While you may never have had the misfortune to be stuck in a job or even a role that you don’t truly like, many people have found themselves there for extended periods of time. It can truly be a difficult thing to do. Going to work day after day and week after week will start to become dreadful—and the worst part is, if you know that there is no end in sight, it almost feels like you are in a hopeless situation.
Instead of wasting away while you sit in that miniature cubicle, why not turn your current negative job situation into a positive? Use it as a springboard to your next big position all while collecting a paycheck to get on the job training!
An interesting article was published in Time Magazine just a few years back that spoke about the ability to learn on the job. While the article touched on material that was anything but new (and actually spoke about bringing an apprenticeship style of learning into the workplace), it was a powerful message. Many organizations practice the method of promoting from within, and while you could always continue to educate yourself from the outside by being a night student, one of the top methods of getting ahead is picking up new skills within your role. This not only allows you to learn difference areas of the organization and make yourself more likely to be promoted, but you can also break up the monotony of your own day by learning some real world skills. The worst case scenario is that you take those skills with you to your next job that you are only able to get as a result of picking them up at your current position!
Many organizations have guide manuals and templates that not only outline each and every process and function of a job, but they even have sub classifications and addendums. Most of those are becoming more and more outdated as time continues to speed up with technology. If you find yourself with an outdated process guide or manual (or work for a small enough company that never put the specifics in writing), then you are in luck! It may sound boring, but it actually gives you an upper hand!
As an article in Tech Republic discussed, job duties and guides are more or less contracts. If you ever have to make a choice of what to do, what is important, or what you will be evaluated on, it’s all in the contract! This comes into play from your point of view because you can offer to write/update the guide. Better yet, just start taking notes on all of your processes. If you are feeling ambitious you could always compare those with your trusted colleagues to actually improve processes and become more efficient. There’s also always the opportunity to make sure the way you like doing things becomes the new gold standard. The endgame of this strategy is that you get to look at your job from a different point of view while possibly improving it. That will either be enough for a raise just because you brought efficiency to your role (or department), or you can see exactly what skills and tasks your job consists of and exactly what those skills fetch on the open market.
Many people in today’s society complain about how younger (or even middle aged workers) only go to a job to collect a paycheck. A very insightful piece by USA Today outlined the generational gap with younger workers and discussed (among other things) why they aren’t as engaged in their work. The thought is this new wave is only counting the days until the next weekend, holiday, or when their vacation days have replenished. If you simply take the time to buck that trend and take ownership of something powerful, you truly can make a difference in the workplace as well as improving your own standing.
More and more employees are starting to get to be decision makers and actually have their input matter. This comes simply from being able to help their organization find and learn about efficiencies that are almost common knowledge to the younger generation. Programs and applications such as spreadsheet technologies, cloud storage to save on data and make transferring files easier, and even videoconferencing solutions with companies like BlueJeans are just some of the simplest solutions that help organizations become more efficient—and they help ambitious workers gain on the job project management experience as well.
Even if you can’t get any of these ideas to work for you, each and every one of them still has a positive outcome. If you truly don’t like your job then you might want to plan a way out. However, as long as you are going to be there then you might as well pick up some real world skills in addition to your paycheck. You could wind up making your job more enjoyable in the process. And, while not all projects succeed beyond the creator’s wildest dreams, you also have a good shot of being excited to go to work for at least a while.