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It’s easy to know if you are unemployed. You don’t have a job, and you want or need one. Underemployment is a little trickier. You have a job, and someone is paying you to do it, but you feel you could do it in your sleep. The job doesn’t allow you to use the skills, talent, education and experience that you worked so hard to earn. So, how can you tell if you’re really underemployed, or just overestimating your qualifications?

Here are five signs that you might be underemployed – and what you can do to change your situation.

  1. This one is fairly easy. You are working part-time, but you’re available, and you want full-time work. Some people love the freedom and independence of part-time, temp or on-call work. They’re satisfied with their paycheck, so working just enough to cover essentials and spending the rest of their time with fun pursuits is ideal for their lifestyle. But if you’re spending your “free” time networking, sending out resumes, and searching for full-time employment, it’s likely you’re underemployed.
  2. Look around. Do you have much in common with your co-workers? If your previous job was a highly skilled one that required industry-specific certifications or a post-secondary degree or diploma and you are the only employee doing the same job who has any of those qualifications, it’s quite possible you are underemployed.
  3. Are you bored at work? Do you find that you can accomplish the tasks assigned to you without much thought or concentration? Boredom is a great indicator of a mind that’s underused and underemployed. If you don’t find your job challenging or rewarding, if you wake up every morning hoping it’s Friday, chances are good that you’re underemployed.
  4. Did you lose your last professional job because of a lay-off, company closure or relocation? Or have you recently graduated from college but have been unable to find work in your major field? These are all signs that you may be underemployed, that you may have “settled” for an unfulfilling job.
  5. And here’s the clincher: Can you recognize yourself in any of the previous situations, but think there’s nothing you can do about it – that it’s just normal to feel that way? It’s not.

Employ Up was created to help Indianapolis-area residents who need and want a better job. From initial assessment to career coaching, from updating skills to job readiness, Employ Up and its employer and training and education partners have developed and provide services that are free to residents of Indianapolis and the surrounding communities.

Take the first step on your path to re-employment by signing up here!

By Lori Urias-Gehris