How to like a job you loathe? 3 ways to feel better about a stop-gap role.
This job is beneath me. I’m so bored. My co-workers are no fun. My boss micro-manages. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I’m embarrassed to tell people what I do or where I work.
At some point in recovery, you are likely to find yourself doing work that simply does not work for you. Your addiction or co-occurring issues may have led your career off the rails or prevented you from even launching a career. Once you’ve done the work of treatment and early recovery and are becoming more stable, a stop-gap job may be the next step in your journey.
Purpose Of Stop-Gap Jobs
Also known in the treatment and recovery world as a “get well job,” “recovery job,” “placeholder job,” or “J.O.B.”, a stop-gap job is likely to be a stepping-stone role. It is not necessarily commensurate with your prior work life or education. It’s less about lofty professional ambitions and more about near-term needs.
The stop-gap job is a place to show up (even if working from home) where people are counting on you. It’s a way to earn some money, build or rebuild employment history, and cultivate positive references. Stop-gap jobs are key for building a sense of purpose, self-esteem, and independence.
Positive Attitude Will Only Get You So Far
You know this job is just one more step in your recovery journey and not the end of the road. You are grateful that someone has even hired you. You try to start work each day with a positive attitude and appreciation for the opportunity to put one foot in front of the other and be productive.
So, what do you do when a “grin-and-bear-it” approach starts to wear thin?
Consider these three ways to like a job you loathe or at least can better tolerate.
1. Know that you are more than your job.
Your identity and sense of self spring from much more than the thing you do to get a paycheck. The problem, though, is that you spend a lot of waking hours doing a job. Even if part-time, a job can seem to consume much of your time because you expend mental energy dreading it, being bored or uncomfortable at it, or feeling drained after it. So, it is easy to let work creep into your sense of self. If you are not comfortable identifying with the work you do or the place you work, your sense of self might suffer.
But you are much more than a job or a workplace. As you have worked on your recovery, you’ve no doubt been carving out a new identity. The new you is someone with integrity, a strong sense of values, and greater self-awareness. Maybe the new you is someone who gives back to others rather than using others, as you might have done when you were using.
Your new identity is about lots of things that any one job cannot take away, diminish, or negate. Remember this point when you start feeling too entwined in a job you dislike. And then you will like a job you loathe.
2. Take control where you can.
Whether Reinhold Neibuhr’s ubiquitous Serenity Prayer is a staple of your recovery or you prefer other mantras and meditations, you have no doubt in some way gained the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and cannot change. Accepting what you cannot change, or control, about your stop-gap job is one way to find some peace in an unpleasant situation. But you might not have to surrender completely to your job. Taking control will help you like a job you loathe.
Even in a low-wage job with limited responsibility, narrow scope of influence, and a boss who expects you just to show up, shut up, and do the work, you might have more control than you think.