Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

References provided when hell freezes over

I had a large corporate client ask for my resume today. Which I suppose wouldn't be too silly, except for the fact that it was client I had been working for for the last three years, and the particular project in question was already 90% complete. Evidently a project manager needs to cover his posterior, to make sure no one can blame him if something goes wrong and they later decide I was unqualified for the job.

I have a bristly relationship with my resume. It's been at least ten years since anyone asked me for a resume and had a good reason to do so. A resume should get you your first job in a field, but if you need a resume to get any job after that, you either don't know enough people or you haven't accumulated enough of a portfolio to demonstrate what you're capable of. So it always feels mildly insulting when someone asks for it. Does anyone ask Dr. Phil for his CV?

I have been working in the software business for the last nine years, and interestingly, almost nobody asks me about my credentials. I can usually convince people in about ten minutes that I know what I'm doing, just by the questions I ask them. But what's more interesting is the credentials that they assume I have. Everyone assumes that I must have a degree in computer science, and that I must have several certifications of some kind. It's very rare that someone guesses the truth: I'm a ex-scientist and completely self-taught hack. I never took a computer class in my entire life, unless you count a Pascal class in high school, and that was long before I got in touch with my inner geek.

Hence, the intense superiority-inferiority complex about my resume. Even though I'm very good at what I do, I have to worry that some bureaucrat who doesn't know his ASP from a hole in the ground is going to look at my CV and think that I'm somehow deficient because I don't have "the proper education." Why don't I have my MCSE, you ask? I never needed it.


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