The Upside Of Job Angst

Carly Allen, IATG ContributorApril 19, 2016



It was a busy Saturday afternoon, and I had been standing behind a cash register trying to appease an irate customer for almost an hour. I had this hot, shaky feeling that only comes from nerves, no sleep, and an all-coffee diet. A baby screamed to the left of me as a clueless co-worker asked for my help on the right. I looked past the red-faced man in front of me to a long line of customers, many of whom would have their own issues and complaints. There were five more days until Christmas.

I felt momentary relief as the angry customer gave up and began to leave the store. That was until he turned to his young daughter and said, “THIS is why you need to get an education.” I was livid. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and tell him I had my Bachelor’s Degree. I wanted to tell him about my excellent GPA and the prestigious research award I won. I wanted to tell him that I worked three part-time jobs just so I could afford to work at my unpaid internship, and I was going to get a “real job” eventually. I just needed more experience, and applying takes time. Doesn’t he realize that I’m so much more than my stupid job? 

Most of us have jobs we dislike at some point. When you’re starting out, you often don’t have a choice but to begin at the bottom, and the bottom isn’t always pretty. It’s so easy to want to quit, but as long as your job allows you to remain healthy and hopeful, I’m going to tell you why it might benefit you to stay there (at least temporarily).

Know that you are not too good for your job. 

You are likely there because you need money and/or experience, and there is no shame in that. Having a higher education or big goals doesn’t put you above any job. You are starting at the bottom because you lack practice, and are you really in a position to turn down money? Student loans don’t pay themselves. You’ll even find many of your co-workers have degrees or are working towards something bigger. Or maybe the job makes them happy, and that is awesome! 

Don’t underestimate the value of the skills you’ll gain through your job either. I used to be terrible at math until I took on a management role in retail. I had to do math in my head and analyze data to determine how to meet our daily sales goals. This is important in my job today. You also might make excellent connections. My friend found her current job in a dressing room through a woman she was doing a bra fitting for! Every job you take on will teach you something and provide opportunity. 

Don’t pass up a prospect because you think you’re too good for it. You’ll close a lot of doors that way.

Working a job you don’t like will also make you a better employee. When I worked in retail, I had to learn to care about a lot of things that weren’t really important to me. I don’t like letting people down, so I worked hard to be better at my job, despite my initial disinterest. This got me noticed, and eventually promoted. I started to really commit myself, and it taught me that I have perseverance and great potential. If I can learn how to be good at a job I don’t like, then there’s no stopping me when it comes to my dream job! 

You also might not hate your job as much as you think you do. Sure, going five months without a weekend off made retail a drag, but I also met some awesome people who jammed out to 90’s music with me and did hilarious impressions of rude customers after the store closed. I also got free stuff and sweet discounts. Every job has its perks. Sometimes you just have to look on the bright side!

Lastly, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. I felt the need to prove to that angry customer that I was worth something, but it doesn’t matter. Every person deserves to be treated with respect regardless of their education or employment status. You know your own merit and that’s what is important. You have every right to be exactly where you are, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

So keep your job, but don’t stop searching for what you love. You have big plans, and I am rooting for you!


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Are you in a job that you don’t exactly love? Try and look on the bright side of things! Make a list of all the perks, benefits, and great opportunities you’re making at this job! When you focus on the positive, the negative won’t seem quite so gloomy!


FullSizeRender-2.jpgAbout Carly

Carly has a BS in English Literature from The College at Brockport. She is a copy writer and editor in Syracuse, New York and can often be found under a pile of books and various writing projects. You can check out her personal blog at


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  • followed this page 2016-06-23 01:40:18 -0700
  • commented 2016-05-10 06:11:45 -0700
    What an awesome article! Thank you for sharing your experience. I had the exact same situation – working 2 part-time retail jobs as a full-time student, wishing to get a “real” job, & having customers treating me like I was nothing, not knowing that I was working my tail off to pay my way through college. It is character building to go through, but it certainly pays off in the end. I always remember my past retail experiences when I go through the checkout lane at the store & I do my best to treat everyone with respect & dignity. You never know what that cashier’s situation is & how each interaction can influence their life.

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