A while ago I blogged about my annoyance with how the humble old CV is now a document of such embellishment and hyperbole that you almost feel like you have to do the same to stand a chance in the job market. In the end, regrettably, I did do the same by putting things on my CV that had no right to be there.
There were a few factors that led me to do something that in actual fact I’m ashamed of. One of these was seeing the CV of a friend of mine who I had previously worked with and whose entire work history I know fully. Imagine my surprise then to see a CV that in all honesty placed him years ahead of me in terms of experience and aptitude in a particular sector, and also to have this backed up by the fact that he had someone that would legitimately provide a reference to back this up.
I was a little annoyed and took the attitude of if you can’t beat them join them and rewrote my own CV and secured my own reference. This was before I took the biggest step of being completely open about my problems but in any case, instead of throwing myself into the job market and attempting to reap the rewards of my re-jigged CV, I ended up retreating into my shell, unable and unwilling to sell myself off the back of even the merest of falsehoods.
You see, one of the biggest motivational things that became abundantly clear when I started my journey (in time I’ll write about the things I both did and tried to regain control of my life) back from the worst part of my depression, was the thought that one day I would get to a point where I would be strong enough to openly admit to people my experiences and struggle with depression. To me it represented great power, in that I wouldn’t have to put up an act anymore, I could be open, honest and at peace.
So you see, my revised CV and my personal growth were incompatible. One of the great things that has occurred on this journey, is the re-emergence of qualities and traits that I had either lost, or else had only glimpsed and grasped fleetingly and briefly over the past few years. Things like integrity, honesty, respect, compassion, love for myself and for other people. And alongside this, the fact that I value my intelligence and my natural work ethic.
With all of that being said, I’m not going to go ahead and claim experience, jobs and achievements I haven’t earned. I’m also not going to deny or lie about why for a few years my life stalled. Everything that has happened is a part of my own personal story. Again it comes back to acceptance and ownership. I’ll work my way into employment and I’ll earn the right to have a job that I enjoy. I’ll do it by demonstrating what I’m capable of and if that means placements or volunteering for a while then so be it.
As a simple critique of CVs and the propensity of many to tell varying degrees of fibs on them, you might simply dismiss this as taking it a little too seriously. But, placed in a proper context, I think this feeds into something far more important, and is something that isn’t bounded by my experience of depression, but instead readily applies to a wider social narrative, and that is who you are, what you stand for, and what you allow to represent you, is exceptionally important.