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Are You Under-Employed?

You may have a job to go to every morning, a paycheck you collect twice a week and health insurance-but, are you happy? You may think, “What do I have to complain about, I should count myself as one of the lucky ones.” True, but are you happy? If you are still pondering this question, welcome to the world of the “under-employed.”

You may not be one of the millions who are knocking on doors, scouring the job boards and filling out their bi-weekly UED forms, but you may just be as lost and confused as your unemployed counterparts.  You may have a job to go to every morning, a paycheck you collect twice a week and health insurance-but, are you happy?  Just because you have a job does not mean you are any more or less fulfilled than the guy who is struggling to make ends meet.  Yeah, you may think, “What have I got to complain about, I should count myself as one of the lucky ones.”  True, but are you happy?  If you are still pondering this question, welcome to the world of the “under-employed.”

Don’t think that because you are gainfully employed that the concern, worry, doubts about where you are going somehow magically disappear.  You are underwhelmed by your job, lack challenge and focus and question your motivation.  You may even begin to doubt your self-worth.  Stop!  You are suffering from the feelings most battle when they compare themselves to those less fortunate.  You may feel ashamed, embarrassed, and guilty for wondering how and why you could continue to stay in your current job when so many would give their right arm to work anywhere again.  It’s not that you are ungrateful, selfish or even clueless about the world around you.  It’s that you, like so many have bought into the idea that the grass is not always greener and it’s better to put up and shut up rather than venture out into the bleak job-scape, not knowing what may wait for you behind the next turn.

Knowing you are not alone and that you can form a self-help group for those miserable employed folks might help you through your down days, but a better, more productive strategy would be to stop feeling guilty and to do something about your predicament.  Bitching about how miserable you are about your situation might feel good at the moment but it’s not going to gain you any friends, supporters and allies when what you probably need is a career coach.

Acknowledging what is and what is not working for you in your job can help you figure out what you do want from your career in the long-term.  Sometimes you’ve got to know what you don’t want in order to formulate what you do want.  Focusing on all the things in your current job that you hate is a healthy exercise so long as you don’t dwell on it for too long and become paralyzed by your situation.  Making sure you don’t blab about your misery to co-workers, peers, or even your boss is a smart move as you contemplate how you will learn, grow and move on from here.

Building your EXTERNAL support group comprised of people you don’t work with, for, or are not your clients is a good first step.  Hiring a career coach (all kidding aside) to help you talk through what is not working in your current job might provide options to help you reevaluate your current situation and maybe even turn your present job into your dream job.  Understanding that it’s okay to not like where you are even though you are lucky to have a job is not an indictment. Making sure you use the most of what you have while you are employed and position yourself to move onto to a job you love is not only smart but also honors who you and ultimately what you want from your career.

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