Getting a job: tales of Superdry and Superdrug

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After the fun and frivolity of Freshers’ Week, many of you will be growing increasingly concerned at the large dent that seven days of St Andrews living has made in your bank balance. Whilst there is always the option of a month-long, self-imposed imprisonment, enjoying only the delights of the free hall punch on a Friday night that seems to grow weaker by the week, there is another option: getting a job.

Unlike our Oxbridge counterparts, students here in St Andrews are allowed a job, and work in the Union or halls can prove highly popular, particularly on account of the flexible holidays. Some students relish the chance to work in prestigious places such as The Old Course Hotel, some take pleasure in becoming an Ambassador and guiding prospective students around the town, and others seek out the stability of national chains, which may offer the possibility to work near home during the holidays.

It was back in week one of my first year when I embarked upon the challenge of getting a job. A murky Wednesday afternoon, I was still damp from my canoeing taster session on East Sands. Armed with about fifteen CVs I eyed up places where my previous experience working in retail might have been beneficial.

If there is one piece of advice I would give, it would be to seek appropriate employment; do not apply to work in a golf shop if you have never even picked up a club and likewise do not claim to be available for the 16-hour shift at Jack Wills when you know you have class all day every day.

One week later, success came in the form of a voice message offering me an interview at Superdry. Highly flattered and excited at the prospect of working for such a cool company (I myself have never been cool), I shared my news with friends over lunch in McIntosh Hall and soon offers of Superdry hoodies were flooding in for me to wear to a potential trial shift.

On arrival at the shop, however, they did not have my name down for an interview. Nor were they even holding interviews that day. In my confusion I sat outside the shop and stared blankly across Market Street. It was then that it dawned upon me: it was literally staring me in the face. To my huge embarrassment I had misinterpreted the strong Scottish accent inviting me for an interview at Superdry, and had in fact been offered, and now missed, an interview at Superdrug. Note to self – just because you are from the North does not mean you can handle strong accents. I was the laughing stock of the entire dinner hall that night, and to this day people still ask me how my job at Superdry is going.

This is not a tale of woe though. Amazingly, after a rather awkward explanation to Superdrug in which I think the manager found my humiliating honesty largely appealing, I am now three years into employment there and have never looked back since.

A welcome break from the world of academia (believe me, ancient Greek translation really should not be attempted more than once a week) my job ensures there is an aspect of normality in an otherwise rather abnormal town. The staff discount is useful financially, and Superdrug’s position as a national company means I can transfer to a store near my home during the holidays.

The extra £40 or so a week may seem negligible to many, especially for eight hours flogging the latest mascara, but my weekly shifts have become such an integral part of my life in St Andrews that I could never imagine not having a job.

Whether it is to earn some extra pocket money, demonstrate to future employers your ability to multitask, or even just meet some new people, I would highly recommend giving a job a go.

I may be saying that because my job helps to fund my fondness for drinking G&Ts sat outside various drinking establishments, an aspect of life that certainly comes under the ‘essentials’ category, regardless of what the bank manager says. More than that though, it is because I genuinely love having a job here.

For more information on job vacancies check out the University’s career page or the job centre on South Street and look out for notices in shop windows.

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