6 Reasons Why That Job You Hate Might be the Best Thing for Your Career
Almost everyone has been there at one point or another. Either you take a job fully expecting to hate it just because you needed to pay the bills, or you went into the job with the best intentions, only to find out that you really don’t like the work, your boss, your coworkers, your commute—you name it. The reality is, no job is going to be perfect, but a good job *should* give you lots of reasons to wake up and show up every day, regardless of whether it’s your dream job. You might be thinking, “Dream job? I just don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night sweaty and anxious, already dreading work the next day.” If that’s you, then first you should know is that you won’t be there forever (unless you are a masochist who enjoys the agony of doing something you hate every day for the rest of your life, then stay put). Otherwise, you do have a choice about where you work, so there’s no need to wallow in self-pity.
Eventually, you will find something that is a better fit and be able to move on. In the meantime, if you find yourself stuck in a job you hate for any amount of time, perhaps because you need the money, it’s a career stepping stone, or you just haven’t found something better yet, then you should take this time to learn some valuable lessons that only a job you dislike can teach you.
1. How to deal with difficult people.
If you’ve ever been in a negative work environment where everyone you work with seems to have a bad attitude about showing up every day, then you probably know how draining this can be. You don’t always get to choose who you work with, but you do get to choose how you deal with people who make you want to pull your hair out. Unfortunately, interacting with difficult people is part of life. You can either Ferris Bueller your way out of ever having to deal with people who don’t live up to your expectations which, though awesome, isn’t always practical.
Or, you can decide to look at it as a social experiment in which you evaluate how your actions might be contributing to the mess, what motivates seemingly lazy people, or how best to deal with your micro-managing boss. If you look at people through that lens, you’ll quickly find yourself taking things less personally and looking at situations more objectively. Those are skills you can take with you to any job.
2. How to self-motivate
Sometimes you don’t get to work for an employer who sets high goals and motivates their employees to reach them. If this is the case, your options are to either sit on Facebook all day or learn how to self-motivate. When there is no intrinsic reward in doing a task, developing self-motivation skills are critical to success in anything. If you are able to self-motivate by setting your own goals, focusing on how to improve daily processes, and overcoming obstacles, chances are when a better job does come along, you’ll not only be able to work under almost any circumstances, but you’ll stand out as a leader among people who haven’t had to learn the discipline of self-motivation.
3. How to take things one day at a time
When every day is a struggle to get out of bed, thinking about the long term can be downright depressing. You start to picture yourself 20 years in the future, sitting at the same desk, eating your same snacks, doing the same monotonous job you hate, and squinting through your glasses in your old age to read the computer screen. It’s enough to make you quit on the spot, and you would, except you want to be able to afford a house for your future grandkids to visit. You’re kind of committed for the time being.
Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts gang, said it best: “I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” Don’t make yourself miserable by dress-rehearsing a future in which you’re the sad victim. One of the biggest lessons you can learn when you’re in a bad situation is how to take things as they come rather than stressing about a future that hasn’t yet been decided. You don’t have to have it all figured out yet. You do have to earn money for the time being, so the best thing you can do is focus on one task at a time, get through break time, lunch time, 5:00 each day. Focus on what you can do daily to make your job a little more manageable by focusing on bite-sized chunks.
4. How to invest in your future
There is a time and place for thinking about the future. Like focusing on constructive things you can do to build the future you want. It’s never too late to invest in your future, and arguably the best time is when you have the motivation of trying to get out of your current situation. This is the time to think about completing certifications, furthering your education, or even focusing on your mental or physical health—anything that will help you take a step towards where you want to be while feeling stuck where you are.
5. What you DON’T want to do
Also known as the process of elimination. Sometimes, you take a job simply because you don’t have any better ideas, only to realize you hate everything about it. As any college student who changes their major five times will tell you, sometimes figuring out what you don’t want to do is as valuable as figuring out what you do want to do. Of course, you may not be a college student. You might be in your 40’s and still not know what you’re doing. The lessons you can learn are still the same. Chances are, even without you realizing it, every job you’ve taken that wasn’t a good fit has taught you a lot about yourself and has led you a little closer to the thing you do want.
6. What you DO want to do
Finally, years of taking on roles that you’ve hated can be the push you need in the right direction. Tony Robbins, famous author and life coach, says that “in life, you either need inspiration or desperation.” I’d even take it a step further and say that nothing inspires like desperation. Even Oprah Winfrey was fired towards the beginning of her career and told she wasn’t fit for television. Look how that turned out. Sometimes the worst thing to happen in your career can be the thing that makes your career.
Successful people know how to make the best of bad situations, and the same rings true when you’re in what seems like the worst career step ever taken. The secret to success amid struggle is looking for the good in the bad, taking valuable lessons as they come, and learning how to work towards the future you want. If you do find yourself looking for a change in your career, Executive Drafts has career consulting, interview coaching, and resume services that can help you out along the way. We’ll even give your current resume a complimentary critique to get you started.