Did you ever play the game, “I went to grandmother’s house and bought…”it’s one of those childhood games that seems to be handed down from generation to generation. The winner of the game is the one who can recite the long list of items without forgetting any item. Hopefully, by then, you truly ARE at grandma’s house or where ever your destination may be.
Like the “grandma list,” there are often many things we need to do to get us to life’s destinations. I work with people who are often re-entering the job market, looking for a better job, wanting to relocate, or vying for a different career/industry. While we are on the path to get “there,” many of us face the need to find what I used to call a “survival job.”
Maybe you’ve been in this very situation yourself or know someone who is. You probably have a good idea what this type of job looks like. It’s usually one that doesn’t require a lot of skills, it doesn’t pay a lot, and/or working conditions/hours are the pits. But this job can be a way to get from Point A to Point B. And for this reason, I have decided to give it a more positive “spin” and call it what it is…a Gateway Job.
But here’s what you need to consider before taking this route…
How determined are you? A gateway job may provide money for bills, but it’ll take you more time to reach your goals. Do you have the perseverance and determination to continue working toward your ultimate goal? Will you have the energy and time after working your shifts?
Boredom. Often gateway jobs can be routine. Several years ago, I took a part-time job as a benefits clerk—basically filing. Can you hear me yawning? I talked with my coach and she gave me good advice, “Be the best clerk you can be.” So, I decided to make up goals for myself. “I will finish up to the letter M before I leave.” It made the time go quicker (in all honesty, not quick enough). And, I did have time to work on my new business after I came home.
Life on hold. Your life isn’t waiting for you until you get your “ideal” job. Life is around you right now, wherever you go, whatever you do. We often confuse our purpose with our job. I can remember when I was laid off and I introduced myself to others, I would quickly talk about my former job like I was nothing without it. It took a while for me to realize I am not my job and my essence stays with me.
Choices. There are a lot of emotions that you will feel as you go to work at this job. You could feel resentment that you have to take such a job when you have so much more potential. Yes, you have many skills and a bright future ahead of you. And yes, you could be doing much more. Remind yourself why you decided on this option at this particular crossroad facing you. It IS a choice. It is YOUR choice. What’s the best alternative? If there is a better choice, then by all means, pursue that option.
A happy heart. If your answer continues to be go with a gateway job, then reframe your thinking. You want to get to acceptance and even joy. This job is freeing you from the heaviness and worry you had that prevented you from pursing your dreams. Consider this job a blessing. Keep your heart grateful and enjoy whatever benefits you reap from this opportunity and where ever it may lead you.
Knowing you are taking some action will help you to have more positive energy. It’s kind of like committing to a diet. You may not have lost any weight, but the fact that you’re taking a step in the right direction for your future will lift your spirits immediately.
So instead of having a worried or angry aura about you, you will feel more relaxed and confident when you arrive for that all important interview, meeting, or presentation.
Hidden Gifts. Your expectations may be low ayou start this job, but if you keep your eyes and heart open, you might find unexpected joys and benefits. No doubt you will learn new skills and you will increase your knowledge about a new industry or company. But perhaps, you will find an opportunity to help a co-worker or a customer in a special way. Maybe this job proves to be much more and it changes your direction.