Working for Tips: How to Use Your Transition Job to Follow Your Dreams

Sick of working for tips? Come to one of our fall networking events to learn the tools you need to land your dream job!

If you’re seeking a job in a creative career, chances are you’ll find yourself in a transition job along the way. Whether it’s working in retail, hospitality, or at a coffee shop – this can feel like a detour from your dreams. But often, these jobs are actually the road to the position you’ve always wanted. Read on to find out how your transition job can be crucial to your career success.

FindSpark server

Image courtesy of Flickr – Roberto Trm

Don’t be shy

There’s always a chance to network, even while working at a job that seems completely unrelated. Who knows – maybe your manager at the coffee shop has a distant cousin working in your ideal career? Be honest to your coworkers about your goals for the future, while still respectful of your current job. The truth can offer unexpected opportunities, especially in positions where you meet and interact with strangers on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to be the restaurant server who honestly admits to be writing a novel or trying to break into the film industry. Maybe your next satisfied customer will be an agent – and his or her email address will be your best tip ever.

Seek inspiration every day

If you’re pursuing a job in a creative field, let the mundane moments of your current job inspire you. Don’t allow the time you spend working to be a drain on your creative energies. Trying to be a writer? Keep a notepad to jot down conversations or odd characters you witness at work. Leaning towards graphic design? Let yourself be inspired by the labels in the kitchen stockroom or the swirls in the foam of endless lattes.

It’s easy to get in a rut while at a transition job and face creative roadblock. So every night, regardless of how long your shift was, try to find two things to jot or sketch that you might be inspired by later. Your portfolio can only grow when you’re open to inspiration from the ordinary.

FindSpark cashier

 Image courtesy of Flickr – Vox Efx

Patience and people skills? Priceless

Let’s face it – transition jobs can be thankless. Work can become a blur of orders barked by customers with no manners and no time. But rather than let this bother you, swallow your sass and suck it up. Keeping your cool is great practice for that demanding boss or obnoxious co-worker you’ll inevitably face in the office. Working in a service industry job can give you excellent experience as a hard worker with a thick skin. And as mentioned before, you never know when a customer might end up offering you a connection you never imagined.

Interviews – talk it up 

When it’s time to move on from your transition job, don’t forget the time you spent behind the counter. Use the people skills and experience you’ve gained to create talking points for job interviews. Sometimes the worst experiences become the best success stories for a future employer. Practice a way to spin the best and worst of any job, whether it’s an entertaining story about handling a bad customer, or a triumph from your busiest holiday weekend. Have an engaging work story on hand for any interview, so you can show that your transition job meant more to you than a weekly paycheck.

And if you can find commonality with an interviewer – go for it! Perhaps he or she also had a stint as a cashier or server, and you’ll bond over the stories you share. Most importantly, never bash your part-time job in a job interview. Employers want to witness your positivity, so save your whining for a wine night with friends.

Stay focused 

Above all, never give up hope. The job you’re looking for might be just around the corner. Stick with it, stay positive, and lean on friends who’ve been through the same journey to their career goals.

At FindSpark, we want to hear your stories of how your transition job led to your dream opportunity – let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Julia is a graduate of the University of Virginia. Find her on LinkedIn or on a coffee-fueled adventure.

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