It's been brought to my attention by the counselor at the Department of Labor that my resume may be a problem for you because it contains titles such as Executive Director and Vice President and the things I've listed under accomplishments and duties make you itch with anxiety and your eyes cross with boredom. Contrary to what those liars in the college employment placement office told me in 1989, you are not dazzled by my transferable skills and upward career trajectory as illustrated by the job titles beginning with secretary (1989) and ending with Vice President, Programs and Services (2009). In other words, my resume intimidates you or causes you assume that I'm only applying for your job because I am desperate.
Now that's a pity because I am desperate. As in you can smell it on me if you get too close.
Because life is full of paradoxes, people who will counsel me to sanitize my resume of high falutin' words and dastardly deeds like creating budgets, managing volunteers and staff, developing marketing plans or serving as the chief staff of a small organization (read: guide the Board of Directors to do what you want, but make them think it's their idea) think that I'm not smart enough to know that I should have multiple versions of my resume, each targeted for specific industries, fields, and levels of employment, I've been advised to once again revisit my self-promotional material to see if perhaps it can be whittled and reworked in order to make you think that I didn't work for nearly twenty years to get promotions, better pay and better titles.
Well now that leaves me with some interesting choices, doesn't it? The last time I held a secretarial job was in 1995 and even then it had the fancy title of Administrative Coordinator or some such nonsense and paid more than most of the jobs I see listed today. Plus it had killer benefits. So how do I explain what I've been doing for the last sixteen years? Okay, the last year is easy - job hunting, bitching about job hunting, cleaning, living on the dole, writing things to shove into a pile under my bed, taking pictures of birdies and pussy cats, reading and more recently couponing which I now like to call Hunting and Gathering. But what about the years 1996 - 2009? How do I rework the pain and pleasure of those jobs which ultimately led me to Georgia, the running of a small organization and the path to ruin also known as my last job?
Oh, hang on. Potential employers don't appreciate negativity, do they? Fine. Let me worry about how to fix my absurd problem of having played by the rules, climbed the ladder and achieved some career success. I'll just take out my magic Sharpie et voila! I've always been a secretary/administrative assistant/customer service associate/waitress/barista/sales associate/other duties as assigned doer.
Because in reality, I was. Not just as a mother and wife, but in my former paid jobs, not only did I do the big, important, if you fuck this up, we're going to have expensive problems kinds of things, but I also cleared the table of food debris after Board meetings, ordered lunches, planned meetings and parties, wrestled with the copier, crawled around on the floor hooking up technology, packed and lugged boxes, made love to the postage meter, cleaned out storerooms, answered phones with a smile in my voice, created and maintained hardcopy and database files, kept multiple calendars, made travel arrangements for myself and others, submitted expenses, stuffed envelopes, designed newsletters, drove my boss to the airport, and ruined many a manicure inputting reams of data entry. Because when you work in an office of two or three or five people, you pretty much have to do it all at some point. We didn't have People for that. We were the People.
As for other duties as assigned, I've even written about how I'm willing to go above and beyond. You can expect topnotch effort and creativity from me and that includes Breaking and Entering on Your Behalf and Teaching You How to Use Urban Dictionary and Other Swell Things to Make You Appear Hip. If you will only give me a chance, that is.
After careful consideration, I've decided that all future resumes and
I, Lisa Golden, do solemnly swear to be an honest and faithful employee, willing to carry out the simplest and most complex duties assigned by you, The Employer, with a professionally cheerful demeanor, a minimum of supervision, a maximum of customer satisfaction, no questions about work conditions or rules, no sniping about salary or benefits or lack thereof, no comment about your tie choices, shoes or taste in movies, no eye rolling or heavy sighs, no passive aggressive references to your lack of intelligence, no use of sarcasm, humor - ill or otherwise, or large words. I vow to never utter the words "Well, in my last position" nor to ever mention that I once made more money or held a higher position than my current one or yours for that matter.
I pledge complete loyalty to you and the organization for which you stand or sit in that fine leather manager's chair and to complete all tasks to the best of my ability without dragging with me into the workplace any personal issues and needs, any reminders that I might have ideas of getting up in the world or any need for vacation, sick or family leave days. I will not litter my workspace with personal items or reminders that I have a life outside of work. I will never make a suggestion about how to do things better unless expressly asked by you or your superior, at which point I will offer the most obsequious (sorry about that big word, it means boot-licking) answer, repeating the phrase "Well, as (your name here) suggested" first.When it is just you and me, I will make you feel comfortable in taking my ideas as your own because, as any employee worth her White Out knows, your success is my success and any and all good things coming to you will eventually trickle down to me.
Finally, you have my assurances that even though I've had better paying jobs with fancier titles, I will not bail out on you at the first sign of an economic recovery. I've learned my lesson about changing jobs for better opportunities. I am here for the duration. You own me. I know how lucky I am to have this job. And if you find that you must, at some point, let me go due to economic factors outside your control or because you must slash payroll to make a larger bonus, you can be confident that I will not leave in a blaze of poo smeared file folders and angry emails to vendors and customers. I will stay as long as you need me and create as smooth a transition as I can for the person who will be doing my job after I'm gone.
So help me, Todd. I do. Amen?
And now that I've made my pledge, please allow me to address some things that might be obstacles to my employment as far as you're concerned.
1. The credit check. While I understand that it's important for people like bank tellers and bookkeepers to have clean credit and no reason to embezzle to pay off their debts, I find this new wrinkle in employment requirements unnecessary. It is a new day. It's not bankruptcy, it's a government bailout trickling down. We gave taxpayer money to the banks to cover their bad debts. I paid my Chapter 13 bad debts as long as I had a job. After that, it became impossible to pay the monthly bill. Ergo, the banks got most of the money owed to them plus the car and the house which was how the deal worked. That's called a secured loan because it has collateral that can be repossessed by the lender. Neato, huh?
Understanding this weakness in my personal financial history, I've shown the good sense to not apply for jobs in finance, banking and bookkeeping. Now you show the good sense to stop using credit checks to weed out good potential employees who've been swept aside in this mess of an economy.
2. Those advertising that Unemployed Need Not Apply. This isn't unemployed. This is learning new skills. With my new stockpiling skills, just think what I can do for your office supplies line item. Hand me that Staples catalog and watch me make magic happen. Phone bill too high? I've got tin cans and string. You can save money and go green at the same time. What are you paying for that water cooler? Your staff can have that some sharing time carrying buckets of water up from the industrial park's retention pond as they get from standing around the Crystal Springs bubbler.
Hey, maybe I should become a consultant and charge three times as much as you would pay me!``
3. My former salary. As I told the woman at the Department of Labor, of course I'm willing to work for ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars less than I used to make. Who wouldn't want a deal like that? It's exactly why I went to college, worked my ass off for almost twenty years, left my kids in the care of others, took on extra duties to earn promotions, traded off salary for title, worked for no insurance benefits and no pension or 401K because my former employers were cheapskates and wanted to pay me about 1/4 less than a man would make for the same job and tried to make me feel guilty for asking for more money.
This is me dangling over the barrel. Do I look like I'm in a position to negotiate?
4. Moving to where the jobs are. While the kids would be delighted to be uprooted again and MathMan can afford to leave his megabucks generating scam as a math teacher, this isn't really a viable option. Employers understand this economy all too well. Just try finding a position that offers moving expenses these days. Besides, we got rid of our snow shovels when we moved to Georgia. Not only would I have to pay to move us and our stuff, I'd have to buy snow shovels and Snow Melt again.
5. Isn't it time for you to retrain to be something else? Oh sure, I like to think about how my future in auto or diesel would be sweet like crude oil, but we've been over this. As I like to say to the cats in my best Jewish Mother voice "And why do I need another job title that isn't doctor or lawyer? So I can make minimum wage cheering people on as they pass kidney stones?" Cheering them? I'd be more likely to rush them. Are you done yet? How about now? Oh, please, I've had three kids with no drugs, so just stop with all that grimacing and noisemaking. You're fine. And wipe that up. I'm your nurse, not your maid.
Seriously, you do not want me in the medical field. It would be a setback to humanity of epic proportions. But since I mentioned maids, now there's something I've been training to do all my life, but I digress.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon about the open position. I am available for an interview at your convenience, but don't think that I'm without time commitments because I'm not currently working. Today is Mystery Coupon Day at Publix, after all.