8 years ago, I was enrolled in post-graduate coursework, on the way toward a PhD. Money started to get tight, and I didn’t want to take out a loan, so I dropped out. My career ended up going in a different direction, but I still wonder “what if.” I’m also still perturbed with myself for not completing what I started, and I’m even more perturbed when I realize I can still do it, and I don’t.

So how does this relate to underemployment? Think about where YOU were 8 years ago. What change did you want to make in your life then? Do you have any regrets?

Now think about where you’ll be 8 years  in the future. 2023. Are you going to be in the same job? The same career field?

Band-aides or Remedies?


  • A construction manager who can build your new home 2 months quicker and 50K cheaper than the other guy.
  • A pill that promises you’ll lose 20 pounds in one month or your money back.
  • A college degree in 2 years (that’s 2 years quicker than what the university admissions folks told you!).

6 months later: not only have you gained back all the weight you lost and more, you’ve been suffering from headaches and anxiety since quitting the weight-loss medication.

1 year later : the basement in your new house is flooded. A call to the builder leads to a disconnected phone number. An online search yields an investigation citing practicing without a license. It ultimately costs you $75K and 5 months to clean up and restore your basement.

2 years later : you’re passed over for 3 job promotions. Your employer recommends, as part of your process improvement plan, a college writing course and several books and seminars aimed at enhancing analytical and critical thinking skills.

See what I mean?

Investment in  yourself will yield a Return on Investment down the road. And that Return on Investment might be quicker than you think!

The Value of Self-Assessment

We career professionals  cannot give you a magic solution to your career dilemmas. But we can help  you answer the question “what career should I get into” – starting with self-assessment.

Self-assessment is a process of taking an honest look at yourself; determining and articulating your interests, skills, values (career-related, personal, lifestyle), personality attributes (strengths, weaknesses, motivators), and goals. Your culture, family of origin, education, and/or individual experiences may or may not factor into this process. Some people are able to accomplish the self-assessment phase on their own, or with the help of resources such as guided career-change workbooks. Others find the process overwhelming and seek the counsel of someone specializing in career development.

“But I already know all about myself!”

Excellent! It’s great that you have a completely accurate picture of who you are and where you’re going. Bravo! However, if you’re like me, you’re constantly evolving – which means so are your interests, skills, values, and possibly your passions. Self-assessment, in this case, can be beneficial in terms of clarifying your path, setting goals, and making decisions.


Underemployment Hurts

If you’ve been job searching for months, even years, and getting nowhere, something needs to change.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your resume targeted to a  specific job/industry/organization? If “no”, are you sending the same “generic” resume to  any and all jobs/organizations?
    • Hint: in today’s competitive job market, resumes need to be tailored to  specific jobs.
  • Describe your job search strategies. Are you spending several hours per day on general job search websites (i.e. indeed, monster…)?
    • Hint: Networking is still the best job search strategy.
  • Have you been on several interviews without receiving follow- – up and/or offers? If “yes”, have you researched the organization and position? Practiced interviewing?
    • Hint: your resume sparked interest, so you’ve already accomplished an important first step. Now’s the time to ask yourself honestly why you’ve not been awarded an offer.

Return on Investment

Here’s the irony:  self assessment will ultimately

  • Save you time: your job search will be targeted, simplified, and more efficient, allowing you to land your next gig faster.
  • Save you money:  it’s likely that if you obtain a new job, you’ll be making more money. Time spent on an ineffective job search could be money in the bank.
  • Instill confidence in yourself: the more confident you are, the better you’ll interview, and the better you’ll be able to handle rejection.

Moral of the Story

The surprising reason you’re underemployed? You haven’t devoted sufficient time and/or effort to self-assessment.
Interested in getting started? Contact me for a free consultation.