So I spent some time looking at job listings the other day. You know what that means? That’s right, it’s time for another rant! This time, let’s talk about feeling underqualified.
Now, I like to think that I have a wide variety of skills. I can write relatively well. I have a “knack” when it comes to basic tech support. I’m a martial artist. I speak French. I can teach. I’ve gone to school, for both foreign language and architecture. I’ve lived in a foreign country. But none of that seems to matter when I’m faced with the “Minimum & Recommended Qualifications” of a job listing.
There’s the basics, of course. 3-5 years for what is ostensibly an entry-level position? I’ve pretty much gotten used to seeing that. What gets me is the ones that are phrased in such a way that my breadth of experience seems woefully lacking in depth. And I guess that could be true, to a point: I’ve done such a variety of things I haven’t really concentrated on one or two skills as deeply as I might have.
But now I’m starting to wonder if I should have.
I mean, come on. I’m almost thirty, and I don’t have anything resembling a stable career. Popular culture tells us that we’re supposed to have it “all figured out” by a certain point, and I’m not sure I’ve met that (admittedly arbitrary) target. Sure, I’ve done a lot of stuff. But how does knowing how to find out the answer help me when a recruiter wants proof of competency via a fancy piece of paper that says “DEGREE” on it?
So what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to keep looking for employment in a system that doesn’t want me because I don’t have the right initials after my name? Or do I somehow magically assemble my eclectic skill set into some sort of unique career that I, as a special snowflake, can create for myself? You know, that thing that no one was taught to do.
I’m not expecting answers to these questions. I’m not expecting a “get rich quick” scheme to tumble out of the heavens and land in my lap. I just want to vent about how, at my low points, I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t screw something up along the way.
Jack of all trades: it seemed a good idea at the time. Now I’m not so sure.