Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Arlene Chandler. Arlene is a freelance writer who encourages people to make satisfying career choices. She currently writes about career tips and insurance advice for Suncorp.
Almost everyone has had to put up with a job they simply can't stand; whether it's because of the work itself, the environment the supervisor creates or nasty coworkers, sometimes having no job can seem preferable than sticking with one that requires a daily dose of self-convincing just to show up. If you've experienced a job like this, or are currently in one, here are a few positive lessons to take away to help ensure you that period in your life was not a complete waste of time.
What you don't want from a career
When you're young, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what you want in a career, and sometimes it's having a direct experience of something you don't want in life that helps point you in the direction of what would make you happier. If you were working a job that stressed deadlines and drove you crazy, that will teach you to seek something a little more laid back, or similarly, if you worked a customer service desk and hated every minute of it, that might have shown you that working with people isn't your strong suit. Part of growing and developing yourself is trying new experiences that show you what areas you fit in well with and what ones you know to avoid.
You're stronger than you thought
Oftentimes, it's after you've been placed in a position you despise that you're able to open your eyes to how much strength you have, and working a less-than-satisfactory job is a great way to test your endurance. Whether it's the strength to deal with it, or the courage to leave it behind, it's always impressive how much you can take without letting yourself fall apart.
You deserve better
Because finding work can be difficult to do, it's natural to accept a position out of desperation, and even if you know from the start that it's not an area you're going to thrive in, you get caught up in the forced feeling of being grateful just to have a job at all. While this common belief might make it seem like you're going to have to pretend to be appreciative for the undesirable circumstance forever, everyone has a breaking point, and it's important to reach yours at least once in your life; this proves that you have the confidence, motivation, and dignity to strive for something better because you know you deserve it.
How to be a better leader
A valuable lesson you can pick up from a distasteful position is learning how to be (or how not to be) a leader, and even if you've never been in a leadership position in the past and don't plan on pursuing one in the near future, observing past managers and supervisors unintentionally shows you some traits you find useful and some you'd like throw out the window. You'd be surprised how much you'll unintentionally use these when it comes to dealing with people and making decisions in both your career path and your personal life.
How to talk to people
If you have to take one lesson away from a job, but especially a job you don't particularly care for, it's the ability to talk to people from all walks of life. All jobs require some form of human interaction, and the better you get at communicating with other individuals, the further you'll get in life. It's all about the connections you make, so any opportunity you have to fine tune your communication skills is one worth pursuing.
Moving on from a career path that wasn't for you can be a relieving moment, and while it might feel like you could cut that period of time right out of your life and be fine with it, there are some advantages you can take from the situation. While it might not ever be worth going through again, learning how to develop yourself, your confidence, and your relationships with other people is something you can take away and put forth towards a better, happier, and more fulfilling future.