The terms “unemployed” and “employed” have simple meanings. You don’t have a job (and desire one) if you’re jobless, but you do if you’re working. Underemployment, on the other hand, is a little more complicated and distinct from unemployment.

1. Your qualifications are more than those required for the job.

You’re likely underemployed if a job requires a high school diploma but you’ve previously finished graduate school.

Of course, it’s important to remember that people’s values and priorities change throughout time. For example, a student may enrol in law school only to discover that they hate practicing law and would rather walk dogs. On paper, such individuals may seem underemployed, but they may not feel that way.

You’re probably underemployed if you have talents you’d want to use on the job but haven’t been given the chance to show off your spreadsheet expertise, team-building ability, or any other skill.

The Solution

This is a good time for you to do some self-reflection. Are you content in your current position, despite the fact that you have credentials that would enable you to work elsewhere? If that’s the case, there’s nothing that can be done.

However, if you’re unsatisfied with your work and believe your skills—and school loans—are being squandered, search for positions that are a better fit for your credentials. This may be a difficult process depending on the employment market.

Each day, try to do one to two activities related to your job hunt, such as:

2. There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day

If you’re an hourly worker, the arithmetic is straightforward: the more hours you work, the more money you’ll earn. Employers may limit employee hours for a variety of reasons, including a desire to avoid providing benefits or a lack of employment.

In this scenario, you may discover that you need to work several part-time jobs and have a tight schedule to pay your expenses.

The Solution

First, check to see whether additional hours are available in your current work. “If you don’t ask, you don’t receive,” as the adage goes. It’s always conceivable that your boss was unaware that you wished to work more hours and is glad to add you to the schedule for more shifts.

If additional hours aren’t available at your current work, start looking for a position that will provide you with the hours you desire or need.

More Options for Dealing With Unemployment

Being unemployed is often due to circumstances beyond your control. It’s possible that the job market is tight. It’s possible that you have a highly specialized talent that’s in short supply. Alternatively, you may be forced to work several part-time jobs due to a lack of full-time opportunities.

Any of these situations would be very aggravating. Without being glib or implying that moving from underemployment to employment is simple, here are some strategies to try:

If your boss is unaware that you want to do more, whether it’s by working longer hours or taking on additional duties, raise your hand and let them know. This may pave the way for new possibilities.

 There’s no point in keeping quiet about your desire for a new career that’s a better fit for your talents. Let your friends and family know what you’re searching for in your future job. That means bringing it up in casual conversation after church or when you run across someone going home from the supermarket. It doesn’t have to be difficult to network.

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