The Not Bad CV


As I’m hoping to take some work in a related-but-not-language teaching-field, I recently redid my CV. Now, if you’re like me, when you have a job you don’t look at your CV all that much. Oh I know there are some of you who can’t wait to achieve something so that you can alert all of LinkedIn about it. But I don’t seem to be too up on this.

In any event, for two days I thought about all the stuff I’m currently doing / have been doing / had done, much of which boiled down to being able to explain the difference between those three verb tenses. However, one of the best parts of university work is that you are always doing a bunch of stuff that, while massive time consumers and you don’t get paid for it, at least looks solid on a CV. So I start writing my CV story.

And many of you are familiar with the consequent tweaking of terms and words, “made a test” becomes “oversaw the development of the university’s entrance examinations” and “met with teachers once a month and patted their backs while they wept and wondered why they’d made such as mistake as to teach ESL in Prague” is coerced into “senior teacher was in charge of forty teachers and held monthly meetings and workshops on pedagogy and language.”

I have just become a George Carlin skit.

At the end I enjoy a few proud nods at the experience I’ve gained over the last seven years. This is followed instantly by a solid bout of imposter’s syndrome. This is because, while my accomplishments and experience are indeed valid and factual, we all know the flurry of minutiae and sparrow crap that come along with our jobs. And while my proclaimed experience sounds good, it’s hard not to add hedging parentheses to some of it.

Attended an international conference last year (during which I sat around in horrified confusion). Created and conducted the oral examination for candidates and provided linguistic perspective (in which I repeatedly said the terms “discourse”, “limited”, or “impressive range” and “emphasis” and nobody really questioned my input).

Still, I did give myself a “not bad, man!” And it was that pride and content that depressed me a bit. “So this is it?” I said. “My entire professional life caught on (specifically) two sides of one paper in Garamond and Times New Roman. This is what it all comes down to.”

I wonder then if this is how I’ll be remembered when I’m gone. A not bad CV with liberties. They’re going to nail this piece of paper to my biodegradable urn at my funeral. And before my two birds / one stone act of heading to a pub to get myself one step closer to that urn and celebrate my not bad CV, I imagine the words of the nondenominational minister picked out on Craigslist . Or Lee.

He was a good(ish) man; liked by his friends, tolerated by most others, and welcomed by all of the bartenders in the city. But lest we never forget that he specialized in English for Academic Purposes, Study Skills, and Academic Writing, which focuses on skills relevant to studying in a university environment. And that he also taught other courses including Cambridge test preparatory and general English at both the BA and MA levels. References upon request.  

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