Underemployment is frustrating. There’s really no other way to describe it.
But underemployment doesn’t need to define you.
You are so much more than what you do for a living. It’s a rough economy and university degrees alone aren’t enough to land you your dream job these days. But I’m not going to lecture you on how important it is to keep looking, to network, and to try to manage your debt (today, anyway). This blog entry is about coping with the fact that you’re underemployed.
Honestly, there are days where underemployment will get the best of you. Heck, I’ve had a day or two where I’m so defeated that all I manage to do is lay in my bed watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and IMing the one friend who’ll listen to me whine on and on while I feel generally miserable for myself. Seriously, I can sometimes be that girl. But lately those days are few and far between because I’m learning to focus on the positive aspects of being underemployed.
If there’s one thing that Grey’s Anatomy has taught me, it’s that “We make our own destinies“. Our actions are not the only thing that define us, our outlook also plays a huge role in how far we’ll go.
It’s so easy to indulge in feeling bad for yourself when you’re stuck in a part-time position or some frustrating retail job that’s well outside your area of expertise (check and check for me), but it’s also pretty easy to remind yourself that underemployment doesn’t have to be permanent. But you’ve got to remember that you’re not settling for less, you’re just in transition – you’re still applying for jobs, working hard to gain positive attention at your part-time gigs, and looking for ways to boost your resume.
Every day you’re coming a little bit closer to landing that entry-level position you’ve been dreaming of. The problem is that you can’t see this. You can’t see opportunity on the horizon, just more uncertainty. It can take a lot of time for the right opportunity to show itself, and in the meantime you’re going to feel like you’re floundering through life. That’s normal.
Underemployment is not the worst thing in the world. As it turns out, you’re probably never going to have this much free time again. Ever. So why not spend some of this free time enjoying yourself? Or spend time helping out your family and friends – you’ve got nothing better to do! Have a life outside of the exhausting search for you’re real job. And take time to consider this: what is your dream job? For me, having this time to think and write has given me time to construct an entirely new outlook for my future. The possibilities seem endless!
Underemployment sucks, but it doesn’t have to make your life suck! Just keep hanging in there and try to maintain a positive outlook. You might try making yourself an online portfolio, an inspiration board, or start a linkedin account to get yourself networking. Just don’t lose your focus!
Opportunity is out there… I just know it.
Are you underemployed/unemployed? How do you cope?