11 Steps To Take After Landing An Unfulfilling Job After College

11 Steps To Take After Landing An Unfulfilling Job After College

Finding meaningful work is getting harder and harder.

With the amount of time and effort it takes to obtain a college degree, it's understandable that most students view graduation as a light at the end of the tunnel. Once you get your hands on that diploma, you can go out and make your impact on the world.

Unfortunately, that's become a far more difficult feat as of late. Studies show that more and more college graduates are finding themselves underemployed. This means that they’re landing jobs that don’t require diplomas and don't utilize the skills they’ve spent years nurturing.

If you’ve found yourself in a job you’re overqualified for, you know it can be a frustrating experience. Not only does it seem like you’ve wasted money and time, but it forces you to into a daily routine of unchallenging and meaningless labor. That's not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in.

So what can you do to cope with this?

1. Accept that it's probably not about you.

This is easier said than done. With such a heavy insistence on the idea that hard work leads to success, it's natural to attribute failures to your work ethic. Maybe if you'd interned a little longer or gotten an A on that exam, then you'd be working at your dream job.

But with the number of job applicants far outstripping the number of jobs on the market, it's necessary to remind yourself that the rejection isn't personal. You're not alone in underemployment, and you probably aren't the cause of it. There are loads of other factors at play...including plain old luck.

2. Try to make the best of the situation.

Moping around your workplace letting everyone know how miserable you are does little to rectify the problem. In fact, dwelling on your unhappiness might even magnify it.

Instead, try looking for the positives in your situation. Do you have a flexible schedule? An easy workload? Compassionate coworkers? There's bound to be a silver lining when it comes to your current position, so focus on that until you no longer need to.

3. Offer to take on tasks beyond your job description.

If you're working at a job you hate, the last thing you want to do is take on more responsibilities. But showing your supervisors that you're capable of duties beyond your current role could be the key to moving on. If you make them aware that you're overqualified, they might help you find a better fit for your skills.

And even if you aren't interested in climbing the ladder at your current company, learning new skills never hurts. You can list these on your resume, morphing them into transferable skills for more desirable openings. Everybody wins!

4. Find hobbies that give you the meaning you're looking for.

Most of us would do anything to wake up every morning and feel a sense of purpose. We crave careers that hold meaning for ourselves and others.

Realize that your job isn't the only place you can find fulfillment. Hobbies can fill that gap, sometimes better than any professional endeavor. So if you're interested in making political changes or advocating for a cause, volunteer. If you'd rather be making art, go do that after work.

Whatever it is, find what you love and own it. Bonus points if you can add it to your resume!

5. Don't give up on searching for something better.

Job hunting can be a dismal affair, especially if you're continually being bombarded with rejection e-mails. With hundreds of other applicants and insane experience requirements, it often feels like the odds are stacked against you.

Don't stop trying. If you allow the lack of job prospects to discourage you, you're bound to become comfortable where you are. Then you'll never be rid of your unwanted job. So keep looking.

6. Get networking.

Building relationships serve two functions when you're unhappy with your job. For starters, supporters are crucial when you're going through difficult times. Even if your friends and family members can do nothing to change the situation, venting to them can lift a significant amount of weight from your shoulders.

Networking can also open doors to new and better opportunities. If you're interested in pursuing a different career path, try connecting with people who have successfully secured jobs in that field.

And never stay silent about your actual goals. You don't have to shout about hating your current role, but you should let people know where you'd like to be in a few years. You never know who can help you get there.

7. Treat yourself as often as possible.

If you're unhappy, it's totally justifiable to take a few dollars out of your earnings and cheer yourself up. You don't have to spend the money on anything extravagant. If you're determined to go on a shopping spree, so be it. But even an iced coffee will suffice.

Heck, you don't even need to spend money to treat yourself. Give yourself an evening off. Crank up the tunes, prepare a bubble bath and relax.

8. Take classes to gain more skills.

If you're able to, sign up for Continuing Education classes. Plenty of colleges offer them, and they allow you to learn practical skills within the field you're interested in. Not only do such skills make great resume fodder, but the connections you make in these classes could prove valuable in the future.

Even if you don't have the time or funds to enroll in Continuing Education, there are plenty of websites that offer free or discounted lessons. You can utilize these to learn anything from Microsoft to HTML.

9. Put things in perspective.

We're all in a rush. We're hurrying to become managers. We're racing to get married and have kids. We're itching to buy our own cars and homes.

Teach yourself patience. No one wakes up at their dream job the morning after college graduation. These things take time. Let them.

10. Focus on outside goals.

Your career is a huge part of your life, but it isn't the only part. Make a list of other things you want to accomplish. Have you been trying to exercise more or implement a diet? Are you looking to move out of your parents' home or start a new chapter with your significant other?

Find a goal separate from your career, and focus on that for the time being. This goal can be as large or small as you choose. Work on this, and you can always return to your career-oriented objectives at a later date...possibly after you've tried some of the suggestions on this list!

11. Stop defining yourself by your career.

We have a tendency to define ourselves by our professions, despite the fact that there's much more to us than that. This mindset can be incredibly unhealthy for someone who is unsatisfied with their job. If you are your job, and you don't like your job, you start to dislike yourself.

Practice defining yourself by other means. Friend. Parent. Sibling. Dog owner. Cat lady. Sports fan. Gamer. Reader. Pizza lover. Coffee enthusiast. Go wild.

The sooner you're able to separate yourself from your job, the better you'll feel. You can only do so much about your current employment, but you can always choose to focus on the more enjoyable facets of yourself and your life.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

Popular Right Now

A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To Those Who Feel The Need To Tear Down Others, Take A Seat

You have no right to hurt others because you don’t agree with them.


I recently wrote a super controversial article, which I'm honestly very proud of. In the comment section, there were plenty of people criticizing me because of what I believe in, mainly because they didn't believe in the same thing as I put out there.

I would just like everyone to know that the people that write for this amazing company are just that — people. They are real, they have opinions, and they have feelings. There is nothing different about them than you. Would you like someone commenting hate on your Facebook post or anything like that? No, no you wouldn't. When you comment rude things on something that someone worked long and hard on, you are just being rude and inconsiderate of their feelings.

If you just go to the comments to leave a rude comment, you can write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. You're being a bully. These writers more than likely will go to the comment section, just like I did, and will be hurt by your arrogant, inappropriate comments.

Ever heard of if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

If you don't agree with me that's fine, but that doesn't give you the right to deliberately go and try and tear me or anyone else down. You're just being rude and you have no reason to be, all I did was write an article on something I believe in.

Also, don't let anyone rude enough to do this tear you down or diminish your self-worth. There are people out there who are still kind and caring, don't listen to the negativity this world brings. Just keep doing what makes you happy, because in the end, that's all that really matters.

Related Content

Facebook Comments