“It’s necessary to be slightly underemployed if you are to do something significant”  James D. Watson

In our  present society, millions of people are both unemployed and underemployed.

It is difficult in these challenging times to find meaning in our work and consequently in our life.

A significant percentage of college graduates find themselves underemployed (assuming they can even land a job at all), saddled with substantial debt and living at home with their parents.

Many middle aged people find themselves underemployed in today’s fast changing market after being forced to leave their former full time positions to go into either part time jobs or jobs beneath their ability and/or qualifications.

Even taking all of these negative factors into account, there really are certain ” bright spots” to being underemployed.

This post is about people who are presently underemployed; and how they can use it to their advantage while at the same time enhance their personal development.

As a financial services recruiter for over 25 years, I had the opportunity to counsel many candidates about perspective jobs. In addition, I assisted candidates that were out of work or were underemployed.

Definition Of Underemployment

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines underemployment as ” the condition in which people in a labor force are employed at less than full-time or regular jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs.”

How People Feel When They are Underemployed

Many people who are underemployed feel depressed, angry and have a loss of self esteem. The more time that goes by before they find a position in alignment with their qualifications, the more these feelings intensify.

The “Brighter” Aspects Of Being Underemployed – Another Viewpoint To Consider

  • Receiving A Paycheck – You are still receiving a paycheck although much smaller in many cases from that of your previous full time job.


  • Learning New Skills – You probably are learning some new skills that can help you in finding your ideal job. These skills may take you in a different career direction you had never thought about before.


  • Networking – You never know who you will meet – There is a saying that as one door shuts, another one opens. The more people you network with both online and offline, the more your chances increase to find an optimal job.


  • Broadening Your Horizons – Viewing Things From A Different Perspective – For example, if you were an executive and now you are in a staff position, you gain a better perspective on what it takes to get a job/task accomplished. This insight will give you a broader understanding and appreciation of colleagues/employees in the future.


  • Opportunities For Job Promotions – You may have the chance to be promoted when better economic times prevail.


  • Possibilities For Increased Free Time – You may have more free time. This time can be spent looking for your ideal job or doing something totally different that you never had time to do before.


There is another way to view underemployment.

The ability to look at the other side of the coin will help you in your personal growth and development.

About the author: Bob

Bob is a businessman, athlete, and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people progress personally through better self-awareness.

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