There comes a time in everyone's professional life when it is wise to pare down your resume, if only in hopes of disguising what an old bastard you really are. Where I once needed to pad the old CV to feign experience, there are now entire chapters of my professional life I now try to conceal.
Nearly two decades ago, I gained considerable experience (read: endured a living hell) working at a software company that I'll henceforth call BlusterCom, or BC. This little business was one of many that cashed in on IBM's decision in 1969 to "unbundle" its software from its hardware, thereby helping launch the software industry. (Unbundle is industry jargon for making your customers pay extra for stuff they are used to getting for free.)
Having gotten ridiculously wealthy as a result of Big Blue's move, BC's CEO quickly convinced himself that he must be, therefore, both a genius and visionary. One example of his many prescient pronouncements came in the late 1980's when he predicted that "PCs are just a fad."
His genius is not confined only to business; he is also a reactionary Catholic, rejecting all changes made by the church since Vatican II. (Full disclosure: I was raised Catholic and attended parochial schools from grades 1 through 12, and was even an altar boy. However, I am of the belief that business and religion should not be intertwined; religion is, or should be, a private matter.)
BlusterCom's CEO recognized no such boundaries, enthusiastically evangelizing (in the original non-techno promotional meaning of the term) any and all who came within earshot. For example, we all lived in dread of "Nun Day," an annual event during which two Sisters of the Society of the Enthusiastic for No Clear Reason would show up at corporate headquarters pushing a cart loaded with holy cards and other religious items. The two nuns would go from cubicle to cubicle, offering to sell us our choice of what they deemed to be excellent Christmas gifts. (I am not making this up.)
Nun Day was never announced in advance, lest hoards of us call in sick that day. This saved us all from an occasion of sin. However, when the day came, most of us acted maturely and hid out in darkened conference rooms. Word would spread virally: "They're on the second floor!"
The CEO didn't limit his brand of testimony to Nun Day, however. At a lunch I attended with BC's head man and two English journalists, he was educating the Brits about the nation's political landscape in the late 1980's. "Everyone in the U.S. loves President Reagan," he explained. "Except the Jews."
I said nothing. That's when I knew I was destined for a career in public relations.
Postscript: BlusterCom soldiers on even to this very day, as does its CEO. I've moved on to other venues, some better, some, … well, all of them were better than that place. There are other jobs I'm leaving off my resume, though.