Seasonal temp. jobs: the red flags and the green

How to not be taken advantage of in your part time jobs.

Rachael McCreanor
14th December 2022
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a job to work alongside your studies or a way to make some extra money over the holidays, as with most things in life, there are a few signs to look out for to avoid turning into Scrooge this Christmas. 

Red flags  

Zero-hour contracts. This is a tricky one (and I know this from experience). Zero-hour contracts can be great for flexibility and the opportunity to pick up extra shifts left right and centre, but they're also risky. You could easily go for a week with no shifts, just to be followed by a 60hr week with no days off. If you’re looking for consistency and don’t want to risk having to work full-time, maybe avoid these.  

Cash in hand – this is the reddest of red flags. As much as your employer may seem lovely, if there’s no paper trail you run a massive risk of being taken advantage of, being underpaid, not being paid on time and not understanding your rights. Avoid at all costs. 

Green flags  

Friendly atmosphere – if you’re lucky enough to get an interview on-premises, you have been awarded the perfect opportunity to scope out the vibes. As stupid as it sounds, an interview is as much for you as it is for the employer. Have a look around, try and see how the other staff seem if they’re getting on and not crying in a corner, green flag!  

An interview is as much for you as it is for the employer

A clear, detailed contract – this is the most important thing when you’re thinking of accepting a job offer. A contract which details your expected hours, pay rate, shift patterns etc. is the ultimate green flag. Knowing what is expected of you before you actually start working will set you up in great stead to actually be treated like a person, which is always nice. 

So, keep these in mind when you’re out looking for work this Christmas and, most importantly, good luck!  

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AUTHOR: Rachael McCreanor
Deputy Editor 23/24, PGR Student studying for an MLitt in English Literature. she/her.

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