Career Advice

Is A Bad Job A Good Job?

It is a sad fact that experience can truly be our best teacher: Sad, because the tuition can seem unreasonably high at times. I was five years old when I found out electricity is present even in the empty sockets on a string of Christmas tree lights. That experience precluded me from ever sticking my finger in one again.

And so it goes with any of us who have had the unpleasant happenstance to learn a lesson the hard way. But, once that lesson is learned and the dues have been paid, most of us become better equipped to function because of it.

Bad job experiences, when you survive them, are a perfect example of this truism.

The important thing here is to make sure you get your money’s worth for the tuition you paid.

Consider these scenarios and how they can ultimately make you a more valued team member as you move up through the ranks or on to new jobs in other companies:

  • Your current position as the shipping dock supervisor requires you to report for work every day by 5:00 am. Most would agree that this schedule would be a tough one to keep. After you’ve endured this position for awhile, any job that doesn’t require being at work before the rooster will likely be viewed with a great deal of affection, and that has the potential of making you the most chipper person at the 10:00 a.m. meetings in your new position.
  • Everyone at your new company is surprised how easily you whip through seemingly endless lists of mundane data and put together the required report in the time it takes most of them just to open the file. Of course, what they don’t know is that at your last job the computer systems they were using came over on the Mayflower, which meant you had to develop a skill set, based on that antiquity. This made your abilities akin to the runner who practices running in mud in order to be faster on the clay track.
  • What do you think might happen to your concentration level of someone going from a noisy office where almost all tasks were performed in a communal office environment to a private office where noise was almost nonexistent? Most would agree those concentration skills may have been greatly enhanced by having to ‘mentally’ block out the noise when there were no walls or doors to do that for them.
  • Let’s face it, some companies have notoriously bad reputations where customer service is concerned, and it is typically those unfortunate individuals on the front-line of defense that must bear the brunt of customer ire before they can even begin to work on a solution to whatever issue the customer may be having. The good news is they are not mad at that person who just happens to be the one who answered the phone; they are mad at the company, sometimes based only on horror stories that may be going around.
  • The bad news, as far as they are concerned, the person who answered the phone is the company, in their mind. If one can keep this in perspective, as miserable as the situation may be, the customer service skills that can be honed in these situations will serve them well over the course of their career.

Over the track of your career, there are bound to be situations and circumstances that seem unbearable. The key is to make these experiences count for more than just the misery that accompanies them at the time. As in the examples above, if you maximize on the knowledge gained by the discomfort endured, you can avoid getting ‘shocked.’ By recognizing an improved situation or properly planning a better outcome for situations you have experienced in the past, you become a valuable asset to the organizations you partner with.

Expensive education?


Valuable education?

Almost always when heeded properly.