How To Make Progress In A Job That's For Just Right Now


this blog post is part of a series, #oneblogpostaday.

the first part of this series is focused on purpose + career.

Sometimes people say their jobs are perfect. More than likely (actually 100% likely) - they aren’t.

I remember when I first entered the working world my mom continued to repeat this phrase to me: “work is work, katina.” I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I thought that every single moment was supposed to be fun/interesting/amazing/full of learning.

I realized very quickly that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. No matter how freakin’ amazing your job is - there will still be things that you don’t want to do (invoices, long emails, difficult conversations).

With that being said, the majority of your day should be fun/amazing/interesting/full of learning once you find your flow. But, that takes a while to find.

There will always be points in our career when we’re in a role for right now. It’s not perfect and never will be. So, how can you actually make the most of it when you’re longing for something else?

Get in the right headspace

It’s easy to head into work everyday (especially to a job that you really dislike) with a negative mindset. Sometimes, even just waking up to get ready in the morning takes monumental effort.

I know, I’ve been there.

But, the first step to making progress in an in-between job (or even one that you thought would be amazing…but is turning out less so) is to recognize what it is and what it isn’t. Sometimes, we build up these ideas in our head of what our job should be. We imagine that it will be this magical place and will fulfill all of our dreams.

Maybe it will. But, if it doesn’t: don’t sweat it.

Be honest with yourself about what this time in your life will offer you. Once you level set your expectations, you can put less pressure on what this position could be.

And then, you can approach your goals and every single day with a clearer mindset.

Set some realistic goals

Even if this job is the literal worst thing in the world (which, it probably isn’t) - there is still something you can get out of the experience.

In my first role, I knew from a couple of weeks in that I couldn’t see myself there in the long-term. After I stopped trying to build it into something it wasn’t (that in itself took a while), I set some realistic goals that I could achieve while I was there.

Maybe instead of getting a major promotion, which might take two years, you decide that you want to learn the most about contract negotiation right now. Choose 3 - 5 near term goals that may help you in future roles and positions down the line.

Narrowing your focus is extremely helpful in terms of both feeling accomplished as well as communicating your value during your time there. And hey - it feels really good to know that you’re making progress!

Use your time wisely

When you’re stuck in a job that doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything for your growth, it’s really easy to waste time (read: spend an entire afternoon browsing facebook). If you’re bored and don’t have any specific goals you’re working towards - being unproductive is almost…natural.

So, check how you’re using your time. For the next 3 days, keep a time log: How many times do you take “snack” breaks? How often are you pulling up social media “just to check”?

After keeping track of how you spend your time at work, as yourself: Does it align with the goals that you want to achieve? What are you spending the most - and least - amount of time on?

Sometimes, it’s easier if you find someone or something to hold you accountable. Maybe it’s a work bff or your roommate. One of my favorite ways to do this writing out your top 3 goals for the next day the evening before. Continue to check in with just those 3 things throughout the day - no matter if you have a million other small tasks to complete.

…or Instagram stories to watch (just kidding!).

In my mind, the most important thing to remember here is that nothing terrible lasts forever, right?

I remember when I was feeling overwhelmed in my first job, it seemed like I would never get out. I became upset at the idea that I would never leave or find something that I loved.

After going through it (and finding a career I’m passionate about!), I realized that I just needed to take a breather. To understand that this role could actually offer me something interesting if I stopped putting all this weird pressure on it.

So, take a breather. I promise you will find your thing - just don’t forget to make the most of where you’re at right now.

Katina Mountanos