You should work a thankless job, because if you do the job right, it will never really be thankless. No good act goes unnoticed. You should answer phones and transfer calls and relay messages and filter emails and play third party to everyone else’s conversations. You should do the most basic tasks, and rip paper when the shredder breaks, and take everyone’s coffee order. You should call cars and flag down cabs and work Saturdays and Sundays and late nights if you need to. You should work a job where the chance to grow is great and the chance to learn is even better, but where hard work trumps connections.
Make them recognize how good you are at what you do.
Because nothing is thankless. Nothing should be thankless. Pour your heart into everything. Earn their gratitude. Earn their thanks.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
Be the best.
Treat every task as if it is important. Give every task your all.
You should try that job you think is pointless, because nothing is truly pointless. You should know what it feels like to work a meaningless job, and to find the meaning in your work, because everything has meaning. You should weather through a mundane job, because if you are where you need to be to climb the ladder you want to climb, and if you are chasing the dreams you believe in, nothing is mundane and nothing is boring and everything is interesting and everything is endurable. If you do what you believe in, you can withstand any monotony.
If you aren’t fully committed, if you’re not in it for the long haul, if you don’t believe in your cause, you won’t last long anywhere at all.
And you are the kind of person who will make a lasting impact. You are. You always have been. You just need to find it in yourself.
You should know what it feels like to work a job that pays enough to get by, but doesn’t make things too comfortable. Savor those memories of having to fight for what you want, and choosing between necessity and luxury, because chances are good that when faced with choice, you’ll either sacrifice the creature comforts or you’ll sacrifice your ideals. We are the generation that was groomed to expect good jobs and rent-controlled apartments when we graduated college and moved to the big city to follow our dreams, and everything we were promised fell through as empty promises often do.
But just because we fell doesn’t mean we have to stay down.
You should prove them all wrong. You should stand for something, anything, whatever it is that you really believe in. But you should stand for it. And you should refuse to be knocked down.
You should work at a job that seems like something nobody would believe in, a job you have a hard time explaining to your parents, a job that forces you to care about it if you want to return the next day. You should work a job that tests you and tries you and reminds you that life is a struggle, and you should struggle, but you should feel that the struggle is worth it—if it isn’t, why do it at all?
You should work at a job you love. And the job you love is out there, and if you have to try your hand at a thousand shitty jobs until you find the shitty job that doesn’t feel shitty, then work those jobs, and be the best at them even if they’re not right in the long run. They are right for the moment, because they taught you something about yourself. At the very least, they will teach you about what you don’t want, a lesson in and of itself. And keep dreaming about the right job, and keep trying, and keep believing that it’s out there somewhere.
You’ll find your fit, because good things happen to those who work for them.
And when you find it, it will be easy enough to find the drive to keep going no matter what your boss or your coworkers or clients or life doles out to you. But to get there, you have to work and earn and scramble and try. Until you get there, you just have to give everything else in life your all, too.