Full confession: I am the classic incarnation of the over-acheiver who’s far too involved.
Not only am I a serial volunteer, performer, and student; but I work 4 jobs on rotation. People literally stare at me as if I have three heads when I tell them how I’ve more or less got my finger in every pie. I make excuses for myself sometimes, like, “It’s really not a big deal. I can deal with the workload, it’s nothing impressive.”
But I get it. It IS a big deal, I do sound a little off my rocker. It’s overwhelming to some people, and they assume that I’m overworked and totally stressed. Which, is true on occasion – I have my days; ask anyone.
Here’s the reason I do it: I ADORE WHAT I DO. I am madly, passionately in love with my work. They say that if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life – and they’ve got it. That’s the key.
Millennials are often thrown under the bus for “wanting too much” from their jobs, and told that their dream job is unrealistic. As someone who has her dream jobs (at this point in my life, anyways), I want to give a few tips for finding a fulfilling job and/or making the most of one you already have because it absolutely can be done – especially as a student, so many doors are open for you.
1. Don’t pass off anything as “boring”
Before moving to Toronto, I worked in a grocery store in my small town for four years. It was your typical gruelling, “get your foot in the door” first job…and looking back, I loved it! Why? I learned to bond with people I might never have interacted with otherwise, and grew super fond of my regular customers and enjoyed playing a passing role in their lives. It allowed me pay my dues and gain some financial independence, there were always hilarious antics flying around (lip-sync face-offs on slow nights, amusing customer anecdotes), and overall I learned to adhere to a high level of professionalism and accountability. Now, I look to find the little joys in every task I perform.
2. Pick jobs where there’s growth potential…then challenge yourself
For the love of all things holy, don’t go for something where you’re gonna wing it on the first day. I always say that if I’m a little nervous in my job interview, it means that I want it badly enough to face the challenges ahead. Between the different positions I hold right now, I’m working my butt off to develop skills like qualitative and quantitative research methods, spreadsheet calculations, using my second language on a professional platform, basic accounting and financial management, public speaking and performance, and social media marketing and service. I never thought I’d be doing a lot of these things, and sometimes the responsibility freaks me out – but when I give it my all, I learn a lot and feel super proud of myself.
3. Commit to good working atmospheres and foster relationships
My bosses are the coolest. My co-workers are my friends. I love love love going into the office. Why? The environment is founded upon mentorship and support – I never feel alone. My employers are accommodating and welcoming, committed to my success as an employee. I intentionally go for jobs where people are friendly and consistently aim for open communication in a positive, affirming atmosphere. And man, does it ever make a difference! You can learn so much from your co-workers, and not just in a professional sense. My co-workers kept me on track, motivated, and positive throughout this year, and I can’t thank them enough for that.
In the end, a job should never just be “a job”, it’s about your whole experience. Take your work seriously and give it your all. Whether you have the coolest gig or you’re making the most of what you’ve got, you’ll take SOMETHING away from it. Some positions are going to rock/suck more than others. Sometimes you will fail, but maybe that means you’re one step closer to success.
Hopefully, if your stars align like mine did, you’ll one day gladly label yourself a workaholic.
Happy job hunting! DFTBA,