My First Job: Marche Vivocity

by - March 30, 2017

I was walking around Vivocity today with some friends when I walked past my old workplace. In case you didn't know, prior to collaborating with brands and writing for Zalora I worked part time as a waitress at Marche.


Waitressing was the first-ever job I did. In year one, my parents decided that I should get a taste of the working life and stopped giving me allowance. This meant that I had to pay for everything (transport, food that I ate in school, leisure etc) while they only paid for my tuition fees.

Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world and the first few months of 'independence' were really tough for me, especially due to the fact that I don't live with my parents. I literally starved myself and often skipped dinner because I did not have enough money to eat.

Most poly students work all week like horses and rest on Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately for me, I did not have the luxury to sleep or have fun during the weekends. Every weekend I dragged myself to work at 9.00 am and traveled 45 minutes to my workplace which was at Vivocity. I then worked for the entire day and went home at 9.00 pm or 10.00 pm. By the time I got home, it was past 11.00 pm. By the time I finished bathing and settled down to work on my assignments, it was past midnight.

Weekends were also the time when poly project mates meet up for discussions. Due to my part time job, I had to skip every project meeting that was held on a weekend. The worst thing was that my group mates often thought I was using work as an excuse not to meet up. I wanted so badly to tell them that I didn't have a choice.

The term TGIF was never in my vocabulary at that time either.

A year later, I quit my job. As much as it taught me a lot about life and working in the industry, it didn't help me to grow in the career path I wanted. Today, I still consider myself a weakling for quitting because I do know there are many other students out there who work tough labour jobs without having a choice of quitting or not.

I was just one of the lucky ones.

For those of you lucky bastards who have never worked a day in your life, here are 5 things I learned while working part time as a full time student:

PEOPLE ARE THE WORST

I used to be a people person. But after working part time, my love for humankind dried out like fluid from the body of a corpse.

It is no surprise to any that people treat waitresses like dogs, or worse. I work at a restaurant, not some kopitiam, yet my customers treat me as if I would lick their boots if they told me too. Can you imagine how people treat those who work at the side of the streets or at hawker centers?

I can't recall how many times I've been humiliated or scolded just because the queues were too long (is that my business, even?) or because there was not cutlery in sight. It doesn't matter if you're a student or old woman - as long as you're wearing an apron and serving food, you do not deserve respect.

Perhaps I should start a new hashtag #waiterslivesmatter.

And children. Oh my goodness, children. And I'm not even sure if it's these little pests or their parents I hate. Working in F&B really opens your eyes to all the bad parenting in Singapore.

BE NICE TO EVERYONE (THOUGH PEOPLE SUCK)

Customers are not the only people who aren't nice. Sometimes your colleagues can also be a pain in the butt. I haven't got on anyone's bad side while working at Marche (I hope) but I have seen fellow colleagues bitch about each other.

There are a lot of sensitive people in this world, so it's best to play safe and just be nice to everyone. If you're a newbie, it's best to swallow all the shit that's thrown at you and be as nice as possible to your authorities. You never know when you'll need their help in the future so just be nice.

DON'T SACRIFICE MONEY FOR HAPPINESS

Marche paid me pretty well, and I earned $8/hour on weekdays and $11 on weekends. That's higher than Banquet's pay!

To be really honest, I wanted to leave Marche 6 months into the job. Their Vivocity branch was always understaff, and the work was physically overbearing. I had to carry heavy plates while dodging children, and had to put up with unreasonable customers. My back often hurt because of the heavy work I was doing and my health was getting bad because I wasn't getting enough sleep.

However, the pay was just. so. good. that I couldn't bring myself to quit, so I stayed.

Another 6 months later, I started getting really moody every time the weekends came around and I found myself not looking forward to life in general. I was physically drained because I had to finish all my assignments during the weekdays and my social life was at a scale of 0.

I then grew some balls and decided to quit.

Now I'm definitely much happier and I even got a better job that earns me twice or thrice the amount I made at Marche. I'm not implying that you'll miraculously find a better job after quitting, but you should always know when it's time to quit.

GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT IS KEY

I have a lot of friends who don't work, yet I hear them complain over and over again that they are 'tired' or 'drained from life'. If I had a dollar for every time some one said that, I would be a billionaire.

I even have friends who say that they rather work at KFC than study, and this makes me want to punch them in the face because seriously? Work is better than studying?

You have no idea.

Time management is something that these poor people lack. Not trying to rub it in their immature faces, but I managed to get good grades throughout my first 2 years in poly while working part time. I was tired, yes, but I balanced my studies and work well due to proper scheduling and good time management. So to whoever that says that you're too 'busy' to finish something, that's a whole lot of bs because you were probably up the whole night on Instagram.

BEING HARDWORKING PAYS OFF

I always try to do my best in everything I do whether it's in my studies, work or just drawing a perfect circle. This may be partly due to the fact that I'm clinically OCD but really, I do my best no matter what.

At work, I try to be as fast and efficient as I can in order to provide the best service for my (though not very nice) customers. Very often you may think that your hard work goes unnoticed and you lose the motivation to strive for the best but I tell you now that that's not always the case.

I've had colleagues tell me that I was a good part timer and have even been complimented for my efforts. Once I even had my boss treat me to lunch because she said I deserved it.

I'm not saying you should try your best in everything just to get something in return, but if you do it genuinely good things do come your way.

As a disclaimer, I love my ex part time job, and I do miss the times I was there. It was difficult, but it helped me learn a lot and even made me who I am today.

Most of all, it made me appreciate life as a student. It's really the best job you got.

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