Are you being fooled by other people CVs?

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Are you being fooled by other people CVs?

Postby Ana » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:00 pm

Some days ago I discussed with some graduate students and postdocs what I call “the FaceBook effect”.

Do you know when you see your friends in FaceBook and they are all time going on holidays and their kids look perfectly cute and it is all smiles and party? and then you look to your own life and how you have to do the dishes and are stressed out for work and if you have kids they don’t look cute all the time.

There has been much written about FaceBook depressing people because they feel their friends are doing much better than them.

And what we were discussing is that we have the same problem when looking at other people's careers.

Instead of FaceBook what we see are their CVs, listing all of their achievements and publications. So when we compare it with our CVs it is easy to think that we are not that good because we actually know all the grants we didn’t get, all the papers that never got accepted, and overall all of the things that we tried and that never made it to the CV.

On that note, check out this amazing “CV of failures” by Johannes Haushofer from Princeton. The last line is my favourite.

The same happens when someone tells us about their careers. We don’t get to see all what they tried and that didn’t work, so we get the wrong impression that if we are having a hard time finding new jobs is because we are doing something wrong.

Careers and job changes are hard for everybody, but the only visible side of it is the success (like FaceBook). It is a perception bias, and not being aware of it leads to people being too hard on themselves.

--->Did you know about this perception bias and the CV of failures?

--->What do you think is the best way to communicate this perception bias to graduate students and postdocs?

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Re: Are you being fooled by other people CVs?

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:47 pm

Thanks Ana. This is a great topic, and something that is oh so true . . . I know what you mean about the Facebook effect. Sometimes I walk away from my computer when looking at Facebook, wondering what I'm doing wrong, so I am in total agreement with you.

Another place where you can suffer the same issue is with LinkedIn. You can look to see how many connections someone has, or read about their successes in the summary statement on their profile. And it can depress you!

The best way to communicate this to others . . . I think it's just a matter of making them aware that they ARE facing this perception bias, and that it's natural, and the best way to eliminate it is to work towards a plan. If you have a career development plan, you know where you need to be at any time, and you stay on track with that plan and don't need to pay attention to where others are on theirs.

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
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Re: Are you being fooled by other people CVs?

Postby D.X. » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:52 am

Hi both,

I'd just like to echo what Dave said about having a plan and not paying Attention to where others are.

Unless you know the Person and that Person has shared their Story to include hurdles and stresses and challenges, you will never know the full Details just from a LinkedIn or CV. So don't Benchmark to others, write your own Story.

Everybody has thier challanges and everyone has thier Story - if one Looks at mine, at face value, I have to admit, it Looks great from a career trajectory. Pat on my back.

But, ah the Story, the failures, the successes, the work involved (i.e Labor, navigating politics, working with others, Managing organizational behavior, keeping a competitive edge, self- development, Networking, moveing and shaking) that's the intersting part. An that's where one can start with informational interviewing - i.e. just asking, a Person of their Story and journey can yield great insights.

In my case, i'm not fooling anyone - my career trajectory is my career trajectory and there is richness that Comes with that experience - I dont think any one should be fooled - we all put our best foot Forward and that's the Name of the game. In my case, climbing from lowly post-doc to a leading a business steering cross-functional commerical team at the Global Level didn't happen by Chance. And even leading a Commercial Team, is no walk in the park that few unless exposed to the role will understand.

The fact is, People are where they are, by doing something right. And unless they are lying about thier Position, which i don't think is the case - well, rather than benchmarking, I recommend one Looks at other peoples paths as opporutnity to yield insights to where doors can exist and Areas that can be explored.

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Re: Are you being fooled by other people CVs?

Postby Rich Lemert » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:54 am

To put it into terms that some may be able to relate to:

I was at a conference once, where the speaker was discussing the reactor vessel his team had used to carry out the experiments he was describing. He said it took them six months to find a material they could use to line the vessel that would allow the reaction he was looking for to take place.

He noted that those six months wound up being condensed into a short, two-sentence paragraph in the student's dissertation.
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