Student Exploitation: When Does the Nightmare End?

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Getting a job should be easy. You apply, you go to an interview, you smile, say clever words and act pretty, and you get the job offer. You work your shifts, and you sit smirking, awaiting your payslip that will bring you up, out and beyond the deep dark underworld of the overdraft. But alas, it is not to be. Because time and time again, companies are metaphorically crapping all over innocent, naive student’s aspirations of earning a bit of money. But why?

Killing Our Dreams

Big, greedy, sickeningly rich companies are constantly employing, destroying, and flicking aside today’s youth, just because they can. They know we need the money, so they know they can essentially get away with anything, because we will put up with pretty much anything to gain some hard-earned cash. We leave these temporary roles broken and exhausted from what can only be described as slave labour in conditions that are either brutal, or so mundane that we forget how to spell our own names, let alone go back to University after this type of work.

Not only this, but once the suffering is over, we then settle down for the good part: to be paid for our shifts. This should be simple. You work eight hours, you get paid for eight hours work. Apparently not. It seems that employers will do whatever they can to not pay you the full amount you are owed.

And thinking ‘screw you’ is no comfort, as we all know that next term thousands more unsuspecting students will be employed by the same company, used and abused in the same way, then leave feeling just as crestfallen.

The ‘YOLO’ Mentality

So you had a bad experience. It sucks, but it happened. The best thing to do is just not let it drag you down. Simply sigh, let it go (once they have eventually paid you, of course), and repeat the clichéd mantra ‘YOLO’ when faced with career dilemmas such as these. Learn from the experience, don’t go back, and warn your friends not to go back either. Spread the horror stories of your workplace, and let the rumours multiply amongst your peers. And maybe someone, somewhere, will be saved the torment that you suffered at the hands of a mad and careless employer.

Victoria Karpinski

Currently studying for a degree in English at Leeds Uni, I like sleep, house parties, takeaways and reading the occasional bloody good book.

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