Find the Hidden Career Potential In Your Dead-End Job

How to see the value in every position

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As a GenY kid, you were probably rewarded for dreaming big, encouraged to aspire to do great things and pushed to go for that C-suite office.

But that go-big-or-go-home attitude can cast a shadow on other job opportunities that might not be as glamorous. If you truly want to become a hotshot executive one day, you have to start somewhere. And the difference between an ordinary employee and one who becomes a leader is the ability to see value in every position.

In this tough job market, don't overlook potential opportunities in stereotypically less-than-desirable positions. Ask yourself these questions to help differentiate an opportunity from a dead end, particularly when you're considering a position that may have not been your first choice or target.

1. Will you interact with customers?

You can use direct consumer interaction as an amazing opportunity. The chance to listen to customers and learn what they really think about a product is invaluable.

Take a retail job, for example. These positions are sometimes referenced as dead-end jobs for the unmotivated. In reality, there are only dead-end attitudes. As the direct point of contact, you're the first to see the development and transition of consumer trends. This interaction can provide you with customer insight the CEO might not even know.

A position that requires you to communicate with customers or clients is an opportunity handed to you on a silver platter. Learn to translate that experience into knowledge, then use that knowledge to establish yourself as a valuable, in-the-know employee.

2. Do you have opportunities for growth?

People often write off certain positions because they don't provide much opportunity for growth. Before you pass on a job, find out the opportunities for advancement. Businesses that offer stepping stones present opportunities for longevity and can propel your career forward.

The moving and hauling industry, for example, isn't the most glamorous. At College Hunks Hauling Junk, we've worked hard to combat stereotypes about our field by providing a clear career trajectory for each employee.

Recent college grads are given the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the business and can advance quickly. Our employees are brand ambassadors and have the responsibility of pitching and assisting our clients with their in-home servicing needs. From there, they can advance to assistant location manager and oversee 50 employees. If they do well, they can become a general manager with a six-figure salary.

3. Does the position provide additional training?

In today's job market, skills are everything. A position that provides on-the-job training to help develop your skill set is incredibly valuable. The opportunity to hone and craft a skill set can help launch your career.

When assessing the potential impact of a job opportunity, don't discredit the training that comes with the position. Your drive to build skills and a knowledge base is an attractive quality to employers and can help you develop a niche or specialty. Should you decide to pursue other opportunities down the road, the skills you learn in training can be used to differentiate you from other job seekers.

In the end, a job is what you make of it. For anyone looking to develop a long and fruitful career, it's important to embrace each position along the way.

Dream big and do great things, regardless of your title. Each level is a new learning experience. The only way to propel yourself higher up the ladder to is take in the wealth of knowledge from the very bottom and embrace the full experience.

Stephen Bienko is a serial entrepreneur and current owner of several franchise locations of College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving. You can find him on Twitter at @stephenbienko.

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