What to do when you find yourself underutilized
Posted by Meg Bear on December 19, 2009
One thing I’ve noticed about high achievers is that they hate to be bored. In fact, I think that underutilized is probably the biggest risk of loss indicator for a high achiever. With achievers it’s results that builds energy.
Underutilized = less results = badness.
Ironically, being underutilized can happen in concert with being overworked. You can be completely busy and underutilized. Some would describe this as soul destroying, or more specifically, I would (and have).
If you find yourself in this situation you need to do an analysis of your job mix quickly, to see if there is something you can do proactively to re-work the job to give you the right sense of achievement.
Sometimes, though, reworking the job is just not an available option. Maybe what you want to do will not be available for some time, maybe you don’t have the kind of job that can be better aligned with your interests.
What do you do then?
At this point you have a few options.
You can wallow in self-pity and spiral into a bad attitude OR you can take control of your situation. The first step in taking control is to do some self-analysis to determine what kind of challenges you need in your life and set them for yourself.
Work on your network. Work on giving back to your community. Work on being more available to your family. Work on treating yourself better. Give yourself new goals to achieve.
Being underutilized sucks, I know this first hand. But allowing that lack of utility to imact your confidence is much worse. At the risk of being a broken record I must repeat, your career is yours to manage. If your company is not utilizing you properly it is your job to fix it.