104/365 - Aisling

I am over qual­i­fied.

At least that’s what poten­tial employ­ers seem to think. Let me give you a bit of back­ground.

I have been work­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Leth­bridge since 2001. It’s a pret­ty good job as far as remu­ner­a­tion goes.

I start­ed at the U of L as a web­site devel­op­er for the Fac­ul­ty of Man­age­ment. It was a big job with a lot of work main­tain­ing thou­sands of web pages. It would have stayed a big job, but for one prob­lem.

I’m too effi­cient.

I know some peo­ple con­sid­er effi­cien­cy a good trait, but I’ve worked myself out of a job.

You see, when I start­ed, I made all changes by hand. Need­ed to change the font colour on every page? Would take hours as I combed the thou­sands of pages chang­ing font tags. Need­ed to change the head­er image on each page? Not as big a job, but would still take a few hours.

Then I dis­cov­ered a few things. Serv­er Side Includes allowed me to make changes to head­ers, foot­ers, and menus in one place and it would pop­u­late the entire web­site. What took hours, now took sec­onds. CSS allowed me to store font spec­i­fi­ca­tions and the like in one loca­tion. What took hours — if not days — before now took me sec­onds. Cold­fu­sion allowed me to cre­ate vir­tu­al pages out of one page and data­base of data, as well as allowed me to give edit­ing access of select con­tent to oth­er peo­ple.

I had a choice to make. I could make the faculty’s web­site more effi­cient, there­by reduc­ing load­ing time, serv­er space, and my response time, as well as improv­ing search engine place­ment, but I would also reduce the work I had to do every day. Or I could keep the web­site inef­fi­cient, but keep my work­load. The lat­ter may have involved into a team leader posi­tion since the con­tent of the web­site is always grow­ing.

My boss has been help­ful. He’s tried assign­ing new duties to increase my work­load. Now, I pro­vide first-tier desk­top sup­port, video­con­fer­ence sup­port, and asset man­age­ment. Despite all this, the future of my job is in jeop­ardy. Luck­i­ly I’m union­ized; oth­er­wise I would have been fired already.

I saw the writ­ing on the wall long ago, so for the last sev­er­al years, I’ve been job search­ing. The depress­ing thing about it all is every­one who’s inter­viewed me con­sid­ers me to be overqual­i­fied.

  • Web design­er for Saskatchewan design firm? Overqual­i­fied
  • Desk­top sup­port for nation­al char­tered account­ing firm? Overqual­i­fied
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tions offi­cer for Saskatchewan col­lege? Overqual­i­fied
  • Logis­tics coör­di­na­tor for nation­al food proces­sor? Overqual­i­fied
  • Project man­ag­er for tech firm? Overqual­i­fied
  • Office man­ag­er for inter­na­tion­al finan­cial ser­vices firm? Overqual­i­fied
  • Busi­ness sup­port asso­ciate for inter­na­tion­al agri­cul­tur­al prod­ucts firm? Overqual­i­fied
  • Inven­to­ry admin­is­tra­tor for Alber­ta farm equip­ment deal­er? Overqual­i­fied

You get the pic­ture.

So what’s a guy to do?

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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