Most people can understand the term ‘unemployed.’ It means the absolute lack of a job. Simple enough. However, many people have a tough time wrapping their minds around the concept of being underemployed. As the economy continues to limp along, more and more people are finally coming to grips with the reality of underemployment. Many people might not know how to define it but they sure do know how it feels.
Are you under-employed? Here are the top five signs you might be underemployed.
You don’t have any money left for savings
If you don’t have any money for expenses, it logically follows that you don’t have any money left to put into your savings account. For many people struggling to pay expenses and who are living off their credit cards, the last thing on their minds would be savings. Still, for people who do think far ahead and want to build an asset base, not having enough cash left over to save now and invest later inflicts a massive psychic toll. You feel you’re caught in a bind and you can’t get out. So if after every paycheck you’re not putting anything into your savings account, then you just might be underemployed.
You use your credit cards as your personal piggy bank
If you are so hard up for cash that you have to use your credit card to pay for expenses until you can pay it all off when you receive your paycheck every two weeks, you know you are underemployed. At its most basic, underemployment is when your job doesn’t pay you enough to cover your everyday expenses, and you have to borrow to cover daily expenses until you can cover them later with your paycheck. While this might be okay for some people, it involves a lot of stress and, eventually, mental fatigue. In short, you can easily get sick of this situation. Using your credit card as your personal piggy bank is a surefire sign you are underemployed.
You can barely afford to pay your rent every month
Another key sign of underemployment is the fact that you can barely pay your rent or your mortgage. When you pay it, you have almost no money left. This bill is the most important bill of them all, so paying it is imperative. But just because you never miss a payment doesn’t mean you are in a good position. If you are barely able to pay your mortgage then you are underemployed.
While many critics would say that this is a sign that you need to get a cheaper apartment, these critics don’t factor in the fact that most people get accustomed to a certain standard of living and don’t want to downgrade. Having most of your income go to rent can inflict a huge amount of mental stress.
You don’t have any money left for basic entertainment
When it comes to expenses that are the first to feel the pain of underemployment, entertainment costs are probably the first to get hit. Entertainment expenses include going to the movies, eating out at restaurants or going to an amusement park. Most people can live without these but others have a tough time living without things like cable TV or their World of Warcraft monthly subscription.
Enjoying life is what it’s all about after all. So if you seemingly aren’t having any extracurricular activities anymore then you just might be underemployed.
You can’t afford food that goes beyond the basics
One of the basic definitions of a ‘decent life’ is the ability to go out and eat somewhere nice at least once a month. Having a decent life means being able to spend a little more on food so you won’t be stuck order $1 burgers at McDonalds every day. Having a decent life entails buying organic, buying enough food to cook your meal yourself rather than getting microwavable yet cheap garbage. When your food-buying and thus eating habits go, you are definitely feeling the pinch of underemployment.