Avoiding Crisis

What’s my story? I need a story!

with 6 comments

Since getting back home I’ve been trying to catch up on some reading in the blogosphere.  There are a few blogs that I check out on a regular basis.  One of them is Brazen Careerist

Okay, I know, it’s a bit odd that I’m spending my time reading a career advice column when I don’t have a career and won’t be starting one anytime soon.  Still, it’s interesting, educational and well written.  And by golly-gee, I’m going to need a whole lot of really good advice when I finally have the opportunity to re-join the working world.

So reading a career advice column has made me realize something:  I hate my resume.  It’s boring.  It doesn’t tell you anything about me.  And as Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist points out, “A resume is not a laundry list of job and duties. It’s a document about a story.” Okay, so here’s the problem.  I don’t have a story. NO STORY folks!!!!

Oh, yeah, and my resume is long, too long.  I’ve had quite a few jobs in a very short period of time.  When I was working, which wasn’t for very long, I guess I was what you would call a job hopper.  In the 2 years between graduating from undergrad and entering graduate school, I had 4 jobs, each lasting around 6 months.

Every time I have to send my resume to someone I fret over how to make it more interesting and, of course, how to make it shorter.  So what’s the big deal if I’ve had a few jobs in a short period of time?  I used to see it as a big black mark on my record that I had to explain away.  Today, I just chalk it up to being one big learning experience.   

Unlike the song and dance routine that I used to go through to explain my employment track record to a potential employer, today I would just tell the simple truth.  How at the age of 21, I thoughtI knew what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t.  I thought I knew what was going to make me happy. I didn’t.  But who does? 

One of my biggest mistakes was working in the not-for-profit/Washington DC think tank world.  I thought that I needed to be surrounded by important people who had important things to say, that maybe they would actually take a moment to listen to what I had to say and maybe, just maybe, what I had to say would be important too.  It never happened.  Instead I learned, very early on, that mentors do not exist and that bosses who actually want their employees to grow and succeed are very hard to come by.  I’m jaded, I know.  I do hope that one day this opinion I have changes. 

Okay, so I’ll admit it, I wasn’t the best employee either.  I was young and thought I knew it all.  I worked hard.  I always got the job done.  But I was stupid and maybe even slightly arrogant, just maybe.  No one likes a 20-something know-it-all who just doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut.  

That 20-something will be turning into a much more mature and a whole lot less arrogant 30-something pretty soon.  I guess in some ways, turning 30 has it’s advantages.  Now if I could only come up with a good story.  Maybe then I wouldn’t hate my resume so.  


Written by nicolemarie

February 18, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Posted in career, jobs, life

6 Responses

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  1. I just turned 34. I am learning that the 30s have a lot going for them. . .I promise!


    February 18, 2007 at 10:44 pm

  2. Okay – one of the things you could try to encapsulate in two shortish paragraphs is 1)what important things you learned from all of your short jobs (flexibility, ability to adjust to different workplaces and their requirements, ability to fit your skill set into each job to your best potential, etc.) and 2) what you feel you contributed to each situation short-term though they be (energy, ability to help develop group goals and be a strong member of a team, being teachable so those mentoring you had a chance to shine as leaders, etc.) Do some soul-searching and find out for yourself just how valuable those short-term experiences were for you AND how valuable a worker you were in each of those job situations.


    February 19, 2007 at 12:48 am

  3. Having taught at FSI for 20 years I’ve learned that being a successful trailing spouse requires great organizational and social skills, adaptability, patience and cultural sensitivity. These are all skills that are highly valued in any workplace. I’ve never been a State Dept. employee, but I can tell you that I don’t have what it takes to do what you’re doing.


    February 19, 2007 at 3:45 pm

  4. Bary –
    I should make you a refernce next time I apply for a job. Most people don’t understand the challenges of being a “trailing spouse.” Wait! Most people don’t even know what a “trailing spouse” is.


    February 19, 2007 at 11:22 pm

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