We get it: You don't exactly feel like you're changing the world while ringing up shoes as a cashier or serving up food at a restaurant. But regardless of your company or title, we think that anyone can have a meaningful experience in any position. While you might not be feeding the poor or living your passion, you can make any job worthwhile if you look at things a little differently.
You were hired as a paper pusher, customer service rep, or cashier. But what if you totally redefined your job so that it meant more to you? If you're in customer service, take the time to be literally the best customer service rep in all of history. Go above and beyond to make your customers happy and keep your skills sharp. Not only will it make your job more meaningful, but you're bound to catch the eye of your manager for sheer awesomeness.
Contribute to the Greater Good
A ton of companies have initiatives to help the community. Whether it's donating goods to shelters, having volunteer days, or participating in drives, you can make your role more meaningful by taking part for the greater good. If your company doesn't offer community benefits, ask around and see if you can start one up yourself. You could suggest your company go green or sign up a team of coworkers for a benefit 5K to make your work mean more to you and your community.
Step It Up
Go beyond the confines of your job title and responsibilities to really step it up. You might volunteer for a project or role that is outside of your usual day-to-day stuff, or raise your hand when your manager asks someone to stay late. Not only will it make you more useful to the company, but you'll get skills and experience that make you more employable in the future.
Look at the Long Game
Cashier today; manager tomorrow? If your job feels insignificant, think about the long game. Look at your boss: chances are she didn't just wake up and find herself in charge. If your company offers leadership programs, take 'em. Ask your manager about his job path. Find out about promotion opportunities and how you can be considered. What may seem like a "whatever" job might become a stepping stone to your career.
Mine the Gems
Even if you totally hate your job, there's always some good found in working hard and learning more–even if what you're learning is "I never want to do this again." Mine the gems in your job. That means using your experience to help you decide what you like and what you don't like, so you can apply it to your next career move. Maybe you don't like working with food, but you love helping customers. Maybe you find that you're more comfortable working solo. Use your job to find out more about yourself, your working style, and your passion, and you'll leave with some valuable info.
Not every job is going to be the kind that makes you wake up with a smile, but every (and we mean EVERY) experience is worthwhile. And, in the end, it's not up to your job, boss, or coworkers to make your experience more meaningful; it's up to you.