What To Do When You’re Overqualified

What to Do When You're Overqualified For Your Job | CorporetteHave you ever taken a job for which you’re overqualified?  Reader C recently took a step back from her career in order to spend more time with her family, and while she likes the money and hours, she isn’t thrilled with the level of daily challenge:

I’m a midcareer professional taking a step back into a new company. I made this choice to spend more time with my family and because the pay is great. However, I miscalculated how much of a step back it was and I want to position myself for rapid advancement within the co. to a level more consistent with my capabilities by trying to highlight my strengths and experience. I find myself handling many clerical level tasks due lack of staff to delegate to and I’m often complimented on very mundane activities (“nice job organizing that meeting!”) which happen to be much more visible than my strategic responsibilities and I don’t know how to respond. I want to acknowledge the compliment but also make clear that work of that nature doesn’t reflect my full role or potential. Jokes like “you should see what I’m really capable of” are vague, not always appropriate and wear thin quickly. Any recommendations for responding to these specific comments and for positioning for future advancement?

Hmmmn.  I’m curious to hear what readers say here.  You say the pay is great, and it sounds like the work/life juggle is in alignment — so what you want is more challenging work for the hours you’re there.  A few things to ask yourself:

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Battling Burnout

Burn Out, originally uploaded to Flickr by mikecogh.Are you feeling burned out by your career — even if you’ve only been at it for a few years? A month or so ago a reader sent me a link to this article on career burnout for the under 30 set, and it seemed to generate a lot of discussion on Twitter/Facebook — and my link last Friday to the Men’s Health article on how to recognize and cure career fatigue (including some, er, interesting advice, such as “get laid more”) seemed to generate even more discussion. So let’s talk about this — have you felt burned out? What have you done to correct the issue, if anything? We’ve talked about this a bit before in my post about how I got my own groove back after feeling out of sync with my career and life, but let’s discuss more today. (Pictured: Burn Out, originally uploaded to Flickr by mikecogh.)

If your career exhausts you, here are some of my top tips to help start the journey back from burnout… [Read more...]

How Your Career Affects Your Happiness (or: Are There Any Happy Lawyers?)

Rainbow Valley, originally uploaded to Flickr by rwangsa.Reader C wonders who the happy lawyers are… but I think this leads us to a bigger question that will hopefully make for an interesting discussion: how do you view your career in your general quest for happiness?

Hi Kat, I have a question for you and your incredible readers. I am an undergrad applying to law schools now for next fall and I do recognize the oft-quoted “realities” (from friends of family, professors, etc) of being a lawyer- mountains of dense reading, long (sometimes extremely so) hours, getting stuck in a job you hate just to pay of the $200k of student loans your education cost you. I sort of stumbled onto the idea of law, I wasn’t one of those who dreamed my whole life of putting away the bad guys or anything; I randomly found it through a class but I have never been more in love with a subject. I am an avid Corporette reader, but the things I read in the comments section of many posts terrify me and leave me to ask, rather desperately: Is anyone happy being a lawyer? I know everyone is different, had a different idea of “the dream lawyering job,” reacts differently to stress, etc. but if there is anyone out there who loves being a lawyer, it would be a huge comfort to hear about it!

First off: apologies to the non-lawyer/JD students among Corporette readers; hopefully our discussion will take us to greater truths about happiness and your career.  That said… reader C’s question is a great, great question, and I think the readers will give far better answers than I will considering that I never really found my happy sweet spot in the law, personally. Something I’ve heard often, and agree with wholeheartedly, is that there are two kinds of people: those who enjoy law school, and those who enjoy the practice of law. I am totally in the first camp of people — I loved law school, which I found to be filled with ethereal questions that you can ponder at your leisure and come to your own conclusion. There are clear paths to “success,” and good work is tangibly rewarded with grades and other honors. (Pictured: Rainbow Valley, originally uploaded to Flickr by rwangsa.) [Read more...]

Dealing with Anxiety (Post-Interview Or Otherwise)

interview-anxietyReader M had a question about post-interview anxiety, something I notice coming up in the comment threads a lot…

I had a second round interview this week, and I’m waiting to hear back. The job is working in-house for a big company. Their legal team is spread throughout their offices, so my first interview was with HR, then my second interview was with their VP Legal Counsel and another Senior Counsel attorney. I think it went well, but I’m so anxious. My first question is what to do with anxiety while waiting to hear back about a job? My second question is if anyone has stories from successful interviews that might shed light on whether or not it went well.

The wonderful thing about interviewing for jobs outside your own company is that they have no idea what a stressball you may be after the interview. (Of course, for jobs inside the company you have to keep your cool, which is even tougher — but hopefully less stress-inducing given that you can “read” the personalities better and they know you better.) There are two interesting questions here: what to do to ease anxiety, and how to know if an interview went well.  I’ll take the second one first.

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Open Thread: Ways to Relax?

how to relaxToday’s reader mail is asking for an open thread discussing relaxation techniques…

It would be fun to see an open thread discussing what readers do to relax/pamper themselves. I just bought the Discovery Channel “Planet Earth” series, for example, because it was on sale and helps me calm down before going to sleep.

Excellent topic! (And perhaps useful as it is also just in time for Mother’s Day, for those of you who have difficult-to-buy-for mothers.) (Pictured: Day 94, HNT Massage, originally uploaded to Flickr by lintmachine.) [Read more...]