Making the Best of a Bad Job

Career Blog

Published: November 1, 2016 by Kate M. Spaulding

What to do if what you thought was a good choice turns out not to be so great?

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s an election next Tuesday. Throughout America, from the top of the ballot to the bottom, there are choices for us to make. Depending where you live, you could be voting for city council members, Senators, state representatives, new bond measures, or school boards. Here in California, we have 17(!!) propositions to consider and 223 pages (plus all of the internet) to help us choose.

But even with all of the options clearly delineated and all of the information at our fingertips, sometimes none of the choices are ideal. This is true in elections, and it’s also true in life, from medical care to internet providers to insurance plans and your career. All you can do is to make the best choice you can with the best information you have at the time.

So what to do if what you thought was a good choice turns out not to be so great?

It’s Not You, It’s Them

First, you need to move beyond feeling bad about your decision. You made the best choice you could at the time, and it’s not your fault that new information came to light or the situation changed somehow (new boss or coworkers, new owners, new mission, etc.). Being able to get over any feelings of guilt or the like will allow you to…

Make It Work for You

Figure out how to make the best of the situation. Regardless of your job description or any drama swirling around you, there are a few ways to do that:

  • Be a friendly, professional and positive team player.
  • Be awesome at your job: take your responsibilities seriously, submit excellent work, and always meet deadlines.
  • Be adventurous: take risks by taking on projects that require you to learn new skills. Doing so will serve you well at your current job, and the skills you gain will make you a stronger candidate for the next one.
  • Build your network. Your new coworkers are new connections, and down the road they could be the reference or friend-of-a-friend who helps you land a new job. Impress them now!

Basically, you want to use your current job to set you up for future opportunities. This election season will pass, but your reputation and skills? Those are forever.


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