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Overqualified & Unemployed: A Graduate Nurse's Dilemma

Updated on November 10, 2018

Climbing the Ladder of Knowledge & Grasping onto the Chute of Bankruptcy

When I quit my RN (registered nurse) position to enter graduate school full-time so I could obtain my Masters of Science in Nursing (and become a Nurse Practitioner) in a single year, I failed to realize how difficult it is to compete in the advanced-degree job market. Despite my six years of RN experience and 12 years working in the healthcare field, most job openings require two or more years of experience as a NP and absolutely refuse new graduates. However, I've realized I am not alone in my post-graduate experience of joblessness and rather joined the other 8.3% or 12.8 million unemployed Americans in the same rut. Surprisingly, from my research on the 2010 U.S. Census, overall unemployment rates have improved by 2 million or 1.3% of the population. Despite this, millions of people are still without jobs in a country where Starbucks spring up on every corner while "mom & pop" shops lose customers, run out of savings, and eventually shut their doors to people who once appreciated originality and a familiar face. It's not just the mom & pop owners and new graduates who face this daunting dilemma of unemployment, it is truly a nationwide epidemic affecting every walk of life.

Jobs do Exist: Overqualified Applicants Need Not Apply

Despite the wretched unemployment rate, there are hundreds of job openings every day- just none that will accept someone with overqualified credentials. One can scan Craigslist for hundreds of new job openings on a daily basis; from hostess, server, food prep, tech-savvy Excel master, sales rep, sign-holder, nanny, and the list goes on. But, what do they all demand? Experience in the field and a promise to be a life-long (okay, at least a good year) employee. One look at a resume filled with extensive experience in a very different field of interest topped with a Master's degree and they'll quickly shove you aside, knowing that you'll quickly leave their minimum-wage job to be hired onto your dream career at a second's chance. And who can blame them? No one wants to spend time and money to train a new (albeit very qualified and educated) employee just to see them walk away in a matter of months. So here I am, along with the other 12.8 million Americans, jobless and desperate to find anything to just make ends meet.

Who are the Unemployed? U.S. 2010 Census

Total Unemployed
14.8 Million (9.6% of population)
8.6 million
6.2 million
20-24 years old
25-34 years old
35-44 years old
45-54 years old
55-64 years old
65+ years old

Duration & Percentage of Unemployment Rates

Unemployed but not Unmotivated

One thing I must say about being unemployed is that it's far too easy to get discouraged than it is to stay motivated. After multiple rejections from far too simple jobs can leave one questioning their own self-worth. However, I've used all of this spare time to continue to apply for dream careers as well as temporary quick-money gigs (the adventures of babysitting will surely be a future blog), explore my creative writing through this wondrous site called Hubpages, discover nearby mountain biking trails, enjoy quiet midday walks with my golden retriever while everyone else is at work, and I've tried my hand at economically-priced but healthy recipes (it's a little more tricky than one might think). And so I wait, along with the rest of the 12.8 Americans, hoping for a chance at a dream career and hopefully one in my field. In the meantime I'll continue to walk, bike, cook, and write about my progress to reach that dream of mine.

Are you one of the 12.8 Million?

What is the longest duration of time you have been unemployed in the last year?

See results

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