Harvey Mackay Academy's Blog

The Real Value of “Dead-End Jobs”

Mackay’s Maxim: There are no dead-end jobs. There are only dead-end people. If you build a network, you will have a bridge to wherever you want to go.

Nowadays, the job market is more competitive than ever. When graduates today get out of college and enter the workforce, they may skip over certain opportunities or look down on certain positions because they’re “below them.” As a result, they may miss some excellent opportunities for growth, development and networking. It also may take them quite a while to find that “perfect” position.

Why do graduates often pass over certain opportunities? Because they see them as “dead-end jobs” with no upward mobility. And there’s nothing young people crave more than upward mobility. In fact, there is no such thing as a “dead-end job.” There is value to be found in any position – as long as you know what to look for and adopt the right attitude.

Humble Beginnings

Harvey Mackay’s first job was as a broom pusher for Charlie Ward’s “goldmine.” While this may seem like the ultimate “dead-end job” he learned many things from his time pushing a broom including, the importance of showing up to work on time, and dressing smartly.

He learned how to do a job, do it well, and exceed the expectation of the plant managers. Within just a few months of adopting the right attitude, he received a promotion from the plant floor to the sales department – and his career moved slowly but surely from there.

Make the Most of Your Current Situation

“There is no such thing as a good job with a broom” Replace that statement with anything, and you can find similar thinking in today’s world. There is no such thing as a good job flipping burgers, working behind a cash register, pushing pencils, and the list goes on and on.

Yet, each of these positions offers an opportunity for growth. Perhaps this isn’t your dream job- it can be a place to hone your skillset for the job you do want. Practice your communications skills, develop networking opportunities, learn everything you can. This may be the reference that gets you the job you want.

Tip #1: Begin Your Day Positively

If you show up to work miserable, you will stay miserable – and your supervisors will notice. Make sure to wake up early, eat a good breakfast, get some light exercise, and get enough sleep the night before. Show up to work on time with a positive attitude.

Tip #2: Don’t Act Like a Commodity

If you turn yourself into a one-trick pony, your supervisors will treat you like one. And when it’s time to find someone new or give someone a promotion, the odds will not be in your favor. Always ask for opportunities to do more – do they need help in another department? You’re on it. Does someone need to make an extra delivery? Volunteer for it.

Tip #3: Do Your Job Well and Exceed Expectations

It’s not enough to simply do a good job. You need to do more than your job. Volunteer to clean up after the last shift or stay late some nights to meet a harsh deadline. Help out with other people. But focus on your job first – and make sure you do it well.

There’s no such thing as a “dead-end job.” Next time you feel like you don’t have a shot at upward mobility, remind yourself that you have the power to make this an opportunity – and make sure are you showing your supervisors that you are ready for it.

About the Author Harvey Mackay, Founder & CEO

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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