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Tips For Finding Work

I remember in my last semester of college, one of my fears were “would I get a job”? Would I be able to make enough money to support myself?

It has now been about 14 years since I graduated, and let me tell ya, I’ve had at least ten jobs. Come to think of it, I was already working 3 part-time jobs even in college. I had even started a side job in high school. I’ll go through them briefly here because in this economically difficult situation, more than a couple of people have come up to me asking if I have work (jobs) for them. I know it must be stressful and scary, but I hope my experience will help you get some tips for finding work.

From Librarian to Counting Wildlife, to Cleaning Toilets

High School

  • Teaching piano lessons for kids.

Undergraduate years in college :

  • Staff in the Dining Hall. This includes helping the cooks, lay out meals in massive amounts for the student population (hundreds would eat in the Hall during meal times), dishes duty, mop and clean floors before and after meal times.
  • Observe in the Nature Preserve. This was easily one of my favorite part-time jobs in college. I was an environmental science major, and I signed up to walk 2-3 times a week in the nature preserve (sometimes everyday during Spring / Winter / Summer Break). My duty was to observe the wildlife that I saw during the walk and write them all down. CAN YOU BELIEVE I GOT PAID TO DO THIS? I loved those walks.
  • Maintainence Crew, aka cleaning crew. This was the job almost all international students did because it paid the most per hour and was the least glorified job available on campus. I regularly cleaned toilets, rooms and apartments (after students moved out), laundry rooms, take trash out from dorm public rooms, you name it. Yep, I cleaned toilets to help me get through college. I say this with pride now.

Graduate school years :

  • Music Librarian. Oh this was fun, not too difficult, and I got to be with books. Old, music books. This was my first library job, and I really enjoyed everyone I worked with.
  • Teaching Assistant to my piano pedagogy professor, which allowed me to build a great relationship with her and learn a lot from her.
  • Piano Teacher in the Music Academy. This paid really well, and I got to meet some awesome kids and families, some of whom I still keep in touch with until now via Facebook!

After graduation I did many many music related jobs, everything from on stage to behind the stage to preparatory work to marketing work. This helped me really understand the ins and outs of the industry.

It’s the Attitude

Okay so, this post isn’t supposed to be a CV, you say.

What I want to share is that if you take a look at the various things I have done for work (and the various things I’m doing now to stay afloat in this pandemic induced economic crisis), you’ll see that it’s not really about the job. It’s about the attitude.

I was willing to do anything, from counting birds to cleaning toilets to organizing up my professor’s cabinets to archiving hundred year old music books. All of those jobs I did for the span of at least 1 year. That, folks, is what matters most – that you’re willing to hustle, and willing to give it a shot not just for a month or two.

With that attitude, I’m sure you’ll be able to find work no matter how difficult the economy condition is.

Another inhibiting factor is sometimes our internal voices. Take a read of my post on dealing with toxic voices.

2 thoughts on “Tips For Finding Work

  1. I hope this entry in your column is digested by readers! I counsel my undergrad service management students to, yes, refer to a potential employee’s CV, but hire attitude!

    How to determine attitude, they ask. For the interview, I walked around our work spaces to see what candidates commented upon, and how they interacted with the spaces. I hired one person simply because she picked up bits of trash, straightened some window curtains and a picture on the wall!

    I too cleaned toilets for a living! Ah! The “glamorous world of international hotels”!!

    1. I knew it (the part about international hotel toilets) ! Thanks for sharing that Frances!!

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