Three months ago, I started my first part-time job with a company that lets me work on college football games on the weekends somewhat close to where I live. However, due to the fact that this is my first job experience, as well as the amount of work I have to do as a full-time college student, this job has been extremely demanding, considering the $8-hour pay.

Last week, unfortunately, I couldn't attend last week's football game because of the sudden, increased amount of schoolwork I had to finish that week. However, this Thanksgiving is another large football game between two football rivalries, and the demand for workers is great.

The amount of work I would be doing is not a problem, but since I had already made plans to visit my family and my ill grandmother that day, I would have to leave work again, putting my mental health and my time with family off, and putting work first instead, despite the terrible work environment.

I had talked on the phone to my supervisor about not attending this game, but she disputed to me that I had signed up when I had met her that I would be attending every game, and had continued to argued with me until I had told her that I would try and change plans. Because of this, I'm afraid that the few shifts that I would miss work would affect make me seem irresponsible on the first job. Would this affect my future job employment?

  • What does your contract say about taking leaves or time off from work? – Masked Man Nov 18 '17 at 2:05
  • I had signed a contract, but I haven't taken the time to review what it said about taking time off work, and I currently don't have a copy of it. – Rachel White Nov 18 '17 at 2:32
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    Well, then get the copy and read it. In future, don't sign a contract without reading and understanding it fully. – Masked Man Nov 18 '17 at 4:09
  • “Would this affect my future job employment?” It could, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Certainly not worth sacrificing your mental health for some crappy $8/hr. job. I’ve come back from a lot worse. You’ll be fine. – AffableAmbler Nov 18 '17 at 4:17
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    Even taking into account that you did not fully read the contract and that it is your first job, I find it rather interesting that you assume you can take time off from work whenever your personal plans come up, without asking or even informing the boss beforehand. People understand that everyone has personal commitments outside work and that is why the concept of taking time off from work was introduced. I suspect that your boss is upset at the "taken for granted" approach, rather than about you missing the game per se. – Masked Man Nov 18 '17 at 8:03

From the references to "college football" and "Thanksgiving", I assume this is US based.

There are two issues here, the current job and the thinking you need to do for future jobs.

Depending on the contract, you may be able to quit the current job with little or no consequences. In the long term, it won't matter. Even in the short term, the worst that is likely to happen is that you won't get a reference describing you as a reliable employee. You will miss some of the future job hunt benefit of having landed even a low paid first job.

If you have not done so already, you need to make it absolutely clear to both your employer and your family whether you will be working Thanksgiving or not. Given that it was presumably a foreseeable conflict when you took the job, you have left it very late. Could your family move some of their activities to a different day? If you decide not to work, be prepared to be told that you will not be working any more games.

In the long term, you do need to learn to think better about a job before accepting it. All your life, you will have needs and commitments that may conflict with a given job.

Taking this job as an example, there seems to be a disconnect between your employer's expectation that you will work every game, and your own expectation that you can miss shifts as needed to meet your school and family commitments.

Getting yourself into that situation is unprofessional.

During the hiring process you should try to understand your potential employer's expectations and discuss your own expectations. If you have a conflicting prior commitment, such as your family Thanksgiving, you should discuss it before you even accept the job. That way, you and the potential employer can either decide you are not a good fit for the job, or, if the employer does decide to hire you, they can plan in advance to not have you available.

Jobs will be demanding in different ways. Some jobs do require weekend and holiday work. Some jobs require travel. Some jobs may require you to be on-call at night. You may have to move to a different location, possibly not as desirable to you as your current home. In each case, you need to decide whether you are able and willing to meet those demands for the sake of getting and holding that job.

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You are a full time college student. Eventually you will finish your education, and find a proper full time job that pays more than $8 an hour. At that point, frankly nobody cares about your weekend job.

An employer might look at the fact that you had a weekend job, which makes you someone who works hard to achieve their goals, which is a positive. But while an employer wants you to put some thought into what full time job you take, and then preferably stick with it, nobody expects you to be thoughtful about your college weekend job. You take what you can get, you leave if you find something better, and you definitely leave if the job makes demands that interfere with your education. Everybody knows that your weekend job must come second to your education. Not putting your education first, that would be unprofessional.

Short version: Don't worry about it.

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