Why There Is No Such Thing As A Dead End Job


Have you ever heard someone say that a particular position was a “dead end job?” Meaning if you get that position there is no room for growth and it typically doesn’t pay much. I’ve heard it a million times.

So the question I would ask is, “Who decided it was a dead end job?”

You won’t find the words “dead end job” on the application.

The hiring manager won’t tell you that it’s a “dead end job.”

No where in the process will someone mention that any particular job is a “dead end job.”

So, if its truly a “dead end job” let’s ask ourselves, “Is it a ‘dead end job’ for everyone?”

“Has everyone hit that same wall?”

The answer is NO. Right? Everyone who has taken the position before you did not hit a dead end. So, why not you?

Well you might say, “I don’t want to become a manager” or you may say, “I don’t like this job.”

The question you must ask yourself now is, “Do you not like the company or do you not like your position within the company?” Meaning would you feel different if you were the CEO? There is a strong chance that any position you take will be dead end if you believe that it is.

Kevin Liles is a great example of someone who started at the lowest position on the totem pole.


The very successful long time record executive interned at Def Jam for 2 years before getting hired. He went on to become the CEO of the company. For those of you who don’t know, an intern in most cases is not getting paid.  So how many of you would work for two years without pay?

As you can see in Kevin Liles case, you have to see beyond your immediate position.

So what can we do? How do we not get trapped in a “dead end job?”

Be the best worker that you can be.

You have probably heard this before and you may respond with, “What if no one notices?” The answer is there is always someone who notices.

The task at hand is how to leverage the quality of your work.

Often times your immediate manager or supervisor is not in a position to directly or effectively give you what you want. Whether that be a raise, a promotion, etc. Sometimes they are limited to just a “thank you” and if you have a bad manager they may not even say that.

There are steps we can take to leverage our work but first I want to give you an example of the most commonly cited “dead end job.”


When most people mention working at McDonald’s, they instantly view it as a “dead end job.”

Let’s take a minute here and look at McDonald’s by the numbers in 2012. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

In 2012, McDonald’s had revenues of 27.56 billion.

Their total assets were 32.98 billion

They have over 34,000 locations worldwide and employ well over a million people.

They are one the most successful fast food chains to ever do business.

Again, if you approach your position as a “dead end job” then you will quickly find your dead end.

So back to the question, “How to leverage your work?”


Analyze your particular job. What function does your job serve? How is your job best executed?


Analyze the position of others. What function do their jobs serve? How does everyone work together to make things happen?


Analyze the business as a whole. What function does this company serve in the marketplace? Where do they rank in the industry?

Now come up with ideas to improve your job, the jobs of others, and ideas to move the company forward. This information becomes your ammunition. From this point, you have several different routes you can take.

Number 1

You can share your ideas with upper management. You will stand out in your company by offering them this valuable information. The senior executives in your company are best able to implement new ideas. Also they are in the best position to acknowledge your efforts which can lead to raises and promotions.

More importantly when you offer valuable information, you are able to spend time with people who can invest a lot of valuable information into you.

Number 2

When you know your job or several others jobs really well, you become an asset for your expertise in those specific positions.

For instance, if you work as a cashier for a retail store you might say that was a “dead end job.”

Consider this.

What if you become the best cashier they have, you take on added value.

You can train other cashiers on how to improve their customer service.

Your company may send you to other locations to train other cashiers.

You may even revise the company’s training materials to reflect better customer service.

This can extend outside of your company at which point you become a consultant for other businesses. Helping them improve their customer service. Sky’s the limit!

So it there such thing as a “dead end job?”

Yes, there are “dead end jobs.” Some companies are going to have a structure or culture that does not promote their employees growth.

If you feel stuck in a position ask yourself, “Why am I stuck?”

You may need to implement the items I mentioned before or consider the economics of your company. Your company may want to promote you or give you that raise but may not be in a position economically to do so.

Sometimes, you have to exercise patience and wait for that position to open up. There will be other times where this is not the case.

Number 3

I had a manager give me this advice. He said stay with a company for two years. If after two years, they aren’t willing to give you the raise or promotion that you want move on to another company that will.

Take notice of everything that happens at your job. This information could be a building block to help you build a better future. Your ideas may lead your company to unprecedented success or you may start your own company! Let’s go!

For more information on Kevin Liles, visit his website at http://www.kevinliles.com/ His book “Make It Happen” is really good!

Also if you find any of this information to be valuable, please share.



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