How to Capitalize When Underemployed???
- 1 Remember that you're not alone. Many people experience dissatisfaction at their jobs. In fact, about 55 percent of American workers are reportedly underemployed and not engaged at work, which involves having a job that does not fully utilize your skills.Underemployment isn't just about boredom; you can have a job where you are occupied all day, but doing something menial that does not allow you to use your full potential. This phenomenon can sour your attitude and runs rampant through many workplaces--and, yes, even during a recession.2
- Skip the Solitaire. So you've asked for assignments, but your boss says things are slow. Most employees would turn to something mind-numbing like a computer game. But if you're new on the job, you can take advantage of getting to know the company and leveraging the benefits.Regardless of whether you are new or not, it never looks good to be playing a game at your computer. Find something else to do--in this case, something more productive.
- 3 Get to know your benefits. You probably already know if you get health care, but now is the time to explore what else the company has to offer. Get a copy of the employee manual and read the entire book. Meet the HR director and ask about other benefits, including gym discounts and professional development training. Maybe you can take a course to expand upon your work skills to pass the time--even if you do a self-taught course at your computer.Things may be slow and new employees may have more time to be brought up to speed, but the key is to be doing something work-related even if you're not working on your usual projects.
- 4 Hit the water cooler to build relationships. This isn't a freebie pass to commiserate with other bored employees. The goal here is to forge relationships that can benefit you in the future, whether it is for this company or another.Get to know the organizational chart and determine who you want to get to know. Stop by a corporate leader's office and introduce yourself. This could also land you more work to keep you occupied.
- 5 Consider a job change carefully. Those who are underemployed or just bored to tears at their jobs can be desperate to make a switch. If you decide you want to explore other opportunities, think about what you want to do. If you do not yet have the number of years needed to advance, it may be a better idea to stay at your current job, avoid job hopping on your resume and take more professional development courses in your industry.And if you do want out of this job, make the careful choice when accepting another job so you do not go back into the same underemployment situation. Take career tests and find out what you are good at and evaluate your next move carefully. Look for jobs discreetly so that if it doesn't work out, you do not lose the current job and wind up with nothing.
- 6 Explore other interests. If your 9-to-5 gig is here to stay and you cannot leave or find more engaging projects, make your non-work hours special. Do something engaging by taking up a hobby or spending time with people you enjoy. Many people use this time to moonlight doing work they enjoy, and some take that a step further and prepare to open their own business.
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