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Double Dog Dares for 2010

So – you’ve found God, learned how conjure stress-free imagery, and have actually laced up your running shoes (while sitting on the couch). 2010 is going to be cake!

Yeah, right.

My friend, thecommich hates to be the bearer of bad news. But change is long term, goes through ups and waaaay downs, and is only generally measurable with weeks or months after. It’s one thing to notice that you’re eating less today  – you only get to pat yourself on the back next next  Tuesday when your arch-nemesis from Sales snarkily tells you your jeans look baggy.

How many other things, do you ask, must I change til I reach enlightenment/happiness/millions of dollars/the cover of Time Magazine? Many things, young Paduan. I can’t tell you which ones are more important, but I can dare you – DOUBLE DOG dare you – to do the following in the last weeks of this old, worn-out year:

1) I dare you to Change Your Resume. 

Not “polish up” or “update” – CHANGE.  In case you haven’t noticed, trends in technology and design have shifted the job field to people who are proficient at social networking and/or present themselves as modern, in-the-know types who can quote Sartre and Seth Godin in the same breath.

Take a look at your resume. Is it still in Times New Roman 12-pt, from the Microsoft Office template you used 10 years ago? Have you changed your strengths and objectives in the last 5 years? Most importantly, have you added on new skills (not just positions) that you have acquired over the years?

If the answer to above is yes, no, and no…. Ninja, please.

I also notice that when people send me their resumes (thecommich is proud of her reputation as a “resume shaper-upper”), many people seem not to care that their last gig as a marketing assistant is right next to the gig they did the year before that, performing for kids at a non-profit puppet show. Or that their musician credentials bump up against their “sales associate at Verizon Wireless” experience.

Don’t be lazy – if you work in more than one industry (and at this point most of us have), have a separate resume for each field. I have a Media resume I send to TV, modeling and production opportunities and a Marketing one for, well, marketing.

Know which jobs are worth mentioning and which are not. The non-profit puppet show is great if you are still in the performance field, but doesn’t matter much to financial institutions where your fluency in Excel might be better advertised. Similarly, nix Verizon if you are trying for a job at the MoMA.

Also, now is the time to erase your home address and replace it with URLs of your Linked In address, your blog or your work sample website. Not on Linked In? Holy 2006! Get on there and start your profile! Get old bosses and co-workers to recommend you and PUT THE RECOMMENDATIONS ON YOUR RESUME. My resume entries read like the back of a novel – short and snappy synthesis, followed by glowing 1-sentence reviews. It seems to make a good impression.

Changing also means editing. It’s time to let go of the gold medal in soccer that you won in high school (unless of course you are applying for a PE coaching position). Ditto for your internship at your parent’s company when you were 21. HR people don’t need to see that you’ve been working your whole life, they need to see that the work you’ve done is VALUABLE to the company that hired you.

Lastly – remember the “toothpaste rule” (thanks again, @aliciakan!). ALL toothpastes help get rid of plaque, contribute to healthier gums, and freshen breath. It adds nothing to a toothpaste ad to tell the audience that that’s what they do. In the same way, ALL employees are expected to be hard working, resourceful team players with knowledge of Microsoft Office. Sooooooo…. why are those words in your resume?

2) I dare you to Say Something Controversial

If you are a product of Filipino society, you will have been programmed from birth to get along, be polite, and have little to no opinion in groups larger than 4 (Pinoys out there – how many times do you say “Up to you”  or  “Any” when you are with a group of people? Hmmmmm?). Having your own opinion is not just essential to adult living, it also points your compass to the things you really care about and the priorities you have in life.

Do you really not care where you eat tonight? Fine, let’s do sushi. But are you SERIOUSLY not fed up with health care being so expensive? Could you really care less about corruption in the government? Where do you stand on gay and lesbians being allowed to serve in the military? On gay marriage? On climate change?  On how good of a job your President is doing?

If these crazy times are going to change, we have to change the way we address them. I dare you to wear your opinions on your sleeve. You don’t have to put on a red bandana and get all Rambo with your views, but putting your passions to the fore may very well attract like-minded people and great opportunities for you to explore things you truly love. One of my favorite controversial-comment spouters, Carlos Garchitorena, actually formed a Facebook Group called “Who do I have to hump, bribe or kill to turn Makati into a Model City?” complete with criticisms of the current mayor and spirited arguments with various naysayers. Hello, balls.

(lest thecommich be labeled a hypocrite – I AM fed up about healthcare and support the public option, I think the Arroyo administration is driving the Philippines into the ground, gay people SHOULD be allowed to serve AND marry, climate change exists and we’re all screwed unless we move on it within the next 2 years, and Obama could be doing better on the Wall Street end, I can’t believe those bastards are still getting their bonuses this year).

**more double dog dares in the next post1