Today is my one-year anniversary at my job. I started February 5, exactly one year ago today. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.
Not to be cheesy (or to be extremely cheesy), but I think we all can agree that days move way faster when we’re not bored out of our minds. I’m not the first one to notice this, and it’s not particularly insightful for me to mention is here. So why am I? We’re getting there…
I really like my job. I may be the only one. I’ve mentioned it before, and chances are, I’ll mention it again. I spend at least 40 hours a week there; it’s kinda (literally?) what I do.
For years and years all I heard was “Enjoy being in school.” “You’ve got it so good, just wait until you grow up.” “Work is hard; that’s why they call it work.” That last one was usually followed by an uncomfortable chuckle (Get it? work? heh. heh.). I’ve had bad jobs. I’m with you. It is hard. You do feel like something is crushing your soul, and that something is your horrible job. But it doesn’t always have to be that way! Nice companies that make useful products and hire engaging, amazing people DO exist.
So how does one have a good time at work and still get any work done?
For me, it always starts with the people. You could give me the most boring task in the world, and I could still have a fantastic time if I’m with the right people. All throughout high school I worked as a page in a library. My job responsibilities boiled down to alphabetizing and re-shelving books. And if all the books were already shelved, I had to go through the stacks and make sure everything was still in order. We called it shelf reading. Vanessa can probably back me up on this, having worked in libraries herself (What? As if you didn’t know the members of VALCANA were all book nerds…), shelf reading is not super exciting. But somehow I got through it.
I worked at the library for years. I met some of my best friends there, friends who I still hang out with today. Who am I kidding? More like friends I hang out with every day.
Finding a balance was key. My coworkers and friends made the time go by faster, but I still had to do something in that time. Laughing while alphabetizing was much better than silently counting the seconds until my shift ended while alphabetizing. But it was still alphabetizing. Getting everything done and getting is done right still came first. L will never come after M. Remember that.
OK, so that’s cool…for you.
I’m aware that not everyone gets to go hang out with their besties all day long. If your coworkers don’t immediately become your best friends, it doesn’t mean your job is terrible. Or at least it shouldn’t. My advice to everyone who doesn’t currently have their dream job? Find something you like about your current situation, and hang onto it for dear life.
Even in my worst jobs (was anyone else ever a farm hand?), I could usually find something I liked. Even if it was as small as not having to dress up. That little thing kept me going until I could find something better to do.
There are other ways to get through a bad job. You could…
- Find a side project you like. Could be anything. Maybe a blog? 😉
- Volunteer. If you’re not feeling fulfilled by your job, go do something nice outside of work.
- Apply for other jobs. Every time something bad happens at work, channel it into a really stellar job application. Take those bad days and put them towards creating better one.
- Learn from it. Note exactly why you don’t like a job (Do you work alone but prefer groups? Is the company culture a bad fit?), and look for places that won’t give you the same stress.
Typically jobs don’t last forever. Even good ones. So whatever you do, just know that eventually it will change, hopefully for the better.