Iraq War Veteran Finds that the
Highly Qualified Need Not Apply

(Page 4 of 4)

The college kid continued, “We have based this decision on strict skills and professional experience requirements for each of our volunteer roles, which are derived from our project blueprints.”

And there it was, the other frustration of my job search raising its ugly head: the “direct experience” nonsense. I have found that in this bad economy employers are so hung up on “direct experience” that they’re unwilling to take a risk on someone with a different, outside perspective, even if their skills are perfectly transferable.

Author Christian Knierim working on a computer UOS system in his workshop.
Photo: Cliff Parker/New America Media

The author in his workshop.

How many times in my military experience did I find myself in situations where I was brand new to a job? In eight years I had seven jobs, each one being pretty different from the previous one. For each job I was forced to learn fast as I hit the ground running. I had no choice. I was placed in those jobs “based on needs of the Air Force.” The Air Force assumed that as an officer of a certain rank with a certain career field code, I had all the necessary training and experience to accomplish the task, whatever it may be.

“Project blueprints? But I think my skills and experience are perfectly transferable…Do you always go by those blueprints? Can I see them?”

“Look, I’m just following my boss’ guidance.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know all about it. You’re just doing what you’re told. God forbid anyone in this country would step out of their comfort zone in order to make a tough decision, let alone take responsibility for anything.

But instead of pursuing the issue further, I quietly put my resume back into my folder, politely thanked the recent college graduate for his time and his organization’s consideration, and left.

And they let me walk… just like that.

The author ended his unemployment by starting his own business repairing computer power supply units, which is doing well.

(Published November 11, 2009, on New America Media)