Over the course of my unemployment I have been plagued by either no responses, or after a seemingly great interview being smacked with the curse of being “overqualified”. Given my situation and my limited mobility there are only a certain number of corporations within walking distance. The nearest public transportation is almost five miles away. Health conditions do not permit me to walk five miles a day, to travel another 10-15 miles using unreliable public transportation, rinse and repeat at least 5 days a week, to and fro. Imagine my reluctance in applying to what is mostly available within my immediate vicinity; fast food restaurants and retail stores. I have endured a few variations of rejection; from no acknowledgement, to the email which states “your skills and qualifications are great, but we decided to give the position to a more suitable candidate”, to having my hopes raised with a easily flowing, generally good feeling interview that ends up with a phone call stating “you’re great, but you’re overqualified, sorry“. What is especially disheartening is even after offering at least two years of service, while agreeing to a lower salary I still got rejected as being “overqualified”. To this day, I don’t understand how a candidate can be seemingly overqualified. One would think an employer would view the benefits of having an employee who is not only capable of performing the highlighted duties but also able to excel at them, all for a lower price. One would think that offering a guarantee of at least a couple years of service prior to searching for other opportunities would seem like a great bargain for one in need of a skilled capable worker, (in cases where the interviewers have a small business and they indicate a concern about that) but no, seems being overqualified is a curse instead. How confusing this situation is, after seeming to get along with the interviewers, having open candid discussions, lots of dialogue, questions and answers, lots of smiles and great vibes seemed to produce such a negative result. Standing back for a second one can understand how an employer, from a legal standpoint, would be weary of agreeing to such an arrangement (seeing as all employment is at will and can be dissolved by either the employee or the employer at any given time) but what is the point of making an interviewee feel trusted and capable, only to use such a lame excuse as “overqualified”? Such a response would be “acceptable” if the place of business was say Mc Donalds, which is a skill set far different from the ones I possess, but from an organization within my field of expertise? I hear the candidate they chose is performing poorly anyway; I wonder if the CEO regrets his decision yet?
Such decisions only serve to fuel the ire so many of us middle-class working Americans feel when Big Money says such pantomime as “We offshore jobs because skilled Americans aren’t willing to work them at the range we offer”. Such bogus BS. There is an abundance of skilled American workers who are not only capable of performing these jobs, but are willing to work them at a substantially reduced salary rate, only to be told we are “overqualified”. Such decisions as these only serve to solidify the belief in the end, all Big Money cares about is well more easy money. It assists in one’s viewpoint that, at least it seems, America wants her citizens to work at Third World salary ranges. So how does one handle the curse of being overqualified? It is a lesson I myself am still learning but as the old saying goes, “kill em with kindness”. Write a thank you letter/email thanking your interviewers for their time and consideration, wishing them well in their future success. Above all, don’t give up. If you find yourself in a similar position, where after weeks or months of silence you land an interview, it goes well and your hopes build, only to have the overqualified curse rear its ugly head, don’t despair. This is only a reflection that perhaps this isn’t the company you want to work for anyway. It is quite confusing, growing up believing that the more knowledge and wisdom you acquire the greater an asset you will be in the working world, only to be told that your abundance in experience and skills disqualifies you believe me I know. It makes no sense…at all.
Then again since when does anything Big Money do make sense? We offshore material to have it manufactured elsewhere, only to import it and sell it here. What sense does that make? I don’t pretend to have a deep understanding of economics, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure certain things are counterproductive.Bring jobs back to America dang it! If our abundance of skills makes us overqualified for our jobs, your abundance of profits makes you overqualified for a public servant job. Money isn’t speech, and if we average Americans can be considered overqualified for a position, the same standard should apply to you as well. How would you Congresspersons like being discharged from your posts because we Americans feel that, due to certain abundance of skills and profits, you are overqualified for your positions huh?
This is unfortunately the new landscape of this ever-complex money game however. Being overqualified is a curse created by employers, a legal loophole for them in my opinion, for some to be able to disqualify someone based on age, race or creed under the guise of “overqualified”, for others an excuse to offshore jobs, and for others an excuse just to be a douche in general. I cannot pretend to be able to advise another under similar circumstances. All I know is for me, I’m going to dig into the natural born skills I have that weren’t nurtured during my working career and by doing so, I intend on changing this curse into my blessing for freedom. Perhaps it’s time for me to lay down my own path in life, use my skills for my own benefit and not acquire skills from employers who say it will make me valuable, only to turn and use it against me. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. The working world may not see the value of having excess skills and experience, but I do. Time to flip the curse into a blessing, and prove Big Money tycoons do themselves a disservice by rejecting us “overqualified” American workers.