Resumés, self-promotion, and employers

David has been thinking about posting one’s resumé on one’s web site, when one is not actively seeking employment. Evidentally, his employer find this to be a problem, and David does not. He asked for some commentary, and we talked about it briefly on IRC. So, here’s the discussion, or portions thereof, as he requested I post:

David: This is going to be a big time discussion with my boss.. so I’m looking to have a discussion ahead of time to work out my thoughts on the issues and to be able to respond to him well.

Me: Well, I barely have a resume, and I’m not sure I have any particular opinion on the matter, although I would think that I, personally, would stop distributing my resume if I was not thinking of moving to a different job. And, indeed, distributing your resume makes your co-workers and employer jumpy, and perhaps anxious to replace you with someone with a little more perceived “loyalty”

David: do you see having a resume posted as being eqal to “distributing” it?

Me: Yes. It is more passive, but apart from that, not any different. Passive distribution, rather than active distribution, perhaps. 😉 On the other hand, writing books can be active distribution of one’s resume too, and has resulted in at least 3 job offers for me. But that tends to be more accepted by employers, even though it is probably almost as effective self-marketing as a resume.

David: I would think that speaking at conferences would do that too.

Me: Yes.
Wes: you could look at the resume as being a logical extension of an “about me” section of a personal web site

Me: And I expect that if couched in terms of “about me” rather than “resume”, the same people would have no problem with it. It’s all about perceptions. The perception being, is this person actively seeking to abandon us, given the opportunity. I attended a VERY interesting talk a few weeks ago. It was at the Southland lunch meeting thingy. It was a guy talking about the difference between our generatation (“X”) and the Baby Boomers. You are experiencing EXACTLY one of the scenarios that he described. Except that your boss is not a whole lot older than us – just a little – but I think he fits the demographic. What they look on as disloyalty, we look on as looking out for our families – ie, loyalty, but to a different thing. But that’s just one aspect of it. It was a really fascinating presentation, because he really had things nailed pretty well.

Wes: I suspect that work history has something to do with one’s perceptions too.

Me: It does, certainly, but so does our generational history – the world that we grew up in is very different from the pre-Kennedy world.

Wes: did he have suggested solutions, or just good observations of the way things are?

Me: He had a few suggestions, but mostly it was about education, and understanding where the other folks are coming from. His best suggestion was about finding a mentor from the other side of the generation gap. And, contrariwise, organizations like the Moose Lodge and Masons that are losing membership at a huge rate shoudl be pushing the notion of mentorship, rather than trying to make people feel guilty about not belonging to charitable organizations.

… Then some discusussion here about loyalty – what does it mean, who is loyal to whom, and why we should be expected to be “loyal” toa company that makes no particular pretence at being “loyal” to us. …

Me: I felt loyalty to [former employer], because of the people there, and because [CEO] was, in a very real sense, a father figure to the people that worked for him. That went away completely and overnight with the [Big Company] purchase. [Big Company] is all about grabbing as much power as you can, as fast as you can, and god help anyone that gets in the way. At least, that was my impression. This was best illustrated by the way that the CEO [ie, the CEO of Big Company] was rewarded for his deceit [lied on his resume, and, when this was found out, it was swept under the carpet and he got a raise].

… then, one more interesting comment …

Me: Another comment he (the speaker I listened to) made, which I’m not entirely sure I agree with, is that we (gen x) are far more motivated by the job itself (is it fun? is it challenging? do we get to work with or meet cool people?) than with the financial compensation. He cited ball players who, after a game (whether they won or lost) take their kids out on the field to get autographs signed by the other team. Which is all well and good to say, but they *are* making millions.