Saturday, November 19, 2005

A tale of two resumes

Loafing about this weekend, after a typically stenuous week, I was reading a book called Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There by David Brooks, an editor of that nonpartisan beacon The Weekly Standard. I have always had some affection for The Weekly Standard, being that I am a recovering nerd and conservative sympathizer, plus I do like to laugh out loud at absurd political commentary (much the same reason I always enjoyed Nietzsche). This book sounded fantastic, especially when I learned that "bobos" are bourgeois bohemians. After a brief stint in a certain liberal arts college chock full of such creatures (who wouldn't buy jeans for less than $200 and drove Land Rovers - and crashed them regularly while driving under the influence, comfortable in the knowledge that Daddy would replace them instantaneously - yet vehemently opposed the very capitalist system that kept them in their Diesel), a book mocking such folks sounded right up my alley.

Except then it opened with a brief discussion of the New York Times' "Vows" section, or the "Mergers & Acquisitions" section as someone wittier than I once characterized it. I've been reading the wedding pages in the Times since I was but a wee misanthrope, and always envisioned my own smiling face next to that of a suitably handsome and successful groom. After all, I went to some good colleges and a high school that is certainly within the stringent requirements of that page. My own resume was never in doubt: I would grow to become a power broker, a lady, and a gracious hostess who could simultaneously put on a dinner for twelve with appropriate forks, negotiate international transactions by cell phone, and have a pedicure. I would have power suits, wear pearls and sweater sets (3-ply cashmere) and sleep soundly on monogrammed Egyptian cotton pillowcases.

Needless to say, my beautiful future was cast into some doubt when I didn't get into Columbia Law School and was forced to second-tier it. No problem, I would get good grades and transfer. But then I didn't, and I couldn't. Now, three years later, I don't even have a job and my chances of beaming with straight teeth from the "Vows" pages are dwindling.

It's funny, too, because as I have mentioned my dear boyfriend, who could not care less about "Vows" (and thinks it's narcissistic and stupid, instead of a great and triumphant tradition) is perfect for the page. His resume eats mine for lunch. In moments of despair, I have cried aloud to him that by virtue of his law firm alone, he could get on the page while I will likely be working for an Abogado's office in the Bronx providing bail bonds. Perhaps, as he argues, I need a better yardstick for measuring success and a WASPy, anachronistic monument to vanity like the "Vows" page shouldn't be it.

But now, the "Vows" page isn't just Mayflower descendents and presidential scions. Even Jews can be on it now (40%! Go us!). It's the ultimate reflection of the new meritocracy - all you need is a collision of beautiful resumes and you're golden. You don't even have to be good-looking anymore. Hell, you don't even have to be straight! All you need is The Resume. And this is why it's so damn important for me to get a good job!

Maybe I am a bit of a Bobo but all I need is a little validation. From the New York Times. Is that really too much to ask??


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