Last week I was browsing through my WordPress Reader and came across something interesting from a blog I’ve recently started following: a personal narrative in the form of a “resume”; a growing up piece broken down into jobs and the experiences there. I’ve really become a sucker for personal narratives, especially when they’re engaging or have a unique format. Check out the original article here. This prompted me to take my own go:
Student: What can I say about my early education that wouldn’t be universal to most kids? I was excluded from playing house in kindergarten one day because there were already 4 kids at that station. I had a boyfriend in the 2nd grade, and he did things like try to protect me from the wind whipping up sand on the playground and get upset when I was too embarrassed to dance at the “junior prom” with him. My family moved, and I had to teach myself cursive. My new teacher told me that my writing was pathetic and that I should be ashamed.
The girls in middle school called me a fat cow and a whore. They are the ones set me on the path of hating my body, but once I was aware that I was expected to hate my body, the rest of the world reinforced it. There was the teacher who separated me from my class and pressed me back against a wall, and reached out to touch me, jerking his hand away when someone came around the corner.
Then there was the homeschooling, arguably the most informative of my years because I was left alone to process things for myself. I was homeschooled when I lost my religion, when I realized that history is always written by the winner, when I discovered that I am a feminist and when I broke my mother’s heart by not turning out to be the perfect little picture she had in her mind.
Learning Resource Center Student Worker, 16-18: When I first went looking for a job, all I found was waitressing. I would have been cool with trying it out, but my parents told me that if I start there, I’ll hinder myself later, always reverting back to something that can’t really support me. So instead the summer I started taking college classes, I found a student worker position at the college’s library. I talked with one of the librarians a lot, until, during a conversation about how my homeschooling was going, she called my mom a bitch. We avoided each other after that. I liked my boss, at least in the beginning. Towards the end, I got frustrated with her a lot, though most of that came from me realizing that the real world was hard work. When I told her I was quitting, about a year and a half later, I thought I was better than her because I was moving on and up and she was stuck in that stupid place. Definitely not my proudest moment.
Dean of Student Affairs Office Student Worker, 18-19: This job made me ridiculously happy. The workload was next to nothing, which allowed me to study and write and really feel productive. I wrote my first award winning essay sitting at this desk. I took care of a kitten for a day after he had taken a wild ride under the hood of someone’s car from home to the parking garage. His name is Turbo, and I hope he found a good home.
Advising Center Student Worker/Office Assistant, 19-20: If I could pick a job to go back to, it would be this one, even though almost everyone who was there has moved on. Working here I realized that I enjoy helping people in a one-on-one setting, and that my skin was (and still is) way too thin. There was one student who seemed to make up reasons to keep coming back to the office just so he could call me an idiot and demean me. He was so mean that Donna, the head of the advising center, pulled him aside and told him that if he didn’t respect her people he would be cut off from the services her office offered. One time I said something rude without realizing it and a student who had been asking for my help replied in kind before walking off to speak with my supervisor. A year or so after I left, the college designated funding to make the catch-all position I had held a full time one, and I was the only one they wanted for it. It killed me, but I had to turn it down. To this day, even though someone else has it, it’s still called “Whitney’s Job.”
Cashier, 20: Someone once told me that everyone ought to do two years in some kind of service/hospitality job, because once you’re in the position of serving others you’re less likely to be a dick later on. I always agreed with the sentiment, but two months was more than enough time to teach me this lesson. I still remember the interview. “Why do you want to work here?” *fake smile* “Well I just moved here, and I’m really interested in getting to know the town from the ground up.” I never could figure out how to process WICs and that resulted in more than one person telling me how inept I was. The experience that convinced me to quit was one horrible woman who came through my line after someone had put onions and melting ice cream on the belt, so it was wet and… flaky. She started piling her stuff onto the belt before the other woman’s stuff was gone, and then glared at me and made disgusted noises as she continued to unload her cart. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” She demanded. “Why didn’t you clean the belt?” The store was in a well-to-do area, and she must have thought herself so much better than me. Karma, right?
Service Desk Representative, 20-21: By some measures, this was my first “real” job. This is the job that I used to buy my first car, to pay rent on my first apartment. It also didn’t treat its employees much better than some grocery store shoppers treat their cashiers, and even though I felt I was pretty good at managing my responsibilities and getting things done, I was always marked in the system as being just above the firing line. Each of us lowly worker bees had a biweekly meeting with our supervisor where we listened to several of our calls and were critiqued, and if there were too many critiques after the one year mark, you wouldn’t get a raise. So of course, there were always too many critiques. One of the most memorable calls, I had tried to address a piece of equipment that I wasn’t technically trained on but that crossed with one of my areas. The temporary resolution I had given to the person was ultimately inaccurate, and my supervisor had pulled up the correct troubleshooting document to demonstrate to me how I was not “qualified enough to address this concern for them.” She then suggested that maybe someone should follow up with the location and see if they were still having the issue, to which I silently answered her, “Oh sure, but you’d better find someone qualified to do it.” Instead I smiled and asked if there was anything else we needed to address.
Universal Technical Analyst, 22 to 23: Of all the positions I’ve ever held, this one was both the hardest and the one where I shone the most. In training, I was sick to my stomach all day long – I hate phones, making and receiving phone calls, and even on my second call center job the environment still didn’t agree with me. Once I got over the learning curve, I kicked ass though. I moved quickly but thoroughly and consistently, and it wasn’t long before I was taking calls from every queue the department handled, my peers were coming to me for help with their calls, and I was training newbies. Even the one overbearing supervisor who took pleasure in leaning on my desk so he could tower over me and tell me to hang up on the crying woman on the other end of the line couldn’t take away my professional pride. And anyway, my own superviser appreciated me. When I gave my two weeks’ notice, she sent me an email. “You’re the kind of person we need here, someone who can identify problems and take steps to try and fix them.” She wrote. “We’re going to miss you.”
What should your resume really say?