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No Jobs Available for the 'Overqualified'

June 02, 2003

My parents, neither of whom finished high school, encouraged my siblings and me to get an education so we could "do better" in life. So here I am, with my master's degree from USC, being told (or having it implied) that I am "overqualified." Since 9/11, many professionals who are older than 40 (like myself) have been displaced and are learning the sad fact that their only chance of being employed is to "dumb down" their resume. Employers argue that if a person used to earn more money, then he or she will not be satisfied with a lower salary. They assume such a worker will quit as soon as a higher-paying job is offered.

So they instead hire someone who is younger and less experienced, skirting age discrimination lawsuits by claiming that the other person's qualifications "better matched" their needs.

Because of this logic I have been reduced from a gainfully employed, productive citizen to someone who is barely surviving on odd jobs (such as sewing and housecleaning), selling my possessions at yard-sale prices on EBay and sympathy loans from friends and family members (who don't have advanced degrees).

How ironic that my parents thought I would do better when, in fact, they owned a house in the suburbs and I am now forced to rent a one-room apartment in an urban neighborhood, a fourth-floor unit in a building with no elevator, no air conditioning and no parking -- all because I am "too good" to be hired.

Theresa M. Danna

Hollywood

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