Misemployed: Are You in The Right Job?

 

What goes through your mind when you hear the monthly jobs report? Uhm......., what?  If you are like most people, you are unaware that the Bureau of Labor Statistics monitors and publishes the number of jobs added to the economy every month. When I see the numbers, I wonder how many of those people are the right fit for the job they just got. How many of them are misemployed?


"JANUARY 2016 Jobs Report

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 151,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in several industries, led by retail trade, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing. Employment declined in private educational services, transportation and warehousing, and mining.

~ Bureau of Labor Statistics

We are all familiar with the terms employed, unemployed, and underemployed (describing part time workers who don't work enough hours to make a reasonable wage.) The term misemployed is not as commonly used today as it was in the past, and it means "..to employ or use (something or someone) wrongly or incorrectly." When you just go get any job, the chances of being misemployed, getting a job for which you are a wrong fit, are very high. And this is dangerous to the employee and the employer.

Of the 151,000 people who got a job at some company, how many of them got this job because it is one for which they have a natural ability? Don't get me wrong, it is better to have a job, almost any job, than not to have one. But, at what point do we start working to correct the problem of misemployment? I don't believe most people see this as a huge problem. The politicians and pundits use the employment numbers to argue their ideologies instead of digging deeper to get a true picture of what people are going through.

Most people are not being hired for their talents, they are being hired for their skill. And there is a huge difference. You have a much higher level of productivity in your talent zone than in your skill zone.

So, what is the cost of Misemployment?

To The Corporation:

You have filled a job with someone who will not be fulfilled in the job. They will have a honeymoon period where the relief of finally working will outweigh every other issue. But, like bubble gum which loses its taste after being chewed for a while, that employee will soon lose the "luvin feeling." When that happens, most companies will not even have a clue. Hey, the person still comes to work every day. That is true, but the real issue is "how much of that person is at work every day?" Based on my extrapolation of Gallup's work engagement study, and the 80/20 rule, I would guess that most companies are getting less than 30% value from their employees.

Most companies don't care because their sole interest is that you fulfill the job description for which you were hired. That truthfully is where most companies are. And this is why it's a big problem. The fact that you are not losing money does not mean you are living up to your full potential. Real success should be measured by how much companies innovate at every level. This will lead to an increase in savings and profits.

When an employee is engaged in their talent zone, they:

- Get more done.
- Learn faster.
- Are more innovative.

How much would your company benefit if 80% of its employees worked in their talent zone? Going with the thinking of Jim Clifton in his book "The Coming Jobs War," we can increase corporate (national productivity) by doubling the number of engaged employees. The Gallup stats show that only about 28% of our working adults are engaged at work. The problem? Misemployment.

To The Employee:

Many years ago, I worked as a mover. As you can imagine, this was back-breaking work. There was no night I went to bed excited about getting up the next day to go move furniture. I worked for a company just to make ends meet. At some point, I told the owner of the company that I would be more useful to the company in a marketing role. He dismissed this and simply said he needed movers. I did not enjoy working in the moving industry (even though I started my company later,) but I do believe I would have added more value to my employer if my ability for connecting with people had been utilized.

If you are not working in your talent zone, I can bet that your work is not satisfying or fulfilling. You go home exhausted; you don't look forward to the next day; you get up unmotivated; you accept your weekly or monthly pay with dissatisfaction and possibly some resentment; and you find solace in what the wage may provide you and/or your family. To work is the responsible thing. To work in our area of talent is responsible and fulfilling thing.

To correct this, individuals first need to take responsibility for discovering and developing their talents. If you don't know who and how you are, the world will misuse you. If you don't know what you should be doing, the world will put you where it finds an opening. Discovery and definition of talent precedes proper placement at work. We can no longer overlook the importance of talent in the workplace. We do so at our own peril. An unhappy worker makes an unhappy workplace which makes for unhappy products and services which creates unhappy customers which makes for an unhappy society.


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