20 Reasons why call centre is the best student job

20 reasons why call centre is the best student job

I’ve worked at three different call centres, and while it is far from the perfect job, I’m convinced it is the best student job. I’ve already touched on reasons 1 and 2 in a previous post, but here are 20 reasons why I think call centre is the best job for students:

  1. If it’s not busy, you can study at work. At all 3 of my call centre jobs, I got a lot of my studying done at work between calls. It’s how I managed to work 30+ hours a week while still taking an 80% course load and maintaining my position on the honour roll.
  2. If it’s busy at work, you can work overtime. Working overtime is the most efficient use of your time because you’re getting paid time and a half instead of straight time. For every 2 hours of overtime, you’re getting paid for 3, and which student doesn’t need more time and money?
  3. If it’s slow at work, you can leave early. Many call centres try to manage their costs by letting volunteers go home early if it’s slow. You can take advantage of the slow periods by being paid to study at work or going home to catch up on other important things like sleep or writing a paper.
  4. If you’re part of a big company, they may offer tuition reimbursement. There are usually a checklist of criteria you have to meet before you’re eligible for tuition reimbursement, the most common being that it is related to the job or the company. Even if your major isn’t applicable to your company, try and find electives that are that can be partially reimbursed.
  5. If you’re a permanent employee, you’ll be eligible for benefits. As a part time call centre employee, I’ve been eligible to participate in the company’s wealth accumulation programs (e.g. share programs, RRSP programs, pension plans), extended health benefits, paid vacation and employee discounts and much more.
  6. If you’re a contract employee, you’re probably getting a pretty high hourly wage. I am currently in my first contract job ever, and my hourly rate is even higher than what I was paid as a Communications Specialist (although I did have numerous valuable benefits there.)
  7. The pay is much better than most other part time jobs. Call centre isn’t for everyone, which is why the turnover is so high. In an attempt to attract and keep good employees, call centres usually offer much higher starting wages than other entry-level positions. When I was 19, I got my first call centre job and was paid $18.95 hourly.
  8. The job is a lot less tiring physically than a retail job. Sure, even though you’re sitting in a comfortable chair staring at a computer all day, you’re going to be tired at the end of your shift. But it certainly is much better than standing on your feet and talking to customers in person all day – it’s hard to go home and try to study after a shift.
  9. Call centres often offer aggressive raises. Call centre attrition is ridiculously high, so to keep good employees, they’ll often offer unparalleled raises. At one call centre I worked, we were entitled to a 4% raise every 6 months. I went from $16.95 to $21.45 in 3 years, which works out to be $44,616 per year working full time. That’s an incredibly sweet amount for a student, especially since a lot of entry-level jobs pay way less.
  10. Call centres often offer incentives. To try and promote good performance, call centres often offer quarterly bonuses or other valuable incentives. At one call centre I worked at, the maximum bonus was $1,200 every 4 months if you exceeded all your metrics.
  11. Companies often hire from within which can give you a head start on your career. There are plenty of analyst and managerial positions within the call centre, and if you work for a big company, you’ll be able to apply for positions outside the call centre as an internal candidate.
  12. Call centres often have long hours of operation to cater to their client base which means you’ll have shift flexibility to accommodation your school schedule.
  13. You can always trade, pick up or giveaway shifts as your schedule requires. There’s almost always someone looking to get time off when you have time to pick up shifts (like during reading week) and there’s also almost always someone looking for extra cash when you need time off during exam week.
  14. The ergonomic workstations are more comfortable than your home setup. I used to go to work to study so I wouldn’t get distracted at home and because it was more comfortable than studying at home. After I quit that job, I tried to buy the chair I had gotten so used to – I couldn’t believe they went for over $1,000!
  15. You may be eligible for referral bonuses. Because call centre attrition is so high and many people refuse to apply for a call centre job, it can be challenging to keep seats filled. Many call centres offer a bonus for successful referrals because they know a quality referral from a friend is much more likely to result in a good employee. I once referred a friend and got a $1,000 referral bonus!
  16. Shift premiums. Many call centres have undesirable hours of operation (for employees – customers love it). You will likely be entitled to a shift premium if you have to compensate for having to work undesirable hours or days. In all 3 call centres I’ve worked at, working Sundays has always included a shift premium of 25%, 50% or even 100% (i.e. double time).
  17. Develop your skills. There are a lot of valuable skills to be learned working at a call centre, many of which can help you get a better job after school. You’ll gain experience working with clients, meeting stringent metrics, resolving problems, meeting sales targets and in multi-tasking and communication.
  18. Low stress. Sure, a grumpy customer can sour your mood, but at the end of the day, when you hit that End of Shift button, you leave all the job stress behind. You don’t have to worry about a big project that’s coming up, working overtime to meet deadlines or an important presentation you have to deliver. You can just leave the office the minute your shift is over and focus on acing your next test.
  19. Holiday pay. Many call centres are open holidays to cater to their customers. While this probably won’t be ideal for you, at least you can bank in the holiday pay, which may be 50% more of your regular pay. Or, if you get lucky like I currently am, you’ll be paid for your full shift as if you had worked it (at straight time), plus double time for the hours you do work. That essentially adds up to triple time!
  20. You may be eligible for internal project positions. Sometimes, instead of hiring for a position, other departments will offer project positions to the call centres to fill a current void. It may be because it’s a short term position (e.g. to backfill a maternity leave) or it may be because there’s a hiring freeze and they can’t officially hire anyone. Either way, you’ll be learning a lot and gaining plenty of valuable experience for your resume, and if you’re good, they may even offer you a permanent position once the hiring freeze is lifted.

What do you think? Have I missed any advantages of working call centre? What was your best student job?

Mrs. Unchained55

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