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Jul 05

How to Love Your Means-to-an-End Job

gratitude rocks, stories of gratitudeIn my twenties I worked for a large corporation in San Francisco as a legal secretary. Imagine, if you will, an off-the-chart, inattentive ADDer doing this job in the first place. This is a job that requires organizational skills, minimal ego, ability to take direction with a smile, learn new processes and technology, whether I liked them or not.

This profile that never suited me in any way, yet it supported me through college and graduate school, for which now I am extremely grateful.

In an effort to keep me on board, the company shuffled me around the legal department to various attorneys to see who I might show the most promise with. I ended up with a attorney who was three years my senior.

In the morning she plunked down several personal tasks for me to do like writing letters to her friends, paying her bills and basically anything but the work I thought I was hired to do. Little did I know that these tasks were commonly performed by secretaries.

Rather than just roll with it, I adopted an adversarial attitude and refused to be her personal assistant. In reality it really didn’t matter whether or not I did her personal work. I still received a paycheck. But this was the last straw for the company.

What mattered was that I had a job in a nice company that paid well, and I could actually avoid doing the legal secretarial work I abhorred doing in the first place, if only for a little while.

I was, instead, indignant, arrogant, distrusting, feeling put upon, taken advantage of, incredibly bored and plain angry. Who did she think she was anyway? I was not was much of a team player in those days.

Even though she WAS the boss, I acted as if she were not. I simply refused to acknowledge that I was given a job to do and was expected to do whatever the job entailed.

Of course, I WAS in the wrong job. My goal after graduating from college and completing my Secondary Credential program was to become a teacher. I was suppose to change lives! Yet, jobs were scarce for teachers. Still, I thought I was too good for this stuff.

Bottom line – I was fired! Again.

I had good friends who worked there, the company was very generous in a way that you rarely see today, and it was a comfortable place to hang on the way to figuring out how I was going to get to be the professional I so longed to be. But I was determined to start the ADD isolation process early in my career.

Let me tell you, I scored no points on any count. Had I displayed one ounce of maturity and simply took the attitude of doing the best I could no matter what I was doing, there is no doubt in my mind today that my generosity of spirit would have been rewarded. At the very least, I could have taken pride in a job well done. Maturity rules!

Many of us ADDers tend to cut off our noses to spite our face when it would take just a minute or two to breathe and make another choice.

It would have also helped my diminishing self-confidence. I was just one angry employee.

I repeated this scenario until I was 29 years old when I finally got into my Master’s program and started heading down the path of career fulfillment. It was a LONG road.

In hindsight, it was really not necessary to go through what I went through.

If you are currently in a job that you do not feel measures up to either your expectations of how you think you should be doing, or is a step along the way to doing what you love, I say MAKE THE MOST OF IT. Here is what I only dream I had done at the time:

  1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
  2. Be determined to do the very best work you can do, no matter how much you are not loving it.
  3. Ask co-workers if you can help them if you have time on your hands.
  4. Smile more, encourage your co-workers.
  5. Act as if you love it – OK, just try it for a day and see what happens.
  6. Get coached to change directions – but don’t forget the folks (jobs) that helped you develop lifelong skills (physical, emotional and spiritual) along the way.
  7. Think of your “job” as a living in the present meditation.
  8. Always think about the tasks you enjoy doing and try to do more of them.
  9. Remember always that You Are the Boss of You.

Remember the road to career happiness often hurls us in a number of directions before we eventually recognize the path we are meant to take. Being on that path makes the “means to an end” so much more palatable. Learn more about how you can get coached today to change directions or do more of what you love in the work you are already doing. Schedule your Complimentary 30-60 minute Career Strategy session with Shell and take away a rush of cool ideas you can apply today.

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