Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Starting From Scratch

Resume t-shirt compliments of Popgadget.
As positive as I feel about 2011, it has begun with a job hunt. I had received the distressing news just a few days before Christmas that my main client was going under and my services would no longer be needed.

So after a few weeks of denial, I've finally dug up my ancient resume. After blowing off a substantial layer of dust, I tweaked it a bit, updated the entries and sent it to a couple of close friends. Feedback included everything from "Make your name bigger" to "This needs to be completely redone."

It was then I realized I had not used a resume since 2000, just after the dotcom boom. And even then, just barely.

Back then, I was laid off in the first wave of employee bloodletting that soon took over the Bay Area like a pink slip tsunami. Because the 'crash' had not yet sunk in, I did not panic. Instead, I simply updated a few paragraphs, posted my resume on a new site called Monster.com and ran off to Burning Man. When I came back, I had a job.

Flash forward eleven years and much has changed. When I recently posted an ironic question on Facebook, "Do they still send out resumes on fancy paper?" I was being facetious. Most folks did not get the joke and kindly informed me that they "send them out on email now." Who knew? (Still waiting impatiently for that sarcasm font....)

So thanks to my scary-smart pal, Gins, I am now tasked with digging deep into my past, listing every media source that held my by-line, every amazing event I coordinated, every bizarre volunteer gig, and most importantly, every big name client that I ever handled. I dug through file cabinets, magazines, newspapers, videotapes, radio sound files and photographs. Turns out, I've done a lot.

After 30 years of working, my experiences vary from handling Fortune 500 execs to putting on exotic $100K Hollywood parties. Of course, it also includes hanging out with super charming cows, publishing front page photos, orchestrating media for Snoop Dogg and exploring Phyllis Diller's wig room...interviewing rock musicians and photographing cowboys...putting on film festivals and launching factories...creating improv comedy benefit shows and reviewing restaurants and films....being a limousine chauffeur and photographing the Kentucky Derby....et-friggin'-cetera. 

I don't mean to brag but Gins has informed me that this is exactly the time to brag. And it turns out that while I'm a superb promoter for other entities, I am less skilled at promoting myself. I was raised by Midwesterners, after all. Despite my giant ego, I can usually get it to stop just short of being obnoxious. (I said, usually.)

My brother is the same way. Despite his hard-to-ignore good looks, he has never let a single one of the million compliments actually sink in, which is why he's also charming as well. It's a great trick and one I've learned well from. Know all the incredible facts about yourself but try not to actually believe them.

So now I am tasked with trying to summarize my entire 'life's work', as it were, into something I can spit out in a sentence or two. How to explain it all? The question remains: What is it exactly that I do?


Susie said...

Don't forget taxi dancing and introducing new US currency...

You execute and expedite and tell the world about in an interesting and compelling way. You are intrepid and have a can do attitude necessary to scale great peaks and escort in amazing changes for the better all while being charming, funny and a really good dancer.

I'm with you on that job hunt and flummoxed by the "on line" job app.

There's no way to get the effect of the fancy (and scented) paper through the internet.

I wonder if the Amish are hiring.

ClizBiz said...

The Amish! What a great idea. Although, not sure the uniform would put me at my best. I'm also considering Mormon Wife #2.

Thanks so much for all the kind words, Susie. I had forgotten about the currency stuff and the taxi dancing escapade still lives on in an old BUST magazine article so there's that.

Seriously, I might just have to put your generous paragraph on the resume and call it done. Best of luck to both of us!

Kath said...

I dunno...I say you get some fancy-pants network with deep pockets to pay you to interview people...sorta like a way cuter and funnier Charles Kuralt.

You would rock!

ClizBiz said...

I like the way you think, Kath. Actually, there is a job at CPR that I'm going to focus on - wish me luck!

Fang Bastardson said...

I'm right there with you, looking for work. Or more accurately, upgrading my skill-set to be viable in a vastly changed job landscape. How is it possible my 20+ years in newspapers is not only not helpful in finding employment, but seems to be some sort of punchline?

ClizBiz said...

Tell me about it. Plus, I have boxes of 'clips' from my pre-Internet career that no one will ever ask to see. We'll find our destiny, Fang. It's just going to take some soul searching.

Kristin said...

I can totally relate, figuring out what kind of job to even go for is a challenge since getting laid off almost 2 years ago...been mostly a mommy and online community builder since then but finding jobs..?

I don't know, plus I'm pregnant now so it's a complicated journey, any job I might get offered I may have to give up my time with my baby to provide for it and my other two daughters.


I was at a SaaS company when I got laid off so experience is so varied it's hard to focus the search.

It's fun sometimes too though to see all the different opportunities, I have had my entrepreneurial hat on for a while and think I'd have a hard time at a desk job...

Love your blog, found it on blogher through the cohousing article :-)

ClizBiz said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kristin. First, congrats on the pregnancy! That's exciting but it does add another weird angle to the job search.

Yes, I now have a hard time picturing my days spent in a cubicle farm. I feel like I paid my dues under fluorescent lighting.

And, just seeing that acronym, "SaaS" brought back so many memories!

I would love to start a public relations company that had no actual office, where everybody works from home and connected via Skype, texting, conference calls, etc. Once a week, I'd hold a home meeting (mostly brainstorming) at my place so we don't lose that FTF connection. Mostly, I don't want to face a horrible commute ever again, especially during the winter.

Kristin, I have a strong feeling we are both going to get exactly what we want.

Heidi's heart said...

Heather, you have a wealth of experience. Certainly you're qualified to do many interesting jobs. I'll be curious to see how your job hunt goes. I started to meet with age discrimination in my early 40s. That's why I prefer to stay home and write. No one knows how old I am!