A Christmas Tree / Resume Analogy

The Christmas tree in the Mitchell household has always been of the real variety, and this year was no exception. My wife and I went out hunting for one a few weeks prior to Christmas day and in one location we only found two left and each, well, either would have been at peace in the home of Charlie Brown. Every year I say, “I think our tree is the best one ever”, after it’s up and we stand back and look at it. That was later though.

We ended up at our Garden Centre; I say our Garden Centre because we’ve given them much of our income in the last few years that we’re now on a first name basis with Larry who works there. Now trees can be compared to each other in a tree lot, and we generally try for one of the taller ones. What’s magical about a real tree? Well inevitably, they seem to grow in size when in the car on the way home and when erected in the living room, they are huge. This year eleven feet of Fraser Fir stood majestically in the living room. We loved it so much we put it up twice.

Yes twice. The first time we decorated it fully and when all done I went outside to put a few remaining red bows on the small pine in our front yard. Only gone for a few precious moments, it was then I heard the plaintive cry of my wife screaming my name as if in the middle of labour. Upon entering the home, there she was; all four feet ten inches of her with arms fully extended around the top foot of the tree, and it lying parallel to the floor. The tree had fallen over as she sat admiring it on the couch. We put it up a second time, and this time tied off the top of the tree with fishing line to the upstairs railing. Some of the ornaments carefully packaged from year to year will not again array themselves on the boughs of trees in years to come. Their shattered remnants were scooped up, lamented and tossed in the trash.

Day by day, night after night, the tree stood in all its splendour; a spectacle next to the fireplace and brought immense warmth, charm, happiness and joy to the house. Last Friday evening the tree was carefully stripped of its ornaments and lights, and carried out to the end of the driveway, bleeding its needles in a mournful attempt to remain in such a coveted corner.

The next day, I took the handsaw and removed every bough and branch, exposing an eleven foot trunk which I cut into pieces. Transporting the tree trunk and boughs to the local landfill is so much easier and cleaner this way and the tree will soon be chipped into mulch and adorn the floor of a conservation area, and thus fulfill its final obligation in the spirit of true recycling.

Now the resume is much the same it seemed to me this morning in the wee hours as I sat in the living room with that warm comforting cup of tea. The resume is carefully constructed with thought put in to what will and will not go on it, just as in the case of the ornaments. When the resume is finally completed, how many times do we stop and give it a look, only to make final adjustments and improvements?

We hope when we submit the resume that the receiver looks it over and feels the same sense of satisfaction and feels it’s worth a detailed look. Much like friends and family members look carefully to spot the hidden nutcrackers hanging in and on the tree, or counting the number of glass angels adorning it. I found two ornaments on the tree which had been missed the night before and spent the long cold night at the end of my drive, just like a couple of errors in a resume go undetected but are hopefully caught before it’s posted.

And of course when a new job is found to apply to, that resume once so beautiful is edited, re-written, changed and tailored to meet the newer posting better, much as next years tree is sure to be decorated perhaps with similar decorations but in different locations, maybe with a few newer ornaments and strands of cranberries.

Next year is sure to mean we will procure the best tree ever, and that image of my four foot ten inch wife holding up an eleven foot fully-decorated Christmas tree while screaming my name is one scene that is likely not to be repeated. Much like of course realizing just before the deadline to submit an application you discern that your carefully constructed and much laboured resume didn’t actually get sent to the right email address and you’ve only got minutes to get it right!


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