Twelve 20-somethings chronicle their lives for WBUR. Learn more.
The circumstances behind my employment are as fortunate as they are depressing. There are some personal details to move through in explanation.
The question, though, is if I feel overqualified for my job. No, I don’t. In college, I majored in political science. I found myself in a position where I realized that, unlike many of my friends who were engineers or in the business school, I was gaining a skill that was altogether different. I was learning to think critically. I just needed to make it marketable.
Fast forward to graduation in 2011, and I was dead in the water. I was about to go home. I had a diploma, but had to move back in with my parents in the countryside — think dial-up internet, dirt roads, no cellphone service, etc. I spent what few dollars I had to get my car fixed, and started taking on minimum wage work. “It’s a job to make money and find a better job,” I told myself as I was getting yelled at by some backwoods dude who thought I controlled the price of cigarettes. “It’s a job to bump my networking prowess so I can find a better job,” I told myself as I sat in the basement of a small business, doing inventory on their computer for hours at a time.
Then, in early September 2011, my father, who had only turned 60 in August, was hospitalized, and in need of a liver transplant. At work, I got a voicemail from him. “Seth, call me. It isn’t looking good.”
We talked. I learned how bad his liver really was. A week went by, then another, the news swung back and forth but all we heard was, “It isn’t looking good.”
Then, on September 17th, the same day that the Occupy Wall Street movement began, and while I was changing a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, I saw there was another voicemail on my phone. My father had passed.
I tried going back to work, but constantly driving back and forth the hundred-plus miles to the hospital a couple times a week had drained what savings I had been able to accrue since graduating. I realized I needed a new job, something that paid at least ten dollars an hour, full time — the sort of thing I could move out of the house on.
In this time, a web developer who had had taken on the small business I was working for as a client had given me some tasks, basically as a social media guy who could do data entry for the site as well. It was semi-menial, and the tasks meant a few more hours per week of work. When the owner of the company asked why I had dropped off the map after the 17th, he learned of my father and sent me a long e-mail.
“We’re both brothers in a sense that our fathers were taken from us at a young age,” he wrote.
When I began looking for a new job, I asked him if I could use him as a reference on my resume. We had been working together in the last month or so professionally.
He offered me a job on the spot. It seemed simple enough. I would be an online marketing specialist, and become a well-rounded social media guru and Google pay-per-click specialist.
In the last year I’ve done quite well with social media, not so well with Google Adwords and pay-per-click advertising. I’m not living paycheck to paycheck anymore, but in the last few months I’ve started to feel like I’m over-qualified for some bits of my job, but the feeling has little or no philosophical weight to it.
Maybe I heard a statistic about people my age changing jobs frequently. Maybe I’m new to being in the real world. Maybe I’m feeling flighty since very nearly one full year ago my father passed away, or it’s a desire to live in a bigger city or to pursue a Master’s degree. I’m not entirely sure.
What matters most to me is that I have opportunity. I’m always trying to improve myself when I can, but I have a job in online marketing, so I telecommute (read: work from home). I have a professional title with a modest salary, but no co-worker experiences. Some days my only interaction with another person is my girlfriend.
Conclusion: I do not feel overqualified, yet. I feel inadequate or that I could be doing more with my life in general, at times, but no, I’m not overqualified. I have a future ahead of me, and while I do feel altogether stuck in a circumstance of working from home and trying to move past the death of my father, I am not overqualified.