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Yep, it’s Friday, but if your job has you counting the days since Tuesday, it might be time to look elsewhere.
Many years ago, I had my very own soul-sucking entry-level job. I was the guy behind the counter at an Australian-run Italian restaurant, making pizzas and wearing the hell out of a hairnet.
I’m thrilled that I’ve since gone on to bigger and better things, but I was unable to figure out when enough is enough until far too late. It’s normal. We ignore the telltale signs in order to avoid admitting that something we put so much time and energy came to nothing.
We don’t need to be that guy. Here are some wake up calls that you should look out for — cold hard proof that it’s time to flee for your (work) life.
1) When your 15-year-old boss squeaks at you to tuck in your shirt.
Take it from someone who rocked it in fast food — if your boss’s voice hasn’t even changed yet, that’s a serious red flag.
There’s no better indicator that you’re not moving up the company ladder fast enough. Unless he’s a child prodigy, it’s pretty likely that any reasonable, well-balanced adult can do the job better than someone who just got ungrounded last week.
Sure, you can hold out hope to maybe ascend to his position one day, but it’ll either be because he got promoted or because he left this crappy job to do something way more awesome and rewarding.
That triumph you feel when scratching his name off the boss’ door and replacing it with your own will be very, very short-lived.
2) When that pre-work self-pep talk becomes a regular thing.
Maybe there’s company drama — or maybe your job is so menial that you can’t stand another mindless minute of it — but if you’re having to regularly remind yourself of the merits of gainful employment, you probably hate your job a bit more than the average guy.
We all find ourselves in work positions that we don’t like from time to time, but doing something that you hate without even entertaining the possibility of finding a better, happier option will probably eventually kill you.
Instead of focusing all your energy on convincing yourself to go to work, try to repurpose that energy into finding a job you can actually stand or, dare I say, enjoy.
3) When you realise you haven’t learned anything new since orientation.
Entry level jobs aren’t designed to be particularly rewarding, but experience, growth and potential are supposed to be the key components that make it worthwhile.
Putting your hours in as a secretary at a marketing firm like mine, for instance, could lead to campaign positions in the future.
So when you realise there’s nothing left for you to gain from this job other than crappy pay, it’s probably time to go find crappy pay elsewhere — at least then you’ll learn something new.
4) When you’re asked to show the new manager the ropes.
So, the company has hired a new manager, and they asked you, above all others, to show her how the place is run.
You can 1) feel flattered and bask in the glory of knowing that your skills and hard work have been recognised, or 2) get really pissed off that they brought on someone new, gave her better pay and benefits than you, and then had the gall to ask you to teach her how to do her job.
Even if she’s just a replacement for that uniform-stickler teenage boy (who got a job at Google, by the way), it’s got to sting that the upper management knows you can do the job but asks you to teach someone else to anyway.
The company knows you’re an asset — one they’re willing to take advantage of without offering you any reward.
Time to take your talents elsewhere.
5) When your new coworker is speechless when she finds out how long you’ve been working there.
Most new employees at entry level jobs are bright eyed and bushy tailed; they’re excited about what they’ll learn and achieve.
In essence, they haven’t yet been beaten down by the grind of a low-paying, largely rewardless position, drenched in a negative company culture. Still, they understand that the job may not always be roses, and soothe themselves by calling it a “stepping stone” to a better place.
So when you reveal to your new co-worker just how long you’ve been grinding away at the very same stepping stone, don’t mistake the look of horror on her face. Here’s exactly what she’s thinking:
Oh God! What if I’m here that long? I couldn’t stand it! Maybe there’s something wrong with him?
So, instead of waiting for your co-worker to politely ask probing questions about the state of your mental faculties, just quit the job, and face the fact that one’s stepping stone is another’s quagmire.
There is something better out there for you, and don’t for a minute think otherwise.
Ahoy TBSers! We want to hear from you! What’s the most menial job you’ve kept, and how did you escape it? Leave it in the comment box