Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Curriculum Vitae

After I wrote my food service post yesterday, RW and I had a lovely time reminiscing about our crappy jobs. You'd never know it from my last 7 years of stable employment, but for about fifteen years before that my life was a carnival of short-lived crappy jobs* (except for the three years at the childcare center, which was lovely if low-paying) (Hey, another L Word: Low-paying! Now, there's one for the ages).

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?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's encouraging! I am still sort of in the series-of-crappy-jobs part of my life (I'm 26), although my current and last jobs were more respectable than not. I'm also in the been-single-forever part of my life (really, forever--literally). I like hearing that things won't always be this way. So thank you!

10:37 AM  
Blogger bihari said...

Those public service job app's are amazing, aren't they? I used to work for the Indian Health Service, and not only did they want to know what I'd done forever, they also wanted to know where I'd lived for the last ten years. I mean, they wanted every frigging month! Which was hard, because I ended up making lists like, "Jan 97-Fev 97: New Zealand South Island. Feb 97-March 97 Bali and Lombok. March 97-May 97 Burma." I was tempted to make things up, because I couldn't imagine they'd check.

Fortunately, I didn't, because they did. I kept getting calls from old friends and references: "You all right? The FBI called me about you." Seriously. For a job as a nurse practitioner on a reservation, for crying out loud! What did they think I was going to do--steal the Percocet?

1:51 PM  

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