Whatever you dream to do, be sure to do it well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Bright Side of Underemployment

I must be kidding, right? The bright side of underemployment? Read on.

I don't believe it!  
Life has its moments where it exerts more effort than usual to bury you in a grave and sit on top of it for extra good measure. Unemployment/ Underemployment may or may not fall under that category but to some people it certainly does. Like me. Now I can bore you with the details of how I graduated from college, graduated from grad school with a Master’s Degree, and went abroad to gain international experience, but I won’t because you’re not a potential employer. (If you are please email me. I’m quite the amicable person. ^_^)

My story mirrors many others and, although I cannot speak for every unemployed/underemployed twenty-something in this new brave world of ours, I believe we’re tired of explanations of how the government, the economy, meritocracy, or capitalism failed us. We are ready to change the rules of an old game or maybe we are ready to introduce a new game altogether.

Now, you might say, “Well, you wouldn’t be having problems finding a job if you majored in (insert math, science, or technology specialty here).” True. I swapped a high demand sector for an area that seduced my passions and strong desire to bring happiness to the most people possible. I have no regrets for the choices I’ve made and do not intend to cultivate regrets somewhere along the passage of time. I have my education, my mind, and a vision for the future. I cannot go wrong unless I willfully sabotage myself.   

My status: underemployed. I managed to secure a part time teaching at a community college and an international school located in a small liberal arts college tucked in the middle of a pine forest. The latter offered me free room and board so I leaped on it and moved out of my home to a single dorm room where I would share a bathroom and shower with six other females. I’ve moved three times before so I’m comfortable with the change and although not ideal, the bathroom situation bothers me very little. I’m grateful for the personal space to write, which will be my focus for the next threw months: writing and editing.

I’m thankful, thankful, thankful for what I have now because many more have it worse than I do. Of course, I had moments of panic about how to pay pending and impending bills, but I repeated my mantra for worry detox: Stop worrying. It does not help the situation. Worrying won’t make God have more pity on you and throw a golden bone on your lap this instant. So stop. Just stop it. I repeat it several times and I feel better. I feel grateful. In the midst of my gratitude, I thought about all the gems that unemployment/ underemployment offers.  Here’s what I came up with in my own personal journey:

You have more time to think about your life, where you want to go, and who you want to be. (Reflections, reflections!)

You can work on and improve your spiritual life.

You have more time to work on projects that usually would be left undone or neglected. (I revitalized this blog and my writing during my unemployment period.)

You can spend more quality time with your family and friends (if you’re smart about it).

Went down memory lane: awesome friends and family

from highschool, college, grad school, and Korea

You appreciate your family and friends more.

You can appreciate the necessities you’ve taken for granted.

You can take a break from the rat race to refocus and re-envision your life.

You appreciate five dollars a lot more than before.  (OMG, I’m rich! *tears* T_T << My reaction when finding five dollars in my wallet. Shows you how much I look in there.)

You budget more intelligently because you’re forced to do so.  (Bye bye wasteful, meaningless purchases. You do not NEED that. This is still a toughie for me but I have come a long waaaaaay. Trust me.)

You have more hope and anticipation of what’s to come because you believe it will be better than right now.

"Oh, the places you will go." ~Dr. Seuss

How about you? If you’ve ever endured unemployment/underemployment, what would you add to the list?

Thanks for reading,

Sammy :)


Geo. said...

"How about you?" Brave question these days.

Yes, I endured unemployment for 3 months in 1971. It was scary because I had a family. Otherwise I was underemployed for 40 years. But I was unionized for 30 of those, so able to get 4 kids thru college and save for retirement. It WILL get back to that. California is starting the year with a $4 billion surplus: we're recovering. Other states will too. Things will get better, are getting better. Believe that and never, never lose your sense of humor.

CS Severe said...

Hi Geo, thanks for sharing. That's pretty amazing that you were able to put 4 kids through college AND save for retirement! Happy to hear that things in California are improving. I'm hoping to move there in a few years if things works out. Thank you for your thoughtful words. I'll keep them close. :)

Anonymous said...

I think keeping a great attitude (like you have) is a wonderful tool to help get folks through whatever comes at them. Being adaptable and creative also helps.

I love that you were able to live in dorm-style accomodations. I did that when I first started working away from home. (at 16 years old) Yes, the bathroom situation was a little annoying at times, but the fun we girls had was awesome. :-)

Tim Keen said...

I have worked when times are tough and had to make adjustments to my lifestyle, but as long as I was working, things were good, regardless of the pay. During those times when I couldn't work was when things were bad.


CS Severe said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! Adaptability and creativity is key. I hope to make new friends at the dorm as well. Thanks for sharing. :D

Hi Tim! Yes, having something with pay is so much better than nothing. When I had no job, I had to do much to keep occupied not to go insane. Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you aren't employed to your potential, but I love your positive attitude about it. For the first five years or so of my after-college career, I was over-worked and under-paid...luckily, my husband's salary covered my deficiency. I have no complaints now, but oddly enough, tables have turned and I'm covering my husband's shortfall. Budgeting is a must, and with that, we can get what we need. No sleepless nights worrying about whether you'll have a roof over your head is priceless :)

CS Severe said...

Hi Janna, thank you for your kind words. It's funny how the roles have reversed. And yes! It's great not to worry about shelter. Such a blessing. Thanks for sharing!