Meaningful Life Lessons From Meaningless Jobs: You Can't Excel If..

Published: July 16, 2020

We all take jobs that we might not have taken if other circumstances would have allowed. Some people must take jobs during or after high school to help feed or provide for their families, some growing. Certain necessities and scenarios set themselves up and you’re now filling out a W2 for a chain company that you never thought you’d work for.

The lessons may not have been clear then, but as we learn, hindsight is 20/20. You feuded with coworkers, worked for a tyrant boss, and did favors for a half-brained cotton-headed-ninny-muggins—and all for what? Could you be learning meaningful lessons from meaningless jobs? We’re going to examine that topic today.

Lessons Present Themselves in Funny Ways

That boss or coworker might just be a lesson in disguise: all the life knowledge I’ve collected tells me that it is. The universe will throw lessons disguised as trivial life experiences at you, such as having you work with a terrible coworker. The moral of the story might not surface immediately, but it will in time. For now, just observe.

Five Meaningful Lessons 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you how I learned many meaningful lessons from many seemingly meaningless jobs. Since the age of 16, I’ve been working in customer service, so the number of lessons I’ve been blessed to learn are countless. However, for the purpose of this writing, I’ve narrowed these lessons down to five, which I learned at five different jobs.

The universe will put you in bad jobs or relationships in order for you to learn meaningful life lessons. 

Pandemic Hindsight Is Crystal Clear

While hindsight normally is 20/20, hindsight when a global disaster strikes is even crisper. Is that 30/20? Pandemic hindsight is like air traffic controller hindsight: you can see better than the rest of the crowd! And without a job, you have plenty of time for rumination, as you might know.

Reflecting on all the jobs I’ve had, I realized I learned many valuable lessons that I want you to know, too. The best part about sharing with others is that you can learn from them if you allow yourself to. Take these valuable lessons back to your meaningless job and you’ll find it to be less meaningless. Remember, life doesn’t put you in random situations. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

Meaningful Lesson Learned 

In this post, and as a start to the series, you’ll read all about excelling, in and outside of the workplace. What keeps you from excelling and being the best version of yourself? How can you identify harmful situations that stunt your growth? By the end of this, you’ll know when you’re in a non-growth situation and what to do about it so that you can be the best version of yourself. Some may call this process working toward your highest self.

You Can’t Excel If…

Your situation won’t allow for it! How can you grow to be your best if your environment is harmful or not self-serving? Here’s a hint: you won’t. You’ll resent your job for holding you back from what you want, like doing something creative or spending time with loved ones.

Looking for Lessons in All the Wrong Places

I was working at a hotel in Orlando, Florida when I learned this meaningful life lesson. I deemed this job meaningless because I took a step down when I accepted the offer. However, once I started to show my duties, I ended up taking over bar management, a new area that I was excited to grow into.

Having worked for this company since college, I knew the operational side of its business more than did the average hire. Not to mention I had over ten years’ experience in the field. I should have excelled and been working my way up at that job year after year. Guess how long I lasted? Three months. Yup. That was the shortest job I ever held, and it was a cold welcome to hot Central Florida.

Why Didn’t I Excel?

I didn’t find myself excelling at that job because my situation didn’t allow for it! My superiors micromanaged liquor accounts to the point where I had a hard time keeping basic items in stock. With a lack of time and a limited training budget, I couldn’t hold instructional sessions that were desperately needed. Given the lapse of communication between the supervisors, such as I, and the managers meant that the managers overlooked my sharp eye for restaurant flow. I sent emails to my team and the higher-ups with ideas, spreadsheets, PowerPoints, and even data and company-wide brand audit failures and would receive a reply to “let the executive team handle that.”

So what kept me from excelling, learning, and growing into my highest self was my situation. I was quieted, ignored, and unrecognized for talents that I spent years honing! If I’m being frank, it f&@*ing made me mad! 

How To Identify Non-Growth Situations and What To Do

Identifying situations where you’re not growing, or being harmed, can be tricky. I wondered if it was just me if I was being dramatic. But people aren’t dramatic. People have genuine reactions to genuine situations. My gut knew I was being negatively impacted by my situation.

Recognize Hints

So that’s the first tip: Listen to your gut. It will always tell you! You also will know by repeated effort failures. Do you keep trying to get one task accomplished but never can? Did you used to love to head into work but now dread the drive? Are you having a hard time making connections or friends? These are all tiny hints from the universe that say, “Seek elsewhere, my friend!”

Turn Thought Into Action

You started paying attention to the universe’s hints. Perfect, you’re doing wonderful, darling (read in English accent for total comedic effect). You’re thinking, now what? Take those thoughts of leaving that sorry ass job and turn them into action moves.

Start talking to your support system about switching jobs. I knew it was time to switch jobs after my mom made me realize how bad I really had it. Look at job postings, reach out to potential employers just to chat. You might have a better chance of finding a better job than you had thought possible. You’ll be surprised to find out that once you start to choose better for yourself, the universe rewards you.

What This Has To Do With Life

The lesson that you cannot excel if your situation that won’t allow for it can be applied to many other environments. Looking to sleep better? Examine where you sleep. Is there a bright light always facing your bed that could be holding you back from producing melatonin? If so, you’ve got yourself a non-growth situation.

Perhaps while reading this you can’t stop thinking about your relationship. You’re not alone, I promise. A job or relationship might be the easiest way for you to learn a lesson that the universe wants you to learn! Listen to the universe and respect it. Dive deep into your relationship and decide whether or not it serves you. Literally ask your highest self to show you whether the situation you’re in is serving you positively. It’ll be happy to guide you, but only if you’re willing to listen and invite it to intervene.

Why Do I Care About Excelling?

Excelling in the workplace, or in life in general, means you’re fully living. Growth, self-reflection, and hidden messages are some parts of what living a human life is about. Without growth and excelling, we wouldn’t be where we are. Our intelligence and ability to examine our lives are an ornately human experience. If you’re into that; that’s cool! I love to learn in order to move forward. And if you’re reading about meaningful life lessons, I’m willing to bet you care about growth too.

Say It Again (and This Mantra!), You Can’t Excel If …

Your situation doesn’t allow for it. Love yourself enough to allow room for growth so that you can be the best version of yourself. Use your gut to identify non-growth situations, start to take some action moves, and get ready to accept the universe’s gifts. You can even try a mantra like, “I identify situations that no longer serve me, and I chose better for myself.” 

There are still four more Meaningful Life Lessons from Meaningless Jobs to come, you guys! Stay tuned. If you want to be notified via e-mail when I post the next lesson, just comment below!


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One thought on “Meaningful Life Lessons from Meaningless Jobs: You Can’t Excel If

  1. Lorrie says:

    You are a great “teacher” ❤️

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