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Why your dead-end job isn't as dead-end as you think it is.

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 2

A few years ago, I was in my second year of college. At the time, I had a decent income with the army reserves and could easily list off volunteering organizations I was associated with to my potential employers. I had no idea what I wanted to be then, but I was sure by the time I turned twenty-five I'd have the kind of super-job that allowed me to exercise my fantastic talents like a young Tony Stark.


I won't go into my job. If you're reading this, I'm sure you might be in the same boat as me, but just because we're all bobbing along on a raft instead of an ocean-liner, that doesn't mean we can't be the Captains of our own destiny... (too cheesy?) Anyway, before you decide to jump ship completely, let me try to convince you that your listless line of work actually has some strengths. 

1. You can see opportunity that others can't

I remember going on a date with a girl who told me about the people she worked with.  I listened to her describe he insecure colleges, how the competitive nature led to bruised egos, and how everyone else was older than her. Funny enough, she wasn't talking about a job, she was talking about a group project in her the law school that her parents funded.  She was currently achieving grades in the high-nineties...even though she really "wasn't trying".  I decided not to inform her that my job consisted of punching labels on pieces of paper for eight hours, while working alongside other grumpy people whose job consisted of punching labels for eight hours a day.

Hard as it is to believe, there are people who equate a job with the kind of paycheck that buys an Oak-wood château in Whistler with hitting a brick wall day after day. With no real need of opportunity, some of these people can be completely blind to the opportunities around them. If your job truly is the pits you really have no other choice but to look up. It's altogether possible that you see possibilities that those a bit higher don't. 

2. You don't have to take your work home with you.

If you've chewed on my last paragraph, you're probably wondering what good seeing an opportunity is. Fair enough. But first, have you considered how much free time you actually have to pursue your goals? If you're working at a café, for example, your work day ends the minute you stop getting paid. The manager, however, might have to worry about the profits, a recent customer complaint, a city bylaw on smoking ordnances, etc. In short, your manager is using her precious off-work hours to do unpaid labour. Unless you're life's pursuit is griping about your job on Facebook, you are a free agent, my friend. So use this time to plan your escape plan; look up other sources of income, take some night courses. Hell, even download some free podcasts on any subject you want, and get more informed about the world. Take this time to figure out where you want to go in life, and waste less time thinking about the job. 

3. It's a challenge to be positive, and that's a good thing.

Every time I have dinner with my father, I have to think of an answer when he asks me if anything interesting happened at work. Sure, I could tell him that the label-stamper machine broke down, or that a fellow label-stamper who works across from me, a veteran of thirty years, is looking over my shoulder and constantly correcting me...but instead, I tell my dad that I listened to a podcast about the Astor Place riot in 1849...or that I learned how to jerry-rig the label-printer with toothpicks and duct tape so it could run for another hour before a technician arrived.  The fact is, I must find new tactics and strategies to pit myself against the powers of the mundane. Unless you happen to be in the royalty, most people who make the big bucks are also engrossed in their jobs.  You, however, have the freedom to joke around with your colleges, to daydream when you get into the groove of things and to detach yourself completely from work the moment you leave it. You might be stuck in a rut for a while, but at least your valiant efforts to fight the forces of redundancy and boredom make you an interesting person. 

4. Once you succeed, you're a much cooler person to be with.

There's a calculated effort among politicians and media personalities to showcase whatever blue-collar roots they might have. Why? Because people who work at the bottom of the barrel have real problems. This makes us real people. Right now, we're all just trying to cover the rent (or get out of our parent's house). We're all trying to make ends meet so that we can go wherever we choose. We're trying to become self-reliant people with some extra cash in our back pocket. This situation we are in is a pretty good starting point for where we want our lives to head...considering the "starting point" for other people is a concern about financing the swimming pool in their second house. We don't have to carry some insecurity complex about being rich, nor are we quick to ignore or find fault in the opportunities that finally come.  And even though some people might be above you in some ways, play your cards right and you'll find that you might be the kind of person people look up to.





Apr 26, 2012 7:58pm
You are so right, your mind is your own in a repetitive job. It is free to roam, marvel and dream while your body does the work that gets you paid. Great article! Welcome to IB!
Apr 28, 2012 6:45pm
Thanks a tonne! All the best on your end.
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