I KNEW I was in trouble when the number of hours I worked on my resume exceeded the number of hours I studied for my exams. On the eve of my Biology final, I didn't have my usual "arrive at Mem Hall in my underwear and hope nobody notices" nightmare. Instead, I dreamed I was working feverishly on a poster-size resume while dozens of pre-meds chanted my name. (I was still in my underwear, however.)
This frame of mind hampered my exam performance. As I struggled to remember the inner working of the mammalian kidney, my mind rattled off 12 different ways to make the layout of the exam more visually pleasing. "Times font would have been most appropriate for this question," I thought to myself. "Why didn't they use boldface for contrast?"
My resume had taken over my life.
After a prolonged period of introspection, I realized that my fear of death and ensuing eternity of darkness was no longer my number one anxiety. Now I worried about job interviewers blowing their noses in my resume in disgust. Resumes, I concluded, were worse than death. After all, you die only once, but you have to redo your resume again and again.
Finally I sought help. After a week of intensive therapy--which consisted primarily of repeating "Of course I wouldn't mind living at home again this summer"--I can now deal with my resume as I do with any other random piece of paper that will ultimately determine my future on this planet.
The solution is to play the game. Do the resume thing. But never, never let it pollute your soul.
Step One: Learn the Language.
Although Harvard offers no courses in conversational resume, fluent speakers populate the campus and, in time, will take over the world. (Managed, coordinated, led takeover of all population centers and physical resources on planet. 10 hours/week.)
I overheard one such schemer communicating with one of my roommates (known to friends as "The Human Resume") at the Office of Career Services.
"What font is this? Palatino?"
"No, New Century. Looks more dignified."
"Strathmore Parchment paper? That's what Ivan Boesky used."
"No, I event with 32-pound. But it's 100 percent cotton."
"Not bad. Offset printing?"
"Linotronic, 1200 dots per inch, and then I offset it."