By Matt Edwards
While some casual roles revolve around menial work and seemingly pointless tasks, it’s still an important step in your employment journey. Exploring casual employment with the attitude that it’s not worth your time really doesn’t do justice to the value you can attain from such roles as a precursor to your dream job.
If you search for the right opportunities, not just wherever will pay you an hourly rate, you can really use your casual jobs to your long-term advantage.
Get out of your comfort zone
You’re a little shy? Spend a bit of time in a call centre or front-of-house hospitality role. Struggle being composed under pressure? Work a few dinner or weekend brunches in a local restaurant (also useful if your cooking repertoire consists of whatever you can order on Deliveroo).
I’m a big believer in work as a means of developing skills. So throw yourself in a little too deep, experiment, chip away at your professional insecurities. Work on them now before you hit the desk in your dream role.
The repetition of the job tasks is an effective way of developing positive habits, so put yourself in places where you will be developing the right ones!
I got a job at a music festival through someone I met in a horrible call centre. I got an interview with an ad agency through someone I met at that festival. And I have had useful informational interviews with industry professionals who were guests at a hotel I worked at.
Work puts you in contact with people you wouldn’t normally come across. With an open mind and a friendly disposition, the people you meet can lead to a variety of personal and professional opportunities.
Use time to build skills
The flexible scheduling of casual employment allows you to carve out time for personal and professional development. Take courses, attend workshops, pick up an internship, or just pursue some hobbies (they’re important too!). You don’t have to stop developing just because you’re not in the perfect role. Take control of what you can do now to strengthen your prospects in the future.
You’re at UTS for a reason, and it may not be that retail or bar work you are doing now. Regardless of what you can attain from your casual job, it may not always be sunshine and rainbows. The pay may not be what you would like, the conditions may not be ideal and you may look at your co-workers and think “I don’t want to become like you”.
For the record I love my current job, but I have definitely felt that way before – I think we all have. There’s nothing like being in a place you don’t like to give you the drive to get to where you want to be.
Look at the situation you are in. Take stock, figure out where you want to be, and work out what it takes to get there.
If you are working to make some cash while you study, take a moment to reflect on whether your job is working for you. These are just a couple of examples I’ve listed but there are a lot of ways to kick it to your advantage.
Matt Edwards is a Communications and Events Officer at UTS: Careers. In the role he manages regular email communications to staff and students, as well as helping to organise successful events for UTS students.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.