What The Hell Am I Doing Here?

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It happen again. Get a call for a job interview. Its a small company so no resume reader that spit my resume out for an interview. Its kind of a schlep to the interview, about 25 miles. So I get up early. Put the suit and tie on with a nice bright red tie and gold tie bar. Ready for questions, inquiry and a good discussion.

 

I get to the company the prerequisite ten minutes before the interview. First the Director of HR sees me. I see that her copy of my resume has some of my skills and experience highlighted yellow. Good I think, someone really did go through my resume. She asks some basic questions but doesn’t seem to know much about the actual position.

 

She asked do I have time to see the department manager, yes. The department manager comes in and asks about my background. Within 10 minutes she tells me you have great experience but way to overqualified for the job. I would get bored. Well since this is a small company could the role be expanded? Don’t think so.

 

So I am thinking what the hell am I doing here. Did you not read my resume? Extensive experience and an MBA, right there on the resume which is highlighted in yellow. Yet you say this is more of a lower level position.

 

Do you think I have nothing better to do than put on a suit and tie, drive 25 miles to be told I’m overqualified? Or maybe the real story here is age discrimination masked by “overqualified.”

 

Either way don’t you know how to read a resume? And by the way, your posting was very general and vague and seemed like you were searching for a person with considerable experience. The posting said the need to travel both domestically and Internationally and ability to interact with clients yet you tell me the position is nothing more than following up for data and entering that data. 

 

Sadly this is the rule not the exception, particularly if you are older. Going on interview after interview and being told you are overqualified even though your resume illustrates your skill level to anyone that actually might take 3 minutes and read it. And we wonder why the United States is faltering?

 
 

Comments

Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 5:55pm
Start at the bottom and work you way up.  
 
Og Mandino did it.  He was far lower than you are or were.
 
Pride is fatal.
 
If we do more work than we are paid to do, we eventually are paid more for the work we do.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 16, 2017 - 6:15pm
Overqualified = We don't like to pay you so much, we'd like a rookie we can exploit and who doesn't know what's happening.
 
Last time I was on a job interview was in 2001. And I said never again. Better live on the existence limit than putting my head down for any creep who thinks he's above me. And believe me - my years in Africa taught me how to live VERY modestly.
 
We all should learn that again.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 16, 2017 - 6:17pm
BTW: I couldn't even start working as an employee again. I'm 59 soon, and my boss would be maybe 30-40, who knows, lacking life experience and all. How could I even respect him as my boss ? Impossible. Sorry. No deal :-)
George N Romey Added Feb 16, 2017 - 6:29pm
SEF actually when I was 32 I had 450 people working under me and about 15 managers.   Most of the managers were older but it was never a problem. I respected and learned from their wisdom. Most bosses want to be tyrants or assholes and that is why they can't learn from subordinates.  They are afraid to be seen lacking.
Janie Smith Added Feb 16, 2017 - 6:30pm
Sometimes overqualified means they don't want to pay as much. Sometimes it means, we liked your experience but we don't really like you so we are going to stroke your ego a little to see if we can just get you to go away...
 
But sometimes it really does mean overqualified.  Hiring someone who is overqualified is risky because the first opportunity that comes around that is either more challenging or pays better could cause them to have to look for another new employee.  Very, very rarely will an employer hire someone when they know that they are over qualified. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 16, 2017 - 6:31pm
Oh....ok !
George N Romey Added Feb 16, 2017 - 6:48pm
Janie my bitch then why call me in for an interview.  My resume was highlighted with a yellow highlighter. Somebody must have read it.  Also why was the job description on LI so different than what I was told.  Although I can't prove it I'm 100% sure its age discrimination.  If you are over 50 this is the reality of what you face.  I've seen it with people with great experience and Ivy League degrees. 
 
BTW, there are no better opportunities. If there was we wouldn't be sending resumes in for these kinds of positions anyway. 
Janie Smith Added Feb 16, 2017 - 6:56pm
George, age discrimination happens all the time, and that is also a very plausible explanation for your experience. 
 
But there are employers out there that still have respect for maturity, just not so much in technology. 
George N Romey Added Feb 16, 2017 - 7:09pm
Janie if they are out there I have not found them (and I'm not in tech) and neither has any of the people I've been working on a project with. I have a friend that is 60, MBA and years of experience first in media and then in education with Harvard.  Yet she goes through exactly what I have.  Same for a friend of mine with 20 years at the World Bank, an MBA from Harvard and an MBA from Hopkins.
 
Spend sometime doing research online.  People my age with my level of experience and education are regularly discussing suicide as their only option.  It's truly depressing and mind boggling that we have people killing themselves because their skills and education now means zilch. 
Bill H. Added Feb 16, 2017 - 10:03pm
 
There are certainly a lot of companies out there that respect maturity and would love to hire them but:
1. They normally won't work for the pay rate that many companies have established to hire kids fresh out of college.
2. The company's medical insurance provider discourages the hiring of mature workers and will charge a large premium to the company to those that they do hire who are "advanced in age".
3. Many of today's narrow-minded CEO's and bosses are no longer open to suggestions or criticism from someone who they feel may be more experienced than they are.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 17, 2017 - 12:00am
Get your ass out of that decaying shithole move to Asia and create a life for yourself. DUHmerica is dead. Put your Andy of Mayberry fantasies behind you make some money and enjoy what little time you have left. 
 
I'll show you where you can rent a nice clean NEW apartment with swimming pool and gym for $140 a month and introduce you to a firm that doesn't care anything more than can you bring new business through the door. 
 
If you're half as good as you claim you are it won't take long before you are running the entire Bangkok operation. 
Minister Peaceful Poet Added Feb 17, 2017 - 4:14am
Probably was your age.   I know this would be far from what you have done before.  If you have to, you can be a truck driver.  There's a shortage and they'll hire anyone, provide training.  It's what I did for 4 years after I got out of the Navy and couldn't find a descent job. Pay is good.  Somehow I went from there to computer tech support - don't know how that happened.  Sorry to hear it.  That's got to be the toughest thing, you feel worthless even though you know your not.  Hang in there, Maybe Trump will get you a job. 
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 17, 2017 - 7:33am
Well, George, the problem may be problems. I’m sure you’ve seen the people in organizations who are just plagued with problems. Problems, problems problems. While you, with your experience and education, could solve those problems, then they wouldn’t have any. See where I’m coming from? They don’t really want anyone to come in and solve problems, because, well, without problems, it appears that some people aren’t really necessary. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen leaders of organizations that didn’t see the need for people because everything was just running all smooth and such, so, they asked, why are we paying these people? Pretty soon a lot of people were gone and the execs took a big bonus.
To quote from my book: “When you see everything running smoothly, you’re looking at the work of a skilled manager, or a very lucky moron.”  Now, I have spoken with people in organizations who couldn’t tell me what it is they did. If I were the president of the organization, I would give them the rest of the day off to think about what it was they did in the organization, and report to me at the first thing the next morning and tell me what it was that they did, and if they still couldn’t tell me, then, yes, I don’t see any need for this person. From what I can see in today’s job market, the behavior of a lot of managers and people I shouldn’t specifically name, is atrocious, unprofessional, and borderline unethical. Sure, they can’t find anyone, not even you, George; because as long as they can’t find anyone, it appears they’re still addressing that problem. I’m with you George, it doesn’t make sense, and it’s atrocious, unprofessional, and borderline unethical.
Stephen Hunter Added Feb 17, 2017 - 7:34am
So frustrating George, and yes prospective employers do not worry at all about inconveniencing anyone. They would not have called you in for an interview though and waste their time, if there was not something about you they needed to check out. Could be appearance, could be personality, yes could be age but you would think they could figure that out from your educational history. 
Could it simply be they through you out an objection, and were hoping that you could convince them that at this stage in your life you are looking for a role you could slide into retirement with? 
Bill Kamps Added Feb 17, 2017 - 7:45am
George answering ads to get interviews is indeed a very difficult way to find a job for the reasons you say.  Often the people doing the first interviews are not even the hiring manager.  Very few of us, myself included, have spent enough time building a professional network.  It is one of the pieces of advice I routinely give younger people.  One of the few things politicians do that we should emulate is the effort they  make building their network of contacts. 
 
Building a network of personal contacts allows one to possibly meet the hiring manager with a need, or meet a manager who could imagine you helping their department.  The best "interviews" are when you stumble on ( referred to ) that person who has real pain, and you are in position to address that pain. 
 
Fortunately for me, my meager network has allowed me to stay employed even through a massive downturn in our industry. I have been lucky.  Every job I have ever gotten has been through personal contacts, I have never met with an HR person before being hired, have never answered an ad for employment, and to my  knowledge none of the jobs I have gotten have ever been posted in ads as being an opening.
 
It is never too late to start, that is meeting people, and expanding your network.  I presume you are doing it, so raise your goals for the number of new people you meet.   I recently met with an unemployed co-worker and started her off with a list of ten contacts of mine she could meet with.  I told her to have lunch or coffee with each of them, and ask each for a few contacts so she could grow her network, and to come back to me after she met with those ten, if she needed more names.
 
Of course it is also possible that one has to look in other directions.  While I am still working, I have started working part time on some projects that will head me in an entirely different direction, just in case the downturn persists, and the job I have disappears.
 
Good luck !
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 17, 2017 - 7:47am
Jeffry
 
Right. There's so many possibilities in Asia or even Africa, given you have a small sum like 5'000 - 10'000 $ to start with !
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 17, 2017 - 7:55am
Hell, I know a guy that will pay his airfare, pay for his apartment for the first two months and give him enough to eat and drink on every week until commission checks start rolling in. Jakarta ain't the greatest but beats anywhere in DUHmerica. They'll fly him out next week.
Bill Kamps Added Feb 17, 2017 - 8:12am
Stone, true enough.  While navigating in foreign waters can be difficult no reason one should not expand one's horizons beyond the borders of the USA.   No reason to not expand our networks and ideas to less traditional opportunities, and stop thinking of getting a job and start thinking about making money.  Waiting for politicians to fix our economy is not likely to be the best bet.
George N Romey Added Feb 17, 2017 - 9:25am
Jeffrey my email is romey1487@gmail.com if you want to send me more info.  I definitely could take on that kind of challenge.
 
I'm so tired of dealing with myopic leaderless people only worrying how they will be seen by others.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 17, 2017 - 9:41am
I'll get it out to you soon George. We're in the car now on the way back to town. 
George N Romey Added Feb 17, 2017 - 9:50am
Thank you Jeffrey.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 17, 2017 - 12:32pm
Done. Check your inbox.
 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 17, 2017 - 1:08pm
Jeffry / George
 
Good on ya, thanks Jeffry ! That's the spirit we need :-)
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 17, 2017 - 1:18pm
Its no big deal guys. I know some people and can share their details. It will be George that gets the job. :)
 
mark henry smith Added Feb 17, 2017 - 2:14pm
And this is what social media should be about, helping a person find a better path, not merely arguing the same us or them, them's facts or our facts. And I resent people putting down America. We truly are a great nation, a nation of great principles and promise. That we sometimes get diverted off message isn't the fault of America, our underlying sense of purpose, but of the power we've been given. They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. US the dude, for now. Really great. A power of innovation and ambition, despite that scare stories.
 
George, I'm in the same boat, being perceived as too old to start something, but feeling too young to give up. As I told my mother when she wanted to sell her house, never let them sense that you're desperate, even if you are. It puts you in a poor negotiating position, and might make you appear to be someone who can't work with others. We need to have something in place in this country that would allow you to find a job just because you seem so enthusiastic about wanting a job. Jakarta's gain will be our loss.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 17, 2017 - 5:08pm
Marko
 
Right on. Me might need an expert on transport and shipping in our company in Senegal too when all works out well. I'm the only one who speaks English, and I'm not an expert on that.....
George N Romey Added Feb 17, 2017 - 5:13pm
Marko you would think the Internet could be used for real networking. LI is a joke.  Its about getting you $19.99 every frickin month.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 17, 2017 - 5:41pm
George
 
Pop over to my new article ;-)
Mircea Negres Added Feb 18, 2017 - 5:56am
And they wonder why senior citizens are increasingly busted for trying to smuggle drugs... Well, Social Security craps out, Medicaid ain't cutting it no more, you work three jobs just to pay the rent and afford baloney sandwiches, kids got no money to help and then some snot-nosed idiot with a third nostril says you're overqualified. I think one answer is to keep a list of all those who deny you a chance and live long enough to become CEO of a highly successful firm, tell them the same when they come looking for a job from you- then explain why...
George N Romey Added Feb 18, 2017 - 10:37am
Micrea the pay back will be when they turn 50 and are kicked out of a job and suddenly find no one wants them.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Feb 18, 2017 - 12:08pm
After all....think about how earlier human forms worked that out....;-)
 
They didn't live longer the 50, were productive until 40 and were taken care of by their children afterwards.
 
As it is the case in most of so-called underdeveloped countries even now, AS LONG as they don't follow the cruel path of the West where  human being is a mere consumer....

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