nightmare part-time jobs
Some part-time jobs are good, others are exceptionally bad. Source: Oli Scarff/AFP

Are you a college or university student who is thinking of getting a part-time job? It’s common for students to take them on to earn some pocket money, gain new skills, meet new people and refine their CV or resume. 

However, some full-time students struggle to find the right part-time job with flexible work hours and friendly work culture. They take on nightmare part-time jobs that disrupt their studies and affect their physical and mental health. 

Before accepting a job offer, always do some research about the company or branch you plan to work in to learn more about them. It also pays to clarify with your potential employer the turnover rate, work environment, job scope, and work expectations.

Now that you’re on the lookout for a part-time job, here are a few positions that come with their unique set of challenges that you may want to keep in mind before applying: 

‘Nightmare’ part-time jobs to avoid 

1. Telemarketer 

Telemarketer jobs are popular among university students as they may come with flexible working hours and excellent pay.

The flipside, however, is that it can be a tough job that requires plenty of patience and motivation, which is why the role may suffer from a high turnover rate. 

An outbound telemarketer is responsible for calling potential customers to convince them to make a particular purchase. Depending on your role, you may face plenty of rejection. Sometimes, conversations don’t always go as planned and you may find potential customers lashing out at you. 

Student Marie Lineman — who studied at Baldwin Wallace University — admitted that telemarketing is a challenging gig but has learned a lot from the experience.  

“Sure, you know you’ll get [rejection], but you never realise how often you’ll be rejected and how frustrating it can be. I have made 115 calls in a night, spoken to 6 people and got no donations. I have made 95 calls in one night and not have gotten the chance to speak to anyone,” wrote Lineman in her article. 

“Being a telemarketer is a tough job, but it has taught me things that no other job could teach me, and that’s the cool part.”

nightmare part-time jobs

Several sites note that a factory worker typically works eight to 10 hours or more a day, which isn’t ideal for students packed with studies. Source: Sajjad Hussain/AFP

2. Retail assistant 

Unlike any other job, not all retail assistant jobs are bad as it depends on the people you work with, the type of customers you’ll deal with and the company culture. This makes it essential that the retail store you work at promotes a good and healthy work culture. 

One Reddit user — an international student — claimed to have worked at a popular body and bath care retail store and felt so miserable that she started having panic attacks. 

“The managers and supervisors are miserable at my store. They don’t listen to you and project their mistakes onto you. I am also an international student, and they treat me differently than the other employees. I only get four hours per week, and they treated me so badly that I cry myself to sleep,” claimed the user. 

“The managers act like teenage girls who bully you for your looks. Even when I had a four-hour shift, they would send me back after just two hours. It’s a miserable mistake that affected me mentally to the extent that I started having panic attacks after every shift.” 

A healthy work culture aside, there are also plenty of horror stories about the types of customers retail assistants have had to deal with. Brace yourself and read about them here.

3. Call centre agent 

A call centre agent is different from a telemarketer. They work in customer service and answer inbound calls from customers. 

Like telemarketing, a job in customer service can pay well due to the demanding job scope, which includes handling customers who may be disgruntled or frustrated. Some may find it difficult to work in such a high-pressure environment and to handle high volumes of calls from customers. 

One Reddit user posted a thread detailing the difficulties of working as a call centre agent, asking for tips on pulling through it. 

“I feel frustrated and useless at my job; it is also easy to tell that people are frustrated that we cannot help them,” said the post. 

Another Reddit user commented: “I absolutely hated every minute of it, my anxiety was through the roof, and it confirmed that I wasn’t cut out for call centre work.”

4. Dishwasher 

Working as a dishwasher can be draining as it requires you to stand for long hours on end, and wash an endless amount of dishes. 

This is especially true if you work at a restaurant with high table turnovers or serve multi-course meals. You will need to clear your load quickly to ensure enough clean plates are on standby. 

In speaking about her dishwashing experience, one Reddit user said: “Long hours, usually no break if it’s busy, overworked (the hardest working in the kitchen).

“[I’m] usually the last person to leave and always finishing one to two hours overtime including closing duties. [It was] degrading and affected my mental health and it got so bad I quit.” 

nightmare part-time jobs

It’s worth noting that many factors can affect how happy you’ll be in your part-time job. Source: Miguel Medina/AFP

Ultimately, it’s worth remembering that many factors will affect how happy you will be at a particular part-time job. Some jobs may be exceptionally bad due to factors such as a poor work culture rather than the job itself, so take what we’ve said with a pinch of salt as everyone is likely to have their unique experiences.

Keep a positive spirit and accept that while not all work experiences will be positive, there are always lessons to be learned, whether from a personal or professional perspective. Good luck!