I haven't filled out a job app or written a resume since 1998, but before that I did so with such frequency that I finally put together a master list of all the jobs I'd ever had, so I could pick and choose depending on what I was applying for. This list was also useful when filling out the occasional hellacious sadistic Public Library job application wherein the applicant is in fact required to list every job s/he has ever had, attaching additional pages if necessary. Hah! That used to make me laugh, "Attach additional pages if necessary." Like, who wouldn't have to do that? Who hasn't had more than a dozen or so jobs, not even counting the high-school babysitting gigs?
It's weird to think that next time I go through the Application Process I'll pretty much be able to throw that list out the window. All I'll have to do is list my current job and the temporary/student Public Library gigI had for a couple years before that, maybe throwing in the childcare and bookstore experience to round it out a bit and fill up the page.
No one will care about the gap from the year after that child care center closed and I was on unemployment, or the summer I canned salmon in Alaska, or the half-dozen jobs I ran through in the summer of 1987 alone. No one will look askance because I quit cleaning suburban houses partway through my junior year in college, or demand to see clippings from my half-hearted post-college year in Chemmical Marketing journalism.
My future employers will be unimpressed that I looked after six kids at a time the summer before my senior year of high school, or that I had two simultaneous internships--at a science-fiction publishing company and in the marketing department of an off-Broadway theater--the summer before I started college. It's unlikely that they'll discover what a rotten waitress I was, or that at nineteen I had so much trouble getting up in the morning that I was reprimanded for my habitual late arrival to a job that started at 1:00 PM. And I doubt that anyone, even my old boss (who's since retired), will care how much time I spent reading in the stacks when I was supposed to be shelving at my college library job.
Nope. They'll want to hear about my educational philosophy and my take on intellectual freedom and censorship. They'll ask to see me teach a sample class and maybe do a booktalk. If it's a public library, they'll ask what I'd do in various reference-desk situations. They'll call an administrator from my current job, who will talk about me like I'm the professional I appear to be.
And I guess I am the professional I appear to be. But I still don't quite understand how I got here, from there.
*Just like you'd never know how very, very single I used to be for a very very long time if all you did was look at my life now. Strange, eh?