We’ve all been there. The job that involves one or more issues that make you drag your feet in the morning and watch the clock all afternoon. The job that pays the bills but gives dividends in indigestion.

What do you do when the work is monotonous, the meetings never end, the boss is too demanding and your coworkers have a nasty habit of constantly checking your work over your shoulder? How can you cope when the customers aren’t always right?

Not everyone has the luxury or opportunity to change up their career path and sometimes the job that isn’t our personal favorite is the job that is getting us where we ultimately want to be. If you’re in a job you hate, call on the power of your personality strengths to make the best out of a bad situation.

And maybe even get a promotion out of it.

Who are you?

Before you can bring your personality preferences into the workspace, you have to identify and understand them. You need to keep your personal strengths at the front of your offensive and stay focused or it will be easy to slip into a passive state of victim-think.

Take one of the many personality tests available for free and set yourself up for success. For this article of examples, we’ll draw from the 16 types personality test types. Know your own personality type for sure -- but also become familiar with the other types if you can. This can help you communicate better, collaborate better, and understand why Sue from accounts exists in a constant state of drama.  

Why are you here?

Remember your ‘why.’ Finding a deeper purpose to hold on to will get you through the tough days. Call on your personality’s particular ways of making decisions and use it to motivate your way through a job you hate.

If you are a Thinking personality type, you made the decision to stay in this job with your head. You decided that getting rid of your student debt or learning a new skill that will lift your career to the next level was worth the current aggravation.

If you are more of a Feeler personality, you made this decision with your heart. You decided you need the medical insurance coverage for a loved one or tuition for the first college-bound student in the family tree and acted accordingly.

Find your ‘why’ and write it down. Post it on the dashboard of your car, the bathroom mirror, or in a gratitude journal. Use a calendar or ledger to map out the path for your ‘why.’ Decide when you might achieve it or how much money is needed to accomplish your personal goal. The simple act of seeing it as tangible and finite is a powerful personality play.

Remember to celebrate each step along the way to your ‘why’.

What do you want?

How do you approach structure in your life? Is your personality type more of a Judger or a Perceiver?

Judgers crave order and plans, straight lines and tidy desks. Your personality can look into ways to compensate for a job that feels chaotic by ordering what is within your control.

Take pride in your appearance. If it makes sense, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Looking your best is something completely in your control and builds personal confidence and respect from others.

Take advantage of a personal workspace and make it both comforting and a career statement. Whether it’s a cubicle or the cab of a semi-truck, take pride in keeping your work area maintained, efficient, and dependable. You will never be at the mercy of others for your supply of staples or fuel.

Perceiving employees appreciate change and spontaneity, and are comfortable with flex and flux in the workflow. If you’re in a job that’s nothing but repeating patterns and rigid soul-sucking structure, your task is to create the soft spots.

Volunteer to take new employees under your wing. Be the mentor, the guy who pays it forward. This is a great way to rediscover your job through the eyes of a newcomer and you might just turn up some new ideas in the process.

Take these ideas and get them in front of your boss. If you’ve come up with fresh ways to make the workplace better, share them with the company. You may see things no one else can see, and your unique perspective could be the catalyst for improvements that everyone applauds.

Always keep learning, even at a job you hate. The more you know, the more valuable you are as an employee and the more recognition you’ll get from others.

Working outside the box is an ambitious personality play.

How do you want it?

Whether you identify as introverted or extraverted, there are always opportunities to work your style.

Extraverts renew their energy through spending time with people in active collaboration, but maybe you’re in a job with minimal office interaction. Introverts are energized by regular alone time but could end up in a job with nonstop crowds. If you can’t change the number of people you interact with on the job, think about other ways to build energy-claiming time into your routine.

Your daily commute is a great place to begin. Extraverts want to consider carpooling or taking trains, subways, or other public transportation into work. Introverts can try walking, running, or biking for a change of pace. This energy will follow you into your job. If you become known as the employee who consistently comes to work early and in a great mood, it’s only a matter of time before the boss notices.

Don’t overlook the break room, the lunch hour, or Happy Hour. Extraverts can host potluck lunches, after-work cocktails, or the office baby shower.  Introverts can keep track of the office birthdays, bring in the Monday morning bagels, or provide reading materials, art, or music to enjoy around the water cooler.

It doesn’t take much to become the office hero, and doing so while filling your own energy needs is a personality double-play.

When the rubber meets the road

When a Sensing personality is in a job that requires any amount of abstract thinking or theories, they can become miserable, fast. Sensors want to rely on procedures and facts to process information at work. Their personality power is being practical with what their senses say is right in front of them.

When you find yourself surrounded with people pulling ideas out of thin air, your job is to keep them firmly grounded. Offer to track the statistics or inventory for company projects. Create new procedures that support the implementation of their new ideas.

You’re the employee who appreciates how far the company has come and puts together anniversary celebrations. You are also the employee who sees the immediate, practical needs of coworkers and has ideas for ways to solve them. Be that guy who’s happy to recommend a good restaurant or car mechanic. Perform random acts of kindness and when you eventually move on, the office will remember your name.

Intuitives approach their job open to possibilities, abstract concepts, and theories. Their personality power lies in being creative problem solvers and they can fade fast in a job that provides no vision. They are interested in the future and what comes next.

Your place to shine is on committees. Volunteer to sit in on the meetings where new office policies or procedures are discussed. Offer to organize fundraisers for the cause that your company sponsors and make sure it’s publicized. When possible, sit in on the meetings that discuss the future of the company. Bring in speakers, host webinars, or create websites or newsletters that demonstrate a vision of what the company could be.

Every company started with a vision but it could be time for a refreshed sense of corporate purpose. You might be the one who inspires the leadership with a polished view of what comes next.

You might also inspire them to give you a raise and place you on the marketing team.

Working in challenging jobs, stressful jobs, or even jobs you hate can build resilience, patience, endurance, and strong people skills, all of which will do you well for lifetime success.

And playing to your personality can make it doable.

Jolie Tunnell
Jolie Tunnell is an author, freelance writer and blogger with a background in administration and education. Raising a Variety Pack of kids with her husband, she serves up hard-won wisdom with humor, compassion and insight. Jolie is an ISTJ and lives in San Diego, California where she writes historical mysteries. Visit her at jolietunnell.com