As a full-fledged adult with real responsibilities, I really hate the phrase “school is your job.” One semester, my young classmates were complaining about having too much work to do in one particular class. They said that they had jobs and the amount of work the professor was giving was a lot more than any other professor–I actually agreed, but having been through school once before I didn’t think the load was that bad. The professor sympathized with us, said she understood, and knew it was hard, but SCHOOL IS YOUR JOB, and so your coursework should come first. WHAT?! I KNOW she didn’t pull that one out on us!! Don’t you just hate it when someone claims to see your side of the story and they throw a “but” in there? It’s like they totally counteracted everything they just said with the “but.”
Anyway, there was a time in my life where the school is your job thing would have been appropriate. However, I HAVE a job, and I’m not looking a second one! School being my job is not appealing on so many levels, however, I want to explore one of them right now.
I have always been an hourly employee. I don’t know what it’s like to be anything else. What I do know is that, at this point in my life, salaried life is not for me! When people say, “school is your job,” the meaning comes from a salaried, career oriented perspective. It mostly only applies to traditional students because for a short time school is the main focus in their lives just as a career is for others–salaried employees. So, I thought it would be fun to explore how school being my job is a horrible concept from an hourly perspective.
1. “You can’t take it with you.”
The best thing about being an hourly employee is that I don’t have to take the job home with me! I work from 8:30 to 5:30. When the clock strikes 5:30 I am no longer obligated to to stick around unless I choose to. However, if school is my job, then what’s homework all about? Why do I have to spend my personal time studying and doing projects?
2. “If you need something done you have to do it yourself.”
Another great thing about being an hourly employee is I don’t have to be concerned (terribly) about getting stuff done. If something isn’t done today, then I can do it tomorrow for the most part. Often times there is someone else who will have to complete it for me because it will become their task when I leave. However, if school is my job, then who’s going to “foot the bill” for me? Who’s going to have my back and finish my work if I can’t get to it?
A wonderful thing about being an hourly employee (that is, if you do it right) is I don’t have work waiting for me when I get back from vacationing–mostly. I do what I can before I leave, I go to “Vegas,” and if something just happened to not get done, then it becomes someone else’s problem…unless that person is really evil and saves it until I get back! However, if school is my job, then why is it that every time I get back from “Vegas” there’s always something waiting for me? How come teachers always assign stuff to do when I’m supposed to be in “Vegas??” This job bites!
4. “There ain’t nothin to it but to do it.”
I think some people in my department forget that I am an hourly employee. They expect me to think about the job when I’m not there, take on extra responsibilities, improve my skills, consider doing extra [unscheduled] work, and all kinds of other things after hours and on the weekends. To an hourly employee, this is called overtime. To a salaried employee, it’s just called life. They think that the extra money I’ll earn will motivate me to do more, but ummm…I have a very full life outside of work–I’m a student! They fail to remember that whatever I do that is work related outside of work they must pay me to do it. So, no, I didn’t get your email last night. Why? I was asleep! You don’t pay me to check email at home…on my personal computer…on the Internet that I pay for. So, when people say that school is my job, they are DEFINITELY coming from a salaried position. They expect me to have school on my mind 24/7. They want me to join clubs and do extracurricular activities. They want me to read every email they send no matter what time it is! They want me to study at least two hours per class period per meeting time PER DAY! Do they not realize how many hours that is in one day? That’s a full time job! Oh, wait…school is my job. 😉