Maybe you’re stuck at an office job you don’t like, but you wish you were doing something creative. Or you’d like to start your own company someday, but you’re working part-time at someone else’s. It’s hard and unfulfilling, but everybody has to work those seemingly irrelevant jobs that they don’t want to do.
It’s time to start thinking positively about those jobs! No, maybe your office job isn’t going to provide you fashion design experience, but there are plenty of other things it’ll provide you that will help you succeed in the design industry.
1. Communication Skills
Good communication skills are your way into any profession. Think about it: you have to communicate effectively in your cover letter, then in any following interviews, and then you’ll constantly be communicating during the job – with clients, co-workers, your bosses or employees.
That means every single job that you take on in your life will help you sharpen these communication skills. Writing more cover letters and taking on more interviews means you’ll get better at both of those skills, and all the communication that you do on the job will come in handy in future career paths. You’ll learn how to navigate professional discussions with the people you work with or deal with difficult clients or how to give presentations to an office full of people. Every little interaction you have while on the job is a part of sharpening your communication skills, even the ones that seem inconsequential.
Try and figure out how to apply the work you do now to what you want to do in the future. For instance, let’s say you’re a sales associate at a clothing store but you’d like to be an artist showing your work in galleries – it sounds completely unrelated, but it’s not. To successfully make people invest in your art or express to viewers what your art means, you’d need to communicate your vision and intent. There, you could think about the clothes you’re selling as art pieces and you need to find unique ways to describe them to guests. You can go more hands-on with your approach if that’s something your job would provide you – say you’re still in this retail job, but you’d like to work in social media management. Ask if you can set up social media accounts for your store, or help run them if the managers already have some. This means you’ll even have something to put on your resume!
No one wants to say it, but it’s the truth: in your career journey, there are going to be a lot of tasks you probably won’t want to do. Maybe before you step into your dream career, you’ll have to start out as an intern and it’ll be more coffee runs and taking out the trash rather than jumping straight into the work you want to do. Or maybe your dream career even has aspects you don’t like – for instance, maybe you’re not a big fan of using Facebook but social media manager positions you apply to will want a Facebook presence. Taking on a job that isn’t your dream job is a way of proving to yourself you can show up to work with a positive attitude every day even if your job isn’t your dream. You’ll spend your jobs prior to your dream career learning how to manage yourself in situations that you won’t want to be in, or finding ways to make tasks you don’t love more enjoyable to you. Even the fact that you can’t make it through a job that you don’t love with a smile on your face shows that you can make it through schooling, internships, anything else that comes your way, and go as far as you need to go in your career!
3. Confidence in Yourself
Everybody wants to leave school and immediately dive into their dream job. It can be annoying to have to work jobs you don’t love and keep on studying in the time between schooling and your career. But, you can’t dive into the deep end without knowing how to swim – your first job being your dream job will likely not benefit you. Working other jobs before you make it to your ideal job will ensure that you spend that time building confidence in your work ethic and your ideas.
Every job you have also teaches a plethora of soft skills, everything from teamwork to problem solving, and even though you won’t be working with the same teams or solving the same problems, you’ll have strengthened these skills so much that you’ll feel confident in them moving forward. Take problem-solving for example – a problem arising at your first job feels much different than a problem arising at your fifth job. Yes, it may still be nerve-wracking, insecurities may still creep up on you and you may still not know the right answer, but you’ll have more confidence in yourself to get to the bottom of it – after all, you’ve spent five jobs solving problems already, and you know you can do it!
Soft skills, interpersonal skills, professionalism – the list goes on and on. You’re strengthening many skills at every job you have, and even if they aren’t the skills you’d like to flex the most, they’re the skills that are necessary to guide you to your goal.
Need some advice on how to pivot to your dream job from your current one? Book a Virtual Career Meeting with Style Nine to Five Founder, Christie Lohr!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock