Like most of America I am also a fan of The Office and Parks and Recreation. I can watch them both over and over again. Recently, I started watching Park and Recreation again. The character Andy Dwyer is one of my favorites (next to Ron). I don’t want to give away any spoilers to anyone who hasn’t seen it so I’m going to try to keep it as vague as possible, but I can’t make any promises. I loved the evolution of Andy’s character. In the beginning he was what you might call a lazy simpleton, but he found his own path. What I liked about Andy was his excitement for anything no matter how small. He appreciated things that most of us wouldn’t. A lot of people say you have to be thankful in the moment, no matter what your situation is currently looking like. You might not want the job that you have, but you should appreciate it because with gratitude comes great reward. It’s easier said than done, I know. Unlike Andy’s situation there are some people who are actually in toxic environments. It’s hard to put on a happy face when you’re doing something you hate, or maybe you’re being treated unfairly by your coworkers and superiors. How do you smile through the stress and pain? I always say having a positive attitude in the midst of awful circumstances is a skill. It takes a lot of work to be positive when you’re in a stressful job that you don’t even want while dealing with people that are constantly trying to break you. Those situations are indeed hard to tackle, but for the sake of this post we’re going to just focus on the jobs that you might not want simply because it’s not your dream job. Could you take a job that you felt was beneath you?
In a past post (Does having a degree give us a sense of job entitlement?) I talked about how some of us may feel embarrassed taking smaller jobs. I’m not talking about entry level jobs in our field. I’m talking about retail and food service jobs. Sometimes you might not get any interviews or callbacks after you graduate and you have to go back to the jobs that you had as a teen or when you were in college, because they are the only jobs that will hire you. Could you take it and actually be excited about it? Could you show up to work everyday and smile with joy? Could you bring that Andy Dwyer attitude to an interview for a job that you didn’t want? I know for me it’s very hard to fake emotion. I always say my face cannot tell a lie, but I always try my best in interviews. I’ve only had a couple of interviews since I graduated and one of the hardest questions to answer was “Why do you want this job?” It was hard because in my head I was saying “I don’t” but I couldn’t actually say that. Sometimes I wanted to say I don’t want this job, but I need it. Of course, I couldn’t say that either. They want someone who’s going to stick around, so I had to hurry up and come up with something. I guess it wasn’t enough since I didn’t get those jobs.
I’m usually a positive person inside a work environment, but life has knocked me down these last couple of years. It’s hard steering away from what you want, but as I watch Andy I wonder if that’s what we’re suppose to do. He was extremely excited about his little shoeshine station. He was happy to be handed the task to catch a possum, and who could forget his excitement being the administrative assistant on the dreaded fourth floor. His reaction compared to Tom’s reaction was priceless. Both were assigned temporary positions organizing archives on the fourth floor, and they both had extremely different reactions. Tom looked at it as a punishment, but Andy looked at it as a reward. Andy’s dream was music and he still worked towards that whenever he could, but he did what he had to do in the meantime, and he did it with a smile. Maybe we all could learn a little from Andy. Maybe life would be a little easier if we did. Why not try? What do we have to lose?