I’ve always had sort of a roguish curriculum vitae, I guess. Why “roguish?” I’m certain most employers would (or have) describe/d it differently and with less charm. But I think it is the right word because, for example, I could probably add that I was first mate on a pirate ship and people would think it made perfect sense.
The version of it I’ve had up on careerbuilder dot com and monster dot com (no links for you guys, hah) has never done me a whit of good … I think HR departments are good at screening out rogues. The last time a resume played any role in getting me a job, I think it was 1981.
Yesterday, I debated deleting myself from the aforementioned job sites because they do me no good and, increasingly, they let their clients spam me for sales and/or multilevel marketing jobs, which makes me crazy. But instead I tried a writing experiment. I added *this* to the top of my resumes:
“I don’t see any point in writing a boilerplate “objective” designed to squeeze me through the HR funnel to interviewers on the way to Cubicleland, or even a corner office. If you’re unnerved that I would say so, please don’t bother me. I’m busy. You might be getting paid to seek me out, but I’m not getting paid to listen to you.
“If, on the other hand, you’re someone who needs a wickedly smart person who writes anything as well as anyone, has a tremendous range of skills and interests and knows how to get things done, you’re invited to try and get my interest. Please start with email. Try to be clever. I treat online job sites just as I would a dating site. I’m choosy because I can be. And I won’t chase YOU unless you’re irresistible.”
What do you think? Can’t hurt, right? I do crack myself up sometimes …
Yep. There I am on page 127 of “Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.”
Smith Magazine got the idea, see, from Hemingway, that one can say quite a lot in six words, which of course, one can, whether one is famous or obscure. Most of us would be the latter.
“After Harvard, had baby with crackhead,” Robin Templeton’s six words that lead off the book … well, those are pretty lively, huh?
It took me a few years to get my answer to the question of what happened to my marriage down to … let’s see … ten words, which I’m not revealing here. That was a long time ago. I’m not going to try to knock it down to six. Unless someone wants to publish it.
My six words included “serendipity,” which is sort of cliché, or at least it’s a word I get tired of periodically. But I’m not going to give you the other five words here. Go read the book.
Or give me your own six-word memoir in a comment, and I’ll play catch-and-throw.
I haven’t written much about writing and I don’t think I will. Every once in a while, though, I get a glimmer of insight into how and why I do what I do.
I have a book to write, I am pretty sure of that right now. And so there is writing to do.
And there is research to do, a ton of research. There are places to go and … activities to observe.
There are also many conversations to have. Interviews are part of research, but I differentiate. Research prepares me to have good conversations.
But it occurs to me, in the end, that when I go to actually write my next book, I won’t be ready until …
until I can sort of remember the whole book, even though it hasn’t been written. It will get written when, in some way, I can remember the words to it and how they sound.
It’s a strange plan, but I think it works for me.
For those who want less esoteric advice, I recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Even if you don’t like Stephen King’s bestsellers (I mostly don’t) and even if you think he’s a hack writer (he’s not) … if you care about writing, read his book about it. I think I need to read it again, in fact.
There’s been this pile next to the bedside table for more than a month now. It’s great to have new things to read.