My So-Called Bad Job

In my last post I named a few careers that were considered hot and discussed why they’re not. Many people will still take jobs within these careers, though. They have bills that need to be paid. It’s easier to get a better job when you are employed. Some people are too anxious about having their careers knocked off track to wait for that better job. Whatever the reason for taking one of these jobs, it is not necessarily a bad move, especially when you desperately need the money.

We’ve all probably had a least one job that we would call bad. They are out there. The job with the micromanaging boss. The job with the rude customers. The job with the gossiping co-workers. It is enough to drive you wild or make you depressed if you feel you have to take yet another bad job to make ends meet. Don’t feel bad — there are some ways to make these situations tolerable.

Name It

Lists that you create empower you, whether they keep you organized or actually put your goals in writing. Make a list of why this job you just took is a bad job. Make another list of any good points you can see at the start. Think about how you are going to change or at least deal with the points on your bad list. For example, I had a job where my micromanaging boss asked me if I was a morning or afternoon person. When I responded, “Afternoon,” she promptly scheduled a daily meeting for 8:30 a.m. I did not like her much, but you know what? I was on time every day and when I came out of that meeting, I knew exactly how to spend my day, what I needed to do. The micromanaging drove me crazy, but her planning lists that she generously shared with me saved me when I had to plan events.

Look at the good points on your list. How are you going to keep them going? I had one hectic job where everyone went out to lunch everyday together. A lot of recruiting tips were shared over those lunches, and I got to know my co-workers well enough that we learned best how to support each other. When the person who drove to lunch left for vacation, we took turns driving to a restaurant.

Time Limit

You already know why you needed to take this so-called bad job. Now set a time limit for how long you will stay. You do not have to be in this job forever. I’m part of the generation whose parents stayed in a job 30 or 40 years whether they liked it or not because it was job security, it was a paycheck. When the job environment started to change and middle managers were “downsized” in the 90s, everyone panicked because they weren’t used to change, to little job security. While most people won’t admit this, no job security actually may be a good thing. It pushes you to grow, to think about your career track, where you will go next and what you want to accomplish. Setting a time limit also gives you hope, that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, that something better is out there.

Make Another List

When you finally get to leave your so-called bad job, make a list of what you learned and accomplished from dealing with the bad points on your first list. Now how will you use them in your next job? Will you describe how horrible your boss was to your new colleagues? Or will you use your insights on micromanagers to deal with the next one?

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