We’ve all been there – stuck in a job that (barely) pays the bills while sucking your very last ounce of inspiration and ambition with every passing hour.
Dead-end jobs aren’t anything new to 20 and 30-something’s that started their career mid-recession. On one hand, we were grateful for the paycheck (those didn’t come easy early 2000’s); on the other hand, we couldn’t believe our educational pursuits had left us stranded amidst a sea of literally-no-future positions.
If you find yourself clocking hours in a position that inspires reoccurring nightmares of spending twenty years doing the same drab thing, with the same drab people, in the same drab company, don’t fret!
There is hope.
Here are three things you can do when find yourself stuck in a dead-end job, besides the lunch hour/after hours job hunt (because that’s a given, right?):
Build Your Resume
Does your dead-end position provide a continuing education stipend?
Does it cover association memberships or industry networking opportunities?
Does it allow for philanthropy-focused activities, like non-profit board service or volunteer activities, while on the clock?
If so, take advantage of it! Use your time in a not-so-awesome-position to prepare yourself for a better one – invest in education, prioritize networking, and build your resume with philanthropy activities.
Start a Business
So your current job isn’t your dream job?
Why not use this career “season” as the opportunity to create your dream job?
Starting a business provides professionals the opportunity to totally customize their work and future – entrepreneurship is the ultimate lifestyle-engineering.
If blazing your own trail makes you nervous (it does us all), consider trying your hand at freelancing or building out a side hustle that you can turn full-time in a few years. Pay your bills with your dead-end job, and build your dreams with your own business.
Some employers will provide an education stipend for employees seeking higher education, but let’s get real – post-Recession, employer sponsored education resources are pretty rare. However, dead-end jobs often aren’t extreme in regards to responsibility nor excessive overtime, so consider how pursuing an advanced degree while working your less-than-dream-job may prepare you for bigger and better things.
Night school or online degree programs may be something that could work with your full-time working schedule. If you’re hesitant to commit to a full degree program, consider picking up a tech-based nanodegree or graduate certificate to help boost your resume and jumpstart your career.