As a 2008 graduate with a BA in public relations from a pretty reputable school of journalism, I feel like I have definitely fallen victim to the economic turmoil by working a job that I think is beneath me. I shouldn’t be opening mail with a letter opener, or getting griped at to make sure the fax machine has enough paper in it. I should be drafting a press release for an exciting upcoming event! I should be having a long, company-credit-card-paid-for lunch with a reporter, all while sharing my thoughts on the cutting edge direction my business is going!
Not Quite Like I Thought It Would Be
Finding a new career that will get me on the path to those press releases and power lunches has been a real struggle, though, because there’s always someone with more experience, more unpaid internships they were able to take on, and more connections just waiting in the wings to swoop in for the win while I go through interviews and get the subsequent rejection e-mails and letters. I was struggling last month, blindly applying to every job I thought I might be able to love, just to get away from my current job and away from the letter opener.
With a series of fruitless interviews behind me and a little bit of a better understanding of the type of job I don’t want—plus a vast expanse of nothingness in terms of future job openings to apply to—I decided to turn my drive inwards and develop my skills more fully where I’m at, so that I can really make my resume shine with tangible skills, rather than a vague understanding of the concepts that I need to snag the position I really want
Luckily for me, this shining epiphany comes during the “slow” season here in the office. I am not constantly busy opening a mound of mail or fetching coffee for a carousel of visitors (stuff that sucks but is part of my job), so I can now focus on things like implementing a media strategy, improving parts of our website and print communications that currently aren’t getting across the points we need them to, and writing articles for the magazine (stuff I like but that isn’t at all part of my job description).
I’ve been taking this mentality towards my job for about three weeks now, and my perspective on it has changed drastically. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where I have to spend a lot of time doing tedious administrative tasks that make me sigh and frantically start perusing job postings websites, but the fact that I know the next thing on my list is something “fun” like creating a media kit no one has asked me to do make gets me through the paper pushing tedium that my actual job description encompasses.
As the economy slowly crawls out of the hole it’s been hiding in since I walked my flip-flop clad feet across the stage in May 2008, and more jobs are becoming available, I am taking advantage of the extra time I have at my current company to hone and gain skills that will make me even more valuable at my next job—the one that’ll make me feel like an on-par employee who has the useful skills and knowledgeable opinions that I know I have.
April Blake is a daydreamer with a passion for food, South Carolina, and beer. She will unashamedly pull out a Sharpie to correct grammatical errors on public signage. She writes about all of this and more on her blog, The April Blake, and would like you to follow her on Twitter, but not in real life.
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