If I asked you what the worst job you’ve ever had was, it probably wouldn’t take you long to come up with an answer, and maybe even a funny anecdote or two. While many of us wish we didn’t have to work to get by like the Hiltons or the Kardashians, most of us aren’t that fortunate.

Being stuck in a bad job can affect every aspect of your life – your mental health, your relationships, even how you view the world. Alternatively, being in a great working environment can help you see things in a more positive light.

The universal experience of dealing with great and terrible jobs is what united us for our monthly IT World Canada Twitter Chat, and it’s a topic people weren’t shy about. From boring desk jobs to stressful lifesaving roles, everyone had something to say. We had plenty of great discussions – and jokes – on the matter, thanks to the fantastic guest experts that joined us.

jesse hirsh
@jessehirsh

Jesse Hirsh, broadcaster, columnist, public speaker, researcher and futurist

Jesse Hirsh is a researcher, analyst, and public speaker based in Toronto, Canada. His research interests focus largely on the intersection of technology and politics, and in particular, artificial intelligence and democracy. He recently completed an MA at Ryerson University on algorithmic media. He’s presently spending time at the IBM Canada Innovation Space, researching and writing about cognitive computing.

@alambzz

Anna Lambert, director of talent at Shopify

Anna Lambert is the Director of Talent Acquisition at Shopify. Anna embodies Shopify’s MO of Getting Shit Done. She joined Shopify as an intern in 2011, and has helped build the company from 150 employees to over 1500 today. Anna is also a passionate ally and advocate for inclusion in tech, and works tirelessly to make Shopify a company that moves the needle in this space. For example, as a way to give back to the community and provide a platform for voices often overlooked, Anna founded Beyond the Code three years ago. This conference is designed to empower individuals to make the tech industry a more inclusive space for everyone. Anna is also an avid snowboarder, runner, and the co-founder of her own Shopify store, Caged Collective.

@smithskye

Skye Smith, division director at Robert Half Technology 

Skye Smith is a Division Director with Robert Half Technology in Vancouver, where he matches businesses with talented tech professionals across B.C. Skye previously served as a technical consultant with the company, and helped to establish Robert Half Technology’s IT recruitment practice in the U.K. With a background in IT infrastructure and business analysis, his work keeps him on the forefront of ever-evolving consumer and enterprise technology, and where it merges with workplace trends and business needs.

Here are the questions we discussed at the chat and some of our best responses:

Q1. Tell us about the worst job you’ve ever had. What was it, where was it, and why was it so bad?

We had a good variety of worst jobs coming in from our guest experts, with positions involving unexpected duties topping the list.

Q2. How did you deal with the experience?

People deal with bad situations in various ways, and our panel was no different. Some chose to work within their situation, while others learned from it.

Q3. What did you learn about yourself going through the experience?

These experiences always leave a lasting impression and it seems like all of our guest experts took the lemons life threw at them and turned it into lemonade.

Q4. If you hadn’t gone through this experience, do you think you would be where you are today? Why/why not?

The general consensus seems to be that without experiencing such bad jobs at some point in their lives, our guest experts wouldn’t be who they are today, or where they are today. Say what you want about bad jobs, but they really clarify what people want and what they need to avoid when looking for alternatives.

Q5. To what extent has this shaped your career moving forward?

It became clear pretty quickly that everyone’s bad job experience ended up being a source of good. Whether making them think from another perspective, encouraging a different career choice, or helping them become more understanding, all our guest experts evolved into better people as a result.

Q6. They say paying your dues at a bad job builds character. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Most people seem to agree with this statement – to an extent. While most agree that dealing with a job they hated helped them grow both personally and professionally in the end, that experience only goes so far. Any sign of mistreatment, abuse or negativity on a personal level is a definite no-go.

Q7. What is the best job you’ve ever had? How did you get this position?

We switched tactics with this question, moving on from reminiscing about painful experiences to ones that we remember fondly. And while we’ll never know if they were being forced to say it, it appears that all of our guests love their current jobs.

Even our IT World coworkers joined in on the chat, giving a special shoutout to our editors, Brian Jackson and Paolo Del Nibletto.

Q8. What makes your best job so good? Was (is) there a specific factor that really sets it apart from the rest?

Being in a position that allows you to be yourself and help others is what makes a good job good, according to our experts.

Q9. What advice would you give to someone currently looking to leave a bad job situation?

There was some great advice shared by our experts, and most encouraged people to be patient and have a plan. Rushing things can often lead to rash decisions that could end up burning bridges in the future. Being able to recognize the difference between a bad job and a bad day also goes a long way.

Q10. In general, what do you think the worst job ever is? (One that you could never imagine yourself doing)

We knew this would be a popular question, and we had some hilarious responses. While our IT World Canada staff focused on some of the yuckiest jobs they could think of (think of the poor people who have to empty port-a-potties), our guests stuck with topic and shared some wisdom.