Learning Yiddish and LinkedIn


Date: April 22nd, 2013
Location: My Safe Place
Time: 7:06 pm

Sometimes I wish I were Jewish so that I could go around using phrases such as oy vey, ferblunjit, or meekskait.

Then again, I am an American and we Americans like nothing better than some good old-fashioned cultural integration. 

So, I’m going to say it: Oy Vey!

I’ve been on the prowl for a job nigh on 8 months or so, and besides a brief stint at a bookstore, I’ve come up mostly empty-handed.  This is 100% my fault. Now that I’ve finally come to terms with that, I’m conducting a full-scale re-launch of my professional appearance: from the resume, to the cover letters, to my LinkedIn profile.  All of it must be scrapped and re-built from the ground-up.
But this is not why I say oy vey. In fact, thus far the experience has been cathartic and encouraging. 

I’m finally focusing on the “Why am I special?” and honing in on my skills instead of feeling like a dime-a-dozen candidate.

And finding a toolkit that has inspired this change was a real boon. After all, resume and cover letter advice runs rampant on the web and while the advice does differ slightly, the whole of it is mostly the same – and really bland, and mostly totally unhelpful to me.

Despite this dawning, I can’t help but return to Google for advice on my LinkedIn profile. And this is when I say it:

Oy vey.

Everyone seems to be the expert on how you should present yourself and nobody seems to agree (It’s like a dinner conversation with my family.) Opinions, opinions, opinions. Everybody’s got an opinion:

Make your summary more human, always use first-person.

Never use first-person, it makes you sound pretentious.

Absolutely use all 2,000 characters allotted to you so that you can hit more key words.

Keep your summary brief and memorable – 2 to 3 paragraphs.

Your LinkedIn profile should be an overview of your resume.

Your LinkedIn profile is where you tell your whole story; the resume highlights your accomplishments.

This is about where I start mumbling a string of mostly incoherent Yiddish and go curl up in the fetal position on my bed – the safety zone of the unemployed.  

Ack. I’m such a nebbish.

The Haircut



Date: April 10th, 2013
Time: 12:06 am
Location: My House

The members of my family seem to have this erroneous idea that I used to cut my hair all the time.

I did it once.

Clearly, it was a style worth remembering. 

Fade back twenty-two years ago to a musty basement with exposed rafters and cement floors painted green. Worn carpet in varying shades of brown delineated the play area from that of the TV room with its cowboy patterned swivel chair, crocheted orange afghans, and entertainment center stacked with old vinyl albums and tape cassettes.

The children’s space contained a miniature wooden table and its two matching chairs with the dainty spindled legs and the two orphan chairs of rough cut and square proportions. This room also had a small dressing table of an art deco style – rounded, slightly beveled edges, wooden handle pulls, and a great circular mirror. It was either sea foam green or a light blue – it could have been both at different times. The drawers of that dressing table housed a jumble of crayons, markers, scrap paper, and most importantly, scissors.

Despite having too many brothers and sisters, I often played alone – creating stories and worlds where I played all the characters and no one could force me to be the ugly servant boy who did all the work. On that fateful day, I could have been acting out any number of scenarios: a mother cutting her daughter’s hair, a make-over of Cinderella proportions, a runaway attempting to disguise her appearance. When I held those scissors to my fair hair and sliced away, I remember experiencing extreme satisfaction. As I chopped across my bangs until only an inch or so remained, I smiled.  I looked bee-ooo-tee-fuulll.

And then I heard my mother calling my name from the top of the stairs. I was late to dinner, or had some chore to finish, or possibly (and most probable) someone had narked.  Up those stairs I climbed, looking at my mother leaning against the door frame, waiting for her praise and adoration.

. . . .

Laughter. Chuckles and smiles hidden behind hands. She thought my new coiffure was funny. I was not amused. And then she wasn’t any more either. Stern words and sharp instructions to march myself to my room that instant.

Sometime later I perched atop a yellow highchair with its pullout steps and a cracked vinyl seat as my mother attempted to even out my hacked attempt at beauty.

I never tried to cut my own hair again up until a few weeks ago . . .
I should have learned my lesson the first time.