Sticking It Out

Working and holding down a job is a challenge for many people. In my own life, I have found some jobs worth sticking it out and others not so much. My current job has been one worth sticking it out for. The photos with this blog are all from there, taken at different times over the last seventeen and a half years. The tasks are many and varied, so I am not in jeopardy of ever being bored. Location-wise, it is only six to ten minutes from home, depending on traffic and if the stoplights work in my favor or not.

During my entire career in administrative work, it took me a while to learn a few things. One, if I needed to support myself, then I needed to find another job before quitting the one I wasn’t happy with. Two, if I wasn’t happy with my current job, then perhaps finding a new one, or learning a new skill so that I could find a better-suited job, would be smart. And, three, maybe it’s not the job…maybe it’s the person, as in me.

During the first half of my career ranging from secretary to receptionist to bookkeeper to data entry clerk, I changed full-time jobs at least fourteen times. Most of those times were without the promise of a job waiting for me afterward. I was single during a good part of that time, and learning that sticking it out was important was at times hard to swallow. I wanted something more. I wanted things easier. I wanted less exposure to the public. I wanted less isolation. I wanted more room to grow. I wanted less responsibility. I wanted less boredom and more challenge.

I considered many times changing careers, going back to college and getting my bachelor’s degree. Finding the right path was difficult as I really didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, even into my late thirties. So, I forced myself to stick it out at many of my positions—answering phones, filing, calculating payroll, doing repetitive data entry tasks, and so on. Once I learned a job, it was harder to stay, as I would get bored doing the same thing over and over again. I would play mind games, challenging myself to hang in there one more week or one more month.

Soon, I started questioning if it wasn’t the job but perhaps myself that was the problem. I wasn’t happy, but was it the job that made me unhappy, or was it me that was unhappy because I chose the wrong path for myself along the way. So, I started questioning my choices right after high school. I started learning about my personality, traits, inclinations, and aspirations. It took awhile, but I finally figured some of it out.

I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I like creative writing more than business correspondence. I like data entry more than bookkeeping or payroll. I like front office management more than accounts payable or receivable. And, I like flexible hours and days better than a rigid schedule, although I thrive on routine. So, to find that perfect fit was a challenge. I’m closer to that fit where I currently am, but I will be moving to a different town soon. It is my hopes that my next job will be more ideal and that it will meet most of the things I have learned about myself.

If I were to offer any advice to anyone about transitioning from one job to another, I’d have to say the same thing that I’ve heard many times over the years. Find a job before you quit the one you are currently at, no matter how unhappy you are. If the boss isn’t asking you to commit a crime, then it cannot be that bad. If a request is unreasonable to you, then communicate that to your boss or supervisor and work out a compromise.

If I were to offer a solution for staying with a job longer, even though circumstances are not the best, I would suggest giving your workspace a facelift. A new look never hurts and, in fact, helps to lift most moods. It’s too easy to get bored entering the same door, sitting in the same chair, facing the same direction year after year. So, declutter, rearrange, take home older nicnacs, or give them away, and bring in some new items. You may be amazed at how this one thing can help your psyche, thereby, giving you a few more months, and even years, before needing to change jobs.

If you are wanting to know more about sticking it out on an otherwise challenging job, I will offer you this: know who you are, what you like, what your goals are, what your dreams are, and what you want out of life. Then, decide how your current job fits that knowledge. Ask yourself: Is there any way my current job can help me achieve these goals? How can I use my current skillset to get me closer to where I want to be? Is there a way I can adapt my current position to be more inline with my future career?

It wasn’t until working about thirty years, nine years at my current job, that I realized I was right where I was supposed to be. After years of wanting to quit, wishing I could walk out, dreaming of some other career, I finally embraced the many skills I had learned along the way and how they had all come together to give me the most unique of positions. As the new Social Media Admin, I am happy doing what I’m doing. While I am using most of all the skills I have acquired, I still don’t have all the skills that I need. But I am a quick-study and am always learning what I need to know.

So, if you are looking at walking out of your job or wishing you could quit, maybe you just need to assess your situation. Not particularly from a financial aspect, but from an emotional one. What is your biggest “unhappy” about it? What needs to improve for you to stay more easily? How can you justify a change now or later? Can decluttering your desk, rearranging your workspace, or streamlining your filing system improve your outlook? Or, do you need to take an online class to improve your skills or prepare you for a career change?

Now, with only eight months left on my current job, I wonder what my next job will be. In addition to my current position as a Social Media Admin, I’ve worked as a receptionist/secretary, a full-charge bookkeeper, an accounts payable data entry clerk, a university admissions clerk, a nursing secretary, a front office admin, a substitute teacher, and a parish secretary. And, this doesn’t count the numerous companies that I have had the privilege of working for. It’s an extensive list with lots of stories that I wouldn’t have in my repertoire—if it were not for sticking it out on some jobs that, even for the few short weeks, seemed like an eternity.

And so, I hope that my next job will be my last job, and one that all my other jobs was leading me toward. Whether I get another administrative clerical job outside the home, or continue to build my secondary career as a Writer & Independent Author, I am excited about my future. Life is an adventure. I am grateful to have built up a reservoir of skills that will serve me well on my future path, no matter where it leads.

Wherever you are on your current career path, or whatever it is that you do, my hope is that you find enjoyment in at least one thing about it. Build from there, and perhaps like me, you will no longer feel like you are just sticking it out. Instead, I hope you will feel like you are building a legacy—if not for your current company, then for your future self. Be strong, knowing that you can leave if you are not happy, or that you can stay right where you are, being happy doing what you enjoy.

My secondary career involves creative nonfiction writing. Check out my inspirational book, “HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within,” at Amazon by typing in my full name, Virginia Alice Crawford, into the search bar…or, you can visit my Books page for a preview. Makes for nice Fall reading and a gift for the book lovers in your life!

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