Surviving the “For Now” Job
“To be successful, the first thing to do is to fall in love with your work.”
– Sister Mary Lauretta
As I’m flipping radio stations today, and the most unlikely ‘70’s tune makes me think of jobs.
Remember Stephen Stills’, “Love the One You’re With”? While I don’t recommend it for relationship advice, for some reason the following lyrics brought to mind some of the jobs I’ve had that I was less than enthused about while employed in those jobs.
“If you’re down and confused. And you don’t remember who you’re talking to . . . Concentration slips away . . . ”
Specifically, I thought of a Telephone Customer Service job I had in the late ‘90’s, which required me to repeat the same product and sales information over and over and over again, about 80 calls a day. We had gray cubes with soft walls pushpin full of reference charts and a personal picture or two, sales quotas, quality control measures to follow, all that.
We half-joked we were dogs on a leash tied in the yard, but it really did feel like that sometimes, connected by my headset cord to my phone/computer. I was tolerating this job many moons ago because I wanted the big carrot dangling at the end of the contract — a free European Rail Pass for up to 2 months – in First Class no less!
It was a “survival job” for sure. In order to make it through, I decided to “love the one I was with”, and find everything I could to maybe not get myself to “love” the job, but at least be able to tolerate it without being miserable — and sometimes, even appreciate the positive aspects of it.
I had some cool co-workers I enjoyed on and outside of the job. I had a fantastic supervisor who was supportive, AND fun. While the overtime was more of the work I didn’t like, it paid well, was readily available and allowed me to save for my eventual Grand European Adventure.
I was good at the work (even though I didn’t like it), others knew this, so I became a “go-to” person for questions when supervisors weren’t around (this sort of thing is a resume builder, by the way, that many of my clients don’t think of to include).
Eventually that last one led to a promotion, and work I LOVED as a trainer/employee development supervisor and a permanent position. And of course, I had that “prize carrot” of that rail pass to motivate me . . . and I thought about that often.
What can you find about your “for now” work that you like well enough and can appreciate and focus on to keep you mostly satisfied and motivated enough to the required tasks?
— good co-workers or boss?
— learning opportunities for resume building skills?
— good benefits package/perks?
— something about the work environment? (close to home/school/transportation, casual dress, etc.?)
— opportunity to advance quickly and thus also improve your resume with transferable skills such as supervisory/training/management experience?
— enjoy the feeling of helping your customers/clients with service or being a part of a good company (or getting a good product out there?)
Getting clear on why you are doing what you are doing for now, and reminding yourself of the good things (as often as necessary) can go a long way towards your mental and emotional well-being while working a less than satisfying job for awhile.
AND . . .
What are you going to do WHILE you make the most of the job you HAVE to find the job you WANT?
One final note – and encouragement:
Never settle for too long . . . just use your “for now” job as a tool, a stepping stone, wisely, to bigger, better, shinier, more SATISFYING work – ASAP!
(and for those of you that know the song)…..Doo doo doo doo doo doo DOO DOO (IT)!
>> Know you need a new job “ASAP”, but not sure WHAT KIND of new job you want?
>> Check out the Career Clarity Guide, to help you discover, then map out, your new career direction! Job changers, this is for you!
It’s a 70+ page pdf with 4 “Road Maps” to guide you with more ideas, resources, and “excavation” exercises like the questions above to inspire your career exploration!
Map 1: Pack & Purge: explore and evaluate your past positions, and what stays/goes now
Map 2: Choose Your Transfer Tickets: how to use existing skills in a new way (or in a new job)
Map 3: Write Your Own Itinerary: get clear on your ideal job journey “trip”
Map 4: Chart Your Quest: plan your new job search journey via your resume, cover letter, and interview answers”
and … look for your Souvenirs/Extras as you go!