Another Hubpages reprint (August 5, 2009). Lest you think I’m dwelling on the past, note that this situation happened to me twice again, early last year before I landed my present job. My circumstances were very different by that time, but the outcomes of the interviews were essentially the same.
I Just Don’t Like Its Looks:
Yesterday, for the very first time - that I’m aware of, that is – I was a victim of discrimination while on the job market. Why was I refused employment? Was it racial discrimination? No. In fact, I strongly suspect that my “mixed-ness” might have even given me an advantage in this particular case. Was it sexual discrimination? Well, there’s no reason to waste time with an in-person interview since he would’ve had considerable evidence that I was female after a few e-mails and phone calls. Besides, this job required a lot of tedious, repetitive work...quite like a lot of “women’s work.” I’d be surprised if a lot of men had applied anyway.
Was it age discrimination? If you post a job on craigslist that would only appeal to retirees and college students on summer break, you can’t be too choosy. I’m not a veteran. I’m a native-born citizen. And nothing related to political affiliation, marital status, or religious views came up in the conversation. No, the employer discriminated against me because I was over-qualified.
I had a summer position lined up, but conflicts with school forced me to decline it. So, I’ve spent all summer in great need of cash, having no luck because (1) positions I would’ve possibly gotten were closed months ago, (2) I don’t possess highly-demanded skills for low-wage jobs, (3) employers don’t want to hire someone who’s planning on leaving soon, and (3) employers don’t take me seriously because someone so well-educated can’t possibly want a “such-and-such job”! Of course, I really need a job right now. I’m willing to break out of my usual part-time job routine and do something very different because I needed the money. For example, I applied to a number of retail jobs...and was rejected every time.
So you can imagine how happy I was to find a temporary job that required the very skills I had, although it was low-paying and not intellectually stimulating. After a phone interview that went very well, I went to the in-person one feeling like a million dollars. I had years of experience doing exactly what the employer wanted done. I felt that my PHD candidacy was actually an asset in this case, unlike with other interviews for low-wage jobs. I also had a great excuse for why I wanted to take the assignment: To get more practice! This one was definitely in the bag...NOT!
He took one look at my resume and CV – neither of which he’d taken the time to actually read beforehand – and announced, “You're an academic. You shouldn’t have a job like this.” Say what? Apparently, my teaching experience, research, and publications, not impressive by any means from a real academic’s point of view, convinced him that this was not the job for me. Well, shouldn’t I be the one to determine that? I was willing to do the work needed and accept the pay offered. And I had the skills to do it far more efficiently in far less time than anyone else who applied, I’m quite sure.
So, yes, I’m a victim of discrimination. The employer made no attempts to hide that fact. To make it worse, he thought he was doing me a favor! Try telling that to the credit card companies.