By the time MTV first aired Underemployed, I had long outgrown their demographic. However, I do remember watching at least one episode. It came to mind after my initial choice for this topic failed to capture what I wanted to talk about. We started with the emotional toll looking for work takes on a person, got some advice, and then dived into how I’ve been on the hunt for steady pay since graduation – but what I haven’t mentioned are those who look for work…while employed. This is a weird concept to me because it’s never been my reality. Having a job that allows me to pay for things, vacation and not stress over money – but sending out resumes because it still wasn’t “good enough.” Here’s the thing though, for some it’s not that the great job on paper isn’t good enough, it’s just that it’s not good enough for that person.
Underemployed told the tales of recent grads not working up to their potential. The valedictorian was making donuts. Imagine seeing the person you thought would go on to change the world…changing the oil at a local dessert shop. Now imagine how that girl feels when she thought her hard work and smarts would grant her an easy path towards success. Some people are well underemployed. They’re graduates working in retail for a boss that barely got their driver’s permit. If you thought looking for work was emotional, just think about what that does for a person’s self-esteem at the end of the day. Having to ask someone who is a decade younger than you if you can have next Tuesday night off.
The idea of being underemployed is one thing, but let’s go back to the people who have perfect jobs on paper but still yearn for other work. People like me may look at them like spoiled assholes, but I can also look at them and understand. Going into a place five days a week and feeling nothing at the end of your shift but dismay, that can’t be good for your mental health. So while it may be crazy to someone like me, I do understand why those people are secretly using their work computers to find another job while on the clock. There’s no shame in that at all. You do you girls and guys, because no one should feel completely depressed when they walk away from their desk at the end of the day.
Looking for work is never easy – whether you’re totally unemployed, underemployed or greatly employed but sick of your current state. That’s the bottom line. It’s all emotional, but know that if you are working your stress isn’t as horrendous as someone completely down in the dumps and out of work. Know what level you’re at with the whole search and be respectful to one another looking at the Want Ads.