Don’t quit your job, even if it’s a bad one.
My great Uncle Donny grew up in remote Arkansas. He tells of going hunting with friends for squirrels. On their way out into the woods, the boys passed Grandpa, holding his shotgun just sitting in a plastic folding chair in front of an enormous oak, right along the tree line.
“Grandpa, come with us.”
“No, thanks boys. Ya’ll have fun.”
And they did have fun, hunting all afternoon, walking miles upon miles.
Sundown saw them coming back up the back forty to meet up with grandpa, their day’s haul proudly displayed. Grandpa smiled knowingly, and showed them his squirrels, shot from the folding chair. You know the end of the story now, even though its true, right? Grandpa had just as many squirrels as the boys who had taken the long loop around the valley.
You’ll never get the perfect job because face it, you’re not the perfect person. Finding that perfect position means that you’ll only screw it up. Sorry.
For 20 years, my pattern was that of many young adults. Eighteen to twenty four months and I’d need a change. Change apartments, change jobs, change, change. I could never seem to quite “get there.” My ideas were working, I felt I was makjng a difference, but the breakthrough, both personally and professionally, just wasn’t coming.
As I look back, that fascination with change is endemic of my generation and the one that comes after. Except we aren’t climbing the ladder. We’re broadening our experiences. (Read Code for “not going anywhere.”)
Here’s the truth. At some point, your experience is broad enough. I don’t currently employ someone, but if I did I’d rather hire someone who worked their way up from the mail room to the marketing department than someone who got their degree in marketing and has had 5 jobs in 6 years.
Stick with that bad job for four or five years. You’ll be amazed what you learn and how you will grow. When you make the shift, you won’t be shifting from menial to menial but from mid-level to mid-upper-level.
Retro-gunge-hippie is only cool for a decade or so. Trust me. Or don’t. We’ll hang out in your parents basement and watch TV on your huge TV, play some video games and then I’ll go home to my wife, kids and life.