The Two Main Reasons for Underemployment – the Economy and You

by Bill on December 3, 2013

Underemployment causes loss of income

Okay so I can honestly say that since 2009, when the economy went into the bucket, it has only gotten slightly better. But yet there are still people out there who are woefully underemployed and unemployed over prolonged periods of time. What’s the problem? And are you one of them?

I see all types of people during my day; those who like and dislike their jobs, those who can’t get the right job, those who don’t have a job and those who settle for any type of job. I see people who just don’t bother looking anymore; and I see people who think they just can’t land a better job, or any job for that matter.

Which category do you fit into?

Here’s my story in relation to underemployment and being unemployed. I remember when I tried like hell to find work back in 2005; I put in roughly five applications per day, every day, for three months. I remember the unemployment worker I was assigned to telling me to slow down because I would give myself a stroke trying so hard. I finally landed an interview for a position at a retail “mom and pop” store known around the area. It was part-time and, while I wasn’t sure if I would like the job, I took the position just to get paid something. Nothing else was coming up and I could use the money.

I stuck with that job for three years. I hated that job for the latter half of those years. The longer I was there, the more I hated it and tried to seek a way out.

But here is where so many people fail with underemployment. They know there is a solution. They know there is a way out to a better life. So many people refuse to take the leap of faith to try. Yes, I said “leap of faith”. While not overtly religious by any means, I do believe you must have some willingness to let go and let things fall as they may.

While working at the store I began looking into other things I could do. I began wandering around the internet, seeking out ideas and methods that might help me gain more income. There are those who wish for a better life by constantly telling themselves about what’s out there, but unreachable. How do you know what’s unreachable without trying something, anything?

I knew I wanted to get out of retail. I knew I didn’t want to be stuck at minimum wage. But what else was there for someone without a college degree? I didn’t have practical experience that I thought I needed to get ahead. But that didn’t stop me from learning new things.

Okay, here are a few examples from personal experience. At first I tried looking around for money making ideas across the internet. Who doesn’t these days? I found surveys; I found marketing schemes; I found the online college courses, and the ideas to “make money on eBay” and the like. Then I came across something I had forgotten I once liked doing but only ever dreamed of – writing. I think it was on Craigslist where I found my first few writing gigs. They were small; and one of them connected me with what was Associated Content, now Yahoo Voices. There were also my first contacts with content providers and subcontracting. The point is I found a way to get paid. I had found a way to get a few extra bucks. This is when I realized that there was possibly another way for me to earn income without hating myself for ‘settling’ with a job just so I had money.

What happened next? I kept looking. I kept seeking ways to make the writing work for me. If I could get paid doing something I liked, why not try to get better and get more of it? I found Demand Studios and Bright Hub. By today’s standards, these two companies are not that great in the writing world, but back then, to someone just looking to make a better life it was a way to earn a steady income. I had found a replacement for the retail job. It took me roughly a year to get this far from when I first started searching.

Let me point this out again. It took time for me to find what I needed to find that would help me achieve better employment. But I began by searching, by doing something; then I kept at it in whatever spare time I found.

Within a year of landing a semi-stable income at the content providers I landed more work at two websites, and wrote a book that I was paid a flat fee for. I could now quit the retail job and do something I wanted to do. I was also making more than I was at the old job. Within a couple of years I switched roles again and was writing for newspapers. But I stayed in a position that I liked. I made sure I was where I wanted to be; and I promised myself never to return to where I had come from. That, my friends, is how you go from underemployment to a satisfied life.

While I do not recommend everyone follow me into writing, I hope to make a point here. Look for what seems interesting to you. Keep looking until you find it. Don’t stop searching and continually settle for something because it’s an income. While there are not as many jobs out there as there were five years ago; that does not mean you cannot find something better than where you are now. This also does not mean you cannot create your own destiny and your own job. Find what you are good at, and make an attempt. It will be a small step at first. Baby steps are always the best to get started; but the idea is to get started. Take the first few baby steps. Even if you fall on your face, you fell forward, right?

William Swan, writer

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