Friday, February 1, 2008

The Spice Rack and The Resume

Sharon, my lady love, and I were at dinner the other night talking, as we always do about our day and the coming weekend. So, this all makes sense. You need to know that Sharon is an executive recruiter. Before you start in with the jokes, yes, she's a head hunter and no, we don’t have any shrunken heads, although I'm willing to start a collection. Anyway, Sharon was talking about how, in her field, they look for the perfect resume for a client. Perfect resume? Like this actually exists! It seems what they should really be looking for is a resume with the perfect flaws.
We all have flaws on our resume; it’s like my spice cabinet. There are some great spices in there and when I open the door I am at once reminded of great memories of my grandmother. Her spice cabinet was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Although I am sure she would have said it’s a balance of triumphs and tragedies. There are spices that you purchase that are like career moves that you make with the best intentions. For one reason or another things didn't work out with the job, or the dish fell in like a soufflĂ© that came out too early. After the dust settles and the dishes are cleaned, you’re left with this resume flub or a tin of spice you don’t know what to do with. So, you put it up in the cabinet and move on. But, like a bitter taste, it occasionally bites back. In the end, you balance out your cabinet of spices and the old familiar scent returns. You move forward, still the reminder of the error is always there. When someone looks in they see the odd ingredient and make note. Much like an interviewer makes note of your career stumble.
I say cherish those reminders. That spice or that position was an invaluable experience. You learned what didn't work and you moved on. That knowledge led to the ability to not make the same mistake again; the ability to lead the march in a better direction. Will you make mistakes? Yes, but you won’t make the same one.
So, the next time someone asks you why you have this odd spice or the odd entry on your resume, just tell them that what they’re looking at is the history of exploration, which includes triumph and tragedy. It’s not the history that’s important; it’s the culmination of the experiences and what you've done with it.

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