How I’m Making the Most of a Dead End Job

23 07 2008

A couple months ago I walked into my bosses office after a few weeks of pure boredom in my job:

“We need to talk,” I said, “I enjoy working for you, and I feel like I have gained a great deal of priceless experience, but I’ve been increadibly bored over the past few weeks and when I ask for more work I get bitch work.  I need to know where my job is going.”

He was caught a little off guard, but responded “Well, to be perfectly honest, there is no vertical growth in our department.  If you were to stay at this company it would be in another department.  You aren’t thinking of quitting already are you?”

I smiled, “You know I always look for more responsibility.”

I appreciate his honesty, but I was caught off guard a bit by his frankness.  On one hand it’s good to know, but on the other I was just told I was in a dead end job and I needed to figure out my next move.  My lingering question became, do I start to look for a new job then (after 6 months on the job, the last person in my job lasted 7), or do I do as I’ve been told by most people I’ve met with…stick it out for at least a year.

Fast Forward 2 weeks.  I have breakfast with a powerful HR executive who I met through my father-in-law (networking extraordinaire).  I ask him about my situation to further our conversation, and because as a general rule… effective networking occurs when you ask for advice.  His response was just as I imagined.  “Stick it out for at least a year,” he then caught me off guard, “then send me your resume.”

I was flattered, to say the least, but I still had 6 more months to stick it out… I’m fine with being worked to death, but pure boredom is another thing all together.  I would later find out from a co-worker that the girl who had my job before me watched Grey’s Anatomy and anything else she could online, and that the guy before her brought in DVD’s to watch at work.  This is something I could NEVER do, I view it as wrong on any number of levels, so I would need to find other things to busy myself.

Today I’ve been on the job about 10 months, and I have become the unofficial corporate webmaster, in charge of maintaining our less than par website that was put up in the mid ’90s.  I have since made it my goal to get us a new corporate website, actually this is something I told my boss we needed right after I was hired.

I began lobbying slowly, but gained some backers and was able to successfully create a presentation on why we need a new website.  The presentation was successful and I got the corporate funding for it (very surprising because of the cost cutting measures my company has taken).  Now I am the point man on working with company executives from all departments and a 3rd party firm to develop the site.  I’ve been balancing schedules and putting together an advisory team to watch over the development.  I got much busier when working towards the new site, and I even took stuff home with me one night (something I never do).

By broadening my exposure and working toward my goal of getting the new site, I now have something that gets me excited for work.  It is well outside of my job description, but it has enabled me to gain invaluable management experience and exposure that will surely look good on my resume and aid me in the search for my next position.


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9 responses

24 07 2008
Philip

Wow, very proactive approach that you have taken. I am in a similar position at the 6 month point. I feel that I am not getting all that I should be, and have many days that I feel that I have not contributed much to the bottom line. I have not done much beyond asking managers about it. I may need to jump further up and mention my concerns. As you said, when you ask for more stuff they give you the bitch work. Hopefully within a few months I can get things turned around.

24 07 2008
danielb

Philip, be careful to to get to the point where you are comfortable doing nothing and surfing the net, waiting for work. Because then when the work actually comes, you won’t want to do it and you’ll procrastinate on it!

26 07 2008
Josh

One of the best blog posts I’ve ever read… its a principle I wish I could apply to my own working, even my whole life…

Thanks for that

27 07 2008
Ryan @ Smarter Wealth

Wow, this sounds like a great way to spice up your job life a little bit.
I am currently doing interning at my church and I am finding this very boring, I need something to spice it up for the next 4 months (when I finish bible college) and this has given me a great idea. Thankyou

28 07 2008
stetoscope

Cool, now you’re easy with your job and that is a good story to tell to your next job research. Some people in business school describe this like being an entreprenor in a big company. Well done !

28 07 2008
danielb

@Josh, Thanks!

@ Ryan, take your ideas and run with them. You can’t be scared to share them or chase them!

@ Stetoscope, Exactly! I double majored in Finance and Entrepreneurship in college, and that’s exactly what I’ve found myself trying to do. This is one of many ideas I’ve had for my company that I have pitched to them. Some are good, some aren’t, but they always want to listen when I have another because I have the ability to do what others at my company don’t…Think Outside The Box!

28 07 2008
ontrider

@danielb – do the one year thing but get going after that! haha… that’s one of the reasons I quit my job as well. Too many people start surfing the net or watching dvds and get complacent and never advance.

Btw… the website project sounds cool, that’s my field so if you want to bounce anything off me ever, feel free.

28 07 2008
danielb

Thanks for the offer Ont!

29 07 2008
Mr Dave

This is exactly the position I’m in. I started here 6 months ago, and while I haven’t completely run out of work, we don’t currently have the budget to implement the changes the company needs infrastructure wise. I’m keeping things running, but it’s hard to stay motivated when you feel like all you’re doing is treading water. I have to force myself to keep from slacking at work and getting in to bad (old) habits.

I think a lifestyle change my be necessary as I usually feel much better about the job in the afternoon than I do when I get here first thing in the morning. Perhaps it’s time to start hitting the gym in the mornings to ensure I’m awake by the time I get her.

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