A Resume full of failures and rejections, aka the “Othersume”

Resumes are expressions of our achievements. We carefully draft them to showcase the best version of ourselves, the cool projects we have worked on, the significant deals that have garnered media attention, and the articles that have received awards and mentions. They are crafted to highlight our uniqueness, our strong work ethic, and our ability to thrive through challenging, sometimes chaotic, times.

However, we often forget that they provide us with a partial, and sometimes misleading, narrative.

How about taking some time to write a resume that includes something else…

Something like:

  • The job offers we didn’t secure.
  • The clients who chose other service providers.
  • The fellowships and scholarships we didn’t receive, despite spending countless hours on the application process.
  • The conferences that chose other keynote speakers.
  • The articles that were rejected by conferences and journals.
  • The schools and programs that didn’t admit us.
  • The emails to which we received no reply, despite sending multiple reminders.

I call this exercise “Drafting the Othersume.

I spent some time doing it. Much like most of the projects I work on—I dedicated a few minutes to it every day for an extended period. Now that the process has concluded, I feel lighter.

Maybe one day I’ll share the file, maybe not. If you take some time to do the same, you’ll realize how personal it is and how connected our sense of self is to the version of ourselves we present to the world.

On the other hand, the benefits are endless. Working on the Othersume provides you with a different perspective on yourself. For some, it’s an exercise in humility; for others, it’s an acknowledgment that luck and destiny play a significant role in our careers.

Now I look at both my Resume and the Othersume. Despite all the work I’ve done, the latter is much longer. A part of me thinks it’s a good sign.

Nonetheless, they complement each other well, like the sun and the moon, yin and yang.

It’s the beginning of the year. Take some time to do it.

It won’t be easy, but you won’t regret it.

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