At some point, most professionals end up working in a job they don’t enjoy. In some cases, the role ends up being downright miserable, leaving them frustrated and dreading the start of every workday.
While it may seem like a horrible job isn’t anything more than drudgery, that isn’t the case. It can actually help you create a better tomorrow, suggesting you use the experience properly. If you want to make sure your bad job isn’t just a terrible memory, but something that led to greener pastures, here’s what you need to do.
Focus on Excelling in the Role
When your job is awful, it’s hard to find the value of being a top performer. The issue is, if you let your negative feelings impact the quality of your work, you’re damaging your career.
At some point, you may need your current boss to serve as a reference, for example. If that occurs, and you aren’t doing your best, your manager might not have the kindest things to say. As a result, it may be harder to move on, as your subpar performance may end up haunting you.
Similarly, your boss might have a robust professional network. If your work quality declines, you could miss out on opportunities with any of their connections, as you wouldn’t be able to count on your manager referring you to any of them in the future.
If you want to make sure a bad job can help you move forward, be the best you can be every day. That way, at least you’re getting a positive reference and a chance for future referrals out of the experience.
Reflect on What’s Bad (and What Isn’t) About the Job
When you hate your job, your negative feelings may seem to be a bit universal. You might be looking at every aspect of the work through a fog of disdain, influencing your interpretation of every task.
However, there’s a decent chance it isn’t all terrible. Maybe you enjoy a specific duty or working with a particular colleague. Maybe it’s only a subset of responsibilities that is making you miserable.
Spend some time reflecting on all your usual tasks. Consider whether you’d enjoy that work if it weren’t shaded by other aspects of your role. By doing so, you can figure out what is and isn’t ideal about this position.
Once you know what you do and don’t enjoy, you’re empowered to take that forward into your job search. For example, if it’s certain duties that get you down, you can focus on roles that don’t come with those responsibilities (or, at least, don’t require you to handle them often). You can find opportunities that involve more of what you like and less of what you don’t, allowing this bad job to be a learning experience that moves you forward on the path toward better things.
Ultimately, every position – even a horrible one – can boost your career. Use the tips above to make the most of your time there, ensuring your next stop is a brighter one.