Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mom and the Swiss Cheese Resume

Editor's note: This essay was written seven years ago, but it seems very timely, considering I'm in the midst of a job hunt once again.

The end of August has arrived! The kids are all tuck away comfy-cozy in their nice little school rooms, and Mom at last has the run of the house between the hours of nine and three. It's enough to make a grown writer cry, particularly after a long summer of noise, noise, heat, humidity, bored and cranky children, heat, humidity and more noise. (Did I forget to mention the noise? I thought so.)

Writers are prone to depression brought on by noise and constant interruptions, like children screaming, "She's touching me--again!" and "Why can't I eat cereal for both breakfast and lunch three days in a row?" and the classic, "Oops! Is this thing I broke something important?" Although Mom doesn't really like to admit this, the opening of school while bittersweet for the under eighteen set, brings her much welcomed mental relief.

Fall also gives Mom time to pause and reflect on the other aspects of her life such as her business persona, and how much she really would love to have an agent to sell her novels for her. It also brings about opportunities for Mom to foray out into the "Real World" (as opposed to the TV show, which isn't) sans children and put out her resume in order to dredge up some more "paying gigs" for herself.

In the past this type of activity gave Mom waking nightmares, as the long, cold and impersonal pages of your typical job application are very intimidating--

Give graduation date? Yes, I finished high school but do I have to say when? Elementary schools attended? Sheesh! I can barely remember college as it is...

Briefly explain gaps in my work history? That's simple-- "Two kids." Enough said.

Birthdate and medical history? Be real! I can sue you for that privileged information. Next thing you'll want to know is my actual weight and height without high heels...

But lately, Mom has utilized her creative writing abilities and taken on the problems of the "Swiss cheese resume" with much verve and enthusiasm. Mom the writer can fill in the daunting holes without even batting an eyelash. After all, this is one area that writers excelled in--elaboration:

For example:

This period of time away from the regular workforce is easily explained. You see, it was during this time I was working hard on composing the "Great American Novel." I was exploiting this gap between regularly paying jobs to observe the culture and rituals of the "Great American Family" up close, in order to capture it faithfully in words for the "Great American Public." Although this opus has yet to see the light of print, all relevant research is thoroughly cataloged in several photo albums and scrapbooks and has proven itself most advantageous in writing short articles and essays about said "Great American Family."

List your employers for the last five years: The editors of numerous periodical publications and a couple of book publishers. Did you quit any job? No, not until I got them to pay what was owed me. May we contact your former employers? Sure. I'm still on good speaking terms with most of them--except the ones who never paid up.

What do you feel are your best work-related skills? Written, verbal and non-verbal communication, an eye for detail, and the ability to type 100 wpm when the kids are happily occupied with their Barbies in the basement playroom.

So you see, the "Swiss cheese resume" no longer holds any fear for Mom the Writer. And, it tastes excellent melted under the broiler on wheat bread with a dab of brown mustard, too.

Copyright © 2000 and 2007 by Cindy Appel, all rights reserved.

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