It must have been an age ago that I last updated my CV – even my name retains its maiden form. So much information is now redundant (how apt) from its most recent incarnation (think nationality, marital status and DoB – all contentious additions) and useless padding in the form of trivial university achievements. I have a sneaking suspicion that any future employer cares not a jot about that book scholarship I garnered way back when; nor will any future job prospects be affected either way by the fact that I was a member of a novice rowing crew (until it was discovered after a term that I couldn’t actually swim and was therefore a liability).
A CV is a miniature DIY ‘This is your Life’ – not significant enough to warrant the presence of Michael Aspel himself and certainly no need for his red book – a sheet of A4 will suffice. I look back on my lifetime achievements with a distinct sense of ‘is that all?’ The condensed contents of my life so far, stripping out the superfluous trivia, are barely enough to cover a single side of A4 (though in fairness I have used quite a small font). Worse still, most of what is on the page consists of just standard résumé--type text, eg contact details and lists detailing every educational establishment ever set foot in, just in case anyone should want to corroborate any suspected inflated truths.
Just to clarify, there are no untruths or even half-truths on the concrete subject of my CV qualifications; the only stretched truths were always restricted to the ‘hobbies and extramural activities section’ and nearly always included a love of travel and team sports – which is true if you classify being holed up in a spa hotel for a week as travel and aerobics as a team sport (lots of people all aerobicising in sync with each other has to count). So it begs the question, what have I been doing with my life?
I’d like to say that the meagreness of my professional life is counterbalanced by a full and substantial social life but that would be an exaggeration of the truth – and just like with my CV, I’m too old for that sort of behaviour. I can only conclude that the past decade has been so plagued with the daily toil of repetition that few words are required to sum it up. In the same way, if I were forced to summarise my most recent year in bullet points, I’d be hard pushed to fill more than a few paragraphs, despite the seeming endless uphill struggle and continual baby battles.
This is the first time my CV is going to show unaccounted-for time; no employer to attribute it to and no synopsis of my role and achievements required. For certain, this gaping hole will attract a degree of attention and speculation in future years of jobs hunting. I haven’t quite decided whether to take the pity angle of having been made redundant or the selfless angle of taking a career break for family considerations – I sincerely doubt either will be particularly novel deal breakers.
Either way, I sense that the longer this time-out lasts, the more difficult it will be to dig myself out of this jobless hole. Then in another ten years, will I be looking back at my CV and be even more disappointed that my life, according to this script, stopped here? No record of any further noteworthy achievements beyond this point. A thoroughly bleak thought for a Friday 13th.
There is, however, one great thing about having my first break in my CV and that is I won’t have to undergo the chore of semi-annual appraisals. Then again, my harshest critic of all is still very much at large even without a David Brent in my life and that would be me.