Work is a huge part of your life. And, if you’re totally in love with what you do, you likely think of that fact as something positive. I mean, who wouldn’t want the majority of their day consumed by something enjoyable? But, if you feel completely trapped in a job you hate? Well, suddenly life doesn’t seem so rosy.
There’s no doubt that working a job you detest has a big impact on your overall outlook and attitude. But, as with anything, it’s important to stay positive—as difficult as it may seem. Even if you think of your position as nothing more than a soul-sucking nightmare, I’m willing to bet you’re still getting at least a little something out of it.
Not convinced? Here are six things you’re taking away—even if you absolutely loathe your terrible, dead-end job.
1. You’re Getting Better at Tolerating Things You Don’t Like
Maybe you absolutely can’t stand your boss. Perhaps your daily job duties make you groan and sigh uncontrollably. Or, maybe your co-workers drive you so insane that you’re one snide remark away from flipping over the conference room table.
Whatever it is that you hate about your current position, try to remember that all of those pesky annoyances and cringe-worthy moments are helping you master the important trait of tolerance.
Listen, there’s no such thing as a “perfect job.” And, even if you wind up getting remarkably close to that elusive position, I guarantee that there will still be at least one thing that grates on you—whether it’s an overly chatty colleague or your monthly expense reports. So, your refined patience and tolerance will definitely come in handy—even when you finally break free from that dreadful job.
2. You’re Working on Your Commitment Issues
There’s a lot to be said for a solid sense of commitment. And, when you boil it down, who’s really more committed than someone who manages to show up to the office day in and day out, despite the fact that he knows he’s in for eight hours of pure misery? Nobody, if you ask me.
Sure, I know that there’s definitely a good reason you’re toughing it out and staying in that job you hate. Maybe the pay is simply too good. Or, perhaps you haven’t found something better to move on to yet. But, the important thing is that you’re still showing up and doing your best work, without letting your negative emotions creep in and bring you down. Trust me, that dedication is a quality that any employer will admire.
3. You’re Going Above and Beyond in Teamwork
Nobody works in a vacuum, so it’s safe to say that teamwork’s a universal requirement for any position. Whether you’re at a small company or a large organization, you share an office or you work remotely, there’s just no way that you can get by without interacting and collaborating with other members of your team.
So, knowing how to thrive in a team setting is absolutely crucial for success in your career. And, if you’re managing to pull it off in your current job—despite the fact that you can’t stand your co-workers and you loathe the actual assignment? Well, that just means you’re one heck of a team player.
4. You’re Improving Your Communication Skills
This is another one of those skills that’s desirable across the board. And, in the same vein as teamwork, you simply won’t get much done without learning how to successfully communicate with others in your office.
Needless to say, this is a technique that you’re undoubtedly polishing in your current job—no matter how much you may hate it. Plus, if you can manage to do it effectively when you really don’t like what you’re working on, I can only imagine the collaboration and discussions you’ll encourage when you find something you’re super passionate about!
5. You’re Learning Actual Job Skills
Yes, this one’s meta, but it’s true. The longer you’re there, the more you’re improving at the skills required to do your position. Sure, maybe it’s not the dream career that kept you tossing and turning with excitement the night before your college graduation. But, it pays the bills, gets your foot in the door, and gives you something to fill the space on your resume.
Think about it this way: In most cases, any job is better than being unemployed. And, even if the position isn’t in line with your eventual career goals, there are still plenty of things you can do to make your experience seem relevant when applying for future jobs. So, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you really are gaining experience—no matter how trivial or menial it may seem at the time.
6. You’re Gaining Valuable Insight
I’m a firm believer in the fact that you learn something new at every job, even if that “something new” turns out to be something you hate. So, you might as well think of this detested job as a chance to piece together the things you really want (and, OK, don’t want) in your next position. Misery can be a pretty powerful teacher.
Sure, it’s true that your current position’s far from ideal—sometimes it takes a while to settle into a career you truly love and enjoy. But, at the very least, remember that you’re learning a lot about what you should avoid next. And, that information will undoubtedly come in handy as you continue to move through your career.
I get it. Putting up with a job you hate can seem downright intolerable at times. But, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you really are getting something out of this position. If nothing else, it’ll likely make your next job seem like an absolute paradise.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author