Overqualified is the excuse often heard by a person who is seeking employment in a job that does not match his credentials.  I have never quite understood the reasoning, but my husband explained that many employers feel such a person will only stay with the job until something better comes along.  Well, that statement is probably true of most people… they may leave a job when a better opportunity comes along!  It just seems a shame that a good worker who is willing to work doesn’t get the opportunity.

                In this modern world, I see many workers who act as if they are being subjected to torture if they are asked for help.  One worker told me the reason she was so grumpy while she was ringing up my groceries was that her father made her get a job.  She wanted to play her video games now that she was out of school, but he insisted she go to work.  I really had a hard time trying to find a reason to feel sorry for her.

                Just two evenings ago, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised when the drive-through girl asked for our order in one of the happiest voices I’ve heard outside of a charming Disney movie!  When we commented upon her enthusiasm, she related that she was just usually always happy. She said another customer had remarked that she was “the happy clerk” whom she enjoyed seeing each trip to this store.  When we told her she was such a pleasant surprise in a world of unhappy people, she said: “Why shouldn’t I be happy?  I have this job, I meet people, I get to be inside and out-side on fine days, and it sure beats sitting at home doing nothing.  Besides, I get to meet some pretty dogs like yours in the back seat!”  Our dog wagged his tail in response to her smile and acknowledgement of his presence.

                Just that warm encounter made our evening more memorable.  We don’t meet a lot of people who openly express happiness over having to go to work.  We have many stores in our city which are openly advertising for employees.  Yet, I know a man who was told he couldn’t have a job because he was overqualified.  All he wanted to do was work at something rather than sit at home waiting for an opening like his former job which ended when his company had to downsize.

                I see clerks at our local stores who have obviously retired and then reentered the work world.  They are happy to work and interact with customers as they show great aptitude in their job duties.  It seems to again point out how different the “work ethic” was in past generations.

                Now I must admit that I see a new trend in dedicated young workers.  My grandchildren are certainly demonstrating excellent work ethics in their chosen professions.  I also see them willing to take risks which my generation was usually afraid to try.  So, I have renewed hope in the future.  However, I am very aware that we have a generation of lost youth who are failing to launch out into the working world.

                So, how do I educate our students today to be better workers tomorrow?  First of all, I teach them to “want to be better than the average bear.”  Ask any of these students in my school what desire I have for them, and they will tell you just that!  I then show them how easy it is to be better than average.  Children rise to the level of our expectations.  Educators and parents need to be telling our youth we expect them to rise above what is accepted as standard.  At the same time, we need to teach them that no job is beneath our ability.  Any job that needs to be done should be done for the good of everyone.

                It is a privilege to have staff in my school who are “overqualified” by most teaching standards.  My faculty has diverse degrees, talents, interests, and abilities which give us countless opportunities to offer our students an education which is excellent.  Their “over qualifications” have been a gold mine for our students!  My hat’s off to all of them!     

- Kay