1. Knowing You’re Underemployed
Number one is easy. Being underemployed in and of itself is hard. Working a job you know isn’t utilizing your skills or knowledge is psychologically rough. Many of us berate ourselves because we’re stuck in a job we’d rather not be doing. We know we’re capable of more. We curse our lack of drive, ambition, or whatever else we think caused us to end up where we are now.
Here’s some good news. You shouldn’t beat yourself up. The truth is, the job market sucks. Yes, maybe there are more opening for jobs, but the majority of those jobs are for low paying service jobs or part time work only. There’s only one group of people who wins when the job market is rough for workers, and that’s employers. Employers who see it as a race to the bottom to give as little as possible in money, benefits, and respect to their employees.
When the job market is bad, people are often told to “Be happy. At least you have a job.” My response to that is an elegant, precise, “please shut the fuck up, you’re only making me feel worse.” It’s hard enough to get up in the morning, but when you have to get up to go to a job that has nothing but a paycheck in it for you, it’s extra tough.
2. A Shitty Paycheck
Even if you work for a wildly profitable company, they definitely aren’t passing the money onto you. This is never more evident than when you get your paycheck. It’s one thing to work a job you don’t like. It’s entirely another when those long hours of drudgery you put in barely cover your basic needs. But hey, be happy, at least you have a job, right?
3. Going To Social Events
One thing I know is this: I hate any occasion where a group of people show up to celebrate. Why? Because I know at some point I’ll be asked the question: “What do you do for work?” Look, I already feel bad enough about my life, I don’t need the concerned and horrified looks of family and friends as the man before them they used to believe would become a successful person, is now selling bulk rate discounts on adult diapers to senior citizens.
4. It’s Getting Worse, Not Better
Factually speaking, right now, you are aging. This means you are slowly becoming obsolete. Look up the word entropy. Basically, we are all coming apart, all the time, regressing slowly, until we lose all remnants of youth, vigor, and energy. Then, party time at the nursing home reliving our memories, until we die alone.
Most of those memories are made up of working shitty jobs we had just so we could skate by, and not end up homeless and destitute. Your fondest recollections may well be of coming home after work and drinking box wine as you binge watched some Netflix show. Wow, this is depressing even for me, the guy writing it.
Less gruesome, but still surfing the wave of truth; you are getting older, and that means you’re less attractive to hiring managers. Your experience and knowledge are not wanted. Yes, they are great qualities to have, but the hiring managers for most jobs prefer people who shut up and do what they’re told.
Older people don’t give as many fucks as young people trying to impress their boss. An experienced worker will raise a stink when they know the company is treating them poorly or if they are asked to do something unethical. Therefore, hiring managers prefer unshaped easily misled newbies. The downside is it’s tough to find new work after 40. The good news? You get to retain your dignity.
5. Working With Assholes
There’s no other way to put it. Working with assholes when you’re underemployed is so common we basically have a whole series of stories dedicated to it (We softened the title a bit). Look, when you’re underemployed, the deck is stacked against you. You’re going to continuously deal with awful, emotionally disturbed people. Many of them are dumb and proud of it.
The worst is when you work for a corporate behemoth like AT&T or Walmart, where they proudly promote the worst of their employees into executive roles. You want to know why all upper management are assholes? They were carefully curated and given roles of authority by your company precisely because they are the worst of the worst.
How do you think Walmart and AT&T got so big? By being responsible and ethical? By treating their employees like human beings? No silly, of course not. They did it by being assholes. Consistently and thoroughly. So the good news here is this: Can you be a terrible person? If you can, there’s room for you at the top of most American corporations. Good luck!