25 March 2014

The Social CV – How have you been?


Professional resumes, the bane of the unemployed’s existence. A mere snapshot into a person’s life and one that will judge whether or not an employer will welcome you into their co-op. However, there’s an even trickier application form that we are faced to acknowledge almost daily, the one that concentrates more on who we know, our hobbies and if we’re getting enough exercise – our social CV.
We have all come across a friend from a thousand years B.U. (that’s, Before Uni) who has caught us with the dreaded question of ‘What have you been up to?’ These occasions usually appear when we’re running an errand in yesterday’s clothes and worse at a time when we don’t have a lot to say for ourselves except ‘not much’.
This happened to me quite recently. I was out shopping and a girl who I knew from high school clocked me as I was perusing the three quid rom coms in Tesco. The inevitable happened and before I could even begin to think of an interesting way to say ‘sales assistant’ I was asking her how her life was instead.
‘I’m a school teacher,’ bam! ‘I’m married,’ bam! ‘We’ve just bought a house together,’ bam! ‘My knitting blog’s getting really popular,’ bam! Every box ticked.
For me there are various categories we can fill in order to make up our personal CV. There’s work, relationships and of course the often neglected, hobbies section. Similar to the Greek theory of the Four Humours, when these elements are out of balance we feel at a loss or attempt to justify ourselves by making up our own equations of what equals public happiness.
These days everyone has a blog, can bake a decent cupcake, play guitar and so it becomes increasingly difficult to separate yourself from others and as a result some of us simply can’t be bothered to shout about the things we do that make us interesting.
My dad once told me that if you play a musical instrument you will be the life and soul of the party. I believed him until the indie wave of 2005 hit and it just so happened that every relative in existence could belt out a semi decent rendition of Wonderwall.
Likewise, if we don’t have these things to shout about we’re equally quiet and left to feel bad about not pushing some quirky side project.
In a world where everyone seems to dabble in everything, it becomes even harder to let yourself relax and be okay with simply going to work and happily coming home to cram an entire season of Breaking Bad into one evening.
Soon after my old school friend and I had finished our conversation and I had gotten over my initial irrational quarter-life panic, I stopped to think about the things I should have said.
Sometimes, as with any good CV, you have to get over the fear of being too confident. Of course no one likes a show off and sure you might not be the only member of your family who can pull off four chords, but it’s good to show that you can.