Settling for your job is a problem that applies to all too many Americans. Too many people take jobs they do not enjoy that leave them unfulfilled simply to earn a paycheck. However, especially in tough economic times such as these, it can be hard not to take the first thing that comes your way, even if you know it’s not what you really want to be doing. You’ve got bills to pay and unfortunately that’s the overlying factor in finding a job. Here are some tell-tale signs you settled for your job.
You are not excited to go to work everyday. If you wake up in the morning, stare at the alarm clock, and immediately cannot wait until hours later when you can climb back into bed, you are probably settling for your job. You’re going to spend 40 hours (or more) out of your week every week for the majority of your life at work, so why not spend it doing something you care about or that excites you? The job itself does not have to be the most exciting thing in the world, as long as there is a light at the end of the tunnel leading to a better career opportunity. A goal to work towards and the prospect of a better, more interesting future are sometimes all you need to tough out that internship or those hours spent doing data entry.
When friends ask you about your job, you say things like, “This is only temporary…” and “I don’t want to do this forever…” All too often, jobs you consider “just temporary” become permanent. The promise of a paycheck, one that is earmarked for you as long as you care to work for it, can stunt ambition. Don’t work at a job you’re embarassed to be doing either, one you feel you have to explain away with the phrases listed above. Take pride in what you do; if you do, you’ll enjoy doing it a whole lot more.
You took the job out of fear and you’re staying at it for the same reason. It’s been rough trying to find work as of late, and no one can fault anyone else for being in survival-mode. But staying proactive and continuing to look for better, more fulfilling work will not jeopardize your paycheck or anything else for that matter. Don’t stay at a job because you’re afraid you won’t be able to get another one. Keep looking, and be optimistic. After hitting rock bottom, the economy has nowhere to go but up, and jobs are becoming more available, especially in new technologically-related sectors.
You took a lower-level position than what you previously worked. Many workers in current times are overqualified for their jobs. Even internships and other entry-level positions are being filled by people who worked their way up the ladder long ago only to find their jobs cut and needing to continue working again. Accepting a job, in your chosen career field, for less money and responsibility than you have had in the past is a sure sign of settling for a job.
As stated earlier, settling for a job can be an unfortunate but necessary choice to make. A paycheck is a paycheck, and during these brutal economic times landing a job cannot be undervalued. Just don’t make it a permanent thing. Keep looking for something better, that will be more enjoyable, exciting, and offer better career prospects, and most importantly, be optimistic. Things are starting to look up, and will only get better from here.
Joseph Gustav is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on obtaining a high school diploma at home for Guide to Career Education.