How Your Crappy Job is Helping You

You know that deep, sinking feeling in your gut? The one that strikes in the pre-dawn moments when your alarm clock has just violently jolted you awake and the prospect of facing another day at your soul-sucking job is enough to make you want to cry? I do. You simultaneously can’t bear working one more day and yet, for whatever reason, can’t quit and are stuck living this Groundhog Day nightmare day in, day out. When you’re at work, you relentlessly count down the days hours to the next weekend and race out the door the very minute you can escape at the end of the day, always with the same shattering questions running through your mind: How did I end up here? Is this all there is? This is not how I imagined my life!

Yeah, I know that feeling. I’ve been there, feeling desperately trapped working a depressing job. It eventually became so unbearable that at the end of one day I quit. I didn’t think a whole lot about the consequences of doing so, I just knew I had to get out of there for the sake of my health. It’s now been a whole year since that happened and interestingly, time has brought some perspective. Looking back now, I still cringe at the thought of how terrible it was, but I’ve also realised something pretty important too: I needed that crappy job. Yep. That job, as much as I despised it, was exactly what I needed at that time in my life for a bunch of different reasons. Even though I could barely drag myself out of bed each day, that job bestowed upon me many gifts (yes, gifts!) that I can only now appreciate looking back a year later. So if you’re stuck working a crappy job, here’s why it strangely might actually be helping you:

You might need it for a visa

Like many expats around the world, my visa was directly tied to my job in Berlin, meaning that if I left that job and didn’t find another, I’d be forced to leave the country too. For many people, putting up with a crappy job might actually be a small price to pay for the benefit of being allowed to stay in the country. Even though at the time, I might have resented feeling ‘forced’ to work a job I disliked, it did enable me to live in Berlin, stay with Ben (even though he had a visa, defacto relationship status is not recognised in Germany unlike many other countries) and afforded me so many exciting travel opportunities in Europe while I was there. That’s quite a few positives in exchange for one negative.

Related: So You’ve Moved to Berlin… Now What? 10 Items for Your Expat To-do List

Berlin, Suitcase

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It pays you money

As much as you might hate your job, you’re still getting a regular paycheque every month. You’re still able to pay the bills and you’re not left destitute on the street. Quitting your job without some kind of back-up plan brings with it a whole new set of stressful financial problems. Even when I was most frustrated at my old job, it was helpful to put things in perspective and think about all the people in the world who are unemployed and desperate to find work to feed their families. The fact that I even had a job, a roof over my head and food on the table did remind me that I was one of the very lucky ones.

Related: What is the Cost of Living in Berlin? My Berlin Budget Breakdown

It’s here to teach you something

It might be difficult to understand at the time, but this experience is here to teach you some valuable lessons. In my case, as difficult as it was, I needed to experience feeling stifled, uninspired and frustrated day in, day out, otherwise I never would have questioned whether this was the path I should be taking. If my job actually hadn’t been as bad as it was, I probably would have just kept going through the motions and I wouldn’t have quit to work for myself instead. I needed my job to be awful because it opened up a new area of interest for me: blogging and writing, where I came to find the excitement and inspiration I had lost. Even though I despised it at the time, I’ll be forever grateful to that job for being bad enough for me to take action and leave it behind.

Related: One Year On: 10 Things That Happen When You Quit the 9-5

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This is just a chapter in your life

It’s a slippery slope into the pit of despair where you think your job will NEVER get better and you’re destined to be stuck in this same, unhappy, unfulfilling place forever. That’s a hard place to crawl out from, believe me. I remember how much of a physical and emotional struggle it was for me to get up out of bed each day and face going to work. It’s important to remember that your job doesn’t define you. Yes, it does take up a big chunk of your time, but not all of your time and it’s not going to be like this forever. Things WILL change. The universe is not a static place – it is filled with great energy and movement – so it’s important to remember that your life isn’t on hold while you’re working this job.

Berlin Spring

The people at your job aren’t there by accident

It might sound a bit airy fairy, but I genuinely believe that each person at your job is there for a reason and they all have an important role to play. Some people might be unwavering sources of strength and support for you at this fragile time. You might form some really beautiful, lifelong friendships because of this job and that in itself is worth the grind, no? Others might be there to challenge you to think in new ways or remind you exactly what you don’t want to turn into. You have something to learn from each and every one of them so be grateful to them all for what they’re giving you.

Have you ever worked a crappy job? How did you handle it?

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