“Ph.D.”-The Scarlet Letters in the Job Marketplace

I have finally accepted the futility of seeking a tenure track position. I have decided to quit adjunction and focus my efforts on finding other types of employment. However, these efforts have also proven to be futile. Out of the fifty applications for the non-academic positions that I sent out the past few months, I’ve only been called for three interviews. None of these interviews have resulted in a job offer.

I am overqualified for most of the jobs that I’ve applied for, so one would think that employers would jump at the chance of having me on their team. But sadly, that is not the case. Employers don’t want to hire someone who is overqualified because they would have to pay them more. They also don’t trust that overqualified individuals would work at their institutions for the long haulI–and they’re right. Additionally, employers don’t want to hire employees who are more qualified and skilled than they are, because if they are at all insecure in their own position, this would be highly threatening to them.

The economy is definitely a culprit. However, one would think that in a bad economy being over-qualified makes you more competitive. Ageism is also at play as I am in my late 30’s.

Some of you, dear readers, might think that I’m not interviewing well enough or I’m doing something wrong. I assure you that I have analyzed my interviews to death and have perfected my skills. I don’t like to brag but I’m a great interviewer and an exceptionally socially apt person, for someone with a Ph.D., so I know that it’s not my personality getting in the way. Perhaps I need to undersell myself…

No matter what the different reasons are for each application or interview not resulting in a job offer,  I feel that they all lead back to the three letters after my name. “Ph.D.” are the scarlet letters that I am unable to shake off, that keep me at the margins of decent employment.


4 thoughts on ““Ph.D.”-The Scarlet Letters in the Job Marketplace

  1. Richard Cronk says:

    Ph.D.s all think they are very smart and well educated. Most are useless in any setting and always because the “others” are “dumbed down”. Not hardly. To emerge from adolescence somewhere in your 30s or 40s and decide to join the adult world is really a late start. Those of us who have been adults since our mid-20s find most of you slow, out -of-touch and always more impressed with your credentials than real people. Most grad students sequestered in extended adolescence in a school do not have very good social skills for the real world, only the classroom and the glorious leader’s office. The facts are that they have not ever DONE anything except play school and the workers of the world don’t have time for all the egos and wannabes.

    If you accept that it “sucks to be smart in a dumbed-down world” than you are not as smart as you think. Try Decartes opening paragraph of “Meditations of Method”.

    • First of all, Mr. Cronk or Junk or whatever you want to call yourself, proofread your posts and make sure that your sentences make sense to your readers. What does “Most are useless in any setting and always because the ‘others’ are ‘dumbed down’. Not hardly” mean? You obviously have some anger about some schooling experience and when you saw my blog, you perhaps thought to yourself that this was your big chance to stick it to the “man!” Well, bravo!
      Let me tell you that I’ve been an adult since I was 16 years old. I have been working full time throughout my life and supporting myself. I didn’t have mommy or daddy paying for my college tuition and living expenses like yours probably did–and apparently, their money was flushed down the toilet. I don’t want to dignify your comments by listing all of my life accomplishments on top of my academic ones. I assure you, I have plenty of skills for the real world.
      However, let us for a moment turn the gaze on you. It seems that your pent-up anger towards academics is because you’re not one of them. On the one hand you are telling us that we’re useless and dumb and on the other hand you’re trying to play with us, “the big kids,” by throwing around Descartes’ name (which you misspelled). I think that’s adorable! Well, have a nice life and remember that vomiting on someone else’s blog will only backfire. And yes, it does suck to be smart in a dumb world because we have to educate idiots like you.

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