3 and 1/2 Reasons to be Thankful for Your Crappy Job

Posted on July 10th, 2012

 

Our generation is experiencing an epidemic of crappy jobs.

Jobs that a monkey, who’s not one of those smart elite monkey’s, could handle. Employment opportunities that smirk in the face of that bright-white college education — our expensive liberal studies degrees not exactly equating to our lucrative dream come true.

I’ve had a slew of crappy jobs in my 20′s. But now at 29, I am thankful for all the jobs I once lamented. It’s because of them, not in spite of, that I’ve begun to enter into that sweet spot of my passion aligning with how I make some moola.

Yes-ith, I can hear thy complaints now…

But Paul, my job sucks harder than a mosquito on a rhinoceros.”

Yes, I know. I’ve so been there. It’s not easy. It’s not pretty. But here’s 3 and 1/2 reasons you can be thankful for all your crappy jobs.

 

Someday we will thank all our crappy jobs

Photo by Herval – Creative Commons

 

3 and 1/2 Reasons to be Thankful for Your Crappy Job

 

3. We Can Learn the Most in the Jobs We Like the Least

Crappy jobs can teach us something vital, if we’ll let them.  One of my least favorites stints was at a call center getting cussed out on the hour, every hour for something I couldn’t fix or change. I wanted to quit/strangle a complaining-caller every.single.day. But I was getting married in six months and couldn’t afford a jaunt down Unemployment Lane.

However, through all the call-center-crappiness I learned something vital  — consistency. I learned to show up and do my work every.single.day. I learned to be patient, hold on, and just try to make it a couple times around the track. Even when I felt like throwing up.

 

Most of us arrive at a sense of self and vocation only after a long-journey through alien lands. Parker Palmer

 

2. Crappy Leaders are Great Teachers

Crappy jobs and crappy leaders go together like peanut butter and jelly. And you know, we can learn as much from bad leaders as we do from the good. Begin writing down all the things your crappy boss does that you swear you won’t repeat. Someday you will be called to lead. Start formulating your vision now of how you will, and won’t, do it.

 

1. We Need FrustrationFRUSTRATION IS A NEEDED PRICK

I believe frustration is the most powerful and needed emotion to propel us to change. I’d rather we struggle through a crappy job that forces us to make a change, than a comfortable job that we sink into like a Laz-y-Boy.

Yes, frustration is a prick. Frustration won’t sit there all quiet-like and polite. No, it will gnaw at our insides like an angry rat on a corncob. Until you freaking do something about it. That’s why we need it. Frustration forces change. Be frustrated.

Frustration will electric-prod-our-backside towards pursuing our dreams, passion, and talents — damning the fear of embarrassment or obsessive-comparison-disorder, in the process.

 

1/2. Perspective is Powerful

First, before our crappy-cup runneth over with thankfulness, let’s shoot straight for a sec.

Crap-filled jobs have always been around. My grandpa worked at a paper mill (dim lit factory of hard manual labor) for thirty years, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

Our jobs mixing Machiatto’s or encased in cubicles would’ve probably seemed a vocation-vacation for millions from generations past and present.

Please hear me, I’m not standing on Henry My High-Horse, yelling at you to buck up and stop complaining. Just remember that it could be helluva-a-lot worse. A little perspective can be powerful in making that crappy job smell a little better.

 

Can we give thanks?

Think back to a crappy job. What did it teach you?

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Comments

20 comments
  1. Can’t agree with you more. It’s all about perspective and appreciation!

    I announced my retirement today on FinancialSamurai.com and if it wasn’t for my arse kicking I got when I first started, I never would have saved so aggressively for so long.

    It’s worth it!

    Sam

  2. Not sure if my comment went through, but without a crappy first two years, I would have never decided to save so aggressively for so long to be able to announce my retirement today.

    Thank goodness for crappy tough times!

    Sam

    • Thanks Sam. Congrats on the retirement!

  3. Love this article! You are right – it’s all about perspective. My crappy, stuck-on-a-desk job is far better than not having a job at all. Research has shown that hiring managers are more inclined to hire people who are currently employed. I always thought that my current stint is only a stepping stone to a much better job in the future.

    I also agree with the consistency lesson that I’m getting from my current job. What helps me remain consistent is any reminder of my dream job – be it a newspaper clipping, a youtube video, an advertisement, a magazine article, etc. I always keep them handy especially during times when I want to literally cry.

    You know what? Having a crappy job made me appreciate weekends more than I did in the past. It’s always a good thing my office job is not even close to what your grandpa did. :)

    • You always offer a great perspective yourself Shalom. Thanks.

      Consistency is a tough spill to swallow for me for sure, especially when your whole body wants to spit it back up!

  4. I had a high school teacher quote me, “If you dont’ like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.”

    I currently work with a market research company operating a piece of software specific to that company and the only way to move up is to become a computer programmer… At first this was frustrating, but now I’m working towards developing a new skill in “User Interface Design”??? maybe that’s what it’s called?

    Apparently it’s profitable and I’m good at it. So yeah, the other end of a bad job is learning about positions you never knew existed. But we’ll see where this goes in a year. I’ll probably lose interest in another 6 hours anyway haha

    • Julian! Well said my friend. Definitely a perk of a crappy job is when you realize it’s not that crappy after all. “User Interface Design” Sounds sexy amazing.

  5. this is so true. i really needed to read this. thank you.

  6. Looking back the WORST job I had was a job where 80% of the workers didn’t speak english (only spanish). I just couldn’t fathom not knowing the language to communicate with people. It made me really appreciate my education.

  7. We went from broke college kids to having real jobs and jumped a tax bracket, and owed a TON on our taxes. I was mad and upset and blamed everyone and everything, but one of my coworkers gave me perspective.

    “You have to pay money in because you are making money. You are fortunate to have a job. Most people at your age can’t find reliable, decent paying jobs right now, so be thankful.”

    All it takes is perspective, and I learned my lesson.

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