Working next to your studies: solely distraction or Win-Win?

Knowledge base

Almost everyone has had a side job when they were young. The first side jobs, youth are allowed to take, are delivering the morning newspaper or putting products on the shelf in grocery stores. These youngsters do not have much choice regarding their side job. At this point every year one is getting older means a wider range of side jobs, at some point the sky is the limit! In this blog we will answer the question, “is having a side job next your studies adding value?”

Why a side job?

Why do people choose to do a side job? The first reason is also the most obvious one, Money. Money is freedom, where high schoolers spend it on candy, college students spend it on going out. The second reason is important as well. Depending on the side job you improve your skill set, which is crucial for your career. If you want to grow in your career it is important to gain experience in the field you would like to grow in. Another reason to gain experience is explore the different fields you would like to make a career in. Whatever your motivation is to have a side job, if you are able to manage working besides your studies, you cannot start too early.

Especially during your bachelor and masters at university, it is possible to participate in more complex and also more important company activities. This will make you way more valuable as a potential employee, compared to other students who are not “business wise”.  In contrary to less complex work, such as delivering the morning’s newspaper, you’ll gain tacit knowledge, during your university side. Tacit Knowledge basically is knowledge, that cannot be transferred through books. The only way to gain tacit knowledge is to do hands-on work for a longer time. A simple example of tacit knowledge is emailing within a company. How do you formulate your email in way that friendly, to-the-point and addresses the urgency of the case? You can only learn this, by doing. How this is done is also dependent on company culture and thus by company.

Theoretical knowledge versus Applied Knowledge

Your study is important, that is hard to deny. At university you learn elementary concepts of your field of interest. You also contribute to you field by finalising a research thesis. This elementary knowledge is very likely to be the basis of your career. However, it is important to realise that with most jobs, it is not only this elementary, theoretical knowledge that counts. It takes more to apply your knowledge and contribute to your company. This is not learned at university you can again only learn this by doing. And it is equally important as the knowledge that you gain at university. To answer our question stated at the beginning of this article, “is having a side job next your studies adding value?” I would say, yes! The portion of youth attending university has never been higher and keeps growing. To distinct yourselves in a positive way, you have to perform an extra step, do something extra next to your studies. A great way to do this is to become business wise. You’ll have some extra income, you learn if the sector of your side job is what you expected from it and you gain tacit knowledge. This all is on the condition, that you’re are able to manage your time, next to your studies, then it is not a distraction, but a win-win-win.