According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, 10.7 million job openings existed on the last business day of June 2022. There are literally jobs for about anyone that wants one today.

The question is, are you in the right job that best uses your education, skills, and has growth potential? Many of these vacancies are part time and lower paying positions. So, with a degree or special skills, you need to dig deeper and find the right match.

A recent Bloomberg article stated, “More than half of college graduates over the age of 25 don’t work in their field of study…” It isn’t surprising to find bachelor and master degree graduates working in lower paying, unrelated fields long after graduation.

This article suggests, “Out of the college grads surveyed, nearly half live paycheck to paycheck. Many reported putting off major financial milestones like buying a home or a car because they couldn’t afford it, and 29% said they were uncertain that they’ll be able to pay their rent or mortgage every month.”


Most college-bound students spend a significant amount of time reviewing college brochures, taking campus tours, and trying to find a university with social outlets they enjoy. Too little time is spent on career exploration and focusing on realistic occupations that actually pay a premium for college grads, such as engineering, healthcare, computer sciences, and business.

Many change their major several times. Others simply stay the course in a field they aren’t excited about. After graduation, they go their separate way for a multitude of reasons. Just because you may not be working in the major you elected doesn’t mean you haven’t benefited from your college education. Many of the skills are transferable to whatever your life’s work ends up being.


If you desire a higher paying job, a position that takes full advantage of your interests, education, and experience, you must be proactive and make it happen.

What separates those who want to improve and progress in their careers from those who actually achieve success? The fact is that it’s not enough to dream about new jobs, promotions, and higher pay, you have to plan a course of action to achieve those goals. The factors that will determine whether or not you succeed are motivation, personal initiative, and taking the steps necessary to achieve your objective.

If you’re not satisfied with your current position or if you’ve been bypassed for a promotion don’t despair, there are resources available to help you explore your options. Even if you lack the required education or experience for a desired job there are ways to obtain them to reach your career goals in the private and government sectors.


A good resource for exploring careers or evaluating options for your current occupation is the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. Most reading this article are familiar with the OOH, high school, and college counselors would have referred you to it when exploring careers.

When I first used the OOH, it was only available in hard copy so you can guess that I’ve been around for a while, not quite back to the stone age though. The web version is expanded and includes many helpful tools such as the ability to browse the top 20 fastest growing, highest paying, highest growth rate, and the most desired degrees. If you are going to spend a small fortune to attend a college or university you might as well look at career fields that are growing and pay well.

The other benefit for those working is to explore related careers. For example, the budget analyst OOH description lists 10 similar occupations with links to their description. While exploring you may find a more suitable occupation but require additional classwork or experience. Chart a path to achieve what is needed to make the transition.

If interested in the federal sector, the largest employer in the country, check out This site is their recruiting center run by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The site is easy to search and there are routinely over 10,000 job announcements open to the public. Search by job title and print out job announcements of interest and apply online. The federal sector offers extensive benefits including great pay, a lucrative retirement plan, vacation and sick leave, and jobs are available worldwide.

The job announcement is the key. You will find everything you need to apply including contact information for the HR specialist that can answer any questions you may have.


For some reason, many believe their dream job is with another company or government agency. Think twice before abandoning ship, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side! You may hate your current position for whatever reason, yet in another department you could flourish. A little exploration on your part may expose a number of satisfying opportunities. Plus, you may be giving up generous benefits such as vacation time, hefty 401k match, or lose your retirement account if not vested, etc.

Seek lateral assignments in your current position to determine how other parts of your organization function. Talk with those in other departments to get a feel of what it is like there, explore and apply for higher paying internal job vacancies that may be more to your liking.

Do Your Best

Your career is what you make of it. You can settle for mediocrity, excel to whatever you consider to be your ideal job, or even make it to a senior executive position with hard work and dedication. It’s up to you. One thing I know for certain. Whatever job you are doing, no matter how menial the task, do your best, show initiative, and you will get noticed and succeed.


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Dennis V. Damp, the creator of and, is a retired federal manager, business owner, career counselor and veteran. Damp is the author of 28 books, his books were featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and U.S. News & World Report.