being ‘over qualified’ is not a legitimate excuse to not hire someone.

i have a master’s degree. i’ve worked retail. i was a receptionist. i was a phone-answerer and client greeter.

i have taken shit from attorneys and assholes who could barely speak English. i have been professionally subordinate to a woman who i knew looked me squarely in the eyes and did not respect me — didn’t respect my work, my ambitions, my personality, my abilities.

and now i find myself — one year after earning a master’s degree, smack dab in the middle of working on a phd — applying for a retail associate position at dean and deluca.

i have a master’s degree.

can i type 40 words a minute? yes. can i sort and distribute mail? yes. can i compose an email, write a formal business letter, add and subtract, converse with ‘executives’ and ‘high-ranking officials?’ yes. can i operate word? exel? powerpoint? can i schedule a meeting? book a flight and hotel room? answer a phone professionally and courteously? can i take notes? or minutes? can i file some shit? order paper clips and staples from a catalog? can i multitask??


can i analyze policy? yes, because that’s what i’ve been trained to do. can i perform research? yes, because that’s what i’ve been trained to do. can i write a policy brief? a report? an assessment? can i read words on paper and analyze what those words mean in reference to a stated objective or goal? yes.

so, no.  i don’t have 8 years experience as a secretary. i do not have 10 years experience as an office manager. no. i don’t have an AA and 3 years experience with medical billing and coding. i have not spent my decade out of high school working my way up from Inconsequential to Inconsequential I, II, or III. I’ve spent it learning how to write, how to think critically, how to quickly and accurately process unreasonable amounts of information. i have spent it cultivating and preparing.

I can write a decently written and researched 30 page paper overnight. while working for a woman who didn’t respect me or my time. <– i know this was not a proper sentence, and i meant it that way. i can read a book that discusses trade policy in Africa and China and Russia, and understand why it’s important. i get why Virginia was such a big deal in November, 08, and can explain it to you. i was a 27-year-old doctoral student with a full-time job, an active social life, and a fucking 4.0.

so. no. i will not be ‘fastidious’ for 30k.

and finally, i’m over assigning my name and my ego and my pride to employment applications that ask me if i can assist, support, organize, handle, arrange, correspond, coordinate, interact, or self-start. The answer clearly is yes. I have a fucking master’s degree.


About moniquealicia

M.A.G. is a doctoral student at Howard University. She resides in the Washington, DC metro area, and is passionate about her love of family and friends, politics and conversation, and the exceptional meal. View all posts by moniquealicia

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