A horrible job can be a blessing in disguise. I’ve had my fair share of horrible jobs and I can say that I took something out of each one. It taught me so many life skills and characteristics that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. There are 5 ways that a horrible job can actually help you, instead of hurting you.
I worked a part-time minimum wage cashier job the summer before college. I stood up in my shifts (some were 6 – 8 hour shifts), holiday weekends were hard, and I found 4 grown rats in the kitchen. Good times.
During college, I worked a call center job calling alums for donations where I’ve actually been yelled and even cursed at. I was a 17 year old kid trying to raise money for scholarships and the alums I called were well into their careers, yet they still felt that they needed to curse at me. It was a horrible job. Looking back, it was the best thing that I experienced, career wise.
A Horrible Job Taught Me Life Skills
The reason why I said the call center job was the best job experience I’ve ever had was because I needed the job. Desperately. I didn’t need to have the money from the job, I needed to be able to speak on the phone. As many of my blog followers know (that I’m so thankful to have, if I haven’t said it before), I am an immigrant.
For me personally, that gave me a handicap. It was hard for me to talk to people coming from a completely different country. I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with anybody. I was scared out of my mind to talk to a stranger. As a result, my communication skills turned out terribly.
I didn’t know how to talk to people and when I spent 4 hours per shift calling alumni and talking to them, I learned a few things about talking to people. Especially on the phone where I get nervous. Here are some other things that I learned that helped shape my perspective.
1. It Helps You Differentiate Yourself
Guess how many people actually wanted to call alumni and ask for money? A very select few. It was a horrible job. Turnover was ridiculously high. There seemed to be a new face every shift I went to. None of the people that got the job the same day I did was there 3 months later. I was the only one who was left from my group.
This gave me a significant differentiator. While people were leaving and quitting, I was putting in the hours. The competition for promotions was gone. Just by showing up, I differentiated myself and was able to get 2 promotions along the way.
I moved up from being a “Caller” to “Lead Caller” in 6 months then to “Supervisor” in another 6 months. This meant that I was managing other callers and coaching them on how to improve their calls. I managed upperclassmen who were 20 – 22 years old. I was 18.
This taught me something. I wasn’t the best caller with the best stats. There were callers who got a donation almost every time they talked to someone. That wasn’t me. What I did was that I showed up and put in the work. I applied for promotions, I took their coachings and remembered every single thing to apply to the next call.
It led to other supervisors noticing me. Everyone else was leaving left and right but since I put in my dues, the competition for promotions dwindled away.
It gave me a point of differentiation that I needed to score the Supervisor promotion. The 47% increase in wages (from $8.50 to $12.50 an hour) didn’t hurt either.
2. It Teaches You Resilience
There were times during my call center job when I felt so stressed. Also, it didn’t help that alums would curse and yell at me for doing my job. Yes, it was really pushy what I had to do. I asked for money 4 times before letting them go. I understand it, but it wasn’t necessary to yell at a college freshmen for doing his job.
However, I stuck it out. Honestly, I don’t know why I stuck it out but I’m so glad that I did. By going through it all, I learned how tough a job can get. After my last day, I told myself that “hey, if I stuck it out through this, I can stick it out through anything,” No job seems so bad anymore.
3. You Become Better at Handling Things You Don’t Like
When you work a horrible job that you dread, the little negative things working in a job you don’t mind seems trivial. There are small things in my current full time job that I don’t like. If I hadn’t gone through a hard and bad job, then I wouldn’t have brushed the small things off.
I think about how trivial those things that could bother me are and let it go. It’s hard to be bothered by something that wasn’t the worst of what I went through.
4. You Learn Actual Job Skills
During my job, I increased my communication skills, I got to learn how to sell, I got to learn how to connect with people better. Yes, it was hard to learn. Yes, it was so outside of my comfort zone. The great thing is, when you are outside of your comfort zone is when you get to learn the most.
I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn all those things had I quit early. They are INVALUABLE. No amount of me throwing money at it would have taught me those skills as well as my call center job did. The best part? I got paid to learn rather than paying to learn. It was a blessing in disguise.
5. You Learn More About Yourself
Figuring out what you don’t like is just as helpful as figuring out what you do like. I figured out that cold-calling sales isn’t the best route for me to take. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing a sales oriented job.I actually highly contemplated accepting Oracle’s sales role, as it was more of a B2B (business to business) sales position.
However, doing a cold-call sales oriented job isn’t for me. If I hadn’t taken a sales role like the call center job, I would have always rejected a sales job. Being more educated and going through the process helped me realize that not all sales jobs are bad.
I’ve been there. I had a job that gave me a tremendous amount of stress. Granted, it was only a part-time job but it was still a job I was nervous to go to. Sticking through with a horrible job can be one of the best decisions you can make, as I detail above. I’m thankful at my past self as I wouldn’t have learned all of these skills if I quit like everybody else had quit.
It gave me an endless amount of opportunity and personal growth that’s helped shape who I am today. A bad job can be a bad job but with the right perspective, it can help you so much later down the road.
Readers, have you ever had a horrible job? Did you stick with it? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!
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