the tamago report

Eggs benedictated

Tag: jobs

A SHORT STORY ABOUT MARRIAGE.

by MDY

I got married to a kraken yesterday. People often ask me if it’s a case of opposites attract – I work in HR, he sinks pirate ships and terrorises coastal towns – but you don’t fall in love with someone just because of who they are or aren’t. When he wraps his tentacles around me I feel so safe, like the world could tumble down and I wouldn’t have to know. We’ve already picked out our new place, a little cottage by the sea. He wants to call it Atlantis. He’s silly like that.

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A SHORT STORY ABOUT LIFE CHOICES.

by MDY

Our graduation ceremony was held in the Big Hall on a tepid summer’s day. The mothers cried and the fathers tried not to as the Headmaster told us that in front of us stretched a brocade of untrammelled possibilities upon which we could walk, run, or eschew altogether for unworn paths of our own choosing. Next to me, I could see Alvin M. looking up “untrammelled” on his phone. We mingled for the last time on the vestibule outside the hall, ties askew as we ribbed our teachers (“yeah Sir, cool tie!”) and discussed summer plans and generally steered clear of our tearful and increasingly maudlin parents. All the boys were going out for dinners and movies and under-age clubbing that night, but I felt this restlessness in my gut and besides I hadn’t been invited by any of them anyway, so after dusk I took Dad’s car and drove out to the spot in the mountains where no trees grow. The hawk and the jihadist’s ghost were playing sic bo with ivory dice on the stump of the thousand-year oak.

“I’m just saying poker is a far better test of skill,” the jihadist’s ghost was saying.

“And how am I going to hold my cards?” asked the hawk. “Get the bear to embroider them into my feathers, is it? Hey, want to take old Assad’s place? He’s getting all radical on me.”

“No thanks, guys,” I told them, sitting down with my back to the stump. “I’m just a bit out of sorts today, that’s all.”

“You okay, man?” the jihadist’s ghost asked. “I can give the phoenix a yell if you’d like.”

“It’s cool,” I said. “I just had my graduation today, is all. And everyone seems so happy and excited but I can’t help thinking that it’s like a little death, you know? Not knowing what comes on the other side. I have to pick my university, courses, all of that – it’s like character selection in Kingdom Hearts except there’s no save point to go back to.”

“Did you know I used to be the CEO of one of Japan’s largest telecommunications companies?” the hawk said. “No, shut up, Osama, he obviously hasn’t and it’s very relevant to him. Now, after university I bummed around for ages, just playing video games and hunting pigeons and all that. I tried applying for some jobs, of course, but it just didn’t work out, and I kind of just gave up after the 52nd rejection letter. One day, my friend tells me there’s an opening in the mailroom where he works, and I manage to make it to my interview and end up getting hired. 25 years later, I’m sitting in the chair opposite the one in which I got interviewed, looking at a photo of old Junichiro-sama on the wall, and I suddenly have this epiphany, that there’s nothing more I can or want to do to serve my empire. So I smash my window and turn into a hawk and fly away.”

“Is there a moral to that story?” asked the jihadist’s ghost.

“Hey, patience, Bomber al-Bashir. What I’m saying, friend, is…well, I’m not going to say Do what you want, because you probably don’t know what that is and if you’re anything like me or 92 percent of the general population, you probably never really will. You should find something that interests you, but don’t let it define you. I think just do whatever, and remember that what you do is only who you are if you let it be.”

I looked at the jihadist’s ghost.

“Don’t look at me, man,” he said. “I waged war on infidels like you for the promise of an eternal caliphate, and look where I ended up. If you see any sexy Persian sprites, send them this way, will you?”

That night, I laid out my course preference form on my table, closed my eyes, and placed a dot on the page with my fountain pen. It fell next to Mechatronic Engineering. I looked it up on Wikipedia and it sounded like a pretty okay choice.

Tips for a Healthier CV: Get Trim and Sexy

by MDY

I actually love reviewing CVs. They help me learn more about the people I know, and more often than not I emerge from my editing-cave with a new degree for the person and their accomplishments. And blood on my fingers. Sometimes plasma. There’s a reason why I lock the cave.

That’s because most of these CVs also require immediate surgery. Superficial surgery usually, not the sort where you have to play jigsaw with the patient’s internal organs. But surgery nevertheless, and rather bloody surgery too. So to avoid having to send your little collection of achievements off to my operating theatre (or at least minimise the amount of slashing and burning sutures and cauterisation involved), I’ve put together some tips to help you…perform some DIY surgery?

Let’s think about what a CV needs to do. Most basic thing: give the reader a reasonable impression of who you are, at least from a professional standpoint. A healthy CV will also reflect well on your character and demonstrate to any potential employers that you can get the job done. I think of a CV as similar to a self-portrait, albeit one with a smarmy grin and tendency to scream “KEEP LOOKING AT ME BECAUSE I MIGHT DO SOMETHING AMAZING”. And a top hat. But yours might not have one. It’s a matter of taste, really.

Now the best way to give the reader an impression of who you are is to list everything you’ve done. Except that’s not an impression, it’s a diary. Which leads me to

IMPORTANT THING #1: Only include what matters.

Rule of thumb here is to include only things which

  1. Relate (preferably directly) to the job at hand, or
  2. Describe you as a unique human being.

Try to think strategically, not rigidly. Your experience as a bartender may seem to have nothing in common with applying for a sales role, for example – but many of the underlying skills in both jobs (being able to establish rapport with strangers, identify often-unclear customer requirements, clean up vomit) are very similar. Your CV should make it clear how each position listed is relevant to how you go about the job you’re applying for: instead of just describing what you did in the role, describe what skills you used and what you learnt. Instead of

Retail assistant: Manned counter. Cleaned up the shop. Got bitched at.

Try

Front-line retail salesperson: Earned a reputation amongst customers for friendly and informative service . Managed store logistics before and after-hours. Learnt to handle complaints with tact.

The second example says what the first does, but in a more constructive way. It highlights your achievements in the role (being known for good service) while also suggesting you have good organisational skills and can take flak without crying. All useful attributes in any role. However, the first example’s brevity and dry humour could endear you at more new-age organisations. All depends on your target, right?

And please, please don’t list your myriad schooling and extra-curricular achievements unless they’re blatantly relevant. Nobody cares that you were Basketball Vice-Captain ’08 or Secretary of the French Society – except perhaps if you’re applying to the NBA or one of the grandes écoles. The only thing from your schooling days which you might want to include is your final grade, and only if it’s impressive. Asterisks need not apply.

IMPORTANT THING #2: Get personal

Inject a bit of yourself into your CV. Talk a bit (but not too much) about things like:

  1. Hobbies (eg sports, crotchet, saving the universe)
  2. Interests (history, pole dancers, quantum physics)
  3. Unusual facts about yourself (owns a vintage Aston Martin, has no eyebrows, writes a blog)

One of my friends puts in his CV that his interests include singing, squash and Haruki Murakami. Mine mentions that I used to be a national percussion champion and currently work as a part-time character assassin. Keep the focus on your professional competencies, of course – but don’t forget that employers want to know who you are as a person too. Preferably one whose personal attribute mesh well with their corporate culture. That’s why they stalk your Facebook.

To summarise: make yourself sound good, both as a worker and a person. Keep your CV trim – don’t let it get morbidly obese.

Stay tuned for more healthy CV tips on Friday! Keep read/writing,

MDY