Improve Your Career Prospects

Improve Your Career Prospects
Katherine Smith

Dear Kathy,

     I am underemployed and depressed. A few years ago, my career was going well. I was on track to become a senior vice president at a prestigious corporation. I was laid off from one day to the next.

     I am now stuck working at a low paid job far beneath my education and abilities. It is not in my field nor is it a “career.” I had to take this job because I have a family and we needed the health insurance benefits.

     I have tried looking for other positions, however, the competition for better jobs in my career field is so keen that I never seem to be the one chosen at the end of the interview process. I gave up looking for anything better a few months ago. It hardly seems worth the aggravation.

     I feel like a failure. Do I keep trying to get a better position despite the competition and wind up feeling increasingly hopeless or do I just decide to make do with the lousy job I have now? My wife encourages me to keep trying but I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel the way she does.


Dear George,

     You are far from alone in your predicament. Millions of people with good jobs in their chosen fields have been laid off only to be forced to settle for subsequent positions which are poorly paid dead end positions.

     I can certainly understand your feeling hopeless, stuck, and depressed. That being said, if you do what you’ve always done, you'll get what you’ve always gotten. I suggest that you utilize new strategies to stack the deck in your favor in this highly competitive job market. Don’t settle - keep on fighting for what you really want.

     Enroll in a job skills workshop and learn how to write targeted resumes for every possible position in your career field or a related one. Stretch yourself out of your comfort zone and schedule informational interviews. Learn how to use Linked In to network. Up your game, don’t abandon it!

     Lastly, think about keeping a gratitude journal. Though you are understandably unhappy with your career trajectory at this juncture, underemployed is still employed. You have health insurance, children, and a wife who encourages you. Some people have been laid off and are going through their travails alone.

     With a positive can-do attitude, you will eventually land a better position. This too shall pass, George. Until then, make up your mind to appreciate the good things you do have in your life. Please let me know when you land a new job - I have faith in you!

All my best,


is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a gifted divorce mediator in NYC. She is a former high school English teacher and college counselor with a passion for enhancing the lives of others. Additionally, Katherine has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, family systems, and group therapy. Readers can contact her at [email protected].
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