Walnuts

Walnuts

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The Resume I Wish I Could Send Out

Objective:  A paycheck. I’m not looking to find personal satisfaction through employment, I’m looking for money. The only thing of any value I’ve got to sell is my time, so I am willing to sell you around forty hours of it per week in order to eat and sleep under shelter, preferably in my own bed. On the other hand, I am getting pretty good at this hunting and gathering thing and I can build a surprisingly waterproof tent out of three trash bags and some duct tape.

Work Experience:

Grad School:

I had do both field and library research and write a book, all while I taught classes, acted as a personal assistant to my advisor, travelled to international conferences and gave presentations to people who have been knighted by the Queen of England, took skills workshops, mentored undergraduates, did a lot of pointless paperwork, took comprehensive exams and defended my work to a panel of world experts. I also worked as a baker to make some extra cash, but yeah, I have no real work experience here.

All of my shitty undergraduate jobs:

To put myself through school (twice), I have done the following: fixed pianos, cleaned printing presses, ran a computer printing lab, repaired circulating books in a library, worked as an office assistant, and cleaned up after other undergraduates. I did all of this while taking a full course load and graduating with honors. You’re right though, I have no idea how to work hard, learn new skills or manage my time.

My one “real” job:

Between degrees, I worked in IT. I had to go around my organization and update their e-mail client to one that no one wanted. I got yelled at a lot, both in person and on the phone. I also updated our project webpages and did the job of another person on my team while she was having a baby. My boss forgot my birthday even though she gave everyone else a party. I quit because there was no room for advancement. A decade later, some of my old team is still there doing essentially the same job.

Skills:

I’m not a spring chicken, so I’ve actually taught myself a lot of stuff. For instance, I know how to build a website with fancy stuff like SQL and javascript, how to program Excel, how to plan a three month overseas research trip across numerous countries, how to live on a personal budget well below the poverty mark, how to write accurate reports based on actual data and present them to my peers, how to do American ex-pat taxes without triggering an audit, how to write and edit the English language. Of course, I haven’t been directly paid to do most of these things, so I guess I don’t know how to do them after all. I’m sure you’d rather hire someone who likes to spend his time wrapping his co-workers’ cubicles in wrapping paper.

Accomplishments:

  • I made the front page of Reddit once.
  • I have a high score of 32 on Flappy Bird.
  • I’ve completed all the Candy Crush levels without paying anything, although I haven’t gotten three stars on all of them yet.
  • I’m a decent Bridge player.
  • I can knit AND crochet. Yeah, I know. I should probably lead with that.
  • Because of the shitty car I had in grad school, I’m pretty good at working on Buick 3800 engines.

Education:

Humanities Ph.D. from quite a good university (not Harvard)

Yes, I have a Ph.D. and it was the biggest waste of time in the world. You’re looking at this and thinking I’ll make everyone call me “doctor” and that I’ll make the workplace uncomfortable by having more education than my boss. You also won’t hire me as a supervisor because I have no paid experience supervising people because supervising TAs and undergraduates doesn’t count to you. So getting all of this education has, in fact, relegated me to a life of unemployment and poverty. Yay American Dream!

Humanities Bachelor of Arts from a State University (definitely not Harvard)

I have a BA in a non-STEM area, which I think these days means that I’m an idiot who can’t learn to do a “real” job. Yeah, I can do all of those things you want like work with people, communicate effectively, manage my time, solve problems… but because I “only” have a degree and little “real” work experience, I’ve somehow not proven this. Of course, if I had the experience and not the degree, I wouldn’t get the job either.

Bachelor of Fine Arts from a State University (still not Harvard)

Oh. My. God. How much of a walking stereotype am I? Just to let you know, I don’t even have a tattoo. I got this degree printing books by hand because I liked the layout calculations and the printing technology. My paintings suck. I also learned how to make books on computers too with all sorts of fancy programs because, you know, I’m actually smart and capable. But since all of that was a while ago now, you’ll think I somehow became stupid in that time. Well, I did go and get that Ph.D. you already know about, so you might be right.

Honors and Awards

Oh yeah, like you read this far.

I’m not Watching the Sochi Olympics, but Don’t Call it a “Boycott”

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The official Sochi Olympic logo. I hope you are as inspired by this as I am.

Greetings Friends,

First, let me confess that I love the Olympics. I’ve loved them since my vague memories of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. The United States boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, the last Olympics to be held in Russia. The real Olympic fever set in during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles (ah, those dashing Red, White and Blue stars!). I collected the cups, saw the torch run through my town, and because our main competition, the then Soviet Union, returned the favor and boycotted our Olympics, US athletes won a ridiculous number of medals.

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Now THAT’S a logo!

Because of all of this bad sportsmanship, I grew up thinking that not only are the Olympics an essentially American thing (that Sarajevo thing was a blip), but that we were amazingly awesome at them. Look at all of our medals! I wanted to be a gymnast and bask in that glory myself. That dream was short-lived since I had neither the flexibility nor the natural talent to even do a backbend much less flip and fly like Mary Lou Retton.

My love of the Olympics continued. When the Seoul Olympics ended, I actually cried. Calgary bobsledding! I’ll admit during my cranky late teenage years, I let the 1992 Olympics slide (except that amazingly epic lighting of the torch by flaming arrow at Barcelona. The world still tips its hat, España). More recently, the Beijing Olympics gave me a much needed distraction during my recovery from a serious illness.

But I’m not watching the Sochi Olympics because the organizers are stepping on two matters that, well, matter to me. The first is their controversial approach to homosexuality. The news has blown up about this over the lead-up to the Olympics and some people have called for another boycott. Now, boycotting something that is meant to bring the world together is, I think, an inappropriate response. If an individual athlete does not want to compete, that is his or her prerogative. That is not a decision that needs to be made from the top. In fact, the best approach to such things is to go and annoy the host country by acting in a manner that undermines their draconian laws. Google is demonstrating how to do this.

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I can feel Putin’s annoyance from here.

The second matter is their approach to animal control. Russian cities are home to many feral dogs (the ones in Moscow commute to work!), I suppose because the cultural infrastructure is not such that puts excessive resources toward government-run animal shelters or humane population control measures, such as Trap-Neuter-Return programs. Rather than expend any effort during the past several years (Sochi was awarded the Olympics in 2007, so they had some warning) toward dealing with these animals gently and over time. Instead, city officials have ordered mass poisonings for these dogs.

Sochi dog

I wouldn’t trust that abandoned hamburger, old fella

Lastly is the matter of the planned display of two orca whales, captured as juveniles in the wild, as entertainment at the Olympic Games. Russia regularly captures wild cetaceans and delivers them into captivity around the world. This plan, apparently, has been changed or cancelled, perhaps due to outrage/bad press or perhaps due to further planning woes. No wild cetacean should live in permanent captivity (rehabilitative captivity is often required for injured individuals) and it is just one more reason to eschew these “Games”.

A poster reading "Justice for all Captives" with a beluga whale breaking handcuffs on its flippers

Someday…

Given these matters, I’m not watching the Sochi Olympics. This is a personal decision. The IOC made the (I think bad) decision to award the games to Sochi despite the infrastructure for the Games not being in place (and reports coming in from Twitter suggest that it still isn’t) and officials there seem to be intent on making a stream of boneheaded decisions. I am just one person, but the Olympics is a huge source of advertising revenue and general kerfuffle. By not taking part in that, I’ve lessened the impact of the Games, if only by one-eight-billionth.

However, this isn’t a boycott, it’s a decision, in the same way I make the decision not to watch a certain movie or television show or musical concert. No, the argument that I need to “support the athletes” is invalid. They don’t need my support. Most of them are reasonably wealthy and furthermore they are having the time of their lives and competing on the world stage. I doubt they are excessively concerned with who’s watching on television. After all, the Games are older than television itself, so I’m sure they’ll manage.

Ancient Olympians from Greek ceramic

Also, we wear pants now

I’m not expecting anyone to join me in this, but I also don’t need to give my attention to something I think is unworthy of it. Hopefully, Rio de Janeiro will deliver.