Deliberate Delusion Strikes Again!

There was a job I was really stoked on a few weeks back that I applied for and didn’t get. Then an internship that seemed even more awesome and suited to me came along. I applied for that and didn’t get it either. (Now there’s another position that seems even better suited to me that I’m applying for…I’ll have to let you know how that one turns out.)

What’s been most interesting is my reaction to this series of events:
Excitement. No offer. Bummed, but not for long.
Curiosity.
New posting.
Excitement. No offer. Bummed, but not for long.
Curiosity.
New posting.
Excitement.

And I realize that the key thing that supports my optimism is harnessing the power of deliberate delusion. That is: I choose to think that better things must be in the works for me even in the absence of “evidence” that this is the case (or in the face of “evidence” that builds a contrary case, like not getting 2 positions in a row).

I think that if those past positions truly held the personal and professional lessons I need to learn at this time and allowed me to use my talents to meet the needs of other people’s projects, I’d have gotten them. Not having gotten them, I choose believe that there is a better fit, and it must be on the way.

Deliberate delusion gives me hope, optimism, wonder, and peace of mind. It means expecting the best, even in the face of what seems like the worse (or even the less than ideal). It allows me to react with curiosity instead of negativity:

Hmmm, that’s strange. I really thought that job was it. I guess not since it didn’t happen. I wonder what it is and when we’ll find each other.

Rumi says, “What you seek is seeking you.” And who can argue with a Sufi mystic?

One last thing: The lesson here isn’t about finding “truth,” it’s about finding perspective.

You might say, “But it’s true I feel pessimistic. That was the perfect job.”
And I might ask, “What is also true?” (I ask myself this a lot when in need of a shift in perspective.) And if I put you to the task of listing all the good things in your life and dwelling in those to get some good feelings rolling, might you also feel a shift? Truly?

And once you’ve gotten a good look at all the things that are true, good, bad and otherwise, I might ask you one last question: Which would you most like to grow? Because putting our attention on any thought or feeling is like watering a seed. Be deliberate about what you cultivate and what you eradicate.

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Introducing The IMAGINATOR

xray goggles by photobunny

 Quick review from my last post:

In the Human-Centered Resume, WHO, WHY and HOW are the 3 KINGS.

The message is:
WHO I am as a person, WHY I chose my past experiences, and HOW I went about doing them drives WHAT I’ve done, WHERE I did it and WHEN I did it. Therefore WHO, WHY and HOW are the best indicators of my ability to succeed in the job I’m applying for.

Then I left you hanging with this suspenseful phrase: The resume itself looks like:

Drum roll please…..

CONSTRUCTS ( aka SUPERPOWERS)
GENERAL DESCRIPTION
EXAMPLES:
Short (one line)
Story based
Tie in with previous employment AND non-employment experiences

The first construct/superpower I’ve developed for my personal resume is “The Imaginator.”

The IMAGINATOR:

Never content to do something the conventional way if a better way is possible, the Imaginator always has an eye to possibilities.

When empowered in my workplace, I also have the efficacy to make improvements and experiment to help already awesome organizations spiral toward even more greatness.

As the Imaginator, I improved the line for more efficient and ergonomic short order cooking for two seasons at Stanley Baking Company. Ask the manager Becky about this; she was game to try nearly every suggestion I put forth. I also executed a number of wild lesson plans as a Teaching Assistant in the Sociology department at UMass Amherst to increase student engagement. Imagining a brave new life, I’ve lived in a new location every six months for the past 5 years.

Woah, Woah, Woah. What Just Happened There, Mary?!

Notice how I gave some job history/experience information, a tie in to a reference, and demonstrated how this superpower works in two vastly different work situations.

One reason I wanted to create this kind of resume is because I’m transitioning out of my “career” as a seasonal line-cook and into any kind of work that nourishes my mind, body, and soul.

Housing my variety of experiences under a construct/superpower is so empowering for me because I’m a Meaning Maker (it’s another superpower). I see continuity in my life where others see chaos and skills-based resumes represent my life as disjointed and confusing to employers.

Wait she was a Teaching and Research Assistant for two years at a top university and then she worked for free at a Buddhist center and then became a line cook working in a town I’ve never heard of in the-middle-of-nowhere Idaho?

Actually, yes. That’s my life. And it may well be yours, too. Bold folks do weird things, ya know?

Keep In Mind

This is what I wrote off-the-cuff without a specific job posting/position in mind.

My vision for the Human-Centered Resume is to tell relevant, short, simple stories that illustrate things at the intersection of:
· Deep personal resonance in terms of illustrating who we are as gifted and capable humans
· Deep resonance for employers in terms of our ability to rock their world by meeting eligibility requirements and then some

Value-added at every turn and completely in the realm of “show not tell.”

I am from The Show Me State after all.

As I play with this more I also want to make it visual. For example, “The Imaginator” would be represented with a symbol (e.g. imaginator x-ray goggles). I’ve just begun exploring how the visual element can be incorporated, but I love the idea of images and words dancing together on a page.

My ask:
I’d love your feedback on the concept I’ve presented here. What, if anything, gave you an “aha” moment? What, if anything, made your brow furrow in skepticism? How can I make this better or present the idea better?

Compassion-fueled feedback is welcome; be aware this is rough and I am tender.

Contact me here.

Photo Credit: photobunny

Human-Centered Resumes (are the way of the future!)

Since I attended StartingBloc mid-February, I’ve been full of excitement, ideas, and energy. One major benefit of attending SB is that I got some perspective on a personal blind spot. I was among a group of 100+ do-ers n’ entrepreneurs.

Though I think of myself as more of a be-er than a do-er, the blind spot that I got some insight into was my own ideas —> action gap. Sometimes I have “good” ideas but they seem “minor,” so instead of taking them seriously and pursuing them, I just dream up more ideas. Having some insight into this blind spot has piqued my curiosity about what would happened if I fully explored even one of these “good” ideas.

Follow thru, baby.

To make this all more concrete…

I’ve had numerous conversations with folks in the past several months about the process of applying for jobs, constructing resumes, writing cover letters and interviewing. I’m (f)unemployed and so are a number of folks I know so these kinds of conversations surface frequently.

In all my conversations about the job-hunting process, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I love it. I wish I could be a professional job applicant. Chronological resumes make my heart sing!”

I myself may have used a couple expletives in expressing my views on the topic. My frustration has fueled what I’m now calling The Human-Centered Resume project.

It’s part of my practice of harnessing the power of “negative” energy and channeling it into building something better which, along the way, converts the “negative” quality into a “positive” one. It also shines the light on my blind-spot.

Bi-product: Happier Mary. Happier world.

So this:
“I f*&%ing hate searching for jobs. It’s so $#%&ing frustrating to make a resume that reflects who I am.” (Full disclosure: I was stuck in this thought process for about two months.)

Became this:
What would a swoon-worthy resume and job-hunting process look like? Why am I so irked by the current process? Considering those irksome properties, how can I build something better that eliminates them?

Then I actually started to build it… The Human-Centered Resume was born.

Let’s start by examining the logic of the current resume model:

The Skills-Based Chronological Resume.

It treats WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE as the 3 KINGS.

The message is:
WHAT I’ve done in the past, WHEN I did it , and WHERE I did it are the best indicators of my ability to succeed in the position I’m applying for.

On the resume itself, this looks like:
A description of duties in previous positions and/or professional titles (WHAT)
Displayed in reverse chronological order, showing “progression” in career (WHEN)
Headed up by the name of the organization & the physical location (WHERE)

Here comes the irksome part.

WHO I am as person, WHY I chose to do the the things on my resume, and HOW I went about doing them is:

a) considered irrelevant and ignored
b) matters (at least a little) and is assumed to be reasonably well derived from looking at the 3 KINGS
or
c) we’ll figure it out if we decide to interview or hire you whether we want to or not (e.g. Damn, that guy’s got a a major anger problem. His work is brilliant but it sucks working with him. Who knew?!)

Taken alone I was irked that the WHO, WHY and HOW are exiled from the resume kingdom by the 3 KINGS. So my frustration was compounded when I realized that the resume-exchange and hiring process are but a microcosm of (and entry point into) the whole dehumanizing* system of workplace organizations.

Build a Better System AKA (to SB LA ’13-ers) “Show ’em the clean glass of water!”

In the Human-Centered Resume, WHO, WHY and HOW are the 3 KINGS.

The message is:
WHO I am as a person, WHY I chose my past experiences, and HOW I went about doing them drives WHAT I’ve done, WHERE I did it and WHEN I did it. Therefore WHO, WHY and HOW are the best indicators of my ability to succeed in the job I’m applying for.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison.

P1040290

On the resume itself this look like:
STAY TUNED! The next post will reveal the secrets of Human-Centered Resumes. They really are the way of the future, folks.

*My intention in using the word “dehumanizing” isn’t to trigger ya. I mean it as literally as possible. We are literally reduced, in our resumes, to skill sets, past experiences, dates, titles, etc.  I think that even in the least human-friendly organizations there are elements of humanism, but on the whole organizations (especially large ones) take on a bureaucratic tone and are essentially dehumanizing. Read some Max Weber.