I'm newly 18, a freshman in university and unemployed. I've never had a job before, my family is chinese, and they highly valued getting into a good university over getting a job.

So, I never even part-timed over the break; too busy doing multiple extra-curricular activities, creative clubs, competitive sports and studying like a maniac.
It paid off; I'm at a good university and doing the course I wanted.

The trouble arrives like this;

I've been volunteering at this place that is in a relevant field for my future career for about 5 months now, I even help train the new volunteers or the student workers that come through. It's got a good reputation, is fairly popular and looks good on a resume.

The only downside is, that the manager really sucks; rude, short-tempered, narcissistic, and inconsiderate.

In just under two months, four perfectly good employees have left due to this - they just couldn't take it anymore and finally quit. In fact, there are only /two/ employees left there that have been working under this manager for longer than a single year; the rest are a bunch of quick new hires who have been there for about 4 months and already complain to me about him.

Thankfully, as a volunteer, I'm an expense-free helping hand that they really need, and so I rarely catch as much shit on the days that he decides to actually show up.

I like volunteering there because I have the flexibility privilege to easily avoid him that his employees don't, meaning I can enjoy my time to the fullest despite him.

I never started volunteering there looking for a career there or to advance up the line; I just did it because it's a sister branch of the industry I actually want to work in and because I enjoy it as a side hustle/escape from everything else.

However, recently, this manager pulled me aside and asked me to join the team as a temporary fill-in for about 6 months. And despite my grievances with the management, I have to admit that to have this place on my empty resume would definitely look good.

Yet, as I said before, I am a uni student who's also already lined up a placement to complete the same time and has days where I need to attend class.

So I told him this to try and negotiate shift times, to which he said, "Just don't work on those days then." and then walked away before I could elaborate further.

Here's why that doesn't work in my situation; He needs me to work a minimum of 5 days a week, fine that's normal; however, that only leaves 2 days free to do my placement - okay, still possible, right?

Well, not really. Those two days are the days when I need to attend class from 8 to 4.

Not to mention, on top of all this, I still have to turn in assignments and complete homework.

I would pretty much have 0 days off for 6 months straight, leaving me with little to no time for myself or for school.

Here's the 'but.' This place, as I said, has a fairly good reputation - despite the bad management that goes on in the background, and is at the top of its competition in my town.

To work here would definitely look good on my resume, and although I'm nowhere near interested in possibly starting or continuing a career with this company, I can't deny the fact that it is a step up.

But, this is the first job offer I've ever received, and I'm nervous to turn it down. I keep thinking; what if I don't find anywhere else, what if I'm missing out on something potentially great?

My familiar and teachers are ecstatic for me, and it only makes me feel more unsure with their pressure. Like this is something I should be excited about no matter what.

I don't want to work there for as long as the manager is there and I defiently wouldn't have a good school-work-life balance.

And, to be completely truthful, the first thing I thought when I was offered it was "How long until I am finished" instead of something like "How far could I take this?" I was already counting down the days until I would get to quit being an employee there.

Yet, I can't stop thinking that I should just "Suck it Up." and tough it out for six months, at which, by the end, I'll either be let go or be transitioned to a permanent team member. And maybe that sounds good, but once if I reach that, there's no higher position other than to join the asshole management team, and it feels like a dead end.

I want to turn this job down, but I'm worried my reasons aren't good enough. From what I've said, does it sound like a fair decision to make?

  • How high up the hierarchy is the manager? Would it be easy to have a chat with someone higher up about your concerns? Aug 27, 2022 at 4:42
  • @GregoryCurrie The only people higher up are the owners, and they are retirees who travel a lot and know the manager more personally (Family friend I think?)
    – Tayster
    Aug 27, 2022 at 6:24
  • 3
    Working there might look good on a resume, but how would flunking university as a result of the time pressure look? This guy clearly doesn't care about your wellbeing or long term success, he just wants an empty chair filled (until you join the long list of casualties). Aug 27, 2022 at 7:57
  • 1
    I am a Chinese and understand what you are coming from. Volunteering part time job is good enough on your resume. Everyone would understand you want to focus on your college degree when you graduate and look for a full time job. If you can tolerate that manager, stay there and get more experience. If you can't, then quit it anytime. The college degree is more important than this job at this stage. Trust me, I have been there and done that.
    – Nobody
    Aug 29, 2022 at 8:58

3 Answers 3


Is it wise to turn down this job offer?


  1. You are a full time student. Your first priority should be to get through university quickly and efficiently. Taking on a high pressure 5 days/week side gig will seriously jeopardize your academic progress and your mental health. It may also jeopardize your investment (university can be expensive).
  2. No one cares what side gigs you do during your freshman year.
  3. You are heavily overestimating the relevance of university name, grades, and extra-curricular activities for your resume.

When I interview freshman I take a quick peek at the academic credentials but that's about it. Side gigs can be a benefit, but only if they are directly related to the field or general area of the job. I have had people from non-name schools that were awesome, I had engineers from MIT that were terrible.

Once you are 3 years into your first job, the relevance of your academic background is mostly nonexistent other then your actual degrees, which is one or two lines (max) in your resume. That's not the way the universities tell the story, but that's what the real world looks like.


Taking the job will be a terrible idea. The manager will use and abuse you like he has done to all of his other paid employees, and you will regret signing on. Keep doing what you're doing. The wise thing is to realize you're proving yourself as a valuable worker, and pat yourself on the back because more opportunities will follow in the future. Be patient and choose the right one.


Quite simple: The manager is absolutely useless. You know he is. Half the team has left, the other half is complaining. If you needed a job, you know already that this is not the one you should be taking. There are many better ones.

Should you take a job? Maybe if you absolutely need the money, maybe if it is employment by the university in your subject, maybe if it is a small job at a company that wil hire you later. But probably not.

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