On a day when I was thinking particularly deeply about my life and my failures, I decided to write a CV. Not a normal CV, mind. I’d already spent hours tweaking and perfecting my real one, applying to a job pretty much every other day for weeks and weeks. And I was proud of my real one, and my LinkedIn. But I was also becoming cynical about the whole process; the process of rejection, the process of selling myself.
So, this CV was a bit of a joke. And also partly true. It helped me to write down all my perceived failings and laugh at them. Some of them are real, and some of them are imagined and only exist in my head.
I’m not alone in doing this. Some of the most popular Tumblrs and Twitter accounts consist of little more than a person tearing themselves down, making cynical asides about how shit they are at everything, engaging in a kind of jokey, culturally accepted faux-self hatred designed to achieve the optimum amount of likes. People love a good self-hater.
I was taking melancholic pot shots at myself on a day when I felt particularly bad about myself, yes. But there are other people who do this. Granted, not people like me. Successful people. There have been a spate of academics and professionals who have created CV’s of Failures for all the world to see. Why would they do this? Well, we are all human. The path to success is never simple. We all err. We don’t get every job or accolade we aim for. We are not perfect. We make mistakes, which we learn from.
Johannes Haushofer’s CV of Failures details all the degree programmes he didn’t get into; all the rejections he has received. It shows that life doesn’t always runs smoothly. And we shouldn’t be ashamed of that.
Saying that, mine wasn’t made for any kind of deep or productive reason – I was just trying to create comedy out of a fit of self-hatred. Hey, I managed to amuse myself for an evening. And ironically, getting that all down got me thinking about what I am good at, and what my talents actually are, of which there are many, if I allow myself to remember that. We should focus on what we can do, not what we can’t.