How to Use Working a Dead End Job to Your Advantage

There’s an Upside to Having a Job You Don’t Care About

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Some of my best memories are from the absolute worst jobs I ever worked. I spent six months installing solar panels on a roof that was somehow always soaked for at least the first half of the day, with two of my closest cousins and a ragtag group of mutual friends of ours.

The job itself was terrible, if it wasn’t too hot that day it was usually because it was too cold. We were underpaid with no health benefits and we were all pretty certain our foreman had a meth problem.

He spent the majority of the day staring up at the sky, going off on rambling tangents about how the Government used airplanes to spray chemicals into the atmosphere, to anyone who would listen. He could often be found pointing out what he called chem trails and claiming it was a “heavy spray day” to anyone near him.

And it made for one of the funniest running jokes in any company I’ve ever worked at. We had so much fun at his expense, it made the job worth showing up to. If you ever wanted a twenty-minute break, all you had to do was ask him who he thought killed President Kennedy or whether aliens existed.

One of my cousins made an art out of finding places to nap during work. Right there on the roof. He got so good at it, sometimes even I thought he was working when all the while he was dead asleep. The group of people I worked with at that company, knew how to make the best of a shitty job. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as much as I did during my work days back then.

Take This Job and Shove It

There’s a myth corporate America wants you to believe — and it’s that you should value any and every job. Nothing could be further from the truth. You should value the jobs that value their employees and prove as much through paying them a decent wage and treating them like human beings. There is no value in a minimum wage job. It’s not something you should cling to for dear life, no matter your circumstances. Because I promise you, if you work at one and lost that job today, you could find a better opportunity that same day.

Or at least one of equal value — being there was no value in the first one.

McDonald’s website for their employees literally suggests any worker who is struggling financially or looking for health benefits — apply for welfare or help from the state. As Americans, we should take offense to this. Nobody who works full time should need help from the state. Especially when they work for one of the biggest corporations in the country. We should not value jobs that don’t value employees enough to pay them a decent living wage.

But one of the benefits to working a job with no value is exactly that, we don’t have to value it at all. The stress of the thought of possibly losing that job should be non existent because to have so happen would only free you up for a better opportunity. I’m not saying to never accept such a job, I’m saying use this period of your life to create a so called “evil plan” to make your exit and move on. If it’s a good industry and a bad company, learn everything you can. Look at your time there as a paid internship. Stick close to employees who you know are better than the job itself, group up and become cut throat when the time’s right.

A company I once worked for, was started by two guys who did exactly that. They learned everything they could, through having to pick up the slack for an owner who wasn’t doing his job and through building relationships with the companies biggest clients by doing so.

Then one day, it occurred to one of them, with his knowledge and know how — and another’s money and relationships with their employer’s clients — they had all they needed to start their own shop.

While they started off small, hiring a few friends and family members at first — within a year of starting up they had landed one of the biggest home improvement retail stores in the nation as a client and were making more money than their former employer ever did. They used a bad job in a budding industry to their advantage and it paid off big time.

Too many good opportunities in the world we live in exist, to work at a bad job. So if you feel stuck at one, just know you’re not. Find a way to use it to your advantage. Use the lack of hours you’re getting, to do things you’re passionate about in your free time and find a way to monetize them — or use the excess of hours you’re working, as a way to save. If you’re always working, you should have little time for spending. At the very least, find the humor in the absurdities of your day to day job and remember to laugh at them.

There’s an upside to every down if we’re willing to dig deep enough to find it. If there’s absolutely no joy or benefits to be extracted from the job you’re working at, use how much you dislike it as motivation to find a better one. Write about your worst experiences at that job. Learn from all of the mistakes those above you, who are bad at their job make. In fact, if there is zero good to be pulled from the job you’re working, outside of a piece of paper that barely qualifies as a paycheck, ask yourself what you’re even still doing there.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by + 378,330 people.

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