Stuck in a Job That's Beneath You? Here's How to Let Go of Ego While You're Biding Time
Career Fit

Stuck in a Job That's Beneath You? Here's How to Let Go of Ego While You're Biding Time

by Lauren Shank
Photos Ruth Yaroslaski | September 23, 2015

LET'S FACE IT: IT'S STILL A TOUGH JOB MARKET OUT THERE. DESPITE YOUR BEST EFFORTS, YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF APPLYING FOR A POSITION THAT'S NOT EXACTLY IDEAL. 

Maybe you’re searching for a job after a layoff, or the job you landed doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it was. It’s common in this scenario to feel our ego whisper: “I’m way too good for this.”  But as savvy career women, we know the value of a “foot in the door.” The key is not getting it stuck there. Here’s how to make sure a less than savory job doesn’t hinder your career progress.  

PIN A LIST OF GOALS TO YOUR CUBICLE WALL

When you find yourself in a job you consider beneath you, make a list of your goals including where you want to end up. This is an easy and quick way to make sure you don’t lose motivation. If you find yourself working on mind-numbing tasks, focus on your end goal.  No one will promote the girl with an ego that proclaimed she was too good for her work, and no manager is ever going to give a stellar reference for a girl who always brushed aside her tasks. Show you’re a team player.

As you bide time for the right job, remind yourself that it’s OK to choose strategically. Having a current job means you’ve got more flexibility during your search. 

GO ABOVE AN BEYOND ON SIMPLE TASKS

There’s no better way to attract management’s attention than by taking routine tasks to the next level. {Click to Tweet} If your boss asks you to put files away in a disorganized file cabinet or create the slide deck, treat the work like it’s any challenging project. Step up. Reorganize the files or align the presentation to your company’s branding. These moments provide the perfect opportunity to make ourselves stand out to those above us.  

EMBODY CONFIDENCE

It’s important to remember the difference between confidence and ego. Don’t wallow. When you’re confident you’re qualified for a better job, you’ll put that energy out. Showcase your skills and display your confidence by dressing for the job you want. Managers will consider you promotion potential if you look the part.

Confidence also plays an important role internally when you evaluate your job situation. As you bide time for the right job, remind yourself that it’s OK to choose strategically. Having a current job means you’ve got more flexibility during your search. Still, confidence that breeds arrogance won’t help. Don’t fear asking for a promotion if the time’s right, but don’t complain about the work you’re doing currently. Many companies promote high achievers and often take notice when they’re clearly overqualified for a position but still dedicated. Remind yourself it’s not forever and roll up your sleeves. {Click to Tweet}

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Have you been in a similar job situation? Tell us how you overcame negative thoughts in the comments below.