Few things can suck the morale and engagement from a person than feeling stuck in a dead-end job. Spending 40 hours a week in a disengaging, and seemingly meaningless work can leech the joy out of a person.
How do you keep up morale in a dead-end job?
1 – Cultivate vision for the future and get inspired by a mentor
A major problem people encounter is that they lack vision , which causes them to miss how their current dead-end job can help them on their journey to a better future.
If you’re in a dead-end job, you need to know that there are millions of other jobs out there that you have absolutely no idea about. Not only that, but chances are that you lack perspective in general about the types of careers people can build.
People don’t know what they don’t know, and grabbing a vision for your future ought to include intersecting with people for inspiration.
Inspiration for a better tomorrow comes when you meet someone that lives a life, and engages in work, that you might like to mimic.
You should make it a goal to find a small group of people that are older, wiser, and more mature in their endeavors than you, and ask them to grab a 45 minute coffee with you. This might sound ridiculous, but if you tell someone that you look up to them, and that you’d like to look to them for inspiration for your career, they’ll probably oblige. If you have coffee 10 high caliber people a year, you’ll be sure to get some inspiration.
Mentorship can be as simple as a periodic coffee date with someone that you’d like to be inspired by. If you can have coffee with a high-caliber person, don’t wast time when you’re with them. Take notes, come prepared to learn, and don’t spend time talking about you – draw out of them perspective, wisdom, and advice.
My bet is that when you’re around these type of people, you’ll start to build a vision for a future. You could be direct and ask the person what type of future they think you should pursue.
Write your vision down
A vision for the future starts to take root when you write about it. If you’re not much of a writer, then it’s even more critical that you sit down and write it out. You want to be in a more upward and forward spot in the future, and it only makes sense that you’d start developing yourself in ways you haven’t in the past.
Writing your vision down will do some amazing things for you because it will more deeply install the thoughts you’ve had. Nothing helps bring about memory retention like reading, and then writing out whatever it is you’re trying to grab onto.
By getting inspired, and writing out a vision for your future, you’ll be taking steps to transform your mindset, which will provide inspiration during your workday when things get frustrating.
2 – Make the job your university
Maximize the value you add to the place, and become a student of the business.
Engaging work is enjoyable work.
Even if you hate the industry, company or job, if you motivate yourself to engage with your work and grow, you’ll start to appreciate your dead-end job, and only then, can it catapult you toward your vision for the future.
Building on the idea of cultivating a long-term perspective and seeing a dead end job as a part of your journey, I’d also recommend pursuing mastery of whatever craft, competency, concept, or business situation this dead-end job provides.
A wise person once told me – “be a student” in every circumstance.”
Your dead end job should be a classroom for you, and I don’t mean that in a childish “it shows me everything NOT to do in a business” kind of way.
It’s much easier to keep your morale higher when you’re seeing every piece of adversity as an opportunity to challenge yourself, grow, endure, and mature. Just like physical fitness, when we endure things that we dislike, it causes us to grow.
Switch your mindset from focusing on the faults and failures of your current job, to looking for opportunities to add value, solve a problem, or to develop understanding and competency.
You can transform a mundane job into an engaging experience when you decide to focus on building mastery of every competency, craft, or project you’re given. Make it a game to be the best, and even out-learn your manager about your industry. Develop a masters-level understanding of the situations you’re currently in.
You might be saying something like “I don’t want to be the manager of this organization, I hate this business! Why would I pursue mastery of a business I have no interest in?” To which, I’d recommend that you notice how unhelpful that mindset is. You happen to be in this so-called, dead-end job, so you need to make the best of it.
The bottom line is that when you see this job as part of a path, and you should decide to use it as a university, trying to master every craft available to you.
3 – Pursuit meaningful workdays by adding value to those around you
I know too many people that hate their work, and are only happy once they clock out. Few things can drag a person down more, than giving up on the pursuit of creating a great day.
Meaningful work is critical to having a satisfying life, and all work can be satisfying if you change your mindset. Adding value to people is where true significance is found, and each day can be transformed from dead-end, to meaningful ,when you make it your mission to add value to the people around you.
That’s right, when you start to think of ways to uplift the people around you, you’ll find that your dead-end job becomes a little bit happier, more joyful, and much easier to endure.
I hope that people can use these tips if they find themselves in a dead-end job, and move in an “upward and forward” direction. The future is going to come whether you want it to or not, so you should start living intentionally today!