Doing great at a job you hate

By Melany Hallam

I once watched a news story about Alex Anthopoulos, the Toronto Blue Jays general manager from 2010-2015. I’m so not a sports fan, but I’ll always remember that story because this was a guy who started in the mail room as an unpaid intern and did such an amazing job at work he didn’t like that he was promoted to the general manager of a national baseball team within 10 years.



What I took away from that story were two things:

  • Anthopoulos was always looking for better ways to do his job – more efficient, less costly, etc – no matter what his work happened to be. No detail was too small. In the interview, he seemed to be intensely observant and present.
  • The time he saved by streamlining his job was spent learning and doing what he was really interested in – scouting players. He’d hang out with the scouts, make notes and generally act as if he was already a scout. He did so well acting as a free scout that he was moved into a scouting internship two years later and was then hired by the Blue Jays a year after that.

The rest, as they say, is history. The mail room volunteer is now the vice-president of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

What does this mean to you as a person looking for a summer job in Powell River?

From what I’ve seen, most of the jobs available for the summer are as servers, kitchen help, labourers or summer social or tourism sector assistants. For most of you, these won’t be your dream jobs. But so what? Why not do a great job anyway? Think of it as a challenge.

Maybe you’re getting run off your feet as a restaurant server and it’s just too exhausting. Try serving more customers on one run through your section – more orders, more water glass refills, more cleaning or tidying – and save time by not returning to the kitchen after every order. Is there a grumpy customer at one of your tables? Smile and be polite, or even make a quick joke. Happiness is infectious and it gets more tips, too.

You never know, your next customer might be the owner of a business where you’d like to work. And the better your work ethic at the restaurant, the more glowing you boss’ reference will be when you’re applying for your next job.

Any type of job can teach you how to be more efficient, to solve problems on the fly, to get along with co-workers, to accept criticism gracefully, to provide great customer service and to build your network. No one wants to hire a sulky person who’s an obvious slacker. You never know when an opportunity will come up and you need to be prepared and stay positive, no matter what your current job may be.

Need some more tips? Try these articles:




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