Why taking a job doing anything is a bad idea.


By David Joel Miller.

You need a job and are willing to do almost anything, should you?

No Job

No Job
Photo courtesy of Flickr ( Hopefoote, Ambassador of the Wow)

People in early recovery frequently are looking for a job.  When we ask them what kind of job that would like they often say “anything.”

When you’re short on money, most people are willing to do just about any job in the short run.  But over the long haul many jobs doing anything burn people out and leads to unhappiness.

In your search for a job, before you take that job doing anything, here are some things you need to consider.  If you take a job that is a bad idea, you are unlikely to be successful and may not be on the job very long.

Here are some things to consider before you take that job doing “anything.”

Is it a job or a career?

Is this job you’re looking for going to lead to something else?  Something you would be willing to do the rest of your life?  When possible consider pursuing a career.  Ask yourself if there are possibilities for advancement?  Can you see yourself doing this week after week year after year?  People who have careers can see how what you’re doing today can lead to a better future.  People who only work a job, hope that they will make enough money so that they can enjoy what they do when they’re not working.

Will you like it?

Is that job you’re looking at something you will enjoy doing?  Or is this something that will be unpleasant and you’ll have to put up with in order to get that paycheck.  Will this job doing anything support or hinder your recovery. People who have happy lives derive a lot of pleasure out of what they do during the workday

Can you do it?

It’s a really serious mistake to take a job knowing you won’t be able to do the job when you get it.  Some jobs require are a high level of physical strength and you can hurt yourself trying to do something beyond your abilities.  To be successful on some jobs you will need skills or academic degrees.  It’s really embarrassing and bad for your resume when you end up getting fired from a job because you exaggerated your qualifications.

Will the hours kill the rest of your life?

Some people can do shift work, stay up all night and still have a life.  Other people find that the rest of their life, their family their friends, suffer as a result of the hours their job requires.  If this job involves working weekends, evenings or an odd work schedule, consider the impact it will have on your family and the rest of your life.

Will it make you sick?

Some jobs can be outright health hazards.  Think about the working conditions you will be exposed to.  Can you take the heat or humidity?  Will you be exposed to dangerous chemicals?  Do you have any medical conditions that would be aggravated by being out in the sun?  Think about whether this is a fast paced or stressful job and how that might affect your emotional health.

Can you stand the people you will have to work with?

Who you are going to be working with is almost as important as the work you’re going to be doing. Being with a group of people you like can help make a routine, boring job go better.  Many jobs involve teamwork and to do that you will need to fit in with a group.  It can be really stressful to work with a group of people you would not want to associate with outside of work

Is this job a stepping stone or end of the road?

It’s not unusual to start out at an entry-level job.  Ask yourself if this job you’re considering could lead to something else or will you be stuck doing a routine boring job the rest of your time with this company.  For some people, if the pay is high enough they can be content to spend their entire careers on a routine job.  But if what you are doing and are being paid, to begin with, is not acceptable, and there’s no chance for advancement, you are likely to burn out quickly.

Would you want their reputation?

Companies consider your reputation when they are decided if they should hire you.  You should do the same.  Working for a company with a bad reputation can be a really trying experience.  You don’t want to work for a company that you would be embarrassed to tell your family and friends about.

Is there more than money?

Some jobs are strictly for the money.  Low paid jobs often come with little or no benefits.  When considering a job ask yourself does it include paid holidays, sick leave, or other benefits?  If you miss some work because you’re sick that paycheck may be less than the amount you need to live on.

The next time you have to do a job search spend some time thinking about exactly the kind of job you want and avoid the trap of taking the first job you find doing anything.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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