Whether you’re leaving an old company behind or are a fresh-faced graduate, taking a new job is a big decision and can be daunting at the best of times. The further decision to take a job where the accommodation is provided – making the position residential – can require further consideration. Such roles range from seasonal summer-school and skiing chalet roles to full-time, live-in child-care. Here are 5 pros and cons to consider before leaping into a new residential job; for some such work is a dream come true, whilst for those not so suited residential roles can become a nightmare.
On the plus side: the pros
The most obvious advantage of a residential position is just that – the residence. So long as no fee is deducted from your payment, you can save a huge amount of money that would otherwise be spent on accommodation and bills. The quality of accommodation is also likely to be of a certain standard so as to reflect well on the company, and if you’re in an environment such as a summer school it may even be cleaned for you. This accommodation is likely to be on or near the main site where you work, also cutting out the dreaded commute.
Free catering is another huge financial benefit, and is also likely to give you balanced, healthy meals. Cooking for one can be difficult on a budget, often resulting in a freezer-full of the same meal for weeks. Having hot, fresh food provided will not only give you a varied diet but save you preparation and shopping time, in which you can do any number of things from socialising to fitting in a language or such like. Catering can also make meals a highly sociable experience and can be perfect if you like to keep to a routine, or plan out your days in advance.
Whilst in most desk-bound, 9-5 office jobs relationships with colleagues rarely progress beyond the odd question about the family, living near (or with) your colleagues makes you more likely to socialise. Such an environment can lead to the development of strong friendships, the shared experience bringing you closer to those you work with and developing bonds of trust and mutual understanding.
Residential positions are often part and parcel of a job containing a pastoral element. Living on-site in a role such as boarding housemaster or mistress can really add a valuable, enriching element to the job that can’t be gained anywhere else.
If you’ve just gone through the ordeal of finals, or want a change from the busy (and at times overwhelming) rhythm of city life, working a seasonal residential job can give you a free chance to see a new place. Whether you’re staying in Oxford or the Alps, days off are essentially a free holiday. If you’re tired of your hum-drum normal life this can provide a break and a welcome change.
Not so positive: the cons
When living in provided accommodation you are essentially subject to your employer's rules not only at work but also with regards to your housing arrangements and your downtime. Any grievance caused, mistakes made or neighbours annoyed will likely get back to your boss. Stipulations from work can be placed on your housing; for example, if living on site they can prohibit visitors and others from staying with you.
This is dependent on the job, but if your roles deals with children the residential aspect will go hand in hand with unusual/ longer hours. This will then be tied to a rigid structure which extends beyond work hours, to such scheduled times as lunch and dinner. Bear in mind that you may well be on late shifts which extend well into the night.
Whilst your new workmates may well become your new best friends, you may also find that you don’t hit it off straight away. Being tied to your location and accommodation can be a difficult and tiresome experience if you don’t get on with your colleagues. Whilst this can be a lesson in learning to make things work, it can also exhaust you. Similarly, the intertwined nature of home and work life can mean that if you’re having issues with a boss it’s difficult knowing who to talk to or get advice from – especially if your closest friends are far away. And even if you do get on with your colleagues, living with anyone can be a testing experience!
The work bubble can be isolating to a degree if you don’t put in the effort to escape it on a regular basis. Whilst it can require extra effort to see friends outside of work, it is well worth it; don’t let yourself sink into an easy routine of just staying in and having a drink with workmates, as this will soon lead to feelings of constriction and frustration.
Alexandra Jane is the writer and editor of graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency. Check out their website to see which internships and graduate jobs are currently available, as well as their graduate jobs Manchester page for further opportunities.
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