When one of my sons arrived at college for his freshman year, one of his first classes took him by surprise.
The professor–brown tweed suit, bow tie, right out of central casting–proceeded to greet his highly impressionable students with a power point that outlined his impeccable credentials: cum laude this, chairman of that, Fields Medal winner in physics and on and on.
In an instant, my son wrote him off as a stuffed shirt, pompous academic who had to make a boastful impression on a group of young students. It looked like a classic case of overkill that had backfired on a prince of the Ivy campus.
But then, a moment later, the scholar lit up a second Power Point: “My other resume,” as he put it. This one revealed the dark side of his life:
- Recovered alcoholic
- Neglectful father
- Insensitive and uncaring friend
With this surprising act of brutally honest revelation, the professor redeemed himself in my son’s eyes. More than that, he earned his respect as a man who was willing to be open and transparent about himself, awards and warts alike. And my son embraced the opportunity to learn from him, which turned out to be one of his most rewarding experiences at school.
My epiphany from this experience was immediate and profound: everyone has two resumes. The one we show the world with total transparency and the private issues we guard carefully and keep to ourselves. This is only natural and universal.
But there is a key issue here for our business and personal lives. Those with the narrowest space between the ruse of the two resumes–where the side of ourselves that we show and the side that we seek to keep under wraps, is only shades of difference as opposed to diametric opposites–are the most genuine people. Those we can believe in. Those we can trust. Those who are real as opposed to imposters.
When this is the case, the “ruse” is simply a natural act of human behavior. The trick for all of us in business, in love, in life, is to identify who is using the two resumes to market themselves innocently and who is using it to manipulate reality to the level of a con.Email This Post