If I were to judge based solely on lists of candidate requirements and qualifications, it would seem as if I am only qualified for internships and volunteer opportunities. Which is weird, because I have indeed already bartered interesting/fulfilling labor for money before in my lifetime. Having been on the employer side of the table, I understand that this gauntlet of traits would yield the perfect canvass on which a business could paint an individual and organizational wealth of successes. I also understand, however, that the list is a bit of a pipedream for would-be employers. Why, then, is it so hard for me to vault over the bullet point that eyes me suspiciously saying, "Really? You think your combined education and experience can compensate for your refusal to attend grad school?"
Shut up, Qualifications List, I don't want to be in debt 'til I die!
"Master's degree required" is one example of many spiny, sneaky add-ons that somehow always appear AT THE TAIL END of a job posting. Ability to organize and maintain multi-user databases - check. Proven clear and effective communication with wide variety of community and corporate sponsors - check! Efficient election of priorities in dynamic work environment and field locations - OMG that's me, check! check! check! Master's degree in international underwater basket weaving required - oh yay! I'm so excited, I....wait. What?!?
That's okay, just leave the most critically important, labor intensive, financially burdensome, niche qualification until the very end, after I've gotten my hopes up. After that it's a short minute to decide whether or not I may possess commensurate experience that may still be relevant. Here's how that goes:
Have I ever once woven a basket while submerged in water?
Oh...well. That's it then.
The weird thing is, to stick to the theme, I am an underwater basket weaver. Sometimes I think too highly of myself, but then I look at my resume and am reminded that yes - I have done some weird and varied stuff in my lifetime. My experience is niche, one of a kind, and, well...Millenial. All these experiences were supposed to make me all that and a bag of chips to a future employer, and I bought into it. However, I neglected to invest those experiences into hard skills like data management, project analysis, information systems, etc.
Did I think I was going to be the next Jane Austen?!
Without a technically-leaning skill set (forgive me, but I'm so far removed from anything quantitative and data-driven that I scarce know the right language to use when speaking of it) and without a Master's degree in the "soft" skills that I possess...well. What are the options?
I don't know. I am exploring. I'm on a yellow brick road to the wonderful city of OZ. I keep meeting all these people who are also sort of disillusioned, directionless, and what a pack of rare birds we make! We've heard about what lies ahead of us, and we're pretty excited - Oz sounds great! Everyone gets their own place to live, has access to everything they need like healthy food supply and medical services, schools. The city is bustling and people live well. If we make it there, we'll be lucky enough to live comfortably and will no longer have to live face-to-face with the magician behind the curtain that's been stringing us along. Right?