Quitting is for Quitters: How to keep sane at the “Just for Right Now” office|
Keep Your Sanity at Your ‘Just-for-Now’ Job
We’ve all been there. Or are still there, in some cases.
Some of us are really really there.
Sometimes a job is just a paycheck, or health benefits, or something to keep you out of the house instead of constantly refreshing the ‘available jobs’ page for your dream employer. It’s not pretty, but here are some tips and tricks for keeping sane when your current job challenges your patience, not your intellect.
Do something tiny and quick for your career development every single day
It sounds obvious, and it helps: do something every day towards getting out and moving toward your goal. Whether it’s drafting a cover letter, polishing your resume or setting up informational interviews, punching in at the salt mines is a lot easier when you have other ‘irons in the fire’. Also it’s much easier to do one small thing every day than to pile on everything on your day off.
Take inspiration anywhere you can
I call this the ‘comfort in cliches’ phase. Personal anecdote: there was a time in my recent job search where I was indulging in a self-pity cappuccino (true story- I considered making one of these bullet points ‘Find a legal vice you can indulge’ but decided against it) when across the street I saw the new J.Crew windows. “Brighter Days Ahead” it claimed. Indeed, J. Crew visuals team, indeed. Is it a Yogi Tea saying? A Halls wrapper? A Dove promise? Whatever it is, if it makes you happy and keeps you going, it to heart. Craft a vision board. Tape a fortune to your laptop. Find a theme song to play on repeat. This process is hard. Do whatever makes you happy.
Focus on the positive (and be kind to your co-workers.)
Think of one thing you like at your job. One thing. It can even be the free coffee. This is your ‘happy thought’ and keeps you afloat in the moments when you want to scream until you pass out. Keep it at the forefront of your mind. In the same vein, no one understands work- related frustrations like the people who work with you. Be nice to them. Do you think this is their dream job? No. (Even if it is, who are you to judge?) Your co-workers deserve your respect: they’re doing the same job you’re doing, maybe at a different level, but the job remains the same. Your network is your strongest asset: five years from now, who knows where any of these people will be? In the words of my mother: “Be nice to everyone. Because you never know.”
Exercise– no, really, exercise!
You need endorphins. You need to get away from the computer screen. I can personally attest to the transformative power of great Zumba class (seriously, try and feel bad after dancing to ‘Footloose!’ with 50 people you don’t know) but it’s not for everyone: find your thing. Go for a walk. No, really, leave the building on your breaks. Get outside. You will feel better, I promise.
Easier said than done. But take a step back. Think of the skills this position is giving you, even they are not immediately evident. Think of how much you are going to appreciate and kick ass at your next job, if only because you can multi- task like a fiend and do anything with a smile (this goes double if you have spent any time in the customer service trenches). Think of the amazing patience and people management skills you have from managing a group that doesn’t want to be there. This is just a character-building phase of your life. A crappy one, but it has an end date. It will come. Trust me, it will come