Post by Cheryl Santa Maria, contributing Women On Business writer
One of my first paid writing assignments was an article entitled The Worst Job I’ve Ever Had, a short essay that focused on – you guessed it – my previous work experience.
I got my first job when I was 16 years old and I’ve been working in either a full or part-time capacity ever since. Over the years I’ve distributed flyers whilst dressed up as an inflatable smoothie (don’t ask), worked in factories so dirty that I would literally sneeze out puffs of dust after completing a shift, organized files in an office employed by people who bore a startling resemblance to the characters from Dilbert and cleaned up the dog poop of a B-list celebrity (again, don’t ask). I’ve put in 15-hour work days, I’ve done shift work and I’ve had my own cubicle with a misspelled name tag drilled to the top of it.
There is no single job from my past that stands out as the “worst”. In my opinion they were all equally bad – not because of the grunt work or the annoying customers or the questionable co-workers – but because I was employed by companies that I didn’t identify with, working at a jobs that I didn’t enjoy.
When I started freelance writing in 2006 a light bulb went off in my head. I have always wanted to be a writer but for a long time, I was afraid to pursue it. Self-doubt had led me to believe that I did not deserve to be living the life of my dreams and for a while I convinced myself that I should stick to the 9-5.
I mean, a person should be lucky to even have a job, right?
A person who hates their job will never be as productive, relaxed or innovative as a person who loves their job. A person who is miserable on the job isn’t doing anyone any favours by being there, either. Workers who underproduce often bring home job-related stress and do little to help a company turn a profit – thus stunting economic growth.
I’m not suggesting that everyone who is unhappy with their current work situation resign en masse. What I am suggesting, though, is that everyone should find a line of work that they are passionate about.
If you’re unhappy with the direction your career is taking, I would suggest that you hold on to your current position for now. Use your spare time to figure out what you’d really like to do and then write down an action plan.
Start the process today.
One year becomes thirty years in a flash and before you know it, you will be retired. You don’t want to take all of your dreams, hopes and aspirations to the grave with you, do you?
It may be hard to believe at times, but you are in total control of your life. Once you acknowledge this fact it becomes far easier to pursue your dream career.
Don’t do yourself a disservice. Any job that prevents you from being the best person you can be is the worst job you could ever have.
Linda Smith says
This is awesome advice. I gave it to myself a few years ago and never looked back. I did have a “worst ever” job that actually caused physical damage. No j.o.b. is worth your health. Thanks for such an informative article.
Agreed. Time passed really fast and we shouldn’t spend our time with a job that makes us miserable, feeling like every day is a complete struggle. I had my first job when I was 20, I thought that was my ideal job then, but I was wrong, the job is quite stressing and the environment aggravates it badly. So, I didn’t let my misery last and quit. I think I made the right decision as I’m happy right now.
Mariel Chua says
This is a good one, Cheryl! It’s great that after all those jobs, you finally took the freelance-writing plunge; that was very brave of you.
I also liked, “Any job that prevents you from being the best person you can be is the worst job you could ever have.” So true.