Really, I should have known.
Or, at least, realized I needed to check. But I didn’t.
I just updated the last resume I put together and started sending it out. After three months without a job offer and, in instances where I should have at least received an interview, only rejection notices, I challenged myself to consider possible barriers.
Obviously, my age could be one, but since I can’t do anything about that, I have decided not to worry about that unduly. It’s equally possible that I’ve been blackballed; I’ve not had a positive working relationship with either of the last publishers for whom I’ve worked.
Since I’ve been reading Stieg Larsson’s trilogy (“Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girls Who Played with Fire,” and “The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest”), the idea of being victimized by the system is appealing. Granted, I’ve long been aware of the benefits of being affluent (not something I’ve experienced) and well-connected (ditto). The opportunities and social networks inherent in those conditions open doors the rest of us struggle to enter with hard work and persistence. However, I’ve not felt especially handicapped by the dearth of those benefits. I’ve managed to get a college education, maintain employment (for the most part) and raise two children as a single parent. I have also managed to accomplish these things without harming others or becoming bitter as a result of the injustices I’ve experienced from time to time. I can live with that.
Because I can live with the consequences of the choices I’ve made, I’m not overly concerned about the possibility of being blackballed. I’ve more or less decided I want to get out of the newspaper industry, anyhow. I still enjoy talking to people and writing about it, but unless I’m working for someone who appreciates my skills (as the editor and publisher at the Capital Journal did), the business is more stressful than satisfying. I’m too old to live with stress day in and day out. Once upon a time, it challenged me. Now, it simply exhausts me.
After considering those things, I considered the third item on my list: presentation. No, I’m not talking about my physical appearance. I actually clean up fairly well and have several outfits which are professional in nature to wear to interviews. Rather, I’m talking about the aforementioned resume.
I didn’t even think about checking to see what is recommended these days when it comes to selling yourself, which is odd. In the past, researching resume styles has been part of my plan for seeking employment. I’ve put together chronological resumes and skill-based resumes. I’ve put together one-page resumes and two-page resumes. I’ve tailored my resume to jobs that interested me, and simply put together a single resume emphasizing my skills and experience that I’ve sent out with cover letters tailored to the jobs.
About the only thing consistent has been one guiding principle: keep it simple. That’s pretty much the way I live my life — simply. I am a creature of habit and create as much order in my life as possible. I tell myself I choose this approach because it allows me to be creative.
Gustave Flaubert, author of “Madame Bovary” (which I have never read), apparently wrote or said something to the effect of “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” The first translation I heard was “Be bourgeois in your life, so you can be daring in your work,” which I have to admit I like better, but it amounts to the same thing. Order, rather than stifling the imagination, releases it to create powerful work — in some medium.
Unfortunately, the order which I chose to structure my last resume has not released in my life the opportunity to unleash my skills in any way, not even in a boring manner. So, I now find myself faced with the rather depressing task of deconstructing my work experience in order to reconstruct something which will interest a potential employer. Lucky me.
At least, I’ve identified a problem I can tackle. It beats sitting around and wondering what’s wrong with me. Besides, it’s a new year, so I might as well be positive!