desk). These jobs are not physically or intellectually demanding. But don’t get carried away; you won’t be paid a lot for doing nothing.
As you will have understood, although there are some jobs that make it easy to balance work and study – and they are few and far between – most jobs will come with some kind of downside. Ultimately, it all boils down to whether you can manage both at the same time. We ought to stress once again that your academic success should not be jeopardised by your student job. If it is, don’t think twice about stepping down and trying a different job. Student employment contracts are easy to break. Finally, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the point of this job is only to help you make ends meet while you study. It will have no bearing on your future, unless you want it to.