Have you ever had a job you’ve hated? Me too.
I’ve actually had more than one. Believe it or not, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work at every single one of them. Being encouraged to work at a job you hate might sound a bit crazy. My eighteen year old self wouldn’t dare to dream of saying something like this one day.
I don’t mean staying at a job you don’t enjoy for the rest of your life. No one should limit their potential to working a job that makes them unhappy, or fails to bring them fulfillment.
While we work hard towards our goals and to reach a place in life we truly want to see ourselves, side jobs are inevitable. We’ve all been there, whether it’s a difficult manager to get along with or being exhausted with customer service, or simply working a job that’s become redundant. Whatever the case is- we learn more from the obstacles we face in these job than we realize.
The summer before I graduated University, I packed up my bags with my best friend and headed up North to plant trees for two months. I craved a new challenge and I wanted to do something different. I had absolutely no idea how difficult, straining and exhausting both physically and mentally planting trees would be. Never had I lived in the wilderness for more than three days at a time (in groomed camp grounds with beaches, showers and everything I needed for a comfortable stay).
Each day, me and about 40 other planters would wake up before the sun, put on our wet, mud covered clothes from the day before, pack our lunches and head out to the next piece of land. We worked for hours in the hot sun or the unforgiving rain, planting thousands of trees while fending off relentless black flies in bear country. There were days where I would be on my own in the vast land that surrounded me with just my shovel, my thoughts, and my fears. We were completely cut off from civilization- the wilderness was our new home. At the end of each day I would crawl back into my tent feeling drained and defeated. I felt like an impostor trying to weave my way through a way of life that felt so foreign and challenging at every step.
You Will Grow
That summer changed my life. I learned how to value the little things. A nice warm shower on a cold rainy day, a trip to the convenience store once a week to buy the chocolate bar I had been dreaming of, or the exhilarating freedom of having no Wi-Fi. It taught me how strong I could be when faced with no other option. Living in an environment miles outside from my comfort zone opened me to new experiences. Not all of the experiences were pleasant, but each one helped me grow in some way. That summer I grew in more ways than I can say. I returned home with a new perspective on my life.
Your Dreams Will Resurface
I hated my job as a tree planter, but in many ways, I loved it too. I learned that I was strong and resilient when I truly committed to something. It dawned on me that I knew all along that I wanted to do something that drove me. Something that both challenged and fulfilled me. My soul was speaking to me, and I could no longer ignore what it was so adamantly trying to tell me.
When we work a job we don’t enjoy, our true goals, dreams and aspirations rise to the surface. We realize what we are capable of, and how many opportunities are waiting for us if we simply abandon the comfort of fear and take the leap. For me, this job was the motivational push I needed to start working towards a life I loved.
Jobs we don’t enjoy bring us challenges- they test our limits and ask us, how far are you willing to go for what you want? If there is something out there that speaks to your soul and has you burning with passion, don’t let it slip away. Do the work you have to do right now to get to where you dream of being. The job you have now is quietly showing you your potential, if you listen closely.