When we’re in a terrible job we think we’re the only person who is in a terrible job, and everyone else loves their job, and everyone’s life is great, and our life is terrible. But, in fact, every single person, no matter where they are in their life now, has had a job that they hated.
The only people who don’t have jobs they hate are people who don’t take any risks and end up having terrible careers, because part of a good career path is having moved through a job that you hate.
Here are three steps to make a horrible job good.
1. Befriend the best-networked person in the company.
The problem with a really terrible job is that it doesn’t have the three things that are most important in a job, which are engaging work, manageable goals, and control over your results. So what you need to do is create your own engaging work with manageable goals. So do that by deciding that you’re going to be friends with the person who is most able to help you get this job. Look around the company and decide who’s got the most potential.
The worse the company is, the quicker it will be to find this person, because people with huge potential don’t stay at terrible companies, so odds are, there’s only one to find. Find your one person, and then each day do one thing to get closer to that person.
There is a wide range of steps you can take that, usually in the how‑to‑get‑a‑mentor category. Even if you don’t want this person as a mentor, the best way to get someone to pay attention to you is to let her know that you admire her and want help from her. So act like you want a mentor and your job will suddenly become meaningful because you might actually get a mentor.
2. Look for the most terribly managed areas of the company and fix them.
A tell‑tale sign of a horrible job is that it’s a horrible company, and a tell‑tale sign of a horrible company is that almost every single thing is managed terribly. Usually what has happened when things are so terrible is that someone ruined a project and then dumped it.
So in the terrible company there are dumped projects everywhere. You should pick one up and start fixing it. Even if you can only fix it a tiny little bit, on your resume it’s going to look really good. It will say increased efficiency 20 percent, increased revenue 21 percent, decreased staffing costs 30 percent, because it’s really easy to have this type of achievement when you’re dealing with complete stupidity at the onset.
Melissa is great at this. Before I knew her well, she saw that pictures on my blog were terrible. I don’t have any terrible photos to link to to as examples because she volunteered to replace them with photos she liked. Now I pay her to edit photos I take and also photos that other photographers take, like the one up top, by Tamara Bell.
Melissa turned photo editing into a business, and it all started because she figured out a job for herself that no one else was doing.
3. Start rewriting your resume.
At a horrible company there’s no accountability, and when there’s no accountability you can do nothing all day which opens up your schedule. The first thing you should do with your open schedule is to start job hunting, but do it in a systematic way.
Go find the job that you want and make lists of all the bullets they say that they want from somebody who’s qualified. Move all of those bullets onto your resume and say to yourself, “How can I make these bullets true on my resume?” So each day is a game to try to make one of those bullets true by doing things that nobody cares