This world and its economy is going through a time of struggles for employment and harsh management. As a result, unemployment is on the rise. And all this has lead to a trend that is sure to damage a career: Underemployment. People are employed but not paid what they are worth. Or they have to do things that doesn’t utilize all their skills effectively. And this is the wonder for this post that shall only present points for both sides in the question: Unemployment or Underemployment?
Unemployment hurts a career by creating an idle period in the professional life and one will be most definitely asked about this. Why were you unemployed? Were you not good enough to your last employer? Did you spend your time effectively? If yes, then how? Every single one of these contains several risks of pointing out your negative qualities. It becomes a stain on your future and will work against you. With no limit on duration of unemployment, this becomes a drain on savings as well. And if there are more mouths to feed or huge loans to pay, then that’s addition of a stress one doesn’t need. And so, this often leads to underemployment.
But when you have the skills (and the experience to use them efficiently) then why should you get paid for less than what you deserve? Or why should you do jobs that disrespects all that you learned?
Simple, because you have no choice. This is the main basis and the cause of concern in cases of underemployment. People or organizations hire folks this way (like skilled technicians for grunt work) and pay only a fraction of what the person deserves. This brings with itself no real respite from the troubles while opening a new can of problems. Money will always be insufficient for all the needs and the stress of the job will eat away at the mind as well in the meantime. There is a high risk of occupational burn-out in such cases. And in the future, this stint will be noted as the future employers will try to underpay as well. And there are lots of harmful effects of a stressful professional life that can (and probably will) threaten, or worse destroy, your personal life. Some might consider being unemployed a luxury in such cases.
So where does one go? There’s no right or wrong choice in this for everyone. With unique situations guiding us all, what works for one may be devastating for someone else. Underemployment is necessary for those who have many mouths to feed, even if it risks getting the know-hows becoming outdated. The unemployed can seek far more options (due to spare time) even in a little distant places and can have the life flexible to be on the road in the search of a job but will face a life with no certainties.
Thankfully, silver linings exists for the two as well. For the unemployed, there is a lot of free time to learn/develop skills and/or try for self-employment. For the underemployed, it is the benefit of having a step into the door of the corporate world and now it just requires hard work to stand out in the crowd so that someone in a powerful position notices and offers a job with a well-deserved pay. As a bonus, one also earns work experience and builds new bridges with folks who would help you in future.
So what do you think you would support (and/or choose)? Unemployment or Underemployment?