5 Important Lessons You Get to Learn at Menial Jobs

How many of us dream of a job full of comfort, flexible work hours and lots of foreign trips? All of us. When we are studying, most of us structure our life in such a way that the moment we graduate, we should land a job with good pay. But is it as easy as it sounds?

Due to a large number of unemployed and incessant graduates, getting jobs has become much more difficult. Competition has increased in the market, and people even with good degrees fail to find a job as per their capability.

There has been a shortage of jobs matching the person’s skills. Six in every ten UK graduates are doing a job which is not at par with their skills and degrees. They are overqualified for the work they are doing. As innumerable graduates cannot find jobs, they are forced to work for low-paying jobs. In the year 2011, around 10,270 graduates were found working as waiters, bar staff, road sweepers and doing other menial jobs. The recession of 2007 was a major factor contributing to the lack of good jobs for college graduates.

Among the 100 million Americans that were working full-time in 2010-2012, 70 million workers either ‘checked out’ or hated their job. One of the major factors for such despondency towards one’s job is low wage. Here is what the statistics of the Gallup survey found out:

Since there is no escape from the menial and low-paying jobs for most of us, it has become important to understand what they can teach us. These jobs can form the foundation of a gleaming career.

It is not possible for many people to get a grand job early in their career, so they should use the menial jobs in order to understand some life lessons and gain experience to face any obstacles. Here are 5 important lessons that you can learn from working at menial jobs.

1. The value of money – Money doesn’t grow on trees

Money cannot buy happiness, but it is important for the survival and continuity of the human race. It gives independence to a person and helps him to live a life as per his wish. But many people who have not worked too hard to earn money don’t value it. They spend money on the most futile of things, and don’t know how to use it in the best way possible.

As per a study published in Bloomberg, the money spent on unnecessary stuff by people has increased by 3.3 percent since mid-2009. It might be a sign that most of the wealth is accumulated in the hands of rich people when the middle and the lower class are still struggling to make ends meet.

In fact, the luxury market in the U.S. has been increasing at a constant rate. 33% consumers are buying luxury products, whereas the people who aspire to buy luxury products outnumber the luxury buyers by 8%. One of the main reasons for such a vast luxury market can be the need to maintain a status quo and to show-off.

Lots of money is being spent on fatal habits like smoking. When their pay is already less, people squeeze out some more money in order to provide themselves a daily dose of nicotine. But how much of a responsible act is it to spend money on habits that are not only expensive but leading you to dangerous diseases like cancer?

Each cigarette reduces your lifespan by 11 minutes.

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As you will perform menial jobs, you will not have enough money to spend on either unnecessary stuff or luxury products. It can be both good and bad. It’s bad because you will not be able to gratify your senses by buying the products you desire. But it’s good because you will learn to manage your finances wisely and spend money only on those produces and stuff that is needed for survival.

Pope Paul VI Pope

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.

2. The ‘No work is big or small’ philosophy

Jobs like being a manger in a company or working as a CEO are considered grand—not only in terms of money but also because of the reputation and respect they bring. But many people fail to see any good aspect in a menial job, and because of that, they don’t feel the same kind of happiness while doing a so-called small job.

For example, working in McDonald’s is considered degrading to the point that many people study just because they don’t want to end in a restaurant like McDonald’s, flipping burgers.

It’s estimated that 1.7 million people are working in McDonald’s restaurants across the world.

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Having big dreams is really important for your development, but it should not be done by devaluing small jobs at the same time. A person should learn to see the positive aspect of a low paying job like that of McDonald’s. The gentle workers and their delectably-made burgers are the reason you visit your nearest McDonald’s every day and soothe your tickling taste buds.

Around 91,500 people are working in around 1200 McDonald’s restaurants across U.K. 42% employees of McDonald’s are under 21. McDonald’s is one of the biggest companies to hire first-timers. In fact, many people start their career with McDonald’s.

No job can degrade your status, as every job gives you something to learn. It’s a myth that once you start doing a small job, you get stuck in it and block all your paths.

Emily Dickinson Poet

If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves. You can gain more control over your life by paying closer attention to the little things.

Reed Hastings is the co-founder and CEO of Netflix. Do you know that he started his career as a vacuum cleaner salesman? He didn’t consider the work small for his giant brains, but simply did it because he considered it to be the stepping stone to the vision he had in his mind.

3. Stress is a killer; don’t be the victim

Stress has always been a prominent source of unhappiness for a majority of people. Most of the suicides among the middle-aged at workplace happen due to job-related and financial stress. Suffocation is one of the widely used methods for suicide. In the year 2009, Canada faced 3,890 cases of stress-related suicides. Even in the U.S., the rate of suicide among the workers within the age bracket of 35 to 64 has increased by 40% since 1999.

Karoshi is the term used in Japan for death due to stress caused by overwork.

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As per the American Journal of Epidemiology, many people are dying due to work-related stress caused by unhealthy lifestyle, high blood pressure and long working hours. All these factors have led to an increase in the probability of deaths due to heart diseases by 67%. In fact, due to working for more than 8 hours a day, the risk of stroke rises by 33%.

People do not know how to handle stress and anxiety which leads to such drastic consequences. Various methods like meditation and yoga should be followed to relieve stress. Author J. David Creswell led a study in which people who meditated for 25 minutes for the next 3 days, showed less stress during a test. Meditation has also proved useful in managing anxiety disorders. In a study published by Sara Lazar at Harvard in 2011, it was proved that mindful meditation leads to changes in the brain.

Scientific studies have even proved that art can help you to reduce your stress levels drastically. You do not have to be as talented as Leonardo Da Vinci but must use art as a form of self-expression. It was seen that just after 45 minutes of creative activity, participants admitted to having low stress levels and feeling more relaxed.

George Burns Comedian

If you ask what the single most important key to longevity is, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.

4. Flexibility is the pathway to success

Most of us would like to settle in a secure job with a regular pay, and it is deemed as being successful. But many a times, you have to do various jobs in order to finally settle down with a job you deserve. You might not find the security of a regular job, but it makes you much more flexible and adds more skills to your resume.

An average American changes his job in every 4.4 years. An average American man does around 11 jobs in a lifetime whereas an average American woman changes 10.

Debasish Mridha Physician

The measure of a person’s strength is not his muscular power or strength, but it is his flexibility and adaptability.

In fact, as per a report by CNN, by the time you will reach 32, you would have changed at least 4 jobs. Most of the workers who hop from one job to another belong to media, government and non-profit organizations.

A stable profile is required to land a good job, so you must not leave the job just for the sake of leaving it. If you see brighter prospects ahead of you and you know that you can do well under the pressure of having no financial security, only then is it advisable to explore your field and the jobs it offers.

Don’t be afraid to start from scratch.

It is only through sheer dedication and creativity that you can reach the top. The founder and CEO of Dell, Michael Dell, started as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant. Then he got promoted to the position of water boy. After that, he got employed in a Mexican restaurant. Such jobs not only made him aware of different cultures and languages but also made him adaptive to different environments.

Do you know that Michael Dell today has a net worth of 20.4 billion USD?

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5. Welcome to reality: No one cares about your degrees but what you can offer

Your real-life experience holds greater value than your degrees, percentages or awards. As you step into the real world and learn everything practically, it not only expands your mind but gives you new ways to deal with people, harsh environments and obstacles. Such lessons are valuable not only to live a healthy life but to be successful in your career as well.

You must focus on honing your skills and experimenting with new and different things. Shape your passion and start investing your time in it, as that is how you gain experience. As per a research by The Creative group, the most important factor in landing an entry-level job is previous experience.

Geddy Lee Musician

You spend most of your life working and trying to hone your craft, working on your chops, working on your writing, and you don't really think about accolades. Then you get a bit older and they start coming your way. It's a nice pat on the back.

Duncan Walker Bannatyn, a Scottish entrepreneur, has a net worth of £122 million. He started with an ice-cream van worth £450. He expanded the business and had a turnover of £350,000 a year but sold it later. He has gained knowledge and is investing in spas, hotels, health clubs and media now.

Duncan Bannatyn has a keen interest in business, so he kept experimenting in this field. It not only gave him an idea regarding how a business has to be managed, but he learnt how to handle money and how to go about investing it properly.

Dun Bannatyn holds an OBE for his charitable works.

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As you enter into the real world, you must be ready to do any job with ease. The initial years can be full of struggle, but it doesn’t mean that you will never progress.

Consider the menial jobs as the beginning of a career that holds immense potential.

Keep an optimistic attitude while doing any menial or low-paying job, as it’s your attitude which makes the biggest difference. If you jump into a job with a negative frame of mind, you will neither increase your skills nor will the experience help you in any way.

Stay neutral towards jobs.

Don’t segregate them on the basis of their salary or reputation. Just because a particular job is viewed as degraded by society because it cannot build your status quo, it doesn’t mean that it can’t help you.

Keep your focus clear: You are in a learning mode and whatever is being taught to you by any job holds importance.

Are you ready to handle a menial job with enthusiasm?


7 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Improve Social Intelligence

Success does not come easy.

You have to work hard.

You have to be smarter than your peers.

And you need to push yourself beyond your limits. In this race to stay ahead, however, we forget one very important principle of life—we need others to keep moving forward.

The ability to get along with others is called social intelligence. And improving it is one of the most important quests of life. If you are socially intelligent, you may be more successful than those who are smarter than you.

It’s a fact that the world has changed.

We no longer live in bushes where wild animals can instantly turn us into their dinners. And we have plenty of food that we don’t have to starve like in the old days. This has, to some extent, reduced our dependence on others. However, we are still social animals. We have not yet evolved to survive in solitude.

Without social interaction, lots of problems await, not just limiting your potential success. Stress is one of those problems. And this comes with a horde of other problems like poor health.

Thankfully, regardless of how you grew up or how terrible you are at making friends, anyone can improve their social intelligence. In this article, you will learn 7 scientifically-backed ways on how to do that. So without wasting anymore time, let’s get started.

1. Master Listening - it is more useful than speaking

Despite being very important, this is a skill most of us lack. Constant distractions in the modern world make it hard to listen to someone even for a minute.


Without effective listening, you can’t connect with others deeply. Eventually, your relationships will become the hallmarks of mistrust, conflict, and hate. In a survey by Tolero Solutions, 45% of the participants said lack of trust in the leadership was the biggest cause of reduced performance and ruined relationships.

But most of us, interestingly, don’t ever think of improving our listening skills, that’s because we believe we are already good at it. A study involving 8,000 people from various disciplines proved this. All the participants admitted they were good at listening and communicating. They even believed to be better than their peers.

Zeno of Citium

We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.

But the research uncovered an unfortunate truth: only 25% of people listen effectively.

Effective listening is not the same as hearing. When you listen effectively, it means you understand what’s being said as well as that not being said.

You do this by reading body language, voice tone, language use, and more. And with this deep understanding, you can get the commitment of whoever is talking. In addition, your responses will be to the point. And this will create a connection for a stronger relationship.

Only 25% of people listen effectively.

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Here are some tips to help you become a better listener:

● Don’t cut the other person as he or she is talking.

Remove distractions: Take your eyes off your phone, the TV, or any other thing that may be a distraction and make eye contact with who is talking. If you are in a noisy place, it may help to move somewhere quieter.

Practice active listening: This is so important that it can amplify your social intelligence overnight. You can master it by paraphrasing, making inquiries, and acknowledging.

Provide feedback: You can do this by nodding your head, smiling, leaning towards the person talking, and saying words to show approval.

● Learn to read body language.

2. Respect Others’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

The world would have been a better place, perhaps, if we all had similar perspectives. But I dare say such a world would be boring. And it would be unprogressive.

You must acknowledge that we all have had different experiences to get where we are now. Some were raised in narcissistic societies. Some were raised in societies that promote togetherness. Others had parents who encouraged standing out from the crowd.

These differences define our lives. And these differences mean we will always be in opposition to others. These may be our bosses, spouses, co-workers, or random strangers on the streets.

It’s not that either you or the other person is wrong or right.

But what would be wrong is to assume you are right and impose your beliefs on others. You will create resentment which will injure your relationships. This is evident in autocratic leaders where there is usually low motivation and resentment in their subordinates. People want to feel that their ideas are respected.

Bryant H McGill

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

But this does not imply that you must adopt any view that opposes yours. That will also be wrong of you.

Instead, keep an open mind and listen to what others have to say. Everyone has a right to be heard and hold a different opinion. If you are wrong, then change.

If you are right, then hold your ground. Respectfully explain to other the person that you do not agree with them and state your argument. Your opinion will be respected if you are dealing with a sensible person. Otherwise, avoid conflict by getting away from the situation.

This Iowa study showed that sometimes, people can’t change their beliefs even with evidence against them.

3. Learn to Be Empathetic

Empathy occurs naturally in all of us. However, it occurs on a continuum scale, meaning some are more empathetic than others. Some will jump at the sight of someone accidentally hammering a nail in his thumb while others will just wince.

Empathy is a great weapon for improving social intelligence as it builds strong and meaningful relationships. With it, you are better positioned to understand what the other person is feeling inside. And that helps you to learn to help him or her quickly.


Another study by UC Santa Barbara showed that empathy in couples made them more supportive and responsive. Couples who only showed understanding without empathy did not admit the same level of support or responsiveness.

So how does one learn to be empathetic?

The first step is to acknowledge your feelings. It’s only by understanding what you feel that you can be able to understand what others feel. When you are heartbroken, acknowledge that feeling. When happy, also acknowledge that.

John Steinbeck

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.

After that, you can move on to understanding others. Listen and watch them as they interact with you. Try to feel what they are going through.

If you are on the bus or train, look at people’s body languages and try to feel what they may be feeling inside.

It may even help to volunteer for a charitable organization. You will have a chance to deal with people in need.

Empathy is a great weapon for improving social intelligence as it builds strong and meaningful relationships.

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4. Stop Trying to Get Everyone’s Approval

Trying to get other people’s approval is a big problem. And it can keep you from improving your social intelligence. Unfortunately, this problem is natural. Getting people’s approval means feeling worthy, loved, smart, beautiful, etc.

If you don’t get accepted, you get rejected. And this results in stress. But most importantly, it kills your self-esteem and you will think you are unlovable, dumb, ugly, etc. In the end, you will start avoiding people. And you may even wish others harm.

In a study, researchers found that rejection induces the same response in the brain as physical pain. And in another study, researchers discovered that all but 2 of 15 of school shooters were rejected.

Emma Watson

All I can do is follow my instincts because I’ll never please everyone.

However, you have to understand that what appears like rejection is usually not rejection at all. As a new employee, imagine, you may find that others do not like you. And you may take this as rejection. But if you were to investigate, you would discover that the hate is because you are a threat.

Instead of worrying about this, understand that you can't please everyone. You hate some people and some people hate you. That’s just how life is.

Researchers found that rejection induces the same response in the brain as physical pain.

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Do what you think is best for your life and worry less about those who do not like you. Keep your self-esteem high by interacting with those who value you.

5. Understand the Differences in Norms and Rules of Culture

Culture and norms play a big role in how people behave in their personal as well as professional lives. As such, it’s a good idea to understand different cultures. You will know what influences someone’s personality or actions. And you will also avoid doing or saying things that may be offensive.

Understanding someone’s culture does not mean you must know things from A to Z. In the Book “The Cultural Intelligence Difference,” Dr. David Livermore argues that you need some qualities to understand culture and norms.


The first is drive. And you can think of this as the motivation to learn the culture you are interested in. This requires that you keep an open mind as you will encounter things that may be unwelcome in your culture.

The second is knowledge. It is how you read people’s verbal clues to understand what they mean even if they are speaking a different language than yourself.

Samantha Fox

It’s different cultures that make the world go ‘round at the end of the day.

The third is strategy. And this is how you plan to make use of your new-found knowledge to come around as socially intelligent.

6. Learn to Diffuse Awkward Situations

Some conflict is healthy in any type of relationship. However, too much of it can be toxic for the relationship and your health. A 2009 study of 276 couples presented at the American Psychosomatic Society's meeting found that too much conflict increased the risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity, and other diseases.


If you know how to diffuse fire in heated conversations, you can bet to have more friends than enemies. Or you may help others remain on good terms by acting as a negotiator.

First, you must develop an ability to study the nature of disputes and quickly work out a solution. This is not something that comes easy, but it’s a skill you can develop.

Ronald Reagan                                    

Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.​

Among the solutions you can use is providing unexpected responses. You can, for example, use humour as long as it is not offensive. You may also apologize or try to create a distraction by bringing in another story. This will calm everyone involved and you can then work out a solution later.

Watch this video on how to diffuse conflict at work.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

This is the most important point in this whole article. Do not expect to improve your social intelligence just by knowing how you can do it. You must put the things you are learning to use.

Do not expect to improve your social intelligence just by knowing how you can do it.

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Make sure you meet people of new cultures and become friends with them. Seek people of different professional backgrounds and also become friends with them.


Put yourself in situations that you know will help you to meet new people. This research proves that your new experiences, thought patterns, and behaviours can change your brain to boost confidence, which is good if you have social anxiety.

Mary Tyler Moore

Take chances. Make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.


Improving our social intelligence is one of the biggest things we need to work on in our lives. Not only does it help us succeed professionally, but it’s also important on a personal level. This article showed 7 ways you can use to improve your social intelligence.

Have you been trying to improve your social intelligence? How has your journey been so far?