In The Art of Work, Goins says we should notice what we have learned from each job, regardless of whether that job was what we wanted to do. Everyone has had jobs they did not like, but they do not need to (and should not) be a waste. Think about what you can learn from them and how they prepare you for your true purpose. Here are a few of my examples.
In this job I was under ongoing stress. If not dealt with properly, this can wear a person down, and I received an object lesson while on that job. For about a week I had an inflammation on my finger which was painful enough on its own, but it also aggravated my carpal tunnel syndrome. I reminded myself that this pain would pass and chose to look beyond my current circumstances and focus my attention on that future time. The same could be applied to the stress of the job. I also had to learn to be respectful and polite toward some co-workers who seemed to be intentionally difficult to work with. No matter how uncooperative some people are, we can still control how we respond to them.
In this job, I was on my feet for ten or more hours each day, sometimes for as much as 60 hours a week. I would lift boxes, cut them open, stock the merchandise, and then do the same thing again. The next day, I would do it again.. After a brief time off, I would do the same thing the next week. The work was taking a serious toll on my body. I knew I could not continue, but I felt stuck.
I knew I was intelligent enough to do something better, and so I did what needed to be done. I resigned that job, moved, and enrolled at a technical college to study cybersecurity. Yes, it was a risk. I did not have a job, and I had no guarantee of when I would find a job (it took eight months). On the other hand, if I played it safe and remained at the warehouse, then nothing would have changed, at least until my body failed me and forced me to quit that job anyway. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith, break out of the rut. Sometimes you need to make a move, not exactly what will happen next except that it is the first step toward a better life.
In this lime of work, I had to deal with many difficult customers. Sometimes they would yell and cuss at me although not because of anything I did. I had to take the abuse and be respectful. Dealing with this everyday can wear a person down, but I had to remind myself to brush it off. Life will go on. Do not carry the abuse with you. Besides, the customers sometimes had good reason to be angry. I would not cuss at customer service (cussing has never been part of my personality), but I could often understand their frustration. Sometimes, on the other hand, they really were jerks. Sometimes they were entitled. Nonetheless, I could not say what I sometimes thought. It was my job to help them.
In this job I also had to learn to make a habit of projecting a positive, friendly, and empathetic demeanor. Sometimes when I spoke with a customer on the phone, I came across with a deadpan voice. I was not uncaring, but an introverted and cerebral personality can give that impression. I therefore made the effort to intentionally project an upbeat personality that projected interest in the customer. For a while I had to make and intentional effort, but eventually I noticed that it had become a habit, something I did without trying. The ability to speak positively and show concern for other people will serve anyone well in any job.
I have chosen a field (cybersecurity) which can be difficult to break into, and searching for a long period for a first job can be discouraging. That is not a reason, however, to shut my ears and ears to what I am doing now and what it can teach me, while I continue the search despite the setbacks.