At some point in our lives, we could all find ourselves in a job that just doesn't work for us. Your life dictates certain jobs at certain times. If you've had a break from work to have children or maybe to care for an elderly relative, you could find yourself in a job that wasn't exactly what you envisaged for yourself. Once you’re back in the workplace after a while away, a stop-gap job may be the next step in your journey.
Why take the stop gap job?
A job is sometimes a stepping stone in life, especially if you've been out of the work place for a while and you need to ease yourself back into the workplace. Your previous career may have been a high flying executive role, but workplaces are constantly evolving and our skills can quickly become out of date. Because of this, it's sometimes the case that we need to start at the bottom, when we join the workforce once again. This is where the Stop gap job enters the room.
The stop-gap job is a place to show up (even if working from home) where people are counting on you. It’s a way to earn some money, build or rebuild employment history, and cultivate positive references. Stop-gap jobs are key for building a sense of purpose, self esteem and independence.
A positive attitude can only last so long
You know this job is just a step in your journey back to the top or wherever you want to be and its not the end of the road. We all try to start work each day with a positive attitude and appreciation for the job opportunity we've been given.
So, how can we react when it gets harder to stay in that job and the day before work starts to loom heavily and you find it harder to smile and get on with the job? Consider these three ways to turn a job you don't like into a job you like, or at least a job you can tolerate.
There is more to life than a job
Although we spend a chunk of our lives at work, we also spend a chunk of our lives not at work. Your identity and the way you feel about yourself evolve from so much more than your job. The amount of time we spend at work can sometimes feel like forever, even a part-time, a job can seem to consume much of your time because you expend mental energy dreading going to work, being bored or uncomfortable at it, or feeling drained after it. So, it is easy for work to take over parts of your life and affect the way you feel about yourself. If you are not comfortable identifying with the work you do or the place you work, your sense of self might be damaged.
You are much more than a job. You've achieved so much more in your life. You could have children to look forward to seeing, or a partner, these could all be positives in your life and part of your identity out of work. You have friends and family perhaps, that are outside of your work life and this is the life you can focus on when things feel bad at work. Remember this point when you start feeling too entwined in a job you dislike.
You can control how you feel
We all find it hard to accept situations in life that we can't change but that is life, we can't possibly control everything, in fact, there isn't a huge amount that we can really control. Accepting what you cannot change, or control, about your stop-gap job is one way to find some peace in an unpleasant situation. But you might not have to surrender completely to your job.
Even in a job with limited responsibility, narrow scope of influence, and a low skillset, you might have more control than you think.
Simply put, you can find greater satisfaction, and even meaning, in a job when you are able to exert a level of control over the job and the aspects of the job, for example the content.
If the tasks of your work are mundane, focus on the positive working relationships you could develop. If you don't want to develop relationships, then focus on the tasks and investigate if you can change aspects of your job that might interest you more. As for perception, focus on what’s good about the job. What is the job giving you? What are you getting out of the job? Try to focus on the positives of the job, not the negatives
Have an exit strategy
This doesn't mean leaving without another job to go, unless you are in the lucky position to be able to do this. What you can do, is look towards the future and the plans you can make.
It doesn't have to be detailed career path, who knows what the future holds but it's always good to have a plan and no where you're going and how to get there, kind of. Try not to be too specific, leave your mind open to opportunities that will come along. Take your time and while you're working, you're gaining experience for your future.
Your goal should be to learn about yourself and then explore ways you might apply your strengths, satisfy your interests, and make a difference in your future career.
Learn to visualise a future that includes a career you enjoy, keep focussed on this plan and one day it will happen