Career & Finance

Why You Should Work a Job You Hate (at Least for a Little While)


I was making small talk with someone recently when I mentioned something that seriously had her taken aback.

“Two years?!” She incredulously blinked. “You spent two years at a job you didn’t like? Wow.”

Her response then had me taken aback. In today’s day and age of chasing a passion, creating the job you want and never-settling-for-second-best, was it really all that strange that someone could spend two years at a job they hated?


There are lessons we learn only when up against the hard edge of working purely for paycheck(s).


Sure, I was miserable working away under fluorescent lighting and felt boxed in by the grey-felted walls of my cubicle, but looking back I see with welcome clarity how that job served foundational purpose in my career. While I can definitely understand the drive to prioritize a job that resonates with your inner-self, I think it can be just as important to dig in when maybe you don’t want to. There are lessons we learn only when up against the hard edge of working purely for paycheck(s).

Here are just a few of them:


You find out what you do and don’t like.

This might seem obvious, but working a job you don’t like creates momentum for finding out what you do. And sticking it out just a little bit longer than you’d prefer can help ensure that when you leave, it won’t be an emotional decision. You’ll be moving toward what you want more of, not simply escaping what you can’t bear.

Are there certain parts of your day that you enjoy over others? (Lunch time and quitting time don’t count.) Pay attention to what those tasks reveal about your skill set. In your down time, where does your mind go? What are you most often doing when you’re not preoccupied with the clock?

Lastly, where are you prone to jealousy? I once heard it said that, “a brain surgeon isn’t jealous when an architect wins an award.” Meaning, when you’re focused on what you like, you’re not threatened by others pursuing their own goals. Do you find a certain career sparks competitiveness that could be mistaken for jealousy? These are all questions we need to answer at some point in our lives, so if you have a job (beloved or not) that pays the bills while answering them, then you’re better off than you realize.


Source: The Everygirl


You learn what skills are universal.

Certain ideas span all fields. Any job is about contributing to society, seeing a need and solving it via product, service or skill. Regardless if you’re in a position that contributes in the way most ideal to you, you can still garner wisdom to be applied later on down the line (or in a future interview when the dream job comes calling).


When you’re in a job you love, you’re not always keen to see how and where you can grow.


For example, there’s always a balance between personal and professional. Do you know how to sense it? There’s always a need to monitor employee morale. Are you watching how this is modeled, positively or negatively? A company can’t survive if it’s spending more than it profits. Are you learning how to gauge a good return on investment (ROI)?

When you’re in a job you love, you’re not always keen to see how and where you can grow. The opposite is true when in a job you loathe. Take the time to gain knowledge now that could set you ahead in the future.


You have opportunity to learn from those older than you.

Especially true while in more formal, corporate jobs, getting the opportunity to work and collaborate with those established in their careers is a win most startups can’t compete with.

As workplaces become increasingly remote and solopreneur a common buzzword, we shouldn’t deny ourselves the experience of engaging with diverse coworkers when we can. Maybe the company mission or job particulars don’t necessarily align, but similar to the point above, there’s a work ethic in older generations we can learn from and implement today, in whatever industry.

How did your manager, supervisor or even officemate get to where they are now? How do they see younger people capitalizing on strengths and fortifying against weaknesses? Certain character traits will stand the test of time. Even if in a field you may never be in again, see that as all the more reason to learn from someone whose path you’ve crossed now.


Source: The Dash of Darling


You remember life isn’t about a job.

For awhile I dreaded the question, “What do you do?” So much so, I’m now extra sensitive about posing this question to others.

You have a choice when you’re at a job you dislike: You can either let it embitter you and chip away at your confidence, or you can simply acknowledge it’s your current situation — not a “key performance indicator” of your worth as a person.


In the end, a job is always a job. No matter how much we strive to live a life of leisure or develop a career that never feels like a day of work.


It’s easy to let accolades or Instagram bios do the talking for us, but a silver lining of a bad job is that it retrains our focus to see beyond the 9-5. It allows us to better connect with people, too, because we’re personally aware of how a career isn’t always synonymous with a hobby, an interest or a talent; we’re granted the ability to encourage that in someone else and to live life on our own terms, outside of the office.

In the end, a job is always a job. No matter how much we strive to live a life of leisure or develop a career that “never feels like a day of work,” there are components to every position that will be less than ideal. In a market where we can tailor anything to become anyone, it’s still hard to fabricate the power of an intentional spirit.

To be a person who can thrive when down, who sees initiative as opportunity and who can find value where others only see obstacles… well. There’s a person with the mark of success.


What have you learned from a “less than ideal” job?