Declan is the founder of millennialtype.com which is dedicated to empowering millennials to LIVE, CREATE, PERSEVERE, and DREAM. Preorder Declan’s book The Millennial Way http://millennialtype.com/millennialway
No matter what situation you find yourself in – especially if you hate your job – you have an ample opportunity to step closer to your greater purpose.
71% of millennials are disengaged at work. If you don’t want to do the math, that’s approximately 38 million young adults wasting away their day in a cubical farm, behind a counter, or in the dirt (I have an archeologist friend).
And we all know why.
We tumbled out of college into an economic recession. The banks slapped our wrists. So we took the first job in sight.
Just a necessary life decision.
But now it’s been a few years and you are still stuck. You show up to work barely conscience and motivated to give no more than 50% of your best effort. You worry you’ve made a huge mistake. You hate your job.
You aren’t alone.
I, however, do not fall into this category, I actually like my job – or should I say, I learned to love my job because it’s helped me to step closer to my greater purpose.
I learned to love my job because it’s helped me to step closer to my greater purpose.
Hate Your Job? I Don’t
I treat my job as a training ground to groom and strengthen future-Declan. Let me explain.
My first job after college sucked. The company was in the middle of a buyout. Layoffs, uncertainty, and high turnover lead to a highly toxic work environment.
During my time at the company I grew more cynical and developed an unhealthy work ethic. I didn’t like the worker I had become. I didn’t like the person I had become.
As a young professional, I didn’t handle the situation well and ended up leaving the company.
I vowed I would never allow my job to affect me the way my first job did. I promised I would treat any new job as an opportunity to learn and grow.
16 months in, I’m happy to say I’ve upheld my vow.
No matter how sucky your job may be, there are opportunities to take advantage of the situation to step closer to your greater purpose. Here are six ways you can make the most of your job situation.
Do you like helping people?
I’m a firm believer that everyone’s greater purpose is serving other people in some way, shape, or form.
At the very least, your job can be defined as: doing something so someone else doesn’t have to.
Even if you don’t work in customer service or in a hospital, most likely your job has an impact on the people around you.
Use this opportunity.
Do you enjoy teaching a co-worker a fancy Excel tip to make their job easier? Do you enjoy working a bit extra so a co-worker doesn’t have to stay late? Do you enjoy being part of a team?
Register the moments that make you happy. Do them more often.
I’m a firm believer that everyone’s greater purpose is serving other people in some way, shape, or…
Use your lunch break wisely
How do you spend your lunch breaks? If it’s scrolling through Facebook, you’re just looking for a distraction.
Don’t squander this time.
I’m using my lunch break to write a draft of this post. I also use this time to read informative books to further my knowledge of writing, marketing, and becoming a better person.
Do something productive with your break time. Over time, it adds up – a half hour a day equates to 125 hours a year!
Seminars and Trainings
Speaking of learning, many companies offer free trainings or seminars to develop your soft and hard skills. Eat these up!
You can take new skills with you anywhere in your career. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t end up using them.
Any learning opportunity is a great opportunity.
Follow the Leader (or don’t)
Observe the leaders in your company. If they are good leaders, emulate them. If they are bad, do the opposite.
Find out what skills make a great leader.
Why is this important? Because your greater purpose most likely will involve you leading others, either literally or by example (if it doesn’t, it might be time to re-evaluate your purpose).
Work | Life
Develop your work-life balance.
I don’t give out my personal cell number to anyone at work (except those that I trust). The reason is obvious: I don’t want to be bothered when I leave the office.
Setting clear boundaries between life and work, especially early in your career, will make it easier to uphold a work-life balance when you are older.
Work Hard Anyway
Here’s the kicker: refine your work ethic.
Your job performance is independent of how awesome or sucky your job is. It’s ultimately your decision if you want to do a good job.
Hit deadlines. Be reliable. Be trustworthy. Don’t lower yourself to the standard. Stay above it.
Your job doesn’t define you, but it can help refine you – if you let it.
Simply showing up, running out the clock is no way to live. I’m sorry if this is you, but you can always make more of your situation. This is just one season of your life, look for ways to transition into the next.
Your greater purpose is hard to define, but don’t ignore it. Keep searching. Keep Stepping Forward.
Discussion Question: Do you hate your job? If so, what are you doing to make the most of it? Share your answer on Twitter
This article also appears on millennialtype.com