10 Ways to Deal with a Dead-End Job

A dead-end job can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Maybe it looks pretty on paper, but once you experience the office culture, you find that there is no upward mobility. Sound familiar? If you find yourself in a dead-end job, don’t stress. And please don’t refer to Office Space as a point of reference (no, taking your frustrations out on a printer won’t solve anything.) Consider these 10 options.

10 Ways to Deal with a Dead-End Job

1. Look for a new position in-house.

Maybe you work at a large company, but your department is small. Many times, companies will consider their own people first for positions before posting a job in a public forum. Use this to your advantage and see if there are any positions you could qualify for at your current workplace. This is a great option if you love the company or have great pay and benefits.

2. Look for a position outside the company.

If you don’t work for a large company or don’t care to stay at your current employer, consider other positions but conduct your job search discreetly. You don’t want to get penalized for making it super obvious you are looking elsewhere. Also, consider the kind of job you want. Maybe you are currently in a junior position, but you want to make the transition to mid-level management. Don’t be afraid to apply for those big “scary” jobs.

At the end of the day, you want change, and the only way to do that is to do some things differently.

3. Talk with your supervisor about your position.

Sometimes the only thing left to do is discuss your needs with management. Maybe you love your job but feel you aren’t getting paid enough for the work. If that’s the case, management could consider changing your title (and salary) to more effectively describe the work you are doing. This can be a scary thing to do, but don’t be afraid to put your foot down. You may need to make clear that you are going to look for positions elsewhere. This could be just the push needed to get your point across to management. If they don’t want to lose you, they will negotiate with you. But if not, you might need to say sayonara.

4. Tough it out.

Consider staying in your dead-end job until you’re ready to move on. Who knows? A manager could quit and leave you with an opportunity. Maybe you think you have a dead-end job but in reality, you are just not taking advantage of your workplace. Step out of your comfort zone. Try a new project. Offer your skills on a different level.

5. Start networking.

Consider attending job fairs or networking events to meet with others in your field. You could even do this online through LinkedIn or other forums to reach out to people about their career experiences. Who knows? Maybe you could end up finding a new, amazing job that way! That is one amazing benefit of social media and the internet. There’s always someone to talk to!

6. Take some classes.

It’s never too late to learn something new. If you are in a dead-end job but don’t have the qualifications to land your dream job, going back to school part-time or getting a certification may be the answer. Once you have that piece of paper saying you’ve advanced your skills, you’ll have an easier time negotiating a higher salary at your current job. You may also want to look into a reimbursement program from your employer. Some companies offer this if you can convince them that the classes you’re taking will benefit them. You might have to fill out some boring paperwork and get your boss’ approval, but in the end, it will be worth it to have your classes paid for.

7. Pursue your passion or start a side hustle.

If going back to school isn’t an option, try getting a side hustle. Maybe your job is simply boring. While you’re waiting for work to come your way, do something you enjoy. Do you have dreams of becoming a novelist? Work on your manuscript in between checking emails. Start that blog you’ve always wanted or consider taking a part-time job that you enjoy on the weekends.

8. Find a hobby.

Focusing on work can be a problem if it takes away from your home life. Gain some perspective by finding a hobby, especially one that promotes a healthier lifestyle, like biking or jogging. The point is to do something you enjoy that takes your mind off work.

9. Start a gratefulness journal.

OK, so this one won’t get you out of your dead-end job, but it could help you appreciate where you are in your life right now. A dead-end job doesn’t have to be the end of the world. If you’re getting paid well with good benefits and are working with people you like, it may not be as bad as you think. Start looking on the bright side of things and cultivate gratefulness in your life. You don’t have to get a fancy journal, but there are a few specific gratefulness journals out there that might be worth checking out:

10. Take a break.

Sometimes you just need a break from work. A recent survey by Glassdoor found that most Americans don’t use up all of their vacation time. In fact, the average person only uses 54% of their vacation days. I am certainly not one of those people. I always use my PTO. If I didn’t, I don’t even know how I would function. I’m sure I would be much crankier at work. Don’t be afraid to take some time off for yourself. Take a trip. Visit a place you’ve never been to before. Or make it a stay-cation and get that much-needed rest. 

Ahh. Don’t you feel better already? If you’re stuck in a dead-end job, don’t worry. Don’t stress. You can get out of it! But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do.

Care to share your thoughts about this post? Comment below! I’d love to hear from you!