This post is going to be snarky and snippy and written with a sneer, as I seem to have an attitude problem today. I might take it down later, but I might not. It all depends on whether or not my frame of mind improves.
I had to go to another outplacement session today. This one was on resume writing, and it was actually not bad, except for the presence of a fellow participant. This guy was a former creative director at some organization and he was downsized out of a job. The first indication that my nerves would suffer grievous injury at his hands was when he started to spread. His stuff was everywhere. His chair was everywhere. HE was everywhere. He leaned the chair back as far as it would go, until it was touching the conference room window, and then stretched his legs out as far as they would go, so that I, who was sitting next to him, was completely walled in. Then, he started with the questions.
You know, stupid questions don't bother me. I have no objection to a stupid question when it's asked in good faith because the asker actually needs the answer. I myself have asked an occasional stupid question. What I hate is stupid questions when it's clear that the asker fully knows the answers and he's asking the questions only to draw attention to himself, or to win public approval for asking such incisive, relevant, good questions.
Picture the setting: a very typical, very polished office suite, which includes a reception desk, a conference room with one wall consisting entirely of a huge window, a kitchen (with an awesome coffee machine), a mailroom, and some carrel-type workstations. The trainer tells us that our service includes free use of the workstations. OK, great, fine. Stretchy raises his hand. "Are those computers PCs or Macs?"
What do you think they are, dumbass? Yes, that's right, they're PCs, just like the computers in 9o% of the offices in the United States. "So. I guess you don't have InDesign available?" No. No InDesign. "OK", he says. "I have it at home, I just thought I'd check, just in case". Just in case of what? In case no one would get just by looking at you, and by noticing the use of the words "creative" and "design" in every single sentence you utter, that you're a wild, creative Mac guy and not a PC accountant type?
We're discussing which volunteer positions and community organizations are useful on a resume, and which are not. Here's Stretchy's next question (remember, he's seeking work as a Creative Director): "I've been a national board member for an arts organization. Is that appropriate?" Why yes, Stretchy! It IS appropriate! Isn't that a surprising and unexpected answer to that question? And do tell us more about your artistic creativity!
Now we're just discussing general principles. The obvious stuff: Spelling counts. If you don't know the difference between "which one?" and the witch who flies on a broom, spell check will not help you. Don't have a dumbass email address. Use a font that's easy to read. Blah. blah. blah. "This is so scary", says Stretchy. "I'm not used to dealing with corporate types" (yes, he seriously said that, in a room full of people of whom 80% might have been described as corporate types) "I'm just used to doing things in a more (fill in the adjective here) way".
Really? That is an astonishly original worldview, Stretchy. "Corporate types" are stiflingly conservative and complacent and conformist! Only "creative" people can hold on to their integrity, their joie de vivre, their very selves. It's you against all the men and women in the Grey Flannel Suits, who have sold their souls to The Man. Stay strong, Stretchy. Don't sell out, dude.
(I told you this would be snarky.)