Saturday, July 17, 2010

Don't Quit Your Fake Job

A coworker told me that she thinks of the job she'll get after college (a job that lines up with her area of study) as a "real" job, while she and her friends joke about their current, part time, entry level jobs by calling them "fake" jobs.

I suppose I started at the place I still work when I was looking for a fake job to get me through college. I did not start out enjoying it much, and I had little interest in it beyond the paycheck. I never expected to apply for and get a promotion with the company. I never expected to stay on nine years. I never expected to find it as fulfilling as I do. Yet, today (well, not today, since it's my day off...) I still head to the same business to put in my forty hours a week. It turns out, I'm passionate about it. I have fun. I get to be creative. I get to interact with interesting, friendly, and funny people. I get to grow and be challenged. If I may say so myself, I think I'm good at it.

But the question is this: Since I'm not working in the field I intend to do my life's work in, is my job a fake job? See, I have always planned to be a writer, not work in retail and business. I asked my coworker what she thought. As I think back to her response, I think I put her in a tough spot, and I don't remember getting a firm answer out of her. I think, in her opinion, it still qualifies as a fake job, since my current position doesn't tie in directly to my main career goal of being a full time novelist.

Now, I like this coworker, but I find that I have to challenge this idea of the existence of fake jobs. Any job can teach you social and professional skills you'll need when you make it into your dream job. Besides, you never know how long it'll take you to get a break into the field of your choice. Considering while you wait, you might want a promotion or a raise or a good reference from your current employer, you're doing yourself a disservice by not doing your best at whatever job you're in - and who does their best at a "fake" job? You have an obligation to yourself and to God to make the best of what's available to you. Even if that means answering phones with a smile in a call center.

By the way, if you've got a job that you like a job and find fulfilling, certainly don't write it off as "fake" just because the paycheck cowers and runs from the whopper paychecks your friends bring home from jobs in more lucrative fields. Your own happiness is more important than an impressive bank account.

So love the job you're in. Keep it real.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! If nothing else, your performance on your "fake" job will affect your references and your resume for that "real" job, so it's important to put forth 100%. Also, for Christians, it's an important part of your testimony. Lazy, lying, gossiping, unreliable employees can put a bad face on Christianity for everyone in that workplace.