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Top 5 Worst Jobs for College Students

Shelbie Williams
Shelbie Williams

December 15, 2018

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Jobs for college students

College students have to think of everything: class schedules, relationships, saving money, bills, deadlines, their entire life trajectory. No sweat.

So it’s no surprise that, with everything else on your mind, choosing where to work while you’re in college can seem overwhelming.

Fortunately, plenty of people are full of advice and ready to help you! Unfortunately, there’s no way you can take all their advice. As the latest social media post snags your attention with the “10 hot jobs for the year,” Aunt Edith offers to put in a good word at her favorite local supermarket. At the same time, your guidance counselor warns you that you have to make the perfect career choice now or your future will crumble into ruin.

Lost in the sea of advice, what’s a student to do?

Instead of following the latest opinion about where you should work, perhaps a better path might be to weed out where you shouldn’t work and choose from the rest.

To help you with this, we’ve carefully examined the job market and found 5 jobs that college students should avoid like the plague.

1. Jobs that don’t provide experience

One of the worst things you can do as a college student is get a job that doesn’t provide any discernible skills. A job like this offers nothing positive to put on a resume. You may be thinking door greeters or sign twirlers fall into this category… but no. These are not the jobs I’m referring to.

You see, door greeters often develop fantastic people skills, and sign twirlers can add a great deal of dedication and enthusiasm to their position. In my book, anyone with enough determination to don a poorly-vented Statue of Liberty costume and dance like no one’s watching is a team player worthy of promotion. Doing the even smallest job well leads to even better responsibilities.

What I’m warning you away from is a position that literally requires no effort, work ethic, or remote spark of life. Warning signs include:

  • No job description
  • Wages offered without expectation of earning them
  • Zero responsibilities
  • Utter purposelessness

Definitely do NOT get a job doing nothing.

2. Jobs that leave zero time for studying

You can’t afford a position that literally consumes every waking hour of your day. So I would strongly caution against a 24/7 position, particularly if it forces you to cut out eating and sleeping. You are trying to work your way through school after all, not push it aside with an overloaded work schedule.

However, if you do happen to land a job that only takes up 8 to 12 hours a day, I have good news for you! Balancing work and school is easy with a flexible program like Unbound that allows you to flexibly maximize your study time, however much or little you’re able to get.

Just remember this simple test: if a job leaves you time to study, it’s a go. If it spawns a life of its own, pushing out any other activity, that job is not for you (or any college student, for that matter).

3. Jobs that make no money

A hard fact of life is that education takes money. So, one of the worst jobs for a person attempting to pay their way through college is a job without wages.

Thankfully, most American jobs exist with the assumption that money will be exchanged for labor! Turns out, profitable employment is pretty easy to achieve in capitalist countries with functioning, non-barter based economies and in areas abundant with for-profit organizations. Even a low-paying position is better than none for a college student with looming educational expenses.

Find a job. Doing something. That earns money.

While other college students rack up student debt, you will be improving your financial future, and that’s always a good idea.

4. Jobs that aren’t in any field

Much like jobs with no attached experience or wages, jobs that aren’t in any specific line of work are just plain unhelpful.

Who wants to see five years of “doing nothing in particular” on a resume?

Fortunately, becoming trapped in employment without a clear profession is statistically unlikely, especially if you consider a few more eclectic jobs that could widen the scope of your job search.

For instance, if you live in Finland, for example, you could make some money as a professional napper, testing the quality of hotel mattresses. Or, if you frequent metropolitan areas, you could try a career as a train pusher. (From all reports, this job description involves getting behind large masses of boarding train passengers and assisting in cramming them into the train. Extra points for being a good citizen!)

As long as you avoid jobs which are completely disconnected from reality, you will be good to go! As a college student, even the most… unique… profession can pave your way to realizing your educational and financial goals.

5. Jobs that require the selling of a limb or vital organ

Lastly, college students should avoid pawning off their earthly goods and/or body parts.

Honestly, guys… selling your stuff isn’t a job. It’s only on this list because hosting a giant garage sale of all your earthly possessions probably occurred to you as a valid career option during school.

It’s not.

Instead of depleting your assets via pawnshop, consider the jumpstart a real job will be to your career. Instead of finishing college broke and devoid of earthly goods, you can position yourself for future success by actually working.


Bottom line: get a job. Any job.

At the end of the day, as long as it is safe and ethical, no job is a bad job. Even the lowliest of positions can be a stepping stone to promotions and skill development that can apply to a huge range of future career options.

As you invest your dedication into each small task, your reputation as a good worker will grow. You will chip away at your school costs and gain experience and credibility in a profession (yes, even if you are twirling a sign and dressed as a national landmark). Partnered with a flexible college option, you will be unstoppable.

Shelbie Williams
Shelbie Williams

If Shelbie has a cup of tea, a good book, or a deep conversation, she is a happy camper. With a background in accounting, classical music, and blogging, she believes learning is one of life’s greatest adventures.

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