They’re everywhere you look: swiping your ID at dinner, helping you navigate the stacks at Sterling, even driving the zamboni before your hockey game– that’s right, student employees can (and do!) do it all.

For many Yalies, student jobs are sort of like fat-free potato chips: you know they exists, but you don’t really know how they work or what they’re all about. Who are these student employees? Where do they work? I’ve heard more wrong answers than right ones, and it’s high time that the misconceptions were cleared up. Below I’ve laid out a lot of the myths about student jobs, and the truth that lies behind them.

The Line: “Yale jobs are just only offered to kids with financial aid packages.”

The Hook: It’s surprising how many members of the Yale community work within Yale for reasons other than work-study. Though preference is given to financial aid recipients for a first crack at student jobs, after the second week of fall classes, any member of the Yale community is welcome to browse the job listings on the Student Employment Office’s Web site. Daniel O’Neill ’03 found himself in such a situation when he first applied for a job in the Davenport College dining hall.

“I didn’t want to take a job away from a financial aid student, because, for me, it’s just an easy way to get some extra pocket money. It turned out not to be an issue — the dining hall is really happy to have lots of students working for them,” O’Neill said. “Lots of kids that are employed by Yale are just doing it to make some extra pocket money.”

The Line: “I would get a job — but I don’t want to stack books or serve food.”

The Hook: There are far more than two job options at Yale. One trip to the Student Employment Office Web site is proof enough. Out of 243 job postings, not one of them is dining hall or library related. Opportunities range from computer support, to all sorts of research positions, art modeling and telephone fund raising.

Natalie Krinsky ’04, for one, is an office assistant at the Yale Center for British Art.

“My job is ideal,” Krinsky said, “I work around beautiful art all day and interact with smart, talented co-workers. It’s fun to work at a museum — it’s not just a typical desk job.”

Krinsky is a columnist for scene.

And on the other hand, “stacking books and serving food” might warrant some additional attention. O’Neill is a member of the Davenport dining hall staff and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You couldn’t find a more flexible and friendly crew of people than in the Davenport dining hall,” O’Neill said. “Of course, a job is a job, but I like working in my college’s dining hall because it gives me a chance to see and interact with a lot of people in my college who I wouldn’t talk to on a daily basis otherwise. Even if it is just for a ‘hey, how was your day?’ it keeps me connected to my classmates.”

The Line: “Everything I do is at Yale! I should get a job in New Haven.”

The Hook: Convinced that getting a city job would be more fun then some University paper pushing? Think again. Students find that the flexibility and pay of Yale jobs is unbeatable. Derrick McBride ’03, who worked for the Barnes and Noble owned Yale Bookstore, commented “I wanted to work at the bookstore because I thought it would be nice to be doing something outside of Yale, working for a real corporation. I thought working with books would be interesting — what it turned out to be was a lot of stocking shelves, working the register, and 15-hour weeks without much room for adaptability.”

When McBride entered the Yale work force in the Office of Cooperative Research, it was a different story.

“I won’t pretend I’m doing anything ground breaking — just filing and desk work — but the hours are tailored to fit my needs, and the pay is generous,” McBride said.

Krinsky adds that in her case as well, the Student Employment Opportunities Web site was a godsend: “The pay [at the British Art Center] is really high, almost twice the hourly rate of just some retail store. More importantly though, when and how much I work revolves entirely around my availability. Yale offices understand the difficulty of a student schedule and are prepared to work around that.”

The Line: “I can’t take classes and get a job — I want to have a life.”

The Hook: A part-time job does not have to consume your life. Student Employment offers jobs that require up to 19 hours a week, but the norm is between five and 10.

“I am definitely busy, yeah — but everyone has some extracurriculars, and this is one of mine,” Krinsky says.

A Yalie can get involved in student employment with virtually any time commitment in mind; Melissa Blakeley ’03, a Yale tour guide, comments that “tour guides can work as little as an hour and a half some weeks, and lots more if their schedules allow.”

The Line: “I can get paid for that?!”

The Hook: Some of the most highly praised positions at Yale require little more than a few hours a week and some massive school spirit. Yale’s admissions office loves to get their hands on enthusiastic students as both admissions personnel and tour guides.

Leading tours for the admissions office and Visitor’s Center is a dream come true for Blakeley.

“Tour guiding is so much fun!” she said. “When I applied to be a tour guide, I didn’t even know that tour guides got paid! Every tour guide is ridiculously enthusiastic about Yale and is eager to show it on tours. Personally, it’s wonderful to have weekly affirmation of why I enjoy Yale so much. It’s easy to get caught up in student life and forget to take a step back to appreciate all Yale has to offer — but tours really require the tour guide to do that.”

If you’re more into a low-key desk job than one that is on the go, working in the admissions office might be for you. David Mount ’03, a long-standing admissions office employee, explains that student workers “are hired to be enthusiastic about Yale.” His main responsibility within the office is to deal with prospective students by answering e-mails, coordinating visits and doing whatever it takes to sell them on the school.

“The best part of the job is when a student contacts you to tell you they are really torn between Yale and some other school. You pull out all the stops to show Yale’s best face — and it’s such a rush when you see one of those kids walking around campus the next fall,” he said

Student Jobs: Flexible, high-paying and cooler than you ever thought they would be. In McBride’s words, “Come on, no one wants to get a job. But if you’ve got to do it, Yale’s the best bet in town.”