A job that someone else might consider a shallow waste of time might be your best place for this moment in time. A job that you find shallow might develop hidden depths as you think about it.
Anyone in the working world has experience with grindingly boring jobs. Some of us have always had satisfying, fulfilling work but we have witnessed boring jobs. Okay, now the rest of us (99.999%) have had one or more boring, unfulfilling jobs.
The strangest thing is, I’ve learned that kinds of work I’ve heard others complain endlessly about, and haven’t expected to like, are actually boatloads of fun for me!
For example, I pretty much always thought I wanted to be an artist or designer for a living. However, I didn’t know what that meant. I’m not good at being creative each and every day, and I’m not always the best with deadlines. Also, I hate selling so I’m not the world’s most amazing self promoter. I recognize these things about myself and I’m okay with that. I know what I need to work on.
I thought that data entry could be about the most mind numbing job imaginable. Call center work was scariest and most horrible, but data entry had to be the most boring. Fast forward quite a few years and I find that call center work is actually pretty fulfilling if you work inbound lines, and I just took a job as a claims analyst that involves a lot of data entry. Yet, it’s great! It’s like doing a hundred puzzles a day and it’s always new and fresh! I never would have found this out if I’d clung to my old ideas about the perfect job.
The moral of that story is to stay in tune with the kinds of work you like, and your personal strengths, so you know what you’ll actually be a good match for. That way you won’t take the job that everyone else wants but you might hate. Here’s an example. I thought I wanted to be a trainer at a call center. I thought it would be great – I’d be off the phones, I could share my experience and help mold my students into great reps, and oh, did I mention I’d be off the phones? Once I knew more about the position I realized I’d be going slowly crazy there. A job where I was assisting other reps on the phone as they asked me questions about product and navigation was a whole lot better for me.
What if you hate your current job and can’t get out of it?
Been there, done that, got the lame corporate T-shirt. I’m not sure what you should do in your situation but here is what I’ve done to make it easier on myself.
See the humor in the situation. There’s something funny about everything, even if all you do is sort frozen fish on a conveyor belt and throw out the green ones. How funny is a green fish?
Find the places where you make a difference. In my dull customer service jobs, one thing that’s kept me going is knowing I was making a difference in many people’s lives. Even if I was just telling them why their pills were going to be late. At least I could give them one more positive interaction than they would have had.
Find ways your current job can build your skills. I would sometimes take on extra work or do extra training if I knew it would develop me. This has gotten me into better and better jobs.
Always look for opportunities. You won’t see them if your eyes are closed.