What to Do if You’re Underemployed

Being productive when you are underemployed doesn't need to be miserable. In fact, here are smart ways to be proactive when you're underemployed.

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Underemployment deserves to be the most popular job in the 21st century. Statistics have shown time and time again the number of underemployed workers is on the rise, and it doesn’t seem to be going down anytime soon. On the contrary, the level of workplace satisfaction of these employees continues to move the other way.

Plenty of those who fit the category gets a bit impatient with their jobs and life at times. It’s like: “is my break stranded in the middle of nowhere or is it taking a detour?” But before these ill feelings take hold of your sanity, let this article be a sort of enlightenment to shed light on your situation. Here are some smart ways to make the most of being underemployed.

What to Do if You're Underemployed

1. Get a part-time job

If you're only working part-time, consider picking up a few extra hours at another part-time weekend job. This can help you bring in some extra income to cover your expenses. There are a ton of part-time jobs available, so you should be able to find something that fits your schedule and skill set.

Part-time jobs can help you make ends meet when you're underemployed. There are also online jobs that pay daily that you can do from home. Online jobs can be a great way to make some extra money, and you can often set your own hours.

2. Dust off your resume and seek work elsewhere

If you're underemployed and not happy with your current situation, it may be time to start looking for a new job. Update your resume and begin applying for jobs that are a better fit for your skillset. It may take some time to find the right job, but it'll be worth it in the end.

3. Make networking a priority

Networking is essential when you're looking for a job. Get connected with people in your industry and let them know you're on the hunt for a new position. Attend events, join professional networking sites, use sites like Linkedin, and reach out to contacts you haven't spoken to in a while.

4. Create your own opportunities

If you can't find the right job, create your own. Starting your own business is a great way to be in control of your career and make money on your own terms. It's not an easy task, but it can be incredibly rewarding.

5. Get help from others

There are a number of organizations that can help you if you're underemployed. Check with your local government or community organizations to see what resources are available.

6. Aim to stretch your income as much as you can

If you're underemployed, it's important to be mindful of your spending. Cut back on unnecessary expenses and aim to stretch your income as much as possible. There are a number of ways to save money, so find what works for you and stick to it.

7. Be patient

It can be difficult to be patient when you're underemployed and struggling to make ends meet. However, it's important to remember that this is only a temporary situation. Things will eventually improve, so try to stay positive and keep your head up.

Things to Remember When You're Underemployed

You’re not on the unemployment line

You’re earning. You have money to get by, even if it isn’t that much or if it’s just a paycheck to paycheck type of living. The primary reason we work is survival. I believe a good pay, a title or getting in your dream company is just secondary. Satisfaction and success are just bonuses. In the recent study for unemployment in the U.S., there has been a sharp decrease in the unemployment rate. Aren’t you proud to have contributed, leading to the drastic change in the country?

You have an addition to your repertoire

Most of us take on certain jobs just to get by, and some just to gain experience in preparation for their dream job. There are also people who take on jobs unparallel to their majors for the sake of passion. This may be temporary but it’s a springboard to success. Whatever is the case, you have something to add to your work experience on your resume. Having a long list of skills and experiences is to die for, especially now that the competition to enter big companies is tough.

You’re learning new things

I’ve taught at an international language academy for six years and been an instructor at a university. As you can see, teaching is sort of a comfort zone for me. And here I am working as a writer and forcing myself to learn and absorb a portion of the Internet. I hated it and had a hard time memorizing stuff, but beyond the hate and discomfort, I’m learning something totally new. Nothing can guarantee that I would be able to use this on my dream job, but I could definitely put it at my disposal.

However, it’s not all skills that are up for grabs but knowing more about who we are. Our strengths, weaknesses – part of us that need pruning. Once properly dealt with, by the time we enter the company we’ve always dreamed of we’re already better equipped and refined to take on the tasks that await us.

You have a more varied exposure

More than the skills learned during your freelance season or part-time phase are the system, the culture and the nature of the environment in a particular workplace. Each company has its own culture and system instilled to maintain order and productivity, so open your mind and observe. Adapt the good habits in a company.

If you’ve been used to beating tight deadlines, then another round of it would be easier to manage. If you’ve worked for a Cruella Deville, then another version would be much easier to deal with.

You have a wider network

All of us aim to work in a bigger company no less, earn a higher salary and all, but what we can’t easily attain is a network of good people who we can call friends. Those who stick with us from the bottom on our way up are for keeps.

You’ll grow

There’s a condition to this one. You’ll grow if you’ll allow yourself to. You can up for self-realization or self-discovery. Opt to look at the positive side of things. The waiting season does not equate to standing still and doing nothing. Make the most out of it. Grow by learning new things, making new friends, maturing and nurturing ourselves as a worker and as a person.

This is not to bust any popular belief or myth regarding underemployment. This is basically to somehow change the perspective of underemployed workers and shed another light to the often undermined and neglected benefits of being underemployed. With a positive mental attitude to start with, you won’t belittle the things you have right now. Instead, you’ll use it to turn the tables to your advantage, being the person you’re intended to be.

About the author

Brian Meiggs
Hi, I'm Brian Meiggs! A personal finance expert, entrepreneur, and the founder of My Millennial Guide. My drive is to help others unlock the wealth of freedom and pave the path to financial success. With my bachelor's degree in finance, I help millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the future. I write regularly about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. I have been quoted in major publications including Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, GoDaddy, BiggerPockets, Fox News, Debt.com, Quick Sprout, Money Geek, MSN Money and many more!