Things I have learnt working in jobs I hate.

by rodney on April 15, 2013

We all at some point in our lives work in jobs that we absolutely hate. As much as we try to avoid it, this is a reality. The saddest part of this reality is that many people are not only currently in the jobs they hate but they will stay there, too afraid of leaving.

During my working years, I have worked in a lot of jobs, many of which I absolutely hated. Some of these jobs have included supermarket shelf stacker, fast food manager, door to door sales, apprentice chef, pizza delivery driver, sandwich hand and telemarketer, to name a few. Even though these were jobs I hated, they have taught me valuable lessons which have helped to guide me the work I’m doing today. Without these negative experiences, I wouldn’t be in the fortunate situation I’m in today.

Below are some of the most important lessons that I have learnt. I understand that everyone’s situation and circumstances are different, but I do think these lessons can be adopted and applied to everyone and every situation.

Have good support.

One of my first jobs I had after leaving school was at the local McDonalds. Within a couple of years I had become a manager- it was a total disaster. This taught me a lot about leadership and management, mostly what not to do. What made this experience such a train wreck was the lack of support I had from the managers above me. Morale was low and all the senior managers were under pressure to get their jobs done, no one had time for helping and guiding me for handling situations I was not used to. The fact that I had completed training led to the belief that I was able to do all the things managers with years of experience, so whenever I asked for help, I was met with hostility. My confidence shattered and I felt incompetent and worthless. This would have been the opposite had I had good support around me. You need good support from everyone around you to help you do your job effectively and enjoy your job. Do you have good support in your job?

Have passion for your job/industry

One of the longest jobs I had was an apprentice chef working in a number of pub/hotel bistros. This was a job I fell into. I had been unemployed for a while so when the opportunity came along to do an apprenticeship that could turn into a career came along, I took it. What I was to eventually learn that the job and even the industry was not my passion. Once I had become accustomed to my job, I stayed in my comfort zone, not wanting to move or expand. I was coasting through life and through work with no ambition. It wasn’t long before I generally felt flat. You need passion in your life to ignite that spark and feel alive. Since we spend most of our time working, most of that passion needs to come from your work. What are you passionate about?

Don’t start work at 6am if you’re not a morning person

Once I had a job as kitchen hand working for a corporate catering company. My job was to prepare food to be delivered by midday, which meant I had to start work at 6am. The problem with this is I’m not a morning person. I would much rather work until late than start early- and there’s nothing wrong with that. I struggled to wake early and get focused into my work. Sure, I did finish early every day, however because of the early start, I was tired and wasn’t very productive. As a result, I began to hate the job. This job taught me to know what limits you have. If you’re not a morning person, don’t start at 6am, if you don’t like to be indoors all day, don’t get an office job, if you hate travelling, don’t get a job over an hour away, if you don’t like kids, don’t work in a child care centre, if you’re germ phobic, don’t work in a hospital…. You get the idea. What are your limits?

Don’t do jobs that you’re emotionally unsuited for.

I have done a few stints in telemarketing and door to door/commission only sales. These would probably be the shortest jobs I’ve ever had and the ones I’ve hated the most. Reason being, these jobs come with them a high rate of rejection and hostile customers. People were really angry at me for interrupting them at home and trying to “sell” them stuff. I didn’t take the rejection and hostility well (I had never taken these well) and often found myself in tears, not wanting to make another call or knock on another door. Many people feel stuck in jobs they are emotionally unsuited for because that’s all they’re trained to do and end up hating it. I understand that many times you start a job and then realise after that maybe it’s not for you, and that’s fine, but don’t stay there especially if it affects you negatively on an emotional level. You need to find what makes you feel good. What are you emotionally suited for?

Don’t do it for the money.

Doing these jobs took over 10 years of my life. 10 years of energy that I will not get back and why? Like the rest of us, I needed money. That’s why we all work isn’t it? Why we stay in jobs we hate, for the money. That money comes at a cost, time and energy. The sad part is, we can’t get that time and energy back, however, we can make back that $50,000 per annum we made. I’m sitting here, wishing I found this work 10 years ago. If you’re spending precious energy and time in a job you hate, the money is not worth staying. You can put that time and energy into something you love and still make the money- possibly more. What do you want to spend your time and energy on?

Mind you, it’s not only the jobs I’ve hated that have taught me lessons. In the next article, I’m going to share the lessons I’ve learnt working in the jobs I’ve loved.

If you’re currently in a job that you hate, I hope some of the lessons I’ve shared will help you re-evaluate your situation and lead you to a working life you love.

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