What do you do when you figure out that you have been hired without a purpose? Let me explain. Sometimes people are hired for a job and within a few days, weeks, or months have realized that they have absolutely no reason to be there or that the job they applied for is non-existent. Trust me it happens, it happened to me three times (companies shall remain nameless, but we will call them Job A, B, and C). I want to talk about the six tricks and tips I have learned throughout the years to re-establish yourself into companies that hired you without fully considering the position or your abilities. Now, these are not jobs like a bank teller, chef, or nurse. Most of the time careers of that nature are procedural or have very specific duties aligned with the role. I am talking about jobs where a professional can wake up and ask themselves before heading to work “I wonder what I have to do today?” or while at work “Why the hell am I here?”
It is so easy to get into the habit of getting up every morning and going to a job without purpose, collecting a paycheck and just waiting for throwaway assignments, tedious work, or secretarial work. To some that may be desirable, but it makes you disposable. If things get rough in the company you will be the first on the chopping block, plus you have nothing to bring to the table to your next job. So here is what to do:
Reevaluate the job description you applied for and what your duties have been for the past few months.
This is the first step in actually figuring out a game plan for change. You need to read the job description that you applied for and line it up with the actual job duties you are doing. Is it similar? Are you doing some of the items listed? Then you need to ask yourself a crucial question…..why are you NOT doing any of the things listed? Does the company not trust you to accomplish these tasks because you have failed on smaller task? Are you fully qualified to cover these tasks? Are these task being completed by another employee?
Change your attitude and do assignments well.
This is hard. Coming to a job that you feel is pointless is hard to care about, but it shows on your face and everyone can see it. It is difficult to be happy and helpful when you know that you just paid X amount to go to college and all you do is answer the phones, file paperwork, and wait around for throwaway assignments. Seriously…stop it, lose the attitude. When you getting crappy assignments, do them as quickly as possible and do them properly. Then after you are done ask if there is anything you can do to help that person who gave you the assignment. You never know they may give you a chunk of proposals to write, but whatever it does it better than expected. As lame as it sounds stuff like that shows how capable and a team player you are, it builds trust. Trusted people get important assignments.
Be likable and be loyal.
When you feel as though you are working in a job without purpose the thought of getting handed the pink slip can loom over your head. So you need a quick fix to make it difficult to get your marching orders. Now being nice or liked is not going to deter companies from firing you, but it makes it harder. If your bosses like you and feel like you are a team player then they are not going to be quick to cut the excess (aka you). As far as being loyal, while working at that company make sure that when you speak about your job or company in a positive manner. This piece of advice might seem obvious, but I have heard way too many people at networking events slam companies (I have been guilty of this at one point). It is not a good look. It’s a tip that needs repeating.
Revamp the job you have.
If you walk into a job every day and wait until someone gives you a morsel of work to do, use that in between time to figure out areas where you can dominate. For example, at Job A there was someone who would handle all of the important jobs and would issue assignments to me daily. It is safe to say that just about every assignment was tedious but necessary. It usually worked that could be finished within the first part of the day. During that time I would research various ways to incorporate different strategies that would modernize the company. Things only I knew how to use and other people did not have time to figure out. Like using social media (not every company has it), QR codes, graphic design programs, various software, establish contacts that only you can talk to, etc. Make yourself useful by incorporating things only you can operate.
Become THAT Person.
I stole this idea from the TV show How I Met Your Mother. It’s the idea that you should become a person known for something, such as; the sports guy, the candy guy, the movie guy, and so on. Well as superficial as that may seem, becoming something that you are known for in the workplace is a great idea. Instead of being superficial about the idea it can be transformed professionally. For instance job B, I am the person they call when people go on vacation or call out sick. Job B is my side job that I use to supplement my income, which means to both me and the company I am expendable. It’s a tough life to know that straight up. Fortunately, because it is a shift job the full-time employees cannot work more than a certain amount of hours per week per day. This means when someone needs a shift covered they can only call someone who has not filled up their hours per day per week. That person would be me, I am the only person for that location so I am not getting the boot anytime soon. Why? Simply because companies do not hire people on standby, it just worked out in my favor. Granted it’s not a ton of money working that way, but it is a side job that I want to keep. Plus an extra few hundred dollars a month for a few days of work is always welcomed.
Explore other options.
It’s a harsh reality. If you have honestly tried to fix the situation or have tried the tips listed above and you are still not getting the results you want maybe it’s time to move on (a job C situation). DO NOT QUIT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANOTHER JOB! Until you can find a new path to walk down you should keep your job and work as hard as you have been. Continue to be a team player you still need to get great recommendations.