Thursday, April 18, 2013

Writing my Résumé

I've felt a little hindered lately in what I post here. I just removed a downright angry post from over a year ago, and I find myself wanting to blog, but feeling a bit imaginatively constipated (with a few exceptions).

For one, my life is "frittered away by detail" right now. Simplify? There is not much to be done unless I start preparing frozen dinners. Get help? I have some help, but life is full of the types of details most of the world would envy: Too much grading (because I am employed), trips to the bank (to pay the landscapers), dental appointments (because we have insurance), job search (because my spouse's new company is becoming successful and it's time to move there), attending to my children (because they are bright, curious, energetic, imaginative, intense and industrious--and they love me), cleaning the house (because it is so cozy and cute when we keep it tidy, and also free of stink) and tending to the doggie (because we are lucky to have Rox. She's just, as G would say, Haa-Hooooo.)

For another reason, every time I go to write anything online lately, I find myself thinking: "if a potential employer reads this, would it increase or decrease my chances of being hired?" And even though I don't share everything on my blog, the thought that, in effect, I am always writing my résumé stunts me. Ugh.

Having recently lived through our district's "professional boundaries" training where I learned that there is a lot of grey area but a word of warning about what we post online publicly, even though I do not believe there is anything on my blog that I regret putting there, and even though we were led to believe that the grey area is there so that we don't all become rulebound automatons, the grey area also leaves us vulnerable to painful trials should someone in the community feel uncomfortable with something I've posted. I really begin to ponder whether teachers who value their careers can truly exercise freedom of expression outside the classroom. Like politicians, or like back in the days of the small-town school, the teacher's public activities now become, to a certain extent, circumscribed by the school community.

What about art and poetry-- things adults create that might not be created to distribute amongst their students? We may not see any negative repercussions ever, but are we really free to express ourselves? Everything can become widely public in the fake click of a smartphone camera. In reality, our students are actually more free than we are to express themselves and critique the system. I hear them doing it as soon as they walk out the door of my classroom.

Perhaps these reflections don't illuminate anything, and managing a public identity is what any professional adult might face. These are just initial thoughts on the matter, anyhow. At the heart of the issue is that I need to do more writing that is just for me and my own growth and satisfaction. I do that often, but I must admit that for me, part of the satisfaction is knowing that someone somewhere read it or might read it, and that's where the head games begin.


  1. I always encourage the young to speak their minds most forcibly because, even though they often lack any significant wisdom (which I don't mention to them), they have the most to win and the least to lose, and their visions will make the future whether I will inhabit it or not.

    It's easy to forget that political correctness is not conventional wisdom but only contemporary wisdom which seldom survives the current decade.

    All the blather about fearing the power of one's own ill-considered words posted online today that come back to bite one's proverbial biscuit tomorrow ignores the facts that (1) tomorrow's hiring HR specialists are today's pea-brained Tweeters, and (2) if they don't hire anyone who's ever posted some cockamamie thing or other, there will be no one to do any work at all.

    Your lifetime is a resource to be expended. Don't be foolish, but by no means should you pull your punches, lest you get to the end of your life and discover you've been a most reliable cog in a machine in which you disbelieve. What's the point in that?

    1. You know, I really really agree with you on this one... in my idealistic moments. And yet, how will I be able to help young people gain the confidence to do so if I myself am unemployed? Today's Tweeters may be tomorrow's HR specialists, but who knows who today's are, or who today's principals are. Some are open to internet Perestroika or whatever you want to call the stream of fluid, dynamic identities that are the myriad roles, both wise and myopic, that we "all" play online; others really do not have an understanding of the ephemeral nature of the thought process on, say, Twitter and other social media, but do understand the permanence of the digital footprint.

      But then, really I am not normally very paranoid about this kind of thing. It's just the job search bringing it on. Beyond that, though, the issue of identity in general arises whenever I go about something like this. I know what I try to be. I know I fail most of the time. I know that is probably true for most people. I also know that what I do accomplish is respectable, and that "At last, nothing is sacred but the integrity of one's own mind." If only we could have the wisdom to recognize integrity when we experience it. Emerson, all those wacky Transcendentalists, seem to acknowledge the necessity of accepting that with personal growth and learning will come self-contradictions, inconsistencies and unsatisfactory conclusions.

  2. So true. When I first started teaching, our principal said the rule was you were a teacher any time you were within five miles of our school. Now there is no boundary because our virtual community is ubiquitous. It's both freeing and limiting at the same time.

    1. *sigh* I suspected as much.

      Right now my cardinal rule is to not post anything under a pseudonym. I figure that at least if I am identifying myself, hopefully I won't do anything too obscene.


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