Underneath the Resume!

Accountability Authenticity Management


Key Point: Have you been “let go” from your job? Ok, I mean fired. I don’t necessarily mean for “cause.” Actually, “just cause” dismissals are not that common (unless egregious) because even when managers think they have a case, organizations don’t want a big “dust up” and often prefer just to pay (as little as possible) to make someone exit. Smaller organizations often use the cover of dismissal “for cause” to avoid a payout, because they can get away with it and/or employees are somewhat defenseless. The most common way people get “let go” includes a continuum of possibilities. People find themselves transferred, given a “new challenge,” and so on. On the other hand, employees often “fire themselves.” They end up at odds with their leader and/or the organization, and leave for something else. The process is different and the outcome is the same. The very worst situation is when people quit on the job. They try to blend with the wall paint, often in prolonged career misery.

I chuckle a bit when I review the resumes of top, highly touted executives. They look pristine. It’s like “wow… This person is perfect, a blemish free superstar.” Of course, when you dig deep enough, you find out that’s not the case. Almost every time I explore why someone left for something else there is “more to the story.” So whoever big shot VP or CEO you work for, there is likely a time or two underneath the words of his/her resume where things didn’t go or end well. When they look in the mirror, they know the real truth. And here is the best part from my perspective; I don’t want anyone working for me that hasn’t had to overcome failure or mistakes. Why? It’s inevitable. If you’re trying to advance or improve, you will scrape your knees and elbows. How else does one really learn? You only trip when you’re moving, as the saying goes.

In my opinion, resume discussions really suck when the person pretends something else and uses career spin “make up,” aka the lipstick on a pig approach to career history. So you screwed up or things didn’t go as planned? Set yourself free by accepting, learning, moving forward and recognizing you are not alone. Resumes and the stories people tell at family gatherings are like a Facebook or Instagram page: Every situation is all smiles, and everyone is at the beach. Yet we know, underneath that page is real life and the messy rawness it serves up.

Character Moves:

  1. Success definition has to come from the inside out. Minimize attaching yourself to a role or a career track you create in your mind. It’s likely not going to work out that way. Dr. Peter Jensen, a sports psychologist, tells Olympians “if you weren’t good enough before the gold medal, you won’t be good enough after you win it either.”
  2. Try not to compare yourself to anyone else’s career ride. They are not you, and try not to judge yourself accordingly. Trust me, where they are in their journey will have a wonderful combination of ups and downs. Without minimizing smarts and hard work, factors like timing, luck, etc. are all relevant too. Every situation is unique.
  3. Define your purpose, live by deeply held values, try and work at what you’re good at, like to do and deliver something of value for others you care about… Then, accept that you WILL enter and exit multiple times… You and everyone else.

Under the resume in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: This is refreshing to hear. We technically know that no one is perfect, but it seems like a ton of people can’t wait to throw those first stones as soon as they get the opportunity to. No one likes screwing up, but for me, I know the minute I’m stressing about perfection is probably when I’m going to make that nightmare typo where I publish a news story with a title referring to George Clooney’s wife, Amal, as “Anal Clooney.” It hasn’t happened yet, but don’t put it past me.

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis