bridge jobsWe’ve all been there – whether your’re a newly minted college grad, a seasoned professional with an expired contract, or a parent returning to work after a few years off – we’ve all worked jobs that aren’t our dream job.

We take them for many reasons: for experience, for resume building, because we’re not quite sure what our dream jobs are, and let’s be honest, most often we take them because of the money. It’s no secret we live in a highly competitive job market and Millennials are pouring out of colleges – competing with their peers and more experienced generational elders. More and more often we’ll take any job we can get.

And while it my seem less than ideal at the time, these positions, often referred to as bridge jobs, play an important role in building leadership skills. The truth is, nothing defines a leader more than how they deal with the unexpected, unwanted, or unplanned changes in life. And these jobs can provide plenty of meaning and opportunity through those changes if we’re open to it.

Today I’m sharing 5 meaningful benefits to working bridge jobs that will add to your leadership toolbox.

1. Patience.

Patience may be the most underrated trait in a leader, and in today’s day and age with all the distractions, it must be fostered.

Use your bridge job as an opportunity to master acceptance, and in turn, you will be flexing your patience muscle. This will help you to make better decisions in every aspect of your life, detaching from emotion and allowing you to work with a clear mind.

2. Networking.

Networking is king right now, that is no secret. But most of us add an extra word before networking: Social.

It’s not all about social networking, which is something those of us who sit behind a computer screen all day must remember. Face-to-face networking is critical. You truly never know what may stem from the contacts you make and the friendships you foster in your bridge role.

3. Learning new skills.

This is particularly important for recent grads, but relevant to all of us. Always, always, always relish in the opportunity to learn new skills. It is never too early or too late to learn something new, despite what they say.

And sometimes the beauty of a bridge job is that pushes you out of your comfort zone. And you know what they say about that? It’s where the magic happens.

I speak from experience: I excelled in the Arts in school and barely passed math, but fostered some of my greatest strengths in the role of a pharmaceutical technician for years.

4. Clarity.

Sometimes (often) we just don’t know what we want to do. We know we have a greater purpose – a calling – but we’re not sure what it is.

There is so much pressure out there to find your dream job, or create your dream life, but that takes time to uncover, and sometimes it’s through a process of elimination.

Bridge jobs can force us to look at our strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. It can help us to find clarity on our path to purpose.

5. Perspective.

Sometimes we have everything we want right in front of us, and we don’t see it. Some of us feel that we have so many choices – too many choices – and it’s just overwhelming.

Working a bridge job, while helping with clarity, patience, learning new skills, and networking, can give us another beautiful thing: perspective.

It can give us time and space away from expectations we have for our lives: breathing room.

What lessons have you taken away from working bridge jobs?