Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Monthly Archives: November 2010

How to write the perfect CV (or perhaps not)

As I am soon to be joining the unemployment line, there have been things to sort out, one of which is an up to date version of my CV. I have always been pretty good at keeping it up to date and it has so far served me very well in terms of getting me shortlisted for interviews. However, it seems that in the current economic climate it may need some tweaking.

My mind then sent me on a trip down memory lane to a time when I was asked to help looking through a number of CV’s for a position my employer at the time wanted to fill. I have zero recruitment or HR experience, which from a recruitment point of view isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but that aside, as I was going through the pile of CV’s I landed upon one that caused me to shower my computer with a mouthful of coffee in a fit of laughter. The CV itself would have made most people throw it straight in the bin and yet, I wanted to shortlist the guy for an interview purely to see who had written it and to find out more.

My memory of the CV is as follows:


Dear Manager

I am an individual of extremely hardworking capabilities and countless experience.  (Or words to that effect)

Employment history:

2000 – 2001:  Employed

2001 – 2002: Self Employed



Available for interviews at any time – please call.

Yours sincerely


As I mentioned, I really wanted to get this guy in for an interview because a) it made me laugh, b) because I am pretty confident he wasn’t bullshitting and c) it made me curious..

He may have been a complete waste of time, but on the other hand who knows?

Unfortunately, I didn’t win that argument and I will never know what this guy was all about. He obviously didn’t spend a lot of time on his CV but to me, the curiosity it ignited in me justified (at least in my mind) spending at least a few minutes learning more about this simplistic way of CV writing.

How to survive in the corporate world

I have worked in the corporate environment for the past 10 years and I felt I should share some tips on how to survive and succeed in this environment.

Having said that, I should however, point out that I have failed miserably in the corporate context and I have been a complete disaster in playing the corporate game so please bear that in mind as you read on.

1. Kindness

There is no room for kindness in corporate world so if you live by the principle of treating people how you would like to be treated you will need to park that at home. In corporate world you will need to display selfishness, narcissism and a willingness to walk all over whoever you can in your rise up the corporate ladder.

2. Crystal Ball

This will come in very handy, especially if you work in a sales environment because in sales you are expected to know exactly what you will be selling weeks in advance. The ability to look into the future, however,  is not something that corporations will teach you so you’d better pull your socks up and learn it for yourself!!

3. Doing tasks to keep your boss in a job.

This is probably one of the most important aspects of survival in corporate world! If you want to be successful in the corporate hierarchy, you will need to spend a large proportion of your working time completing work created by your boss so that he/she can justify their own existence within the corporation. This work is usually completely irrelevant to the larger good of the company but it is a perfect way of helping you keep your job especially if you are able do this work as if it was more important than what you were employed to do, and if you can do it with a smile on your face, even better!

4. Smile or Die!

Ok I stole the title of this from Barbara Ehrenreich’s book (which in my view is a must read) but if you want to succeed and survive in the corporate context you are required to remain positive at all times. In fact this is far more important than skills and intelligence! You may actually be better off if you were to park your intelligence at home, because questioning the status quo is a big no no in the corporate world. You are not employed to think, you are employed to do whatever you are told to do! Trust me on this, I have been forced to listen to phrases like “I want to see lots of energy and positive attitude” and “keep smiling” on a daily basis!!

5. Stab your colleagues in the back.

This is a very useful skill to have in your ascent up the corporate ladder. You may lose some self respect in the process but surely that is a price well paid for a job title that your ego can be proud of. There are various ways of doing this but this is one of the most effective ones;

You will need to be alert and on the lookout for colleagues making mistakes and when they do, you email them pointing out the mistake and copy their boss in on the email or if (in your view) it is a really bad mistake, just email or call your boss. This is the perfect way of earning brownie points from your peers! Don’t worry about the consequences of your back stabbing efforts because in corporate world “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!” and if you can help your boss weeding out these failures, you are on your way to bigger and better things.

6. Making a difference.

This is of no importance whatsoever unless making a difference translates into more sales. If you are in a client facing role, your job is not to listen to what the client wants. Your job is to sell them as many products as possible and if you fail at that task then you will be required to pester them on a regular basis until they finally sign on the dotted line. If you observe a colleague failing at this then please go to point 5 above.

7. Work – Life Balance.

If you really want to succeed then you will have to forget about the life part of the work-life balance, there is no balance! Your contract may state that you are required to work during the hours of 9-5 but you need to understand that this is just a technicality! In reality, there are no limits to the number of hours you work. In fact you could boost your climb up the corporate ladder by demonstrating your willingness to give up on life altogether for the greater good of the company. A good way of doing this is by sending emails from home, preferably late at night and on weekends. The best time to do this is between the hours of 10-11pm, which shows dedication, and if you do, make sure you copy your boss in on the emails.

I may have failed at playing the corporate game but at least I have stayed true my own beliefs and I can go to sleep at the end of every day, safe in the knowledge that my focus remained on the needs of my clients instead of the desire to satisfy a sales target!

I also realise that the price I had to pay for refusing to take part in the corporate game was the choice between resigning or essentially being forced out!

I chose to resign.

So long and thanks for all the fish

Cheesecake anyone?

%d bloggers like this: