Work doesn’t have to feel like work

Part time jobs can be more than a source of money.


Staff writer Michael Rauser worked part time at this Dairy Queen in the West Acres Mall. Photo courtesy Flickr.

For most college students, a job is simply a means to obtain money.

Many people tend to hate work. When I was younger, I used to hate work too, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered more and more techniques to enjoy myself.

Fortunately, I don’t need to use any of those techniques anymore, as I happen to have two incredibly awesome jobs. When I’m not writing for The Dakota Student, I am a DJ in my spare time.

I’ve always had at least some type of part-time job since high school, usually somewhere in the fast food industry.

It started when I was young; my father was always insistent that I learn how to work at an early age. I was always insistent that I learn how to watch TV at an early age.

My first employer was my dad, who owns his own business. He is a grain bin manufacturer and distributor, which is every bit as exciting as it sounds. On the off-chance that he happens to read this, I’d like to say it was the most meaningful work experience of my life. However, I’m guessing he probably won’t see this. In which case: I hated every second of it.

I got my first real job when I was 16, working at Culvers. I was surprised going in the first day at how simple it was. I was used to high expectations from my father as far as work went, so even though fast food is often thought of as the worst possible place to work, I have seen worse, and fast food was a breath of fresh air.

All of my jobs had one thing in common — I always found a way to enjoy them.

When I was working for my dad, I really did hate every second of it, but it was that experience that allowed me to enjoy the seemingly joyless jobs that exist in the fast food industry.

There are several techniques that I often use in order to enjoy the job I have. I love to sing, so I would often sing to myself at work. When I was working at the food court in the West Acres Mall, my most common job was washing dishes, something that grew to be one of my favorite tasks because it required no concentration whatsoever. Instead, I could focus on something completely different like writing or singing in my head while still getting my work done.

Another method I used to enjoy my job was interacting with people. It could be something as simple as just asking somebody how their day was, or striking up casual conversation, although any UND student who ever ran into me when I used to work at the dining center in Wilkerson knows that I also did much more than that.

For those who didn’t see me when I used to work in Wilkerson, I would use different accents every single night that I worked the taco bar. I kept using so many of them that I had a few people genuinely confused on what my real accent was. Another time, I communicated to all of my customers entirely through song. I think it was an entertaining experience for both me and them.

The main difference between all the jobs I had in the past and the jobs I have now is that I don’t have to find a way to enjoy them — I enjoy every aspect of them already. I love writing, and now I write professionally. I love music, and now I work as a DJ.

If you hate your job, you only have yourself to blame. UND is a campus where jobs often throw themselves in your face as you walk through the Memorial Union. That’s pretty much how I got both of the jobs I have now. If you look around, you might be able to find a job that happens to be perfectly suited to your particular passions and interests. If you are stuck with a job you hate, just remember that are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself even if you don’t enjoy your job.

The main thing to keep in mind is to be open to new ideas. A year ago, I never would have thought I could be a DJ, yet here I am doing parties and entertaining hundreds. Even last semester I never thought I would want to write for a newspaper, but suddenly I find myself not only writing for a newspaper, but loving it.

Michael Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at