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I have been on the job market since April and have been unemployed since August.  I have sent out a total of 140 applications and have had 14 interviews.  I finally this week got an offer for a part-time position without benefits (scaled down from the full-time position that was posted).  I accepted it and am looking forward to my 14 hours/week of work, but it still doesn't get me out of the woods financially.

At nearly all of the interviews, I've encountered some skepticism towards why I would want the position for which I've applied rather than something more advanced or higher-paying.  I give clear answers that play upon my assets and emphasize that I aim to strengthen my employment experience, but employers just aren't buying it.  The more this happens, the more I realize that being overqualified is one of the hidden costs of higher education.  I've seriously pigeonholed myself by too much schooling.

I'm finishing up a PhD and am struggling because there doesn't appear to be full-time work out there for me.  The jobs exist, definitely, but they're going to people who stopped with a B.A. or M.A.  Faculty positions are few and far between--and I'm not quite at the level where it's appropriate for me to apply for faculty spots in my chosen discipline.  Interdisciplinarity is a great catchphrase and is lauded as a virtue, but it can make jobsearching mighty hard when interests and training stretch over several related disciplines rather than neatly conforming to a proscribed path.  

From what I can surmise, potential employers are testy about hiring applicants whose education stretches beyond that required by the job for three key reasons:  flight risk, cost, and fit.  The biggest element is probably the fear that we'll cut & run as soon as something better comes along.  Some organizations adjust compensation according to degrees earned, so applicants with advanced degrees are placed into more lucrative brackets from the start--if times are lean, it may make more sense to offer the job to someone who will be put into a lower-earning range.  Some managers seem to have concerns about how willing highly educated applicants will be to do less stimulating tasks or how amenable they are to being supervised.  Of course, cost, fit, and commitment are elements in any hiring decision, but what I've heard and observed in my spate of job searching suggests that these may present particular challenges to candidates with more education than applied experience.

Recognizing and addressing these impediments should be a crucial step in cementing yourself as a quality applicant, at least in theory.  In each interview, I've done my best to emphasize the sincerity of my interest and the ways that I've fulfilled my commitments in the past.  I've talked about my enthusiasm for the organization and how I feel that the role fits into my career goals in addition to how I could be a strong asset for the program.  Yet things still don't really click into place.

Part of the problem is the economy, but I think my background itself is an obstacle.  I encountered the same resistance in my jobsearch two years ago and I've heard similar laments from other people with similar career trajectories.  The diaries that have cropped up over the past week with tips for jobsearchers have been quite timely.  I just signed up for the Kossacks Networking site and I'm hopeful that the resources there will prove useful.  

I'm throwing this diary into the mix because I've seen a few Kossacks mull over the idea of going back to school until the economy gets better.  On some level it's not a bad tactic.  You can defer your existing student loans while enrolled & there's a chance that you could get an assistantship with a modest stipend.  You can receive further training that could qualify you for different opportunities.  But--and this is the crucial point--you might end up with even narrower job options when you emerge.  It's something to consider.

I'm really interested in hearing from people about their own experiences.  Have you been told, directly or otherwise, that you're overqualified for a job you really wanted?  Have you managed to effectively convince the hiring manager to give you a shot despite that?  Do you have experience from the other side of the fence?  Have you ever interviewed someone whose education outpaced the requirements of the job?  What could he or she have done to be a more compelling applicant?  Have you had any negative experiences hiring someone who seemed overeducated?  Any feedback is useful, hopefully to others as well as to myself.

Originally posted to bria on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:00 PM PST.

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  •  This are looking up. (206+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randy, Sharon, Ed in Montana, vicki, cwholcomb, hester, ogre, mimi9, noabsolutes, Geenius at Wrok, TrueBlueMajority, Danno11, nicolemm, mem from somerville, ScientistMom in NY, mattman, PeterHug, MikeHickerson, bread, TheGreatLeapForward, Hatamoto, billlaurelMD, mntleo2, Aspe4, akeitz, eeff, Duncan Idaho, Carolina On My Mind, sobermom, ilona, Matilda, grndrush, labeachgirl, opinionated, megs, DaleA, bluesteel, otto, michelle, peraspera, carolkay, nargel, fumie, dksbook, webweaver, weary hobo, DeadB0y, Chicago Lulu, gmb, Ready2fight, johnnygunn, Bluehawk, The Zipper, renaissance grrrl, dkmich, mainefem, Wife of Bath, sebastianguy99, rapala, leolabeth, UncleCharlie, Lefty the playwright, ArchTeryx, Cat Nerd, Brooke In Seattle, EJP in Maine, Dobber, Jules Beaujolais, bleeding blue, GreyHawk, Phil S 33, kaliope, kazoo of the north, rb608, HiBob, cerulean, zinger99, Thea VA, USexpat Ukraine, begone, pico, Naniboujou, Alexandra Lynch, tecampbell, Lashe, 4Freedom, Bob Sackamento, imabluemerkin, JVolvo, max stirner, ER Doc, BlueMississippi, lazybum, Immunegirl, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, buckeye blue, va dare, kurt, Hedwig, Land of Lincoln Dem, One Pissed Off Liberal, marykk, ibonewits, grelinda, Dartagnan, ColoTim, Great Uncle Bulgaria, yoduuuh do or do not, karmsy, FishOutofWater, Nespolo, kath25, Jimdotz, DWG, joyful, Uncle Moji, Drowning Wave, Seneca Doane, HCKAD, jayden, quadmom, jhop7, TDDVandy, vet, cville townie, Red no more, sand805, FolsomBlues, mistletoe, mconvente, 2rivers, AshesAllFallDown, Spartan Brian, golconda2, skohayes, Cassandra Waites, mofembot, kyril, KimD, James Kresnik, blue mom red town, DixieDishrag, dont think, kpbuick, MD, LaFeminista, cameoanne, Pris from LA, soarbird, BigAlinWashSt, Carol in San Antonio, Stranded Wind, a girl in MI, SciVo, unspeakable, Texas Revolutionary, Angry Mouse, dsharma23, allep10, dalfireplug, elropsych, vadasz, Muzikal203, Katie71, strangedemocracy, ravenlore, Wisteacher, Cleopatra, Norbrook, oceanrain, ArtSchmart, stegro, sevenstars, LaughingPlanet, TheWesternSun, Big Danny, mjbleo, pixxer, Lady Libertine, Mariken, DrFitz, NYWheeler, damned if you do, Casual Wednesday, MsGrin, kissmygrits, kathleen518, Actbriniel, gobears2000, mieprowan, Relevant Rhino, Colorado is the Shiznit, claret63, Sport, Stella 4 Obama, Olon, kevin k, misskitty64, skpow, it really is that important, barflyer, Poycer, Luthe, Carolyn in Oregon, sjr1, Fire bad tree pretty

    This diary is much more positive than the one that I started to draft before getting the part-time job offer.  Here's to things continuing to improve.

  •  My boss apologized to me today at a (41+ / 0-)

    "Breakfast with Frosty" I brought my children to for having me do work that is "so far beneath you."

    Huh?  I guess it is...I, too, have an underutilized, underappreciated terminal degree (with a ton of impressive experience).   I think it actually puts off a lot of people who might be interested otherwise.

    But I'm basically grateful that I have a job that pays decently right now.

    There are lots of ways to make decent money in academia without being in a classroom.  Some colleges pay $50 - $60 an hour for part-time academic advisors.  And if you can write grants, you can charge hourly and get a small percent of the amount funded.  LOTS of creative ways to make the degree work in non-traditional ways.

    •  I don't even tell people I have a Ph.D. until (35+ / 0-)

      I've known them for awhile.

      It intimidates people. They don't look at you as "normal" anymore. They think you'll automatically look down on them. When it finally slips out, I always have to tell them that it's really only tenacity that gets you the degree. My main line is: I can introduce you to stacks of dead stupid PhDs. They laugh, and it alleviates the problem somewhat.

      In applying for a job, however, you really do have to list it, otherwise you're lying by omission. And yes, you won't even be considered for many jobs. They think there's something wrong with you if you're not working in your field, or you're willing to accept lower pay.

      Lower pay? Hah. I was an education professor. Ya don't get much lower pay than that in any other profession.

      May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care.

      by Fonsia on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:07:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have very limited grant-writing experience. (9+ / 0-)

      I've applied for a few postings seeking grant writers in the past and they wanted a stronger track record than I could offer.  I built my dissertation on existing data once my fieldsite fell through.  I can write grants and am definitely willing to do so, but I don't have proven past successes.

      I should look into p/t academic advising slots.  Thank you.

      •  if you like a company (14+ / 0-)

        and they don't have much money, you can always write one on contingency -- grant writers usually get 4-5% of the total grant.   If you've got a part-time job one place, using the rest of the time on a grant for someone else may be useful.  It's certainly experience even if you do fail; and, if you succeed, it's a good chunk of change.

        •  Thank you. (7+ / 0-)

          That's a good idea.  There are several non-profits that I'd really love to establish a relationship with.  I'll look into this more.

        •  If you go that route, why not just write a (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mainefem, hippie bitch

          grant for your own research, and include salary as a part of it. Of course, first you must become adjunct faculty somewhere.

          My loving marriage of 17 years is now a symbol of inequality and discrimination.

          by coigue on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:39:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It is considered unethical to write a grant (0+ / 0-)

          for a percentage of the total grant.  Most RFPs (requests for proposals) specifically forbid including the grantwriter's fee in the proposal budget.

          •  Can you elaborate on this? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dksbook, mainefem

            I've applied for jobs where grant-writing was a portion of a larger position but never contracting as a grant writer (either for a flat rate or a proportion of the grant if awarded).  I can see how it might seem sketchy in some disciplines.  I've always been more familiar with the research side of the equation rather than the funding side, so further clarification would be useful.

            •  I was saved the time it would take (0+ / 0-)

              to elaborate by Tony Poderis.


              I believe grant writers should never agree to contingency pay. It is simply not fair for hard working grant writers to receive little or no pay for their efforts due to many reasons beyond their control. I'll list several of those reasons which I have seen crop up time and time again, resulting in rejected proposals. In those instances, a grant writer's time and effort were wasted and she or he received no compensation for their good faith professional services:

              1.  Say an organization wants someone to write a grant proposal for a project costing $118,000 and that the grant writer was to be paid a 5% commission if the grant is approved. It is almost always a requirement by funders that every dollar to be raised for and spent on projects be accounted for on a line-item basis. For many funders, the line item in the budget showing $5,900 for grant-acquisition services, would be reason enough to deny the grant. It would make no difference what the commission size or even if the contingency-pay were a flat fee.
              1.  Grant-writing expenses are seen as part of an organizations operating budget. Few if any foundations, corporations, or governmental organizations are willing to make a grant when a portion of the money granted is to be used to pay a grantwriting fee. Remember, the grant is being requested for a specific project, not to offset operating expenses nor to disguise a professional fee. A non-profit or a grant writer that fails to take the possibility of such a caveat into consideration may be facing a rude awakening.
              1.  Discerning and experienced program officers can readily see right through, and will reject, poorly delineated projects, "soft" and questionable budgets, and a host of other weaknesses which cannot be overcome by well-crafted grant proposals.
              1.  An ineffective and failing "selling" job might be made during a presentation meeting by an organization's officials.
              1. You do not know in advance the foundations which are over committed to funding other organizations, have limited resources, thus they will not have funds available for you at the time, nor possibly for some time to come.
              1.  What if the grant was to be paid out over a number of months---or even years? Would an organization be willing to pay the grant writer for the services rendered in full at the moment of grant approval? Should the grant writer be willing to accept a compensation payment schedule in sync with that of the grant award which could be spread out over several years?
              1.  The grant writer should be ready to accept the fact that she or he will receive little pay for a major work, should a much lesser amount be granted than was originally requested.
              1.  A grant writer could conduct the best possible research, make the most helpful recommendations, and even voice strong protests and caution when called for--- but project directors and executive directors will prevail should they insist that the grant request be written in spite of flaws and concerns. They will say to the grant writer: "We'll send it anyway, what have we got to lose?" They should ask the grant writer that question who stands to lose a great deal.
              1.  Most grantors have greater vision than grant-proposal-submitting organizations. Grantors routinely look for assurance from the organizations that what they fund will be reasonably evaluated and measured in the longer term for effective and efficient use of their money, and that the organizations have future financial sustainability plans in place, or pending---especially that there are well developed long-range, strategic plans in place or being planned. A grant writer's best efforts expended in the writing of a given proposal simply cannot be extended or expected to meet such governance and policy-making requirements and expectations.
              1.  Grant proposals, even the best of them, are all too often prepared and presented to potential grantors when the organizations have no, or few, other important sources of contributions to show, especially from their boards of trustees. Chances are slim to none for grant awards when there are no other visible and viable sources of support available to the organization.
              1.  The hope for grants to be awarded to ensure payment for the grant writer's efforts is even more uncertain, and most unlikely, when proposals are stretched beyond practical and common sense limits, and they are presented to new, potentially uninterested, prospects---some even to distant, uncaring potential benefactors---as is often the case.

              In the end, grant writers should be paid for their time and efforts by the hour or project, whether or not the grant is received.


              (I replaced the original bullets with numbers because the bullets would not copy and paste).

              •  excellent resource; I wouldn't let it stop you (0+ / 0-)

                Of course, one would ideally one would be paid, in advance or on an fee/hourly basis, for one's work.    That said, many non-profits are stressed enough that they don't have enough capital to invest in future grants.  Proposing work on contingency can make sense.

                I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think contingency fees are illegal -- and I've seen it work (often with a very small engagement, and a "fixed" bonus on successful issuance of the grant).   They are paid for from the general operating budgets of the organization in question, and hence are not directly listed as a line-item of the grant itself (most grants are for work to be done in the future, not for prior work).  I think it's perfectly reasonable for your work to be linked to a successful outcome of the grant.   The specifics may vary by granting organization.  

                Lacking any other form of employment, if you're considering pro-bono work, I'd go for a modest contingency instead.  It'll help get your foot in the door -- and, regardless of outcome, you'll gain some experience.  Many organizations have a boostrap issue as they struggle to get by with their existing operating budget.  A contingency relationship can be made to work for this situation.  Am I advocating that one bets the bank on this?  Hardly.  However, a bit of risk can be made to work.  Specifically,

                It is almost always a requirement by funders that every dollar to be raised for and spent on projects be accounted for on a line-item basis.

                -- snip --

                Grant-writing expenses are seen as part of an organizations operating budget.

                Most grants have an overhead amount of 10-20% which is given to the operating budget of the organization.  If the grant doesn't offer overhead, then the activities funded by the grant would have to come from somewhere else.  Don't engage a organization that is unable to pay its bills.

                As for the percentate vs fixed fee distinction.  They are about equivalent, bigger grants will take a much more work to accomplish.  So, a percentage basis isn't an undo reward, it's a good way to estimate effort vs reward.

                Discerning and experienced program officers can readily see right through, and will reject, poorly delineated projects, "soft" and questionable budgets, and a host of other weaknesses which cannot be overcome by well-crafted grant proposals.

                You do not know in advance the foundations which are over committed to funding other organizations, have limited resources, thus they will not have funds available for you at the time, nor possibly for some time to come.

                I should hope so, but this has nothing to do with accepting grant writing work on contingency.  For the grant writer to accept work she'd have to do some evaluation if the project is likely to succeed, otherwise, the grant shouldn't be worked on in the first place.  Start with smaller grants to get experience, build up as you learn more about grant writing.

                Being a grant writer is sort of like being a consultant on a project, helping the people figure out what they want in more detail, etc.  Think of it as being a equity partner for the project, taking 5% for your work and services.

                An engagement fee should be charged, if possible, so that you're work evaluating the feasibility of the grant is paid, regardless if they go forward with the grant.

                 An ineffective and failing "selling" job might be made during a presentation meeting by an organization's officials.

                If the organization can't sell you on the idea, then don't offer your work on contingency.

                What if the grant was to be paid out over a number of months---or even years? Would an organization be willing to pay the grant writer for the services rendered in full at the moment of grant approval? Should the grant writer be willing to accept a compensation payment schedule in sync with that of the grant award which could be spread out over several years?

                Sounds like a good factor in the contingency contract.  Try to get as much "on reward" if possible so that your work is not contingent upon their successful "execution".  If they want you to be a "grant manager", that's a separate fee ;)

                The grant writer should be ready to accept the fact that she or he will receive little pay for a major work, should a much lesser amount be granted than was originally requested.

                True.  That's what it's about.  

                A grant writer could conduct the best possible research, make the most helpful recommendations, and even voice strong protests and caution when called for--- but project directors and executive directors will prevail should they insist that the grant request be written in spite of flaws and concerns. They will say to the grant writer: "We'll send it anyway, what have we got to lose?" They should ask the grant writer that question who stands to lose a great deal.

                A good concern, however, if your work is on contingency, you do have the opportunity to withdraw at any time, or convert it to a fee-based proposal.  This is especially true if you have an engagement fee to handle the first chunk of time. If the organization isn't cooperative (you're the one doing the work), then don't work for them again.   Start small, build experience and trust.  In any consulting engagement, the client can get weird on you -- it's a fact of life.

                Most grantors have greater vision than grant-proposal-submitting organizations. Grantors routinely look for assurance from the organizations that what they fund will be reasonably evaluated and measured in the longer term for effective and efficient use of their money, and that the organizations have future financial sustainability plans in place, or pending---especially that there are well developed long-range, strategic plans in place or being planned. A grant writer's best efforts expended in the writing of a given proposal simply cannot be extended or expected to meet such governance and policy-making requirements and expectations.

                Don't do work for startup organizations, do them for established organizations that are expanding to a new line of work, or expanding operations to meet increasing demand for services.   Again, be conservative in the initial work you accept till you know the ropes.

                Grant proposals, even the best of them, are all too often prepared and presented to potential grantors when the organizations have no, or few, other important sources of contributions to show, especially from their boards of trustees. Chances are slim to none for grant awards when there are no other visible and viable sources of support available to the organization.

                Yep.  That's true, but it has nothing to do with writing on contingency.  If the organization you work for isn't established, then I would view your work as highly speculative (i.e. definitely for fun).   That said, if this is a career choice, and you don't have anything else to do -- why not?  The nice thing about grant writing is that you usually get feedback from the organization telling you what you did wrong, even if the work won't survive on merits, sometimes the response can be helpful.  Even a failed grant at one organization might be useful to dust-off and usable, with slight modifications for another organization.

                => keep the copyright of your grant proposal

                The hope for grants to be awarded to ensure payment for the grant writer's efforts is even more uncertain, and most unlikely, when proposals are stretched beyond practical and common sense limits, and they are presented to new, potentially uninterested, prospects---some even to distant, uncaring potential benefactors---as is often the case.

                Well, start conservative with small grants, and grow with experience.  If an organization's proposal sounds fishy... don't do it.  Go grab books on business planning and the like, grant writing is sort of like starting a small business in that way.  

                Anyway... the parent poster's concerns are all great items to be aware of.  Almost none of them have anything to do with working on contingency though, they are about recognizing a failed grant before you write it and invest your time on it. The difference between being paid to write a grant, on an hourly basis, and doing it on contingency, is that you've got to assess the likely hood of success and weight it against your opportunity cost.  If you're idle, your opportunity cost is zero.  

                Start with an hourly rate you hope to obtain, multiply it by 3-4 (running a business is more expensive than you think).  Then look at the project, is it an organization with a solid track record?  is the project valuable?  does it look, at first glance that it meets the call for the given grant?  do you like the board of directors?  Discount the hours to affect risks above, which might be another factor of 2-10.  The remaining amount should be your total "sunk costs" that you'd do in order to get the grant.   The remaining amount is your "core investment, in hours."

                You need to make it clear how many hours you're investing in the grant writing up-front so that people don't get hurt feelings -- you'll be agreeing to invest much less time than what they thing, and probably less time than what you eventually put in.   It's extremely important that they see your time as valueable, with a modestly $$ amount on it.  You want their staff to treat you with respect, and give you the information you need on a timely basis.  It's a limited partnership.

                If your estimate of how much time it'd take dramaticaly exceeds the investment time you'd be willing to put in, they can either advance money to reduce your rate, or you can simply turn down the contract, or, you're doing it knowing that you're going to lose money.   Business development is valuable.  It's OK to lose money if you know that you're actually building experience, contacts, and potential people who would recommend your work in the future.  

                Over time, you'll get better at estimating, and picking good grant projects.  It's a hard work regardless.

                Good luck and have fun.

                •  Most funding agencies want the the same questions (0+ / 0-)

                  answered.  FRPs tend to be more alike than different.  It takes a certain amount of time for a grant writer to research the non-profit, research the funding opportunities and write the basic boilerplate paragraphs to answer all the basic questions.

                  It does not matter whether it's a $20,000 grant or a $100,000 grant.  The work for the first grant is essentially the same.  Subsequent grants for the same non-profit are then customizing jobs, and go alot quicker, regardless of the grant value.

                  Contingency or percentage arrangements, even if paid out of general operating funds, or at least other than from the actual grants, can lead to gross overpayment.  I once wrote a $300,000 construction grant after having first written a much smaller grant for the same non-profit.  5% would mean a $15,000 payday for less than a day's work.  The budgets of most non-profits cannot sustain such an ever-increasing line item.

                  Grant writers should be paid for producing excellent quality work, not for outcomes beyond their control.  I knew one grant-writer who had a nearly 100% funding record, but when I probed deeper, I found he only wrote to one funding agency, a foundation he once worked for.  His actual written proposal was a mere formality; he got his grants with a phone call to a buddy.  But his clients think he is a great grant writer.

            •  American Association of Grant Professionals (0+ / 0-)

              Code of Ethics

              17.Members shall work for a salary or fee. 
              18.Members may accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, provided such bonuses are in accordance with prevailing practices within the members’ own organizations and are not based on a percentage of grant monies. 
              19.Members shall not accept or pay a finder’s fee[3], commission[4], or percentage compensation based on grants and shall take care to discourage their organizations from making such payments.  
              20.Compensation should not be written into grants unless allowed by the funder.

              •  percentage-based fee is easy to resolve (0+ / 0-)

                If one tracks hours, and makes it dependent upon the hours.  It might have an added advantage in having the organization be more invested in the process.  The other thing that is important is a not-insubstantial engagement fee, just to that you know they are serious about it.

                That said, for many cash-strapped organizations, doing payment up-front just isn't an option, and if the diarist is currently unemployed, accepting work based on contingency is far better than doing it pro-bono.  With pro-bono work, you can't build a scalable career out of it; while, a grant that doesn't work, can be viewed as pro-bono time to make one feel a bit better about it.

                So, the guidelines here say it's OK to have performance based compensation, but not OK to have percentantage based work.  That seems reasonable to me, just do it hourly + profit, chances are it'll be right around 5% anyway.

                •  reflect risk in the contingent hourly rate (0+ / 0-)

                  I mentioned in the other post (but not here) that when doing contingency work, your hourly rate has to be adjusted by the likely hood of success.  If your goal is $35/h for grant work (70k/year, at best).  For you to have a viable business, you'll need to double that rate, so you're bare minimal fee is $70/h.  Your minimum engagement should be, say 5h, for $350 up-front.

                  Let's consider a 100k grant, with 25% acceptance rate for competently constructed grants.  So, your contingent rate should be 4*70 or $280/hour.  Track your time accordingly, if the grant is issued, this is how much you'd be asking for as your bonus.  Assuming a total 5% cap (you don't want to consume more than 5% of the grant money or the organization can't possibly succeed) your total contingency fees should be limited to $5,000 less the $350 up-front engagement, or $4650, or 16.5 hours of additional contingent work beyond the 5h engagement.

                  If the grant has higher odds, you'll want to reduce your time engagement.  As you get better at working with the target organization to produce an effective grant, your success raise will beat the odds, so your effective rate will go up.  Before you can competently write a grant, plan to spend 5-10x the amount of work ("non-billable") as research time.  Till you have a track record, you can "waive" the engagement fee or reduce it -- but make them aware that there is an engagement fee that you're waiving for them as a special donation.  If they think for a moment you're working for free, they will not respect your time.  Be aware that your work will have to be matched by an equivalent 20h in work by the organization if they are going to be serious about it.  So, before you engage, make sure that they have this time set-aside.  You will have to meet often, review a few drafts and make changes.  I'm sure there are books on this.

                  Regardless, what free-lance grant writing affords is that you can make a living helping small organizations with funding sources.  The first few ones you do will be belly-flops, so be prepared, expect that they will be pro-bono.  In the end, you'll be betting against the odds.  That your analysis of the grant's call, the organization's ability to deliver something, your interviewing ability, and your writing ability will "beat the odds".

      •  What about post-doc opps? (0+ / 0-)

        Is that an option in your field?

        Also, depending on what your field is, you can always hang out a shingle, either real or virtual, and do some consulting, particularly if you have any work/RA/GA experience.

        •  It is an option. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dksbook, mainefem

          And one that I hope to investigate more as soon as I am done.  I was trying to find one good, solid, staff-level position in a related applied field before I finished up so as to not seem so encapsulated into the Ivory Tower, but now I'm afraid that it's already too late for that.  I had hoped to get something lined up quickly-ish so that I could have a decent living and so that my partner & I could have health insurance while I finished up--I'm at least another 6 months away from the end, unfunded, and with no health insurance plus an unemployed partner.

  •  Went back to school- (26+ / 0-)

    and was awarded an MBA in August.  Who knew that the economy would be swirling down the toilet when I finished the degree?

    I have a B. S. in Engineering and 20 years of experience, but it's still tough sledding out there.  Thank God (or whomever) for the extension of unemployment benefits.  I should be able to survive on that until July, if I have to.

    It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds - Samuel Adams

    by Red no more on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:11:26 PM PST

  •  Maybe I missed it, but what is your field of (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan, kyril, bria, sjr1

    endeavor?  Is it something marketable?

    If you are getting a PhD in something like making sub-prime mortgages, for example, then maybe that's your problem?

    Just half-ass kidding. :-)

  •  Don't lose hope (13+ / 0-)

    just yet.  It isn't so much that you are overqualified.  It is more that we are in an economic mind set where managers are driven to get something for little to nothing.  Everyone wants the best so they look good at their job.  They just don't want to pay for it.  

    Qualified people for higher level jobs are being let go for several reasons.  A big one is they deserve to make a decent wage.  You can blame the bean counters for that one.  They produce nothing and sort of hate the types who do.  

    In the industry I work in I have seen major companies slash their in house maintenance staffs because 1)they are experienced ergo they make a good wage and 2) they aren't always needed.  Just when things go wrong.  According to their thinking it makes more sense to bring in outside technical support and pay them lots more than they ever paid their own tech people because it is a short term expense.  

    I imagine the intellectual field to be similar.  When they tell you that you are overqualified it really means they are cheap.  There is always someone out there willing to sell themselves short just to get a job.  Even if it means demeaning themselves.

  •  Now I'm depressed (18+ / 0-)

    This afternoon's project is to revise the resume. I, too, am a bit over-educated and over-experienced. Seriously, WTF?

    I have a pair of bachelor's degrees and I just started my master's degree. In between the undergraduate degrees, I was a newspaper reporter/editor for eight years.

    Between the second bachelors and starting the masters, I worked almost full-time for a cell phone company that paid minimum wage and did free-lance writing. It was the best I could do, knowing that I was leaving for school within the next 6-18 months.

    Fast forward to last Thursday. I met with the school's career center. Most of the jobs available are unpaid or poorly paid internships. The counselor told me flat out that I would not get those positions anyway due to my experience.

    On the other hand, decent full time jobs for college students are hard to come by. I am assured that they are out there, though. We'll see how this goes.

    I was also on the other side, too. I actually did hire a fellow with a masters of divinity from Georgia Tech as my sports editor. He knew most of the rules of the games, wasn't too scary looking to cover high school sports, and could create crossword puzzles. Of course, the newspaper did not pay much and the owners were used to constantly replacing people.

    Good luck with your job search.

    Mr. President,...(a)fter 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

    by Casual Wednesday on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:17:36 PM PST

    •  I guess I'm at the opposite end... (9+ / 0-)

      I just finished my Bachelors in January...doing right now some time abroad in France (frankly it's my last hurrah of no responsibility and being a youngter, and I never did it in I'm doing it now) and when I come back in February I will be looking for my first real job but I feel like I don't have enough experience (2 internships, and some volunteer work) and just a lowly poli sci Bacherols degree. I dont even know where to begin, what to do and wondering if anyone will hire me when so many other people post impressive resumes even out of college. And with this economy who wants to hire a 23 year old with barely any experience?

      "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

      by michael1104 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:31:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're in better shape than you think (13+ / 0-)

        You have two internships more than a lot of graduates and at least one more than most.

        Additionally, a poli sci degree can get you into a lot of different places if you did well enough in college. At least that's what I was told when I got my BA in poli sci.

        And sell every skill you have. I got my newspaper job because I interned with a competing newspaper (and did not do well enough to get a reference) and more importantly I knew the software the newspaper used to layout the paper. No training needed.

        Mr. President,...(a)fter 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

        by Casual Wednesday on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:46:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds too familiar (18+ / 0-)

        I was told by an employment agency person in 1980, so proud of my shiny new degree in political science, that I was unemployable.  Overqualified.

        I went to work for the college that spawned me, stayed there for many years, and now I'm on my own, doing a job that meathead at the employment agency has never heard of.  I love my work.  I don't think she did.  

        There are so many professions out there, many things most people have never considered.  Your university is your friend.  Use their resources!

        "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

        by escapee on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:49:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Employment "experts" (7+ / 0-)

          I totally agree that the people we call employment "experts" in agencies basically know the latest standard way to get jobs--but they DON'T specialize in unconventional vision about jobs and ways to go about getting them.

          In the past 15 years I've landed several intriguing contract jobs, mostly writing and program planning/administration. When these jobs end, there's not always another one like that to take its place right away so over the years, I've consulted with many employment gurus.

          When I show them my resume and portfolio, their jaws drop. And they ask, 'how did you ever land these projects? I don't know how you'd find anything else like it.' (They're asking me!) This has come from MBA school career counselors as well as employment agencies. Here are some of the creative ways I've forged a nontraditional career path (and I use the word 'path' loosely):

          1. Stay alert for "holes" in existing knowledge or services and pick up the phone to people who can hire you to fill those. One important call I made to an emergency management director in 1993 led to my creating a disaster donations management plan and directing this function for the state during the '97 midwest floods. (I didn't previously know this guy and I wasn't in this business.) You don't always get outcomes like that but often enough you do. Making a habit of initiating new ideas can pay off in ways you never imagined.
          1. Watch your e-mail: Sign up to get e-newsletters from groups that deal with topics that interest you. Pay attention to e-mails forwarded to you from people you know.
          1. Connect your specialty with other trends you see, to create your own niche. You're the only one who'll be able to recognize that opportunity when it comes along.
          1. Join a public board or commission that oversees your area of interest.
          1. A fun, creative tool for opening up your thought processes: ThinkPak (a brainstorming card deck) by Michael Michalko. I've used these in business planning.
          1. Do your own consulting work, as much as your time allows. Income, and more contacts in your field! I'm always doing outside consulting even when I'm doing other full-time work.
          1. Pay attention to trends outside of your specific area of interest. Because you never know ...
          1. Write a book or magazine article about your area of interest on some unique perspective you don't see represented.

          "Better a bleeding heart than none at all."

          by LindaBee on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:53:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  public affairs jobs in the federal (6+ / 0-)

        government may be an option for you.

    •  That's so sad that (6+ / 0-)

      a person with a master's in divinity is looking for a job reporting on sports and creating crosswords. I'm glad you hired him, but it does make me sad that he's not following his calling.

           Just my two cents,

      •  Well, he ended up being let go (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem, ibonewits, kyril

        Budget cuts and the fact that his writing never really improved much. Last I knew he was looking to get into a local church. I wish him well, but never kept up. I hope he finds his true calling.

        On the other hand, our new sports reporter ended up being a lady who, up until that point, re-typed classified ads and press releases. Her girls were in every sport imaginable, so she knew all of the rules. After a little encouragement, she was writing passable sports articles. OTOH, I had to handle football for a couple of years for her.

        Mr. President,...(a)fter 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

        by Casual Wednesday on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:54:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  masters of divinity from Ga Tech? Not possible. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Casual Wednesday

      Your memory must be faulty.

  •  Hear overqualified a lot (11+ / 0-)

    I have an MBA. So, constantly hear that I could do so much better than this job. Getting fed up with the bullshit. My degree is old, I was in a now extinct field for many years, and am not up on financial analysis. Also have had several interviews where they flatout said I was too old.

  •  In the same boat. Was considering a PhD but (9+ / 0-)

    what's the point when my masters has been an impediment. Overqualified for jobs that I are going to in-house employees barely qualified. The entertainment industry is all about who you know, not what you know. Talent is not a valued asset but ass-kissing is. That's why I've been working on my own projects in the meantime but it's still a hard road even when going the independent route. The industry is structured in a way to discourage those from doing it on their own. We'll see how long that works since Paramount, NBC/Universal, Viacom continue to layoff people and their stocks lose value.  Now there's talk of an actors strike against the corrupt oligarchy AMPTP. It's a freaking mess in Hollywood.

    "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality." - Dante

    by jazzence on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:29:21 PM PST

    •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Don't you think that has something, even if it's a small something, to do with the sorry state or American business and finance? There were far more chickens coming home to roost than a bogus real estate market. Just saying.

      Wall Street pirates loot this country, destroy people's lifelong work and their pensions. If you need to execute someone, shoot those motherfuckers.

      by Nulwee on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:11:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  After careers as an actuary and a lobbyist (8+ / 0-)

    I have spent the past 17 years working as a massage therapist and could not be happier.  I'm not suggesting that everyone throw away their education; however, I do believe that we do not need to define ourselves by whatever we do for monetary renumeration. I now have the luxury of reading most of the day rather than chase money and social status.

    Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess singin' drunken lullabies--Flogging Molly

    by dalfireplug on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:33:06 PM PST

  •  Ugh, jobs in the academy are in short supply (15+ / 0-)

    right now.

    My university just let us know that there is a hiring freeze in effect starting now -- not only are new hires not being pursued, but even departments that have active, open searches have to re-submit them all for scrutiny. We're pretty terrified.

    I'm in a pretty good spot, in that I have at least 3 years to go before I hit the job market, so at least I am sheltered from all of this -- for now. But I feel your academic pain even as a grad student.

    It has to bounce back at some point: colleges need professors, despite the "casualization" of labor on campus.

    In the meantime, though postdocs might be rare, you know that you have some marketable skills. I'll dig around and try to find the listserve my boyfriend was on while he was transitioning out of academia -- it really helped him refocus his skills and market himself.

    Good luck...

    Obama's doing it and you should too: Adopt your next pet.

    by Quincy Woo on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:33:37 PM PST

    •  Thanks. (5+ / 0-)

      I'm applying for non-academic research jobs right now, generally analyst or coordinator positions.  It's a rough transition to make.

    •  That's not universally true. Tenure-track (15+ / 0-)

      faculty positions are in short supply (but they have been for years and years, and anyone working toward a Ph.D. should have known that on entering a program).

      Jobs in community colleges, however, are about to explode.  As unemployment rises, one of the benefits is to go back to school for re-training, and that money is given to community colleges.  Jobs as adjunct instructors, as well as full-time faculty, are available.  And jobs in student services positions are also opening up rapidly as the student population at these institutions is rising each semester.

      •  Except that (12+ / 0-)

        most community colleges are state and locally funded - and their funding is being slashed. I know, I work at a community college. We have a hiring freeze, and who knows what will happen next year.

        And on top of that, our enrollment is going up - but there's not enough staff and no money to hire more.

        Some things we don't have a choice over - positions that are required to keep accreditation have to be funded - but if it's even remotely discretionary, it's gone.

        So that means no outside training next year, no raises, no going to conferences, no new equipment, etc.

      •  Also, I'm not just writing about (10+ / 0-)

        tenure-track jobs.

        ALL jobs are on hold. This means anything that isn't required for essential day-to-day university functioning, and will effect the people in Recreation, the janitorial folks, the security people and so forth.

        And you'd better believe that they're slashing temp jobs, post-docs, and lecturer positions. Nobody goes to grad school to be a permanent lecturer, but even that is unavailable here right now.

        I'm not saying that this is universal, but the University of Pennsylvania, where I am, is the biggest employer in the city, and this will be painful for a lot of folks. If you expected to get a job within academia this year, it will probably be a lot harder than usual.

        Obama's doing it and you should too: Adopt your next pet.

        by Quincy Woo on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:48:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  UPenn is privately funded for a lot of their (7+ / 0-)

          programs, and their endowment took a hit in the recent market upheaval.  So did Swat's, Bryn Mawr's and Haverford.  Princeton's in better shape, but not great.

          Their funding/budgeting processes are much different from community colleges, and how they work is vastly different.  It's apples and oranges from what I'm talking about with openings are community colleges.  CCP, by the way, pays enormously well as is hiring.

          I'm a Smith grad with a Harvard Ed.D. with a career made in program at the Ivies/elites but am currently "slumming" (per my grad school friends) in community colleges at the moment because I'm a single mom and it's working for me at the moment.

        •  this is exactly the scenario (4+ / 0-)

          at the normally well-to-do Research 1 where I have been a lecturer since getting my Ph.D. two years ago.

          As I was preparing to leave campus yesterday I was informed that my spring courses--each fully enrolled, each necessary for students to graduate--were being canceled and that I was out of a job. And from what I hear, I'm not alone.

          These are days when no one should rely unduly on his competence. Strength lies in improvisation. All the decisive blows are struck left-handed. -Walter Benjamin

          by weary hobo on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:25:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hiring freeze @ the University of Minnesota too . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, mainefem, ibonewits, dkosdan

      ... though they're trying to alleve panic by calling it a hiring 'pause.'

      While the economy's bad, I think it's caused more by a number of other spending snafus.

      "Better a bleeding heart than none at all."

      by LindaBee on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:10:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just a thought... Is it really necessary to (12+ / 0-)

    include everything on your resume?  Clearly, you can't lie, but is there anything wrong with omitting?  

    When you apply for positions for which you are over-educated, why not exclude the coursework toward the PhD?  Especially since you haven't completed the degree yet.

    Just asking.  I really don't know if this is accepted practice.

    --It's a feverish world, Inman said, for lack of better comment. (Charles Frazier)

    by Taya Lawrence on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:35:38 PM PST

    •  I've thought about that. (8+ / 0-)

      The complication is that I have big gaps without it.  I taught my way through gradschool up until 2 years ago (when I started working in medical research).  If I take the education off of the CV, then it looks confusing to have been teaching at the college level during that time.

      •  Try creating a skills-based resume (7+ / 0-)

        rather than a chronological one.

        And I don't understand why teaching at the college level would constitute a "gap" in your work history. You taught. That means you probably have good presentation/public speaking skills. For many employers and jobs, that would be an asset.

        As I said above, figure out how you can make your various experiences play into the jobs you're applying for. Don't expect employers to pick through your list of qualifications to glean what might be relevant to them - they won't. Show them.

        "I can't come to bed yet! Someone is WRONG on the Internet!" - XKCD

        by SingularExistence on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:24:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, I phrased that poorly. (8+ / 0-)

          The teaching jobs are tied to my status as a grad student, especially the ones in the Writing Program (which it isn't otherwise clear from my resume that I have the requisite background to do).  I always feel like I'd have to remove the teaching jobs if I omitted the advanced education.  It seems like the college-level teaching wouldn't make sense to a potential reader unless the graduate study was also there to bolster & explain.  But I could be mistaken in that.  I can certainly give it a shot.  Thanks.

        •  That sounds very practical. There are so (5+ / 0-)

          many different ways to "package yourself," and you can adapt the resume to the position you apply for.  

          "Marketing" one's self is never easy...sometimes it takes an objective eye to assess effectiveness.

          One thing I would do:   Contact those who DIDN'T make an offer and ask them to suggest ways I could improve my "hireability."  


          --It's a feverish world, Inman said, for lack of better comment. (Charles Frazier)

          by Taya Lawrence on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:42:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've done that. (9+ / 0-)

            Each time that I had an interview but didn't get offered a job, I checked back in to thank them for their time and to ask if they could offer me any feedback as to how I could have been a better applicant.  No one responded to my request.  A friend later told me that some HR departments specifically counsel hiring managers to not respond to these request for fear of litigation.

            So it's certainly not a bad thing to ask, but you might not get a response.

            •  Based on all the things you're doing right, (6+ / 0-)

              I have to believe you're going to land on your feet.  

              Meantime, I hope there are plenty of people reminding you that you'll be a "good catch" for whoever eventually hires you.   It's pretty easy to internalize the rejections...and that is to be avoided if possible.  

              Just one more thing....and I haven't kept up on all the comments, so maybe it's been mentioned:   I know 2 people who ended up with job offers as a result of doing "informational interviews."    They didn't apply initially...just asked if they could speak to someone about the job so that they could become familiar with the requirements, etc.   (Sadly, one of them was recently laid off.  It's tough out there.)

              --It's a feverish world, Inman said, for lack of better comment. (Charles Frazier)

              by Taya Lawrence on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:01:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  skills based resumes are a good idea (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mainefem, dkosdan

          chronological resumes are so 20th century.

          besides, lots of resumes don't even get read by a human being any more.

          they get scanned into a reader that is looking for specific words.  whether those words appear chronologically or topically won't matter to the computer.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
          We inaugurate President Barack Obama in 45 days!

          by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:25:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent questions! (9+ / 0-)

      I've often wondered about omiting resume material myself.

      Is deflating one's resume as bad as inflating one's resume?  Are they both bad?  

      If so, which one is worse?  And by how much?

      I would think an employer would be pleasantly surprised to find out an employee had more qualifications than the employer expected.  If not, then why not?

      Just asking.

      •  "Overqualified" people often don't stay long. (13+ / 0-)

        Also, people think you will be a snob. They're uncomfortable around you. They think you're "better" than them, or that you'll act as though you are. Maybe you'll balk at doing whatever dirty work that may be required on the job.

        And, maybe something's wrong with you if you're applying for a job  for which you're so overqualified.

        When I left academe and came home to take care of my Dad, I decided I'd enjoy picking up a little pocket change working part-time at my local library. I got the job, but had to argue myself blue in the face that the Ph.D. in Reading Education wasn't a problem, I really wanted to do this particular job. Finally I had to leave to stay at home with Dad, but it took awhile before I was really accepted by the librarians. I was more qualified than the Young Adult librarian, for example, and had to keep telling her that she really knew more than me, as she'd been there working in the trenches for years, instead of the ivory tower. We finally became friends, but it took months.

        May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care.

        by Fonsia on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:20:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yep, everyone knows overqualified (14+ / 0-)

          people don't stay long.  We've hired a few newly-minted PhDs, swore up and down that they were going to stay a while.  Only to have them drop-out right as their on-boarding finished, the overall effect was a net loss of not only their salary, but business timing on projects we'd expected them to help with, and the very expensive cost of actual training.  

          That said... we had one PhD who only stayed on for 9 months -- and she did wonders for us during that period. She had the power of observation and documentation, and used it in everything we asked her to do -- including learning.  We were just shocked when after her 3-5 weeks of training, she presented us a completely re-written training manual, for example.  Frankly, she just paid for herself right there, her on-boarding cost went from a net loss to a net positive.   That said, she got a tenure track offer shortly there after, and left at the start of the semester.

          Something she could do that none of our B.A./B.S. hires could do: think and write. Our business wasn't even her field, she was into Slavic Literature!

        •  Perhaps it's more a matter of personality (4+ / 0-)

          than qualifications?

          Your comments seem to point in that direction.

          •  no, extra resentment (15+ / 0-)

            that one with a PhD may have to overcome; chances are, their boss in a non-acedemic setting will have a B.A./B.S.   They will have done OK in school, but not well enough to go onto further study or not interested in further study: "Ahh, that's all B.S.".  They really won't understand the value of research, and don't try to teach them ;)

            Someone with a PhD suffers an extra barrier.  They must prove by their actions that they arn't "stuck-up" since this is the pre-conceived frame of reference.  They may not be stuck-up, but people around them will assume you are.  Their boss may be much younger, and may be intimidated, etc.

            It's an extra layer of human-interaction complexity.  One has to be aware of it, and disarm it.  Focus on what you can do for the business, and make it clear you're the employee, and it should work out.  

            For example, if you're asked to do something "patently stupid", accept it.  In private, when you have time, tell your supervisor that it's dumber than rocks and offer some suggestions.  Then, make sure that you let them know you'll do it even though it's stupid.  Sometimes it's hard to know the political situation, and stupid stuff is needed.

          •  Always a possibility, and yet (12+ / 0-)

            I get along with folks great, tend to be quite popular, unless they find out about the Ph.D. too soon.

            That seems to be the controlling variable (language you shouldn't use in normal settings).

            America has always had a strong anti-intellectual streak. Witness the popularity of Sarah Palin--I'm convinced her aggressive anti-intellectualism is the foundation of her political success.

            The young adult librarian wasn't in that category, but she may have thought I was after her job.

            May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care.

            by Fonsia on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:05:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've had the same experience with some folks (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mijita, mainefem, dkosdan, Fonsia

              I'm a librarian with a Ph.D.  It hasn't been a problem at work, though I think they never expected that I'd stick around as long as I have.  But I seldom mention my degree in social situations, unless people have known me long enough to understand that I am, indeed, a "regular" person.

              "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

              by Nespolo on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:06:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  You asked for this (4+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluehawk, dkosdan, cville townie, krnewman
    Hidden by:

    more targeted approach less of the scatter gun, numbers based approach. That just feeds into the "Woe is poor overqualified me" construct.

    Each time you fail reinforces your belief that you were right all along - and we all love being right. I would be surprised if, by now, the resentment that you are nurturing, wasn't beginning to show, in small non verbal ways at interviews.

  •  Heard the same thing in 1980s when (14+ / 0-)

    I managed to get a PhD at an age when most are getting a BA -- and spent three years looking for work thereafter.

    I think there is a fear factor that you are better educated than the person interviewing you.  Intimidated people don't respond in a positive manner.


  •  Taking my BA off of my resume (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan, kyril, Pris from LA

    I've done that a few times.

    Now I'm considering accepting a training program where I would not have to pay back the loan until 2010.  I've yet to hear the internet rate.....

    I have what is now a full time job, but is part time most of the year  I want to go back and get more training in the vein of spend more and invest in myself.  I'll pay back my own personal budget deficit later.  

    We are all explorers - driven to know what's over the horizon, what's beyond our own shores...

    by DeeDee from FL on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:55:59 PM PST

  •  Bria, I'm in a reverse situation, sort of. (10+ / 0-)

    I have three graduate degrees (including a Ph.D.) and am -- believe it or not -- voluntarily giving up tenure and leaving academia.  It's a years-in-the-making process of realizing that I'm not happy in my current job and need to move on.  Unfortunately, I've picked the worst economic climate since the Great Depression to "move on" from my stable job.  

    I'm sorry for your woes and know that things will improve for you.  This part-time job is just the beginning.

    "Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment." --Rumi

    by GreenMtnState on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:59:47 PM PST

  •  Beneath me. (12+ / 0-)

    I was just thinking about that the other day, but in a totally different context.  I have been asked to give a talk on our company's business model in this scientific field.  I was thinking in my head about the early days of our company.  When I couldn't afford to buy myself a toner cartridge.  When I stood in Kinkos to make the copies.  When I processed the credit card transactions.  While I had mac & cheese for lunch. And ramen for dinner.

    Starting a company is so much like grad school.  Too many things you need to do, no one else to do them, and you eat ramen.  

    But I never felt any of it was beneath me and my PhD.  It was what needed to be done.  

    Maybe the interviewers are afraid you'll be bored and leave.  But I don't understand the "beneath you" thing they throw out otherwise.  That's got to be frustrating.

    Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

    by mem from somerville on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:03:55 PM PST

  •  BS Computer Science (10+ / 0-)

    I graduated in May '07 and worked for 6 months before I got laid off.  Currently found a contract job (which means $25 an hour but no benefits) that I was VERY glad to get.  Because of the degree I can get a lot of interviews, however, they are extremely picky and won't pick me.  I'm middle age female and I guess they are expecting a 20 something not a 50 year old.  Can't really blame them, it isn't age discrimination (well, maybe a little) as much as it is expectations.

    I've been working on a website application for the past year. and press one of the Play buttons.  It is a Google map "mash up" with Picasa web album pictures.  I'll go toe to toe with any 20 year old or H1B.

    I'm hoping I can get one of those jobs in the new economy.  I'm very exciting about rebuilding this country and fixing so many problems that have been going on for too long (primarily dependence on foreign oil and second about being all for the big corps and not the actual American worker).

    Good luck to you!  Instead of playing down your Ph.D. why not leave it off your resume??  It's not against the law not to put it on the resume.

    The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. Thomas Jefferson

    by Thea VA on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:06:23 PM PST

    •  where did you get your degree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, kyril, Pris from LA

      seems like I do what you are doing, but I'm self taught and need to round out my skills.

      •  any university that offers it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Computer Science degrees are fairly common.  They normally include math through Calculus plus discrete math.  I had to take a year of university of Physics.  The computer classes are fun, you get to learn binary or digital logic plus how computers work at the machine code level.

        You should definitely start working towards a BS degree, I wish I had started earlier.

        Good luck!

        The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. Thomas Jefferson

        by Thea VA on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:13:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I didn't do that well in college (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, Thea VA

      Very good GPA for 3 semesters, then a decline to mostly B's and C's. Some due to bad scheduling, one to a rotten prof, and all due to a personal crisis in confidence that had more dimensions than I can list here. There was also a banker's attitude the whole time from my family that they were spending too much money on me for not enough return, even though this was '02 and '03 and absolutely nobody in my field was hiring, which didn't help me at all. (At least I understand how that kind of over-cautious thinking on a larger scale could cause a downward spiral in the economy.)

      There was a bumper crop of graduates going to grad school, but I didn't have the grades for it. I suspect that we'll see another wave in the next couple years of very high grad school enrollment (and competition for it), but it won't help much on the macro scale because it's not like the main problem with our economy right now is that people haven't gone deep enough into the fields they're in.

      Finished in a couple of part-time semesters, finally graduated in '05. I'm also a BS in CS. I took a job back where I grew up because I had no money at the time, I knew some of the people involved, and it seemed like an interesting opportunity, and it was. It's more IT than CS, a lot of system administration and a little bit of programming. Great experience dealing with customers and handing weird situations with people, which I was very short on, along with amazing experience bootstrapping operations in a startup. Definitely below my grade as far as the raw difficulty, though, and the pay has reflected that.

      6 months or so into this job, my boss got into a big argument with the owner and quit. I quickly found out why the two of them had poor relations when I ended up working directly for the owner. My boss had been a Republican (although voted for Obama in the VA primary; not sure about the general), but the owner was a (wishy-washy) Democrat. I thought that I couldn't lose with that, but it's been tough. The thing is, right now I have a job just by having stuck with it, and my old boss is probably not in a very good situation since he relied on freelance income after quitting. But I hate the office politics and now I'd rather go back to school or get a more technically challenging job, but either way I'll have to wait for the economy to get better. Thinking about how I could do better at the job I'm in now, I realized anything I could do would also help me thrive in a more challenging position, but probably with less BS and less stress. I really don't know how to get there from here. But at least I'm stuck with a job rather than without one.

      •  people - bonds (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem, dkosdan, cville townie

        It's a good time to hang on to a job if you have one!  Once they start hiring because there is something for us to do, that will be the time to find a new job.  At this time you could work on people connections, make sure you bond with your co- workers well enough to use as job references.  Most future employers will want to call and talk to people that actually worked with you. Even after you leave the job, somehow keep in touch with them.  

        I joined Linked-In which helps you focus on collecting the professional aspects of yourself in one place.

        It lets you build connections, too, which give you a way to keep track of your current co-workers as they move around.

        As for the Democrat boss, well at least you don't have people listening to Rush Limbaugh on the headsets and chuckling at his jokes.  And taking the exact opposite on any of your opinions to make everything about politics.

        The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. Thomas Jefferson

        by Thea VA on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:59:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That doesn't help me much :-/ (0+ / 0-)

          At this time you could work on people connections, make sure you bond with your co- workers well enough to use as job references.  Most future employers will want to call and talk to people that actually worked with you.

          Some of the people I work with closely are brown-nosing hicks, and I don't think I'd be willing to ask them for a reference in a thousand years. They've been pretty willing to stab me in the back when it's to their advantage. I can get a reference from the flaky boss/owner, and from another manager who I've worked with, and probably from more than a couple customers that I do consulting work. I think my college friends will be more useful as far as making connections in my field, but I wish I'd spread my net even more widely than I did.

          The old Republican boss was indeed a dittohead... actually preferred Neal Boortz. I think he's no longer that much on board with some of the talk radio BS, but it'll take longer for him to start thinking more liberally than just disbelieving in the RW bullshit. And my Dem boss is perfectly happy to take the opposite of my opinion when it's not about politics, just to throw his weight around. Besides, some of my current co-workers are the type whose family forwarded them the Muslim smears all year (even if they were skeptical of them).

  •  I just want to offer a couple of thoughts (16+ / 0-)

    and hope they somehow cheer you up:)

    1. No matter what, the job market is just suckey right now.  It's NOT just you and/or your education.
    1. If one educates oneself only for job market purposes, education misses its point in many ways!  A well educated population does better socially, financially and politically.  You are NOT over-educated, you are just in a lousy job market:)  You should be very proud of what you have done for yourself in many ways, so be real happy about that.  

    I know I am proud of you!

    Whose marriage do we get to vote on next?

    by cany on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:06:26 PM PST

  •  What about teaching at a private school? (6+ / 0-)

    ... or at a Community College?

    I know that Community Colleges are going to be needing lots of instructors over the coming years (as someone mentioned above).

    And what about applying for teaching positions in, say, biology at a private school? You won't need a teaching license and I know several private schools hire PhD's to teach.

    •  I've applied for some teaching jobs... (8+ / 0-)

      ...and I also haven't heard back from those.  I think that academic departments might be flooded with resumes from qualified applicants now as much as other employers.  There are a lot of gradstudents and PhDs in the NYC metro region who need work.

      Thank you for the suggestions.

      •  You might have to move then (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem, dkosdan

        "Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be kept by understanding." ~Albert Einstein

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:35:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Substitute Teaching? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem, dkosdan, princess k, bria

        Have you checked out substitute teaching for a public school district?  This wouldn't be college level, but good subs are in demand.

        My former school district was paying $100 a day, but no benefits.

        You might even qualify for some type of emergency credential in some states??

        Just a thought...

        "Mirage" - now you see me, now you don't "******"!

        by Mirage18 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:22:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The reason that I haven't applied is that NYC schools require a full application including references with completed forms, background check certification, fingerprinting, and a $50 application fee just to apply, then caps you at 40 days per fiscal year if you're not already certified or actively pursuing graduate study in education.  They require this for all applicants, not for all applicants who are actively being considered.  I would put myself through all of the hassle and spend the $50 that I couldn't really afford to give up if I knew that they really were actively recruiting new substitutes, but from everything I've heard, they're already overwhelmed with applications now.  And I'm hesitant to ask my references to write letters for me unless I know that I have a good shot at the job...I don't want to irritate them and burn my bridges.

    •  Private schools love hiring PhDs (7+ / 0-)

      Prep schools often have brochures which brag about how many of their facility have a PhD is the subject they teach in.

      "Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be kept by understanding." ~Albert Einstein

      by Futuristic Dreamer on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:34:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congrats! (7+ / 0-)

    I would KILL o get to the interview point!

    Resumes sent via e-mail don't even get the courtesy reply that they have received it.

    Obama/Biden vs. McCain/Cujo

    by sd4david on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:28:29 PM PST

    •  Good luck (5+ / 0-)

      It really is a rough market out there.

    •  I hear ya! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, sd4david, Brooke In Seattle

      Resumes sent via e-mail don't even get the courtesy reply that they have received it.

      Used to be, I could walk in to a front office, hand them my resume, and actually talk to somebody. (Does that date me?) Now they don't even want to see you, you're just another unread item in their inbox.

      Last spring, a human resources person told me that for that reason, more hiring is being done through placement agencies. H.R. staffers open up their e-mail to 500 resumes, read 5 of them, then call their friend Joe at the agency and say: "Do you know anybody who I could hire for this?" H.R. people are stretched as thin as the rest of us.

      Thing is, jobs are so short that it doesn't even get to that stage. I'm now working with an agency that sends my resume as soon as they see something I'm looking for. The company calls back with: "I'm sorry, the job's already been taken. Someone in our networks was out of work so we've already interviewed and hired her."

      NETWORKING LIKE CRAZY is where it's at right now.

      "Better a bleeding heart than none at all."

      by LindaBee on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:22:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, 4Freedom, Pris from LA

    the higher the degree, the smarter and the less common sense the person has. We always counsel against higher degrees until employed in the field.  

    Unless required for the position, I don't let having or not having a degree interfere with my hire.  

    Good luck in your job search.  People who have a job can find it easier to get a job.  You did the right thing taking the pt position.

    They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

    by dkmich on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:28:33 PM PST

  •  Two Thoughts (10+ / 0-)
    1. Managers often do not want to hire somebody who is more educated or better-qualified than they are.  If so, they could ultimately be hiring somebody that outshines them.  This may not be so relevant in applying for jobs in academia, but it's often true in corporate settings.
    1. Read your resume very carefully and see if there is anything on it about human attractiion or sexuality that might make a potential employer uncomfortable.  Many people aren't that comfortable with sexuality, particularly in the workplace.  "Human behavior" (generalized, ex-sex) might sometimes be a better entry, particularly again in corporate settings.

    I have never worked in academic setting but I do work and conduct interviews for a Fortune 100 company, so that's my perspective.

    I think we have all been looking for a job at some point in our lives, so we all feel your pain.

    •  Thanks for the suggestions. (6+ / 0-)

      I do de-sex my resume a bit.  I still list my publications, but they have fairly dry titles.

      Most of my interviews have been for research jobs and generally the people interviewing me have advanced degrees themselves.  They just weren't necessarily expecting the applicants for their available position to have had my educational background.

  •  Good luck, when something better comes (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan, kyril, Pris from LA

    along, grab it with both hands.

    "Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss." ~Douglas Adams

    by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:53:28 PM PST

  •  PS. I'm bad tempered, over qualified (11+ / 0-)

    and picky.

    I ended up hiring myself.


    "Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss." ~Douglas Adams

    by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:55:26 PM PST

    •  That May Be My Out... (5+ / 0-) my MBA and MS Engineering is getting no attention (I've been out of work for about 2 years; I've interviewed from Greater LA to just south of the Bay Area); the great State of CA is just flat tough right now.

      Back to out similarities ... I'm a stubborn SOB, will not cheat anyone (riches without integrity is worthless to me), and won't work just anyplace (I've done that 3 times before; it's the proven path to a disaster in terms of advancing your career).

      Stubborn, overqualified, and picky. I'm right there with you.

      •  I worked for GE medical near Paris. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mijita, Bluehawk, mainefem, ibonewits, kyril

        My only 'real' job.

        I called the MD a twit, then I wrote four lines of formula on the board.

        He said that he still didn't understand, I the said "I know". I walked out of the meeting and ended up just keeping on walking.

        6 years, hard work, and some bad times it has finally come together, see my diary.

        "Flying is simple. You just throw yourself at the ground and miss." ~Douglas Adams

        by LaFeminista on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:48:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I started a group (7+ / 0-)

    on the Kossacks Networking site for academics, hoping for discussions much like this diary. Just in case anyone wants to join and contribute :)

    "Americans wish to be settled. Only so far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them" -Emerson.

    by kfd313 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:15:43 PM PST

  •  in my industry, being a PhD can often be a (5+ / 0-)

    negative.  It's not just a qualification issue, it's that literally PhDs don't have the greatest reputation a lot of the time for grounding in applied, real world qualitative research.  If they do have one, many just choose to leave it off.

  •  your expertise should include (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    biofarming, along the lines of what grows best in what climates....

  •  yes - I have 2 MPhils and soon a PhD (8+ / 0-)

    I needed a job and had just earned my first MPhil (in English) in 2005.  I was rejected from all interviews once they had ascertained my grad degree.  I was halfway through several interviews and things had been going fine, when suddenly the interviewer would realize they hadn't noticed my MPhil.  Finally, I made the decision to leave it off.  Sure, I had to explain the year break in my resume, but I got the first two jobs I interviewed for after that.  (Even though one was highly suspicious of my 3.8 undergrad GPA.  Ridiculous to suspect a high GPA as an overqualification!!!)  And then I didn't starve and was able to pay my rent!

  •  Try government jobs at (6+ / 0-)

    I feel like I am experiencing the same thing while searching for a job. I have an MBA degree and I don't feel like I am getting a fair shake from a lot of employers.I get a sense that once they see you have a higher education they assume: you require a higher salary or you will not be happy with the salary they can offer you.

    I am going to start applying for government jobs. You can do the same by going to
    I think government agencies will look at your education more favorably then private employers.

  •  In my field it works the other way (10+ / 0-)

    and people are unlikely to consider you without a PhD, even if you  are qualified.

    Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's bellies

    by plf515 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:39:51 PM PST

  •  I can relate to your experience (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, peraspera, mainefem, Nulwee, kyril

    I have an MA degree and ran into similiar problems when I was first out on the job market. The problem was that I went straight to graduate school after college. Thus I had no real entry-level job experience. I applied for job after job. Entry-level positions were out of reach because companies viewed me as being "overqualified". However, mid-level or higher entry-level positions were out of reach because "I didn't have any experience".

    I eventually found a job but I had to really work around the reservations that hiring managers would have about me. It sucked for a lot of reasons.

    My regret is going for an MA straight after college because I didn't work for a year or two. I should have worked and found an employer willing to pay for it. I'm now carrying loans that are placing a burden on my financially. However, I was also afraid that, if I didn't go immediately, I would never get the degree.

    I sometimes wonder if my MA was worth it. I've been told that it will pay later in my career, but I don't see it yet.

  •  This is a real fear (6+ / 0-)

    When I first got out of undergrad, I was doing customer service in a mixed environment... Former factory workers along with BAs.  I had to take a lot of care not to bring up my degree; people assume you are there to move up, ahead of them.  I was just there to make rent.

    I did eventually move up, then I decided I'd go back and get a JD.  Now I'm a 2L and wondering if I'll find a clerkship next summer, much less a job later.  What's more, I'm in the top 10% of my class in a top 50 law school, on law review, and with good references/internship experience.  

    It gets hard to avoid thinking that it's you; you are somehow scorned, etc.  But in reality, it's the market...  Last year at this time, law firms would be kissing my ring, not the other way around.  shrug  

    This just means public interest/governmental offerings are on the table again, I guess.

    But a JD is not all that different from a PhD; I often wonder if I haven't boxed myself in.

    Good luck; education can be a real stigma, and employers and coworkers alike are apt to stare in disbelief when you tell them you are just trying to keep food on the table like everybody else.

    "The future will not belong to the cynics. The future will not belong to those who stand on the sidelines"-Paul Wellstone

    by Sauceman on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:54:00 PM PST

    •  a JD is a doctorate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sauceman, mainefem

      does anyone give the LL.B. anymore?

      depends on what kind of law you are specializing in.

      some lawyers are going to be in demand for the next few years!

      hope you get a good clerkship offer.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
      We inaugurate President Barack Obama in 45 days!

      by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:30:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bankruptcy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority, mainefem

        Debt Collection


      •  There are no more LL.B. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        degrees in the United States.  ABA doesn't allow them.  If someone offers a pre-law program, it's basically liberal arts.  All law degrees require bachelor's degrees as a prerequisites.  And approximately 20% of my 1L class has advanced degrees, three (that I know of, it's only the first semester) PhDs.  Come to law school.  It's a lot of work, but I'm enjoying it.

        However, I can't get an engineering job now because of law school.  For all the reasons you gave above.  I lose this job and I'm a paralegal (at least in law they will hire students part-time through school, regardless of background).

    •  A JD Is Even Scarier To Many Employers (0+ / 0-)

      I've expanded my search outside the legal profession but it mystifies people that some one with a JD would want to do anything besides practice law.

      The JD has to come off the resume in order to have a descent chance at an interview.

      "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."

      by sebastianguy99 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 08:54:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  hang in there bria (3+ / 0-)

    at least you have some money coming in.

    being overqualified is a problem in a downturn economy.  I've had employers tell me to my face that they didn't think someone of my education would fit in on their staff of people with less education.  they ignored my protestations that I was desperate and needed a job.

    some people lie on their resumes to inflate their experience.  I believe the time is coming when people will lie on their resumes to hide being overqualified.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
    We inaugurate President Barack Obama in 45 days!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:12:20 PM PST

  •  some thoughts (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, yuriwho, cerulean, annominous


    First of all, in this economy, companies slash jobs around and the econ just lost 500K job in a month. It is the worst in 30 years! So hang in there.

    The less skilled jobs are the ones gone first so actually if you have a higher degree, your chance maybe better because some companies are still hiring advanced degrees.

    Second, the reason one gets a PhD is because he/she clearly sees why he/she wants it. Not just want it but obviously, you are smart and hard working to actually earn it. Not every one can earn it because a PhD requires a dissertation and lots of creativity/brain work.

    If you are an engineer, you want a PhD to climb the technical track, not managerial track. If you are in journalism, finance, social science, etc... you want a PhD to do consulting, social research work in the research department, etc...

    Obviously, they won't hire a PhD or a Master for a rudimentary job that can be done by a BS, even though you say you will accept a lower pay. I can't imagine any hiring manager would do that, unless out of the empathy for the applicant. At least it shows the lack of knowing clearly what you wants. People want to get a job experience go straight to work after MS at most.

    Are you in social science or engineering? I assume that you are in social science.

    It is not the problem of being over educated. You haven't found the right jobs which match your skills yet.

    Try to apply to the jobs require research skills. Some job explicitly requires a MS or PhD and won't hire BS.

    If you are not comfortable applying to faculty positions at large public schools granting MS and PhD, try some smaller 4-year university or 2-year college. They will appreciate your degree over other applicant without a PhD.

  •  Same problem here, starting my own company (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, 4Freedom, dkosdan, Katie71

    luckily I have a financial backer and good product idea for an industry that is nearly recession proof, I also have a deal with an established company in the market to do the manufacturing/marketing/distribution and sales for their segment of the market thus I do not need to build the whole operation from scratch.

    A lovely little thinker, But a bugger when he's pissed

    by yuriwho on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:17:13 PM PST

  •  My thoughts based on experience (5+ / 0-)

    Recruiters or HR people are worried about what is called 'workplace affinity,' which can mean:

    a. if you are older, can you work well with younger staff and maybe be managed by a younger person than yourself.

    b. if you take a position 'below your level' will you possibly leak frustration at work, thus possibly harming the group's effectiveness and hurt morale.

    c. replace 'older' with 'younger' in a. above, although this tends to be less of a problem since younger people are more easily hired (and more desirable) than older people are.

    People who show themselves as 'consultants' face similar questions as the diarist mentions, such as 'well why do you want to leave consulting to work full time for ONE COMPANY?' as if doing so is a bad thing for you, or implies that you must be failing as a consultant (since those fees are so great that why would you leave that for a stupid full time job?)

    In all these questions, you have to essentially answer so as to be as honest as you can and also make the questioner comfortable with hiring you, not doubtful.  You try to help them get to a 'hire' decision.  

    I will also say that in the case of recruiters, their clients often tell them specifically what age range, qualifications, etc. that they are interested in--so if you speak to a recruiter, he/she might sound enthusiastic on the phone or in the meeting, despite some hard questions, but will use the client's filter--requirements--to make a decision about setting up an interview.

    One thing is essential always and that's to learn as much about the company as possible and develop ideas about how to get the interviewer to a 'yes' based on his/her comfort level with you and what you bring to the table.

    If you've worked for a high priced company, get laid off, and interview subsequently, one bias you might have working against you is the 'oh, you'd be too expensive for us to hire,' which you might actually encounter in an interview.  Have to have an answer for this one, since if you were with a big budget, lots of raises company, the new interview will possibly want to explore your expectations.

    Watch out for interviews that 'like your qualifications' but always find that 'one thing' that you don't have that they need--this might happen in the interview or afterward if they tell you why you were not selected. And the thing that is missing might not have been mentioned in the interview itself but could be said after they look at your resume.  This 'never enough' part is very difficult to deal with in most cases.

    This would apply if your older, some firms, to meet EEOC requirements, always interview a spectrum of ages, and older employees often are interviewed for this reason alone--as an EEOC check-off, when they already know they will hire someone else.  Also, a lot of 'online listed jobs' (such as at university HR departments) are already filled, but the HR department, for EEOC requirements, has to list the job anyway, and you might get these interviews when the hiring manager knows full well he/she has someone all lined up.  They will never admit this.  Also, if you are looking at startups, they hire mainly younger staff, and will shy away from older employees, but might interview you anyway for EEOC requirements.

    Last, networking beats cold calling most of the time.  

    This is a difficult time, keep telling yourself this, it's not YOU.

    We all wish you best of luck in this very difficult time.  The recession of the early 70s saw many college BA's, advanced college degrees, and older professionals having a very very tough time in all lines of work.   What worked then in some limited cases was: a great portfolio and great grades.  

    Networking and courtesy interviews for most folks is a good idea.  

    But watch out for age discrimination as I mentioned above---you can't prove it, but its definitely out there big time.

  •  All that you say is true (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, yuriwho, 4Freedom, bria

    And is utterly contrary to the garbage that John Challenger writes in his fantasy-world, syndicated column, "Job Hunt."  I'd like to sock him right in his keyboard!

    You're also right-on with this one:

    Interdisciplinarity is a great catchphrase and is lauded as a virtue, but it can make jobsearching mighty hard when interests and training stretch over several related disciplines rather than neatly conforming to a proscribed path.

    In any field or industry these days, and particularly if you deal with recruiters, if you are the exact, neatly fitting package for the job and can be described in 5 words you're a bit screwed! They don't have the time, temperament or ability to deal with anything outside the lines.

    •  Yes, I am highly multidisciplinary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, 4Freedom

      and have found the same to be true. It means you need to market yourself for positions that do not exist. This of course takes longer and relies more on your network of face to face contacts.

      A lovely little thinker, But a bugger when he's pissed

      by yuriwho on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:18:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Never Ends (5+ / 0-)

    At a certain point in my career I reached the stage where every time I did a job search I received the same "over-qualified" rejections. Not just due to education but overall work experience. And, unfortunately, it has never gotten better. In fact, now that I'm in my 40's age has also become a factor.

    It is a sad reflection of American business practices today that highly qualified, hard working and experienced potential employees are rejected for being too good to hire.

  •  NYU Law and Columbia-Minimum Wage Job (11+ / 0-)

      I recently started a part-time job, my first since becoming disabled quite a while ago.  It enables me to volunteer as a lawyer with nonprofit groups.  My supervisor berates and screams at the employees.  I am constantly on edge.  Also, I can't sleep much at night b/c I am crying.

       Yet no one else was interested b/c I am overqualified.  I feel I just can't win.  It is difficult finding a legal position after years of disability.  Was my education an illusion?  Knowing that I practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court and at the highest corporate levels makes me cry all the harder.  

        I find a sense of community here.  The new site is great.  Let us network with each other.  Obama is president-elect.  Yes, we can.  Got Hope?  

  •  you don't have to tell them about your degrees (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, FarWestGirl

    it might be irrelevant to the job, so why mention it?

    I have degrees out the ying-yang and have felt completely comfortable not telling employers about them when necessary to get the job. Sure, if they ask, I'll tell the truth, but there's no law nor ethic which requires you to tell them when you are overqualified.

  •  It depends (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, mainefem, dkosdan, bria

    When I was a Starbucks manager years ago (before they went public 'til less than a year after IPO), I had two PhDs on my staff. Both wanted to write, both needed benefits, both taught part-time, too. They were fabulous, and they both outlasted me. :) At the time, I just had a BA.

    I now have a BA, JD, and MS in Information Science. I was way overqualified for my first job at my high tech company (tech writer), but by doing enough prep on the technical area (802.3/.11 networking at the time), I demonstrated enough interest that they took a chance on me.

    I'm thinking about going back to get a PhD, even while I'm still employed. First, it'll be a good fallback for a few years if it comes to that, but more important, I figure I get one go-round in this life. If it's more, bonus, but for now, it's something I'm interested in doing. I'd rather have the experience than not, and figure I can deal with how to explain it to prospective employers later.

    Congrats on the job offer - hope it leads to much more.

    "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

    by paxpdx on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:42:48 PM PST

  •  FWIW, there is no such thing as "overqualified" (0+ / 0-)

    either qualified or not qualified.

    Just like there's no such thing as over-pregnant or over-happy or over-competent or over-adequate.

    Thinking there is such a thing as overqualified, especially thinking of oneself as overqualified, means you have a personal problem.

  •  Everyone needs to think like the hiring manager. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, FarWestGirl

    You are a right on all counts. If you apply for a job that you are obviously over qualified for, you better have a damn good answer for why you want the job. The hiring manager has a problem, he or she needs someone to do the job that they are hiring for. Experience has taught them that over qualified applicants don't stay long and if they do they frequently create more problems then they are worth. The solution is simple. edit down your resume. Tailor your resume for the job that you are applying for. If you have been in the work force for 1000 years like I have, I don't list jobs or other information going back more than about 10 years.
    If my education is not directly relevant to the job I am applying for I omit it, I don't list salary expectations. I want the hiring manager to like me and to feel like I would be a asset to the operation. If the hiring manager asks me a direct question I tell the truth. IF asked why I didn't list a PhD, being CEO of a fortune 500 firm... I answer, that I didn't think it was relevant. Sometimes less is more.

  •  PhD, hey? Now go to community college... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, Brooke In Seattle

    for retraining.  That's America's answer to Americans losing good paying jobs.  

    "...America can change. Our union can be perfected." President-Elect Barack Obama

    by Jack Dublin on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:54:44 PM PST

    •  I know how you mean it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkosdan, FarWestGirl

      but, there are specialized community college degrees that are in growing or stable career choices.

      There are specialized programs in some Iowa CC's in wind power for example.  some states have solar power programs.

      Start a nursing career at a CC. (poor hours but always jobs) most of the programs I know have a waiting list, although some in less desirable regions have shorter lists.

      One CC I know wants well educated people to become train engineers, they are placing most grads (this was 3 months ago though).

      A cc in Kansas City, Kansas has a mortuary program that always places students (death and taxes).

      These are just some examples. it does take an openness to radical career change.  you just use that brain power to do something else. Ph.D. programs are excellent training in delayed gratification anyhow.

      "youth should strive, through acts uncouth" -- Robert Browning (1812-1889)

      by 2rivers on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:18:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  my own view is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have been working as a software analyst/project manager/credit risk analyst for the past 7 yrs and my background is Bachelor in Math and Stats. I have interviewed and been interviewed. My own view is that most employers really dont care if you have if you have a degree if you have good work experience that will allow you to contribute right away in the workplace. (Some high end consulting firms care about degrees and school pedigree, like Accenture, McKinsey, Deloitte, but in my experience most companies, especially in the States dont care) I have worked with people with only a high school degree but who got lucky with training provided by the firm while they worked, and they moved up the ranks. they have some of the worst communication and thinking skills but because they had the experience and skills, even high end companies are clamoring to hire them. I currently do a lot of predictive modeling in stats for a credit risk firm, and we have a few people who just have a high school degree but got a job in the call centre and worked their way up.

    I know this isnt a very popular option, and I am sure you have heard it before: Is there any way to get an unpaid internship or a temp job in the field you are looking to work in? If you really want to convince employers that you arent "too overqualified", then doing an internship would be the best way to convince that you have the drive, initiative, smarts as well as the work experience to contribute to the company. I am considering doing graduate work in stats and almost every PHD guy in my company has to told me to just pursue the Masters and get work experience if I want to make more money. They told me to forget about PHD as it wasnt worth it unless I wanna teach and do research.

    Another thing: about the earnings bracket. Always keep your expectations for earnings low when you are looking for job because that they wont eliminate you right away from the 1st round of interview, especially in your case as I am again presuming you dont have 2-3 yrs work experience in the field you are looking to get hired for. Your skills may demand more compensation, but if you dont keep your expectations for salary low, then no one will hire you because of the lack of work experience. Especially if you apply online because the way the HR selects the options your application would probably be eliminated right away before the HR people even have a chance to consider what you have to say.

    I think also you need to find how intense their hiring of PHD's are. if they are a big bank and they do credit risk, you can bet they have a lot of Stat PHD's doing work for them and they have multiple pay brackets in those situations. otherwise my own understanding is that most companies dont really have that much of a high pay bracket for people with PHDS, since they dont hire that many to begin with, and probably pay them by years of work experience and need and skill set. My point being that pay bracket isnt the reason you arent getting hired. if you had the work experience and could show the company what you bring to the table, trust me they would pay you well. If you get hired for low salary, make a gameplan then. try to get as many projects in your belt that are "in vogue" and then after a yr or two jump ship and go to a competitor that will pay you more. for example, right in banks .NET is the programming application of choice and people who are doing work in .NET command very high salaries because its a popular language, its not easy to learn and there arent very many people that know it.

    Have you considered doing private tuition/classes while looking for a job. I dont know what your PHD is in, but I actually know quite a few PHDS guys who are looking into doing private classes because they can set their own hours and make more money that way.

    Good luck!

    "eeyeah Hi..eeyeah..Id like you to go ahead and support Obama" Bill Lumbergh-Office Space

    by girlyman on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:54:52 PM PST

  •  here's what I did (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, mainefem, cerulean, 4Freedom, dkosdan

    I have a PhD in computer science with mutliple years of postdoctoral experience, about 10 publications and an award winning dissertation. Did this get me a faculty job? NO!  If you know anything about computer science, you know that enrollments have been slumping terribly the past few years and that faculty hiring is terrible. Also, I was narrowly specialized in a very unfashionable topic (ie. very little grant money). After years as a  postdoc,  I tried adjunct lecturing for a while.  Teaching is fun, but good god, it's like universities go out of their way to make part time lecturing an extra shitty gig.

    Finally I had enough. And I needed money.  Was it at least easy to go out into industry and grab a great tech job?

    No, not that easy. It took months. I had to deal with interviewers asking "how do I know you won't bolt when a faculty position comes along?" (I simply said that that was a very unlikely possibility). But the worst were the HR representatives who didn't have a technical background and were just checking boxes on a form,  such as "knows  software tool such-and-such" or "has X years of experience with BLAH programming system". Don't check the box and you are out of the running.

    In the end what worked was persistence, learning what employers wanted, and using my personal network.

    I did some phone interviews with an HR rep for a big tech company.  After a few days, I called him back and he said that while they were hiring, they really wanted somebody with experience with Such-and-Such API.  So I went out and got a book and downloaded some university course webpages and crammed as much as I could on that API and its general technological area, hacking up little projects and whatnot.

    Then I could put experience with that API on my resume without feeling like a liar.

    I then got in touch with a friend who works as an engineer for that same company (not the HR people again) and had him introduce me directly to some hiring managers.

    Once I got past the HR people checking off boxes on a form and talked to people doing the actual job, they could appreciate my background as useful (if unusual) and they could appreciate that I was putting in serious effort to learn their technology. So, I got the job on the second try, going around the HR people's back.  I like the job, and I really hope there are no layoffs in the coming year, because I haven't been there a year yet and you all know what that means.

    Hopefully you can take something useful from my experiences,  or at least can take comfort knowing that you aren't the only person in the world to whom this kind of thing has happened.

  •  unemployeed welder/fabricator (5+ / 0-)

    I had a great job in Ft. Lauderdale & quit because I needed to move out of my sister in laws house. So I moved back to NC. this was last May.
    A friend had just bought a building that needed to be readied for him to move his Race truck body fabricating shop into.
    I didn't take picture from the start. this 5000 square fot building had a 3 bedroom apartment in it with carpet & tile floors to remove.
    I moved walls, deck the offices, stairs, put the siding up. that beam on the pole turns 180*.

    I don't know what I'll be doing next. it's been August since I've made any money to ammount to anything.

  •  Does postdoc count as overeducated and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, mainefem, 4Freedom


    Rabindranath Tagore-"Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it."

    by joy sinha on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:00:17 PM PST

    •  yes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, 4Freedom, dkosdan, Essephreak

      i have many PHD friends, and almost all of them tell me to avoid getting a PHD like Britney now avoids being close to Kevin Federline. They all tell me tales of abuse by their advisor and that you arent really making any more money than the guy/gals with Masters. So why waste time and brain cells on something unless you are doing it for the love of research, and to teach at college level.

      I was considering getting a PhD in Stats, but after working 7 yrs in the industry, I am convinced it isnt worth it

      "eeyeah Hi..eeyeah..Id like you to go ahead and support Obama" Bill Lumbergh-Office Space

      by girlyman on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:12:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All you people (0+ / 0-)

    whining about the job market need open your eyes.  There are plenty of opportunities right now in the Army.  In exchange for being cannon fodder, you get a guaranteed monthly income, free travel to exotic locales and the pride of knowing that the uppity brown people of the world are being put in their place.  

    Fascism is capitalism in decay. -- Vladimir Lenin

    by GiveNoQuarter on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:07:21 PM PST

  •  oh and another thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    again, not a popular thing in States and not sure where in life you are (married? kids? etc) but working abroad isnt a bad choice, especially for people looking for that jumpstart. Countries like Dubai, Qatar are the new spots for Westerners to work, with a shitload of Brits and Australians going there by the boatload because the Arabs there love Westerners and Western degree and highly compensate those people. India and Thailand and China are also places I heard many Western kids are going to get their first break, especially India as it is has a huge English speaking popn. I know there are many universities opening up campuses in Dubai, Sharjah, Qatar and they want to hire Westerners are profs to shore up the attractiveness of the university, as Arabs think Westerners provide the best education. they do, but so do other countries, but thats a different discussion. point being that if you have any family responsibilities and have an adventerous streak working abroad (and no Europe doesnt count as they are laying off people too, except Poland) may not be a bad option.

    "eeyeah Hi..eeyeah..Id like you to go ahead and support Obama" Bill Lumbergh-Office Space

    by girlyman on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:07:54 PM PST

  •  I wish I had the patience (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to get my MA or a PhD. It took me a long time just to get a BA in English, which I really have no interest in anyway. I changed my major like 6 times. My grade point average isn't great. My Mom has always been goading me to get a government job. So, I'm just joining the Air Force to get into their ground linguist program. I studied four languages during my time in college, but I'm going to focus on Japanese. After about 4 or more years in the AF. I hope to get a government job or something that can at least erase my student debt. I like writing fiction, I just don't like writing essays. I get so bored after a while. So, I don't think I will ever go back to college.

    To err is human. To forgive, divine.

    by Highwind on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:09:40 PM PST

    •  can i give u some advice? (5+ / 0-)

      dont focus on Japanese, unless you really love it. There are way too many Westerners who know Japanese, at least more so than people who know Mandarin or Pashto or Urdu. If you are going to spend time learning a complicated language, learn Mandarin or Arabic or Urdu or Pashto or Farsi or Dari. The US Army, as well as Canadian Army, as well as other agencies like CIA, State Dept and agencies of other countries are in desperate need for people with those skills, and the US army is now resorting to hiring foreigners to fill the void. You would be helping you country and gaining a very valuable skill. I am wanna learn Arabic and Pashto if I have the time, but my boss makes me work my ass off, so no time to pursue my love for languages.

      "eeyeah Hi..eeyeah..Id like you to go ahead and support Obama" Bill Lumbergh-Office Space

      by girlyman on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:17:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I was going to study Arabic, because I literally had a plan to join the Military and use my language skills with that. I only thought of that because of my mother's obsession with me getting a government job. Then I decided to go with Japanese. Before that was French and Latin(I studied this because my major was Classics at the time) then after Japanese, I just went back to Spanish. I have two friends living in Japan now who work as English language teachers and a lot of them are out of work there, too. Thanks for the advice. I was thinking about looking into Arabic and Farsi, as well. I'm an indecisive person, so I'm not always sure.

        To err is human. To forgive, divine.

        by Highwind on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:31:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i know some Arabic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I grew up in the Middle East, and Arabic is fairly easy language..I found French harder actually. Westerners get scared studying Arabic because it looks weird and then there is that whole "terrorist" image tied to it. Many people study Arabic (in some cases I heard the Army send you to language school) do their Army service and then go into consulting, and they make pretty lucrative money because of their Arabic and Urdu skills. I actually know quiet a few people teaching ESL in Japan and when they come back they dont have a job, even if they know Japaneses because there are many people who know Japanese. learning Mandarin wouldnt be bad either, but the writing part is really tough. Trust me forget Japanese, learn Mandarin if you wanna do an Asian language , otherwise learn Arabic and Urdu and you are set.

          "eeyeah Hi..eeyeah..Id like you to go ahead and support Obama" Bill Lumbergh-Office Space

          by girlyman on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:38:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I would recommend Farsi (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          (the language used in Iran) since it will be easier than Arabic.

          I think Japanese is an interesting language to study.

          Russian and Arabic are harder than Japanese in my opinion.

          I love Russian opera, but I just can't seem to pick up the language.

      •  Arabic & cross cultural training is an idea. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mainefem, girlyman

        My #1 daughter got her undergrad degree in a interdisciplinary non-traditional major sort of like Bria did. We were really worried that she wouldn't have a job since her degree covered a variety of interests but none highly marketable. So she is now in grad school ( her decision)for her masters but is focusing on Middle Eastern studies & learning Arabic. It is something she enjoys & will also be marketable. She is hoping to do diplomatic work or work in cross cultural training for a company.

        The trick is to use your education in a creative way on your resume. Stress the strengths that you gained from each class you took. If you took a gender/behavior class use that & point out your ability to work with people understanding & motivating them. That might make you valuable to a school district looking for someone to help them in diversity training. Also check out cross cultural training. These are companies that consult with businesses to help them prepare to send workers overseas & have them be accepted by people of different cultures.

        Bria might also check into a job at one of the schools for gay students. My daughter was thinking of trying to get a job at one in NY since she really enjoyed her classes on gender & has many gay friends. She thought that working at a school that encouraged individual education would be rewarding if not extremely well paid.

      •  advice can be good (0+ / 0-)

        but it would be even better if you gave people some reason for why they should trust yours.

        "There are way too many Westerners who know Japanese" sounds like misinformation to me.  there are in fact extremely few westerners who know japanese well, because it is a difficult language to learn.  i don't even speak it well yet, and i consistently get requests to translate.  friends of mine are now in india teaching japanese (and german) because businesses from those countries are branching out into india.  real competition doesn't come from other westerners, but from japanese who speak excellent english.

        but in fact the very industry you mention lists japanese as one of the languages in demand:

        careers in national defense

        and the DLIFLC (defense language institute foreign language center) teaches japanese.

        the other languages you mention are also excellent choices, but i see no reason to count japanese out.  in fact once you go outside of the defense industry, different criteria apply, and japanese becomes rather more useful than pashto, farsi, dari.

        regarding foreign languages in general, there are often local opportunities in areas with significant immigrant populations -- with local businesses, with law enforcement -- and the languages that matter are those of the immigrants.

        •  ok my bad (0+ / 0-)

          i shouldnt have been so dismissive of Japanese. My point wasnt to say that Japanese isnt in demand, but that with emerging as the new business hotspot, taking the time to learn Mandarin may be more time worthy than Japanese, since both are not easy languages to learn, especially for someone with exposure to Asian languages. I graduated in 2000, and my college was big on languages (had all sorts of language depts) and I remember the Japanese classes were almost all the time consistently full, but the Mandarin classes were hardly ever. My recommendation was that it makes sense to sort of separate oneself from the rest by taking Mandarin since there is obviously demand for Mandarin now and in the future.

          "eeyeah Hi..eeyeah..Id like you to go ahead and support Obama" Bill Lumbergh-Office Space

          by girlyman on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:45:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Don't get a PhD unless (7+ / 0-)

    you're really dying to do the work, and it has some intrinsic value to you.  If you're thinking it is going to get you a "job," don't bother.

    And if you have a PhD, but you are hoping to get a job as a laundry clerk, don't put the PhD on your application unless they actually ask for your "highest level" of education, or something like that.  Just put down information about your background that is relevant for the job.  

    Read Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed for tips on how to get a low paying job with no benefits when you are highly educated.  

    •  That is good advice. (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't go into gradschool because I thought it was what made the most sense pragmatically or financially.  I went into it because this is what I love and I really wanted to study sex and human behavior.  Over the course of my studies, I've learned that my area of focus was the red-headed stepchild of our discipline as a whole and that it would be a rough uphill struggle to get tenure with this sort of a background.  I've also been more drawn to ways that I can make a meaningful difference through applied work rather than by staying in pure academia.

      I say this not to evoke pity, but rather to acknowledge that I went into this with eyes wide open but underinformed.  Lives change.  Gradschool is a learning process.  Seven years is a long time.

      I read Nickle & Dimed earlier this year and found it very interesting.

      •  Sounds like you've got your head (0+ / 0-)

        screwed on straight--and after years of graduate school that is not necessarily a small accomplishment:

        Lives change.  Gradschool is a learning process.  Seven years is a long time.

        Yep, yep, and yep.

        It's all good.

        Best of luck with your job search.  Something will turn up, I'm sure.  But it sucks to be in such a state of uncertainty and worry.

  •  Absolutely (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, cerulean

    I've been told many times that I was, as you say, overqualified for a job I really wanted.  Most of the time, I was not hired.  It is incredibly frustrating to have an interviewer express directly, to your face, their concern that the job you're applying for would not be adequately challenging or interesting for you-- when you are genuinely interested in it-- and be unswayed by any enthusiasm you display.

    It's to the point where friends have advised me-- and they may be right-- to actually underreport my educational background on my resume.  But that feels dishonest to me!

    My own experience is that you certainly can get hired, eventually, as an overqualified applicant in the job pool, but you have to wait for a certain personality or life experience in the interviewer: somebody who has themselves had a non-linear career path or has many diverse interests.  Those people can understand where you're coming from, that having multiple degrees in unrelated fields does not disqualify you from being competent and motivated at a task that basically requires no (or less) higher education.

    (My suspicion is that they may feel an underlying question, too, about whether there is something wrong with you that makes you unemployable in the jobs you're apparently qualified for.)

    Congratulations on your 14 hours-- it's a start.  And sometimes that mood boost that comes with making some kind of start helps you to quickly find the rest of what you need.  I know, after 5 months of job-searching and 3 of unemployment last spring, I was finally hired by the Obama campaign on a half-time stipend, for the final month of the primary, making $550.  Not much, huh?  But it jumpstarted things somehow and I soon afterward found a permanent job and became very busy after several sloooww months!

  •  i'm one of the lucky ones (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DustyMathom, mainefem

    I have a PhD in a science, post-doc'd for 3 years, had an assistant prof position somewhere, and moved for a second assistant prof position (I go up for tenure in 2 years).

    I love what I do, and I could never do anything else.

    IMHO, that is ONLY condition under which anyone should go out and get a PhD (at least for an academic career)

    I have no true "boss", I spend a lot of time doing research that I enjoy and reading and writing, and I do a lot of related travel.

    BUT it was really hard to get my mid-level quasi-mediocre position, the pay sucks, and if I'm not a "shining star" when I go up for tenure, I get the boot and have to find another job.

    If anyone doesn't realize how hard it is to get a job in academics, just spend a little time here:

  •  In many ways higher education is snake oil (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, Brooke In Seattle, bria

    It's sold as a cure all for job ailments but it often fails to help and, as you point out, can hurt.  The bottom line, IMO, is that colleges are businesses and lauding them as the route to upward mobility is marketing.

    "A man does what he must-in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures-and that is the basis of all human morality." --JFK

    by myra on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:27:04 PM PST

  •  LIE!!!!! Care about THEM as much as they'll care (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Essephreak, annominous

    about you.


    I'm 48, I've been watching the news since ... John Dean in 1973??? before?

    I remember the RUST BELT layoffs in the 70's - that is when it got the name 'rust belt' !!

    My hometown of Holyoke, MA. had double digit unemployment and little little little opportunity for families on welfare, and I remember watching the idiot box and seeing boob and boobette sniffling and wailing about getting laid off and now they'd ahve to sell their boat and and ... wtf.

    when I was 15 THIRTY THREE years ago I knew employers didn't give a fuck about you

    unless you were related to the owner,

    so ...


    you don't say what your doctorate is in ---

    it is either something marketable, or it isn't.

    if it is marketable, then they're right, you're gonna blow town to the right gig, otherwise why did you invest all that time? (cuz you're stupid? clueless? get a doctorate in microbiology and manage a subway for 15 bucks an hour? HELLO?)

    if it is somethign you did to do, and it isn't marketable, DO NOT TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT.

    Few people understand spending 4 or 12 or whatever years getting a philosophy doctorate when there are 3 freaking university philosophy jobs a decade, so WHY rattle their cages?

    put your undergrad degree, then 4 or 8 years travelling ...

    (don't tell them travelling the libraries of Doctorate U!)

    good luck.

    care about them as much as they'll care about you



    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:27:20 PM PST

  •  Unemployed Ph.D. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, Nulwee

    Maybe I will write grant proposals.  Who knows?

    "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

    by Cassiodorus on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:27:53 PM PST

  •  this situation bria (4+ / 0-)

    is not unusual whatsoever.  I have sat on the other side of the table interviewing engineers, hundreds of them.  There were a number of fresh grads with MS degrees in engineering who had simply moved to different cities and stayed with friends to have a shot at getting interviews with local companies.  A friend of mine whom we had hired had a Phd in engineering said he made more money in the mid 90's with just a masters.

    Another friends son had a perfect GPA in engineering, couldn't find a job and went to get his Masters and got something after getting the degree.

    This entire situation has been prevalent for the past 8 years.  The economy has been in shambles for a long time and is getting worse.  Only the people who have had a job the entire duration of the bush economy, are wealthy or don't need a job that badly, have not experienced a layoff, or has super specialized skills that are still in demand (doctors, nurses, soldiers) think the economy has been good.

    Like the dot com implosion, we will probably see job losses everywhere but 'magically' these employers will be staffing up in foreign countries.  GM opened $300 million plant in Russia and yet will get some 'bailout' which is, in effect, government subsidies to outsourcing of jobs.

    After 8 years of darkness, a great nation chose to reapply power to the beacon of light America stands for.

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:35:00 PM PST

  •  "Interdisciplinarity" - what a word! nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, bria
  •  Hang in there (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, cerulean, dkosdan, annominous

    When I was finishing my Ph.D. during the Reagan Depression which had more than 10% unemployment, I resorted to stapling American Express posters and to post their sign-up cards around the Univ. of VA.  I went to WOOLCo, the now defunct Woolworth, and asked to work in the cameras and watches department.  Instead, they wanted to send me to Albany, NY to be in their management trainee program.  Finally, I found a summer job teaching 10th grade English to all the 10th graders who had flunked English that year in Charlottesville.  Our classes ran from 7am to 1pm for a total of 200 hours. Very difficult job.

    Then by luck, my wife and I got free housing as resident managers (spare keys and inspections) at the Univ. of Virginia.  We did that for two years.  We had food stamps for a while.  Strangely, I had enough for the University and fees, then the free housing, but nothing much left over for food except food stamps.  We gave up the pick-up truck and the insurance.  When I did that, we had plenty for food.  I volunteered for psych experiments so I could take my wife to the movies with the $8 I was paid.  Mostly, our entertainment was hiking with the children, taking walks, jogging, and calling on friends and going to Univ. events that were free.

    Don't worry about not getting hired because you're overeducated but not getting anywhere.  Simplify and take pleasure in your friends, your children (if any) and your spouse (if you're married).  Believe me all of this will pass.  

    The hiring situation at my university is now bleak, but this looming Depression, called Bush's Last Folly, will turn itself around.   Probably half the graduate students in your field will eventually drop out and reduce the competition.  The universities will have to get accredited and hire research faculty.  Be ready.

    Keep checking the Chronicle.

  •  bria- great diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, bria

    tipped and rec'd.

    •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm a bit gobsmacked that it was so well-received.  I was hesitant about posting because I was worried that people would find me either frivolous or "entitled" for writing about the quandary of feeling overeducated.  I hope it has been helpful for some other people--I really appreciate all of the great advice that I have gotten.

  •  You should never embark on a Ph.D.... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, mainefem, leolabeth, Nulwee, dkosdan, iBlue

    for financial reasons.  Even if you're subject is very marketable and you write a great dissertation that gets published, you'll still be competing against a hundred other people for the same job.

    Universities still produce far more Ph.Ds than can be re-integrated into the work force.

    If you really want to teach, you should not have trouble getting adjunct jobs here and there. And, if you can always get a job teaching in one of the myriad of technical and community colleges.  It's a dead-end career move, but you'll always have employment.

    Do something...anything.

    by David Kroning on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:01:05 PM PST

    •  picking up the bicycle again (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For the dead-end career move, working for any amount of time below one's capacity, is the bane of being underemployed. That would be like being convinced that picking up a bicycle again ought never be attempted.

  •  Your three reasons are the same. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    A poor fit is a high flight risk, which is a high cost. I've read that the implicit training expense of what I'll call the hire-to-profit time -- how long it takes before someone is good enough to be worth the price -- runs to the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, depending on learning curve and pay scale. More than I would've guessed.

    I want to live in a civilization.

    by SciVo on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:13:43 PM PST

  •  I agree with a previous post -- age! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    I am overqualified or underqualified for everything because I have been a screwnwriter of some note.  I just don't know what to do, really -- I hope you find an answer and, if you do, drop me a line.  Best wishes during the holiday season.  

    I'm my father's daughter.

    by Mig on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:45:11 PM PST

  •  Academia may be part of your problem... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    One bone we should be picking is that many senior faculty use Master's and Ph.D. students as labor for the faculty member's research program. Many are quite aware that they are training students for which there are no jobs, but they feel their own survival is at stake: they have to keep getting grants to crank out research in order to get more grants in order to crank out more research. Administrators add to the problem by making a faculty member's evaluation contingent upon getting big grants. So faculty keep cranking out graduates in --say--evolutionary anthropology, and leave they to their fate.  I've even heard this justified as Darwinian selection for the best of the best.
    I don't know if this applies to Bria's situation but it's true for many others.

  •  comment 272 or 3 or 4... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, mainefem, dkosdan

    ...honestly, I'd look to presentation and where you are looking.  Fact is, small and medium business folks hire smart people, like hiring smart people, because they can be given lots of different kinds of tasks and they deliver.   You actually have that in your favor, and have to do something else -- like indicate you aren't going to be adaptable, or deal with the scut work parts, or just are too different culturally -- to obviate that advantage.

    Some of it is the field of course.  To spite 8 years of school, I have no degree, but commonly work on team with EEs (mostly).  I've been doing it all my life.  Any smart person with the requisite experience has a shot, but if they don't have the experience, they need to show they can be useful while they get it...

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:09:54 PM PST

  •  I was just thinking about this yesterday.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    ...and I think you're absolutely right. I'm finishing up an MA and will probably go for my PhD in the next year or two. I wanted that time to get a job (and some $$$), maybe get my name out there with a few conference papers or journal articles, etc, before going on, but it's so hard to find something for many of the reasons you've mentioned.  

    I've also run into the problem of job-specific experience. As in, I'm qualified to a T in every respect except that dodgy
    "2-3 yrs experience required/preferred" business. These aren't high-up jobs I'm talking about at all, and there doesn't seem to be any steps down the ladder in which one might get said experience. Except those that I'm apparently overqualified for! Ahh! So...what to do?

  •  It's not just because you're gonna have a PhD (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    I ran into the SAME problems when I graduated from undergrad in '05, and it was bad because I knew at that point that I was going to be going to law school. I was "overqualified" to do something like be a secretary, but I was "underqualified" for a salaried job. It was a really frustrating process. I did eventually get a temp job through an agency that lasted maybe 9 months. I'm not looking forward to finding a job when I (hopefully) graduate in May.

  •  PhDs are dangerous (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    I'm graduating from undergrad this year, and I'm nervous for my friends pursuing PhDs. It's such a huge commitment with such narrow prospects that you can do nothing wrong and wind up in a position like the one you described with ease... best of luck!

    Politics, once in the blood, can only ever be removed by embalming fluid

    by coelomate on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:41:44 PM PST

  •  Bria, thank you for this diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, cerulean, dkosdan, bria

    I have been having a terrible time finding a job. I closed my business this month so that I could return to traditional work. (Our economy ate my fledgling business alive).

    I have been passed over so many times that I was beginning to lose heart.

    The comments here have reminded me that these economic times won't last forever. I will be employed again.

    Best of luck to you. =)

    President Obama, I am proud to call you my leader and my example.

    by Stella 4 Obama on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:43:20 PM PST

  •  My husband was laid off 4 years ago m. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    He was a vp and 57 years old.  Corporate takeover and all that entails.  It was very hard for him to even get an interview because every employer just assumed he was only applying for a stop gap job.  Hello.... He wanted any job he could get!!!

    He finally landed an engineering job through a friend and has worked his way up, again.  The pay is considerably less than he made but at least there are benefits.  But, what he is doing now is entry level cad, basically.  His brilliant mind is being squandered in the interest of getting the drawing out quickly.

    We are doing better than most and we are thankful for that.  I'm a cashier for the local school lunch program and my husband's job is quite secure, he is the only facilities engineer they have.  As a former state worker, I have an excellent retirement plan which is continued at my former tier in my current job.  

    I am so worried about our children and their future.  My NYS tier 3 benes aren't even a twinkle in their eyes.  THey will have to work until they day they die.

    What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart ` M Ward Chinese Translation

    by sylvien on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 08:02:50 PM PST

  •  Take ANY Job!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sylvien, dkosdan, moira, Cleopatra

    Get over your PhD for now and get a grip on the reality we are all facing--there are NO jobs that will pay you to support you. But there are jobs that will keep food on your table and maybe pay a utility bill. Be willing to substitute teach or drive a delivery van until this passes..which it will. You are wasting time sending out applications. America is losing jobs at the rate of a half million a month. Reich says we may already be in a depression. Go wait tables, work at it now!

    "Damn it, baby, you've got to be kind"__Kurt Vonnegut

    by Texasblue on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 08:04:06 PM PST

  •  specify relevant education only! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 08:14:07 PM PST

  •  Advice I've received (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DustyMathom, mainefem, dkosdan, 1world, bria

    I am finishing a PhD this spring and have thus been attending a lot of the career development and job searching programming from my university's career services office.  One of the more useful seminars I've attended was given by Peter Fiske on how science PhDs can market themselves to jobs outside of academia.  He has also written a book on the subject called "Putting your Science to Work" and writes on the careers section from the journal Science (  His advice isn't really that science specific and he uses examples of people with PhDs in all fields.  He talks a lot about emphasizing transferable skills and personal skills of a person who completes a PhD (problem solving/ability to function in different environments or roles/ability to critically evaluate/ability to multi-task etc.) which it sounds like you are already doing as well as specifically dispelling myths that non-academics have about academics (no idea about money, impractical about time, bad with deadlines, socially passive, only able to work alone, is mostly interested in ideals and not reality).  His answer to the "overqualified" question was to tell the interviewer that yes, you are highly qualified, but those qualifications mean that you will get up to speed quicker and will require less training than someone without your qualifications.  Giving specific examples of things you will need help on (that you might not have learned in grad school but would have learned with other job experience) as opposed to things you would be able to do well quickly is helpful because it shows that you are interested in the position and that you aren't going to be arrogant about your qualifications.  

  •  I'm not overeducated, on paper (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan
    anyway. But consistently, over decades, I hear "You're under-employed...." from co-workers, from bosses, from the folks at the state employment office.
    It's just a fact of life for me. I'm sure I'll die, fucking under-employed, and under-paid. With no bennies.
  •  You might try... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    ...looking for a lower level job that has the potential for for advancement down the road. That might be more credible to the hiring managers.

    If you are a woman or a minority, there may be some liability concerns, in the form of "why are you paying a woman/minority with a PhD so much less than a white guy with a BA?" If so, not much you can do about it, just offering it as another potential explanation.

    •  Female, not minority. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mainefem, dkosdan

      My CV isn't shabby and I have worked ever since I was 15.  I didn't really start having good career-building jobs until gradschool and spend the first 5 years there teaching (and teaching and teaching and tutoring too).  I had always thought that employers would see college-level teaching as great employment experience:  it's challenging, managerial, and incorporates a vast array of skills.  No matter how positively I spin it, it hasn't played out that way in my job searches either 2 years ago or now.

      I've applied for a wide range of jobs in terms of the skill level required over the course of the past 8 months.  The ones that tend to give me the interviews are closer to the top of the range for which I've applied, either M.A. required or B.A. required but M.A. preferred.  I haven't had any luck with the ones that request a PhD (given that I'm ABD but not a formal PhD yet) and have had poor luck with ones that "only" require a B.A. (or less).

  •  Is it worth it? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan

    I'm applying for a PhD program soon; it is also interdisciplinary. After reading your post and the comments, I'm a bit nervous about making the right choice. But I really do like being in school and learning. I hope by the time I finish, the job situation will look better. If not, you'll probably see me posting a similar diary in a few years.

    I do like the comment that faculty should make some effort to place their students. Business schools are pretty good at this.

    Good luck with your job search. I have a friend who is applying for a PhD position (she just finished her MA) in anthropology.

    •  It depends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      on the area, what you intend to accomplish, and how committed you are. There are other considerations, too, but let's start with these.

      Will there be jobs in your area of interest and will a PhD be an advantage? What do you need to accomplish or what path does your career have to take to make you happy? Are you willing to give up a lot of your social life and family life to further your career?

      •  thanks for the comments (0+ / 0-)

        You pointed out some very pragmatic concerns. Yes, a PhD will advance my career goals but it also comes at some considerable family sacrifice. Not easy things to weigh in today's environment.

        It's interesting how faculty still appear so oblivious to "real life" issues. I have had many of my profs say to me "Just do what you really want. An education is always worth it. Don't worry about jobs." But how much education? (as much as I like learning, even I question that) It's difficult to have an open and honest discussion about what my career choices will be and what is realistically expected of me in a PhD program. For myself, I do worry about job prospects related to my PhD. I could probably get a job but it may not be related directly to my degree.

    •  This part is on your shoulders... (0+ / 0-)

      I do like the comment that faculty should make some effort to place their students.

      Matching student to faculty is a joint decision.  If you don't carefully research your thesis advisor's track record in placing former students at the start of the process when you choose who you will work for, then don't cry crocodile tears at the end when they don't lift a finger to help you find a job.

      •  finding an advisor (0+ / 0-)

        It isn't easy finding out a professor's track record in placing students. How do you know it isn't the student who landed the position? Seems like professors do not give out that info readily anyway.

        •  This is what departmental secretaries are for. (0+ / 0-)

          The secretaries know where everyone ended up (and where the bodies are buried).  And for a large enough sample size, it doesn't matter who did the heavy-lifting, the advisor or the student.  The simple metric is "good profs have students who get good jobs, bad profs have students who get back jobs (or none at all)."

  •  I always say that I am the most (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, cerulean, dkosdan

    qualified unemployed (or under-employed) person I know.  I have run into this problem my whole life.  I work in the theater, belong to (and pay dues for) three professional unions, although I have been a high school teacher, college adjunct, and ran my own business for a decade, among other things.  I have a masters degree in English/Theater, and right now am jobbed out sewing costumes and working as a dresser backstage, paid by the hour--in a job that ends December 18th.  I think you need enough education to be taken seriously, but not so much that they are afraid you'll leave if you find something better.  It's a hard time for employment for anyone right now.  Keep plugging; you sound very employable.

    Isn't Bush gone yet?

    by SottoVoce on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 09:23:20 PM PST

  •  bigger picture (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ready2fight, mainefem, dkosdan

    Bria, unfortunately, what you're describing is not new. It's no coincidence that average salaries rise through the M.A. degree, and then drop off for the Ph.D. This is largely a result of universities flooding the market with Ph.D.'s, whom they exploit as low cost teachers to undergraduates (allowing their doctoral faculty to avoid dealing with them), and cast off into a "job market" that is not even close to being capable absorbing the annual increase in labor pool.

    I'm very lucky to have a job, having weasled my way into a tenure-track (now tenured) position at a decent, but poorly paying university in the mid-west. But for years I tried to move to another institution and wasn't able to. And had I not landed an adjunct teaching position, shown them what I can do in the classroom, and handled the political climate of the department well, I have no idea what would have become of me and my seven years of graduate school and doctoral degree (even from a top-tier school, the University of Chicago, I have more friends who gave up finding work in academics than I have friends who succeeded in doing so). Of course, the problem varies from field to field. Ph.D.'s in humanities struggle most, while if you've got a Ph.D. in finance, you're golden. Anthro is somewhere in between, and fortunately you have more options than someone with a Ph.D. in literary theory or religious studies (my degree)

    Your research sounds interesting, Bria, and if it's something you really love to do, then give it time. But know that the dilemma you face is not just a result of recent hard times in the economy (though hiring freezes are common across colleges and universities now). Instead, it's part of a much broader trend that began, in earnest, about twenty years ago and hasn't abated.

  •  Stay creative, and do not undervalue yourself. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mainefem, dkosdan, alyssa chaos

    It is ridiculous for anyone to suggest, as some have here even with all good intention, that obtaining a PhD is somehow a bad thing. At the end of the day, a highly educated workforce is still the drivetrain of any economy and the vanguard of any society, whether people recognize it or not.

    Unfortunately, social science and humanities doctoral programs in the US are so dangerously designed they hurt most people who go through them. They take forever to finish, often running into six or even seven years at times, during which period the candidates are mostly trained for higher education teaching and gradually but firmly degraded for any opportunities outside academia. Needless to say, the academic jobs that they're implicitly trained for do not exist, and by the time they struggle through six or seven years of doctoral work, they're already in their early thirties and almost too old for many entry level positions. This is why, as a humanities professor, I always advise my students to go to England for their PhD. Over there, they're done in thirty-six months if they're serious (that's how long I took to obtain mine) while in many cases still in their late twenties and still confident enough to try anything and any job. They also end up with less student loan burden.

    Having said all that, I think that doctoral graduates in the social sciences and humanities like yourself have no choice but to be far more creative with their job ventures than others because nothing will be handed to them on a plate. Yet it is important that you do not undervalue yourself. When you step into the job market with low self-esteem or profound skepticism regarding your chances, it comes across and employers are even more hesitant to take you on. On one hand many doubt that you'll stay if they think you're overqualified. On the other, they worry about a candidate who is willing to undersell him/herself. Less educated prospective hirers worry they might get overshadowed and sidestepped, so, applying to positions that make you subordinate to them is usually problematic and often fruitless.

    With your specialization, if you have a high enough self-esteem and sufficient confidence in your grasp of things, there is no reason not to look into even areas such as entertainment where you could command remuneration twice as high as an entry level social science professor. Today there are numerous programs springing up on television around survival in so-called "primitive" societies. These rather silly but hugely popular programs offer opportunies for production staff such as consultants with qualifications in anthropology and sociology. There are movie and television adaptations of highly popular books like the Harry Potter series, where, again, people with social science qualifications have opportunites.

    While you search for a job you could look into writing a mass market book on similarities between animal and human sexual behavior. A successful pop-anthro book like that propels you into the limelight and puts you in demand even if your former professors scoff at it. You could start a blog on such a subject and use that to enhance your visibility and job opportunities as an expert or consultant. Depending on your writing skills, you might get a column in a newspaper or some other form of media.

    There are opportunities in the secret service especially if your research has an area or regional specificity to it. There could be opportunities in conservation. You could look abroad, too. And so on and so forth.

    You have to be bold and creative in your thinking about opportunities for someone with your qualification and expertise, unless of course all you want is the quickest, closest paying job where you're easily lost in the office furniture. Many of my students are conditioned by upbringing to aim no higher, but if you took the time to go through a PhD, I know not to see you in same light.

    I did go through a couple of years when I interviewed for several jobs where I either knew or was told outright that I was overqualified, and of course, I was unsuccessful in securing those jobs. Then I made a firm decision to not demean myself any further, and rather than seek positions beneath my qualification and experience, I said enough, set a benchmark for what I wanted and felt that I deserved, and soon enough, I got it and on mostly my own terms.

    I know that when you're without a paid job you can't sit around pretending to call the shots, but I find, also, that spending more time carefully strategizing about your job ventures instead of applying to every job vacancy that you come across almost always pays a better dividend. If you must look within a job bracket, then, identifying fewer jobs that you really want, spending extra time to research and prepare for them with laser-sharp focus and determination, often works better. Prospective employers find your ease and confidence, as well as the fact that you are very knowledgable and well prepared, quite appealing.

    Trying to undersell yourself, on the other hand, often yields the opposite result.

    The psychology of the dispossessed can be truly frightening
    - Chinua Achebe

    by 174winchell on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 10:30:29 PM PST

  •  being over-experienced is a huge cost as well... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not sure if others have mentioned that, but i have two highly qualified parents with 30 years experience in their respective industries and both are in years-long struggles to find a job.

    one is a computer-tech
    the other is a human resource manager

    most companies would rather hire someone with less experience, in hopes that they will slave away a bit more contently for a bit less money just to establish themselves...

    "...and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring..."

    by another cascadian on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 11:27:31 PM PST

  •  I would be very cautious... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When I first moved to nyc and had zero contacts, I had the same issue when I was applying to various jobs here. Employers couldn't understand why someone with a higher degree would want "this position" but I was broke, desperate and needed to get my foot into any door. After what seemed like a million interviews, I finally managed to convince my current employer (now 3 years) that I am not a flight risk. However, on the other hand, and this is very important, I feel that I have been exploited and pigeon holed in a position that I am overqualified for. As I've tried to transition to a better position over the past year, prospective employers just don't understand what my situation was at the time and hold it against me for working at a "lower level of experience" as if I screwed up somewhere along the way. I almost wish that I had waited for the right position to come along as it would have benefitted me more in the long run.

    "There are some things I don't understand. I don't understand how we ended up invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11." - Next POTUS Obama

    by Cleopatra on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 11:46:00 PM PST

  •  I realized what was happening 2 years ago and (0+ / 0-)

    decided to retool my skill set.  I have degrees in intl economics and accounting.  I went and got my Respiratory associate and make more money than I did with my 2 degrees.  

    I am getting my nursing degree and will work on my Nurse Practioner degree.  

    Then I am out of the country if Obama hasnt pulled things together by that point.

    Anyone in major problems, retool your skills get into healthcare.  No matter the sacrifice.  It will save your bacon.  By the time I am finished I can go anywhere in the globe and not worry.

  •  Welcome to the Crowd (0+ / 0-)

    I am a PHD. I've been looking for a job for a year and a half. I gave up in January. I have job driving truck but am able to write in my off time. After while you get use to it. I know of many others.

  •  Postdoc (0+ / 0-)

    I am now in my 2nd Postdoc research position.  I do not want to be faculty (teaching AND writing grants) so that leaves me industry or other (semi)permanent research associate/lab manager positions.

    The pay as a postdoc is not great but it isn't bad either...and here's the thing:  I currently am working in a physics lab (as a molecular biologist) on a collaboration with industry - a biotech startup.  The outcome of my particular research may be a bust but unlike my colleagues at the biotech startup, I have a guaranteed job until at least the middle of next year because I am on an NIH grant.  See, and this is what makes me nervous and hesitant to take up an industry position, the biotech startup I work with just had to suddenly lay off ~30% of its workforce.  All of them highly qualified technical experts, several PhDs among them.  The financial/banking collapse is what did it.  There was a venture capital firm in Ireland ready to sign a deal with the biotech worth millions of dollars, but then the financial system collapsed and all the money the venture firm had to spend went POOF!  Suddenly, the biotech startup didn't have the anticipated (the deal was otherwise assured) funding it expected to cover a bunch of employees so they had to go.  They all learned their fate late in the morning on a Friday a month ago.  They came to work with a job and left at the end of the day with no job.

    THIS makes me nervous about leaving academic research.  Government grants via Primary Investigators (university professors, usually) are their own kind of suck but once the grant is awarded, it is guaranteed.  Next year at this time I may be fishing around for new research work or I may be continuing my current work.  Fortunately, I don't have to sweat it yet.

    I don't know about your PhD area but if there are postdocs available for your area, consider taking it.

    Reichstag fire is to Hitler as 9/11 is to Bush

    by praedor on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:15:49 AM PST

  •  Have you looked for postdocs? (0+ / 0-)

    They generally don't pay all that well, but it might be a good way to get some experience before you start looking at at professor level jobs.

    Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by hopeful on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 07:01:46 AM PST

    •  I have. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been primarily applying for outside-of-the-academy jobs right now.  I need a paycheck and health insurance now.  I won't be done with the PhD for at least another 6 months.

      •  Please (0+ / 0-)

        email me. I have a Ph.D in epidemiology and have done an extensive job search. Fields are not the same, but I might be able to give you some pointers.

        lynnddisney at yahoo dot com

        Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        by hopeful on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 04:14:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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