A lot of people don’t realize it, but there’s something to be gleaned from every working experience, no matter what the job. And because every job gives you the opportunity to learn about what works for you, what works for others, what works at the workplace in general, all your jobs are stepping stones. Here are five ways every job you’ll have gets you one step closer to where you want to be in life.
1. Observe your coworkers, figure out what makes them happy and what doesn’t.
When it comes to their position in the company/general happiness, some of your coworkers will be relatively satisfied. And some probably won’t. At every turn, figure out why. What is it that Rachel is doing right? What is it that Steve is doing wrong? When you hone in on this stuff, you get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. And when morale needs a boost, you’ll be the one with the ability to motivate your colleagues (rather than the next guy over). Not only will your boss notice, others will, too — and you’ll be all the better for it.
2. Walk a mile in your boss’ shoes.
You probably don’t always agree with your boss. The things he or she asks you to do every day might not be exactly what you have in mind for your day. This is natural, but don’t forget that you’re not the center of the universe — or your workplace.
Think about the situation from your manager’s perspective — their job is tough, too. You’ll not only begin to see that the work you’re doing is an integral part of the operation, you’ll develop a solid rapport with your boss and management skills for when you’re the higher up.
3. Get to know the people you work with. It’s more important than calculated networking.
There’s this HUGE focus on networking nowadays, and it definitely makes sense, because networking makes the career carousel turn ‘round and ‘round. Networking, though — in the sense that all you’ve gotta do is put on a dress suit and shake hands — is a pretty contrived concept. True networking happens when you actually take the time and become friends with your coworkers and peers. You’ll forge a much stronger bond this way. And when one of them finally moves across the city to run their own company, guess who they’re taking with them?
4. When you finally cross the bridge, don’t set it ablaze.
Revenge is tempting, but always a terrible idea. If you want it bad enough, you WILL have a different job than the one you have now. And at that point, you might have the opportunity to air a few grievances you’ve kept in from your last job. But the mere existence of temptation is no justification for indulging in it. It’s always more prudent to be the better person. Don’t stoop to that level — you never know when the tables may turn again.
5. Investigate (and take note of) the aspects of the job make you happy.
Job’s can’t be 100% super-fun 100% of the time. Nothing’s free, and that includes an awesome, challenging job. The point is that, along the path to your passion, you’re going to face some tough work. But that doesn’t preclude the fact that you can identify and focus on the aspects of the work you’re talented at, which make you happy to get out of bed in the morning. Honing in on the stuff that gets you excited will help point you in the right direction and give you an idea about where you want to go next.