Last week, I talked about what you could do if you know you’re in a Wrong Job to make it more bearable. For many, being in a Wrong Job can be exactly the right thing to help you get to the Right Job.
Being in a Wrong Job taught me that I’m much better at diplomacy than I ever knew and that if I could work with individuals this difficult, I could work with anyone! Having confidence in those skills has ensured that I know I can work with just about anyone in the world. Even when I recognised I was in the wrong job and needed to get out, that small amount of time where I had to stay was focussed on making sure I honed those skills and that I made excellent use of the network I had built there.
I asked other people that are now in their Right Job what they learnt from the Wrong Jobs.
Plan your exit strategy! Just because you’re going doesn’t mean it has to be in a rush. Sarah Watson. Founder of new free quarterly digital magazine dedicated to careers in the equine industry. https://equinetransition.com/
"I’ve found myself in the wrong job on more than one occasion and it’s always been comforting to create an exit strategy! Knowing that I have the power to change the situation goes a long way to making it feel instantly less stressful and more manageable. I always try to plan my next move, wherever possible, as I have found it helps make the ‘wrong job’ a more useful experience by ensuring my hard-earned skills assist in securing my preferred position. Onwards and upwards!
Understand what drives you. You may find yourself in what you think is your dream job. To then realise it’s not! Patrick Olszowski - Director of Outrageous Impact
"It took me 15 years to get to be a Director of a charity. And just a few weeks to discover this was not what I’d been searching for. I found leadership isolating, missed the day to day work, and lost my confidence. Within 6 months, I quit.
In my leaving speech I said “I want to work out where I can make my most outrageous impact in the next 20 years”. For the past three years I have run my own business doing rapid, qualitative research for charities. And my business name? Outrageous Impact"
Build confidence in the things you find difficult. Alessandra Parsons of AKay Bookkeeping and Author of the Numberstuff newsletter.
"I think the thing I've learned from 'wrong jobs' is the confidence to deal with difficult/ patronising customers and to be able to distance myself from these things - I used to get flustered and upset in difficult situations, but I'm much better at handling them now."
"Being in the Wrong Job taught me that you can cut your losses and find a different job. That you don't have to stick with it because you started with it, or because staying with it would be better for other people. That sometimes, waiting tables is better than staying at a career-type job that just isn't the right one"
Stress can be dealt with but it has a long term impact. Susan Davis, Nutritional Therapist www.newforestnutrition.co.uk
"I worked for more than a year as a Junior sous chef in the kitchen of a competitive restaurant in the City of London. In a pre-dominantly male kitchen I finally was promoted to sous chef position. Although on the surface I had good relations with all the staff members deep down there were no close relationships. I also didn’t feel part of the team.
I was already under a lot of stress but the new position added to the load. I knew I had to stop this position when I started singing to myself on my journey to work “you can do it if you really want, but you must try, try….”and had started getting stomach cramps on my way to work. I was thin, nervous and worried about work when I was off duty. I was also trying to conceive but as the stress was affecting my hormonal balance this was not possible.
What I the position taught me is it is possible to perform under stress however it also taught me that a high stress work environment in the long term will take its toll on my health. Things that got me though were positive self-affirmations, hard work and putting up a brave face when I was pretty anxious. It also taught me I did not want to do this type of catering work in the future, but later I learned that I can transfer my cooking knowledge to other areas such as nutrition. After I resigned from the position I quickly became pregnant and shortly after having my first child I trained to become a Nutritional Therapist and now I help clients that suffer from stress in their jobs or everyday life with nutrition."
Learn where you're happiest. Penny Baker VA Penny Baker Services
"From being in the wrong jobs I've realised that I am happiest in a job with a lot of variation, how much I love problem solving, and that I will find a way to tackle anything that is thrown at me!"
Use your skills in other ways. Olivia Vandyk – Digital Strategist and Social Media Specialist - Gingham Cloud
"As a people person, I thought I needed to be client facing at all times. One job I had came with excellent pay but a dreadful culture. Unbelievably long hours, high pressure deadlines, draconian management. I dreaded Sunday nights. I realised a few things - that if you hate your job, the rest of your life isn’t much fun either. I learned I didn’t need to actually see clients to maximise my people skills but that I could take my communications expertise and use them in many other ways. It was a big turning point in my personal and professional development."
And my personal favourite and one that resonates the most for me! Use a wrong job to help you research, fund and practice your passion project. Siobhan Kangataran, Author, Coach and Founder of ToGetHer Further
"The biggest lesson I learned from being in the wrong job was that no one else was going to fix things for me. Ok, I wasn’t happy at work, but how could I make it as enjoyable as possible?
I began by reflecting back over the previous few months - surely all of the days couldn’t have been that bad? Gradually I realised that the days where I had made time to meditate or do some yoga in the morning had generally resulted in a slightly better day for me at work. So rather than leaving it to chance, I decided to set myself up for success.
Every day for 30 days I invested 30minutes of my morning to give myself the best start possible to the day – journaling, yoga and meditation.
Over time I felt far more confident and emotionally stable at work and began to make it work for me. I chose to leave on time in the evenings, rather than staying late to overcompensate for my perceived failings and inadequacies. Eventually I even asked to work part time, as I developed my passion project for writing, coaching and helping women to be happier at work on the side!
And finally, I took my biggest bravest step and gave notice to quit my job and pursue my passion full time. That’s when my confidence stepped up massively - I had nothing to lose! I started telling people about my passion project, ToGetHer Further, and even began calling out sexism in the office! I used my workplace as a sandpit to practice my new, more outspoken, more visible, and increasingly confident self.
So even though I found it so painful to be in the Wrong Job, ultimately it helped me to research, fund, and practice my passion project, so I could do the work I was born to do. And now that I know what it feels like to be in the Right Job, I know I’ll never end up anywhere “wrong” again. “
There's a wealth of lessons that comes from being in the Wrong Job and I really believe that most people in Right Jobs get there because of their time in the wrong ones not despite. How about you? What have you learned from being in a Wrong Job?