How to keep your boss happy while studying

Just writing the phrase “uni/work balance” feels like filling a bottle with snake oil. It sounds made up, even the look of it is unnatural. But there are ways to minimise the insanity.

There are ways to make the semester more of a trial and less of a tribulation. Of course it’s hard. There’s just no escaping that. The goal is to get to the end of semester still employed, with marks you are happy with, and no lasting emotional damage. Surely that isn’t too much to ask?  

If you can find a part-time job in your chosen industry, it’s a great way to balance your work and studies. You can apply the skills and knowledge you learn from University, and what you learn from work can better inform your studies. Even more, you’ll get experience early on in your career which will give you a competitive edge.

Actually tell your boss you’re studying

Hopefully, your boss already knows you are going to university. It’s kind of tantamount to declaring you aren’t happy with your job and are taking active steps to leave, but it’s a conversation you pretty much have to have. Study can benefit your employer as well. There are ways to put a positive spin on it rather than trot out the tired “it’s not you, it’s me” line. Let your boss know that the job is an essential part of completing your studies, and that you will be dedicated and reliable for as long as your degree lasts. In the coming years the company may have grown enough for you to take on a role which your study will complement. Bosses like hearing that sort of stuff.

Keep ’em in the know

The knowledge that you are studying will also go a long way in explaining the abrupt change in your moods and avoid a possible intervention. From the sullen depths of assignment hell, to the barely restrained jubilation of mid semester break, a bit of awareness of your university schedule will allow your employer to adjust accordingly. There are always going to be scheduling dramas throughout semester, especially in your later years of study. With any luck, your employer has attended university and can empathise with the work load it entails, or, failing that, has had previous experience with employing university students. An experience which couldn’t have been all bad, seeing as though they have hired another one.

Find a middle-ground

Rapport, communication, compromise. A trio of very trite buzz words, I know. I have discovered no easy solution to the work/uni conundrum, but the only thing that goes even a little way to easing the pain for both parties is being open. There will be times where you absolutely have to come in, and there will also be times which you absolutely have to take off. 

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