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5 Ways Depression Actually Helps in the Service Industry

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Retaining a job during a depressive state can seem near impossible. Being able to take care of yourself is a struggle and the thought of going into work might feel like one step too many. However, being depressed actually provides a select set of skills, which are beneficial to the service industry and minimum wage jobs.

1. Being able to smile, even when you’d rather not.

This is something almost everyone who has ever dealt with depression can relate to — so can people who work in service jobs. There are times when smiling is basically the bane of your existence. Being depressed teaches you that sometimes you have to smile through it because if all you focus on is the bad, then that’s all you’ll ever see.

2. Knowing a kind word can be the difference between the worst day and a day you can survive.

Being depressed can be a brutal trap. There’s a darkness suffocating the person with it. It’s easy to feel like you’ll never have a reason to be happy again. At those times, a compliment or a nice word can make all the difference. Working in a service position is just one of the ways being aware of the need for kindness really shines through.

3. Setting small goals.

Being able to set small goals throughout the day is a key exercise for depression. Getting out of bed. Eating breakfast. Working out. Taking a shower. Applying this idea to a service position ensures each person you interact with feels something is being accomplished, all while giving you a place to pause and make sure you didn’t get in over your head.

4. Being patient, even when someone is yelling at you.

Even though depression doesn’t need a specific trigger, there are things that can make it worse. Being yelled at or blamed can definitely be one of those triggers, even if you’re the one blaming yourself. It takes great strength to convince yourself to not believe the words spoken in anger. This skill comes in handy when other people are looking for someone to blame.

5. Perseverance capabilities.

Knowing depression has to come to an end at some point is a driving factor to keep going. It may not be easy to believe, but just knowing at some point it will stop builds the foundation to this customer service skill. Whether it’s the physicality of a long shift, the never ending line of people or the way time seems to stand still, there are plenty of ways in which perseverance is necessary.

Depression is hard. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t, but it doesn’t have to be a curse. There are beautiful life skills, which come from fighting with your own mind. It’s a ruthless battle, but what comes out the other end is nothing short of a perfect diamond. Those skills deserve to be recognized.

Originally published: June 29, 2016
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