Valuing Your Current Job
Don’t Give Up On It Too Early
Nationwide there’s a (seemingly) chronic labor shortage. This crunch is particularly acute in skilled trades and manufacturing. But it’s also showing up in the service industry, and even administrative positions are turning over as people move around.
Our social and governmental response to the global pandemic has disrupted and shifted whole industries. Social unrest has prompted many to move to different regions. That disruption has shifted where jobs are most available and in what sectors.
There’s a lot of opportunity in the marketplace right now for individuals to move upwards or move into new work types. And it’s tempting to make those moves.
But regardless if you are thinking of switching jobs or sitting tight at the one you have, keep in mind that the job you have (currently) is the one you’re supposed to have (now).
In our pursuit of better opportunities and increased gain, we lose sight that our current job has many lessons to teach us.
Understanding that there is a purpose to the work we are currently doing, regardless of what it is, helps us best learn from our work.
Your Job As A Mirror
The job that you have reflects something about you. For example, it could indicate your preferences for a particular type of work or workplace environment. Your job can reflect a portion of your values, either in its tasks or the industry as a whole.
It can also reflect your priorities, i.e., a flexible work schedule allows more time with your family or the opportunity for ample overtime positions you to better provide for your family.
Your present job is a snapshot of your decisions and choices to date. So it’s valuable to reflect upon that fact.
Your Job As A Teacher
There’s a lot that a job can teach you about work that has nothing to do with the specifics of that position. Every job is full of opportunities for lessons and knowledge.
How do you use your workday? It’s surprising how many people spend it attending to non-work-related items. People must assume that their employers are paying them to be merely present.
Your employer is paying you to work on the tasks they assign you. And every job provides practice for diligently managing your time to accomplish the work set before you.
Many jobs today have increasingly flexible schedules, which is convenient. However, it also comes with a warning: if you’re still going to be competent, productive, and effective with your flex schedule job, you must be disciplined in your work.
No one else is going to manage your time for you.
Sadly, a huge differentiator in the workplace today is who shows up each day and on time. Every job can teach you the value of being prompt and available for work. Whether the work is interesting, well paid, or your dream job is immaterial. Showing up and being ready to contribute is a gift you give yourself.
The hardest thing to do with many activities is just getting started. However, showing up and being present and involved is a lesson you will carry throughout life and future jobs.
Everyone thinks that they communicate well. We’re continually amazed that others could somehow misinterpret our instructions or meaning.
Every job requires clarity and precision with communication, even with simple instructions. Therefore, you can practice communicating clearly (both written and verbal), confirming that others accurately understand you.
It doesn’t matter if you drive a delivery truck, paint houses, run a bank, or manage a company; you can be better at it today than you were yesterday. And we should all be striving to improve.
Not because there is a massive, tangible improvement for our physical comfort between being a good painter and a great painter, but there is significant value to our mindsets.
And that mindset of improvement and diligence will show up in all our life’s activities.
Comfortable With The Mundane
Many jobs, however necessary, are not overly exhilarating or stimulating. And every job has tasks and aspects of it that are tedious.
Your job can teach you how to weather that boredom and still be productive. Being comfortable with mundane activities equips you to be content and frees your mind.
There’s nothing wrong with mundane work. Use it as an opportunity to test yourself, doing something ordinary with extraordinary attention and care.
A Revolving Door
Over the past several decades, there has been a growing tendency for folks to switch jobs, often quickly, and even after less than a year.
Jumping around from job to job ignores this fact: you can grow into a role, field, or position. Your enjoyment of the activity or tasks is directly tied to your competency at it.
Competency can be written as the following formula:
Competency = time invested + attention given.
Hopping from job to job every eighteen months is counterproductive. It feels like progress, but it’s procrastination.
People who have this habit are delaying becoming good at something. They’re treading water, even as they think they’re advancing to green pastures.
The grass may be greener, but it’s just as hard to mow.
Be patient. It takes years to get competent. You’re here in this job to learn something. Take advantage of that while it’s available.
Are you considering switching jobs?
Start today: have you considered what you could still learn at your current job?
Originally published at https://fjwriting.com on July 16, 2021.