As I sit here preparing to write a resume for an attorney, I find myself reflecting on 2020. Personally speaking, it’s been a really hard year for me. My father passed away (probably one of Arizona’s earliest fatalities due to COVID back in February). One of my kids pretty much failed the first semester of 8th grade. Our HVAC died, and of course, we have two units. I get sick every time I think about the cost. We had a toilet overflow (child-related user error) and now the ceiling in my pantry is gone. And on top of all that, I’ve been dealing with a mystery illness that has made working difficult. To say that 2020 has been challenging is the understatement of the year.
On the flip side of the coin, my oldest son earned a full academic scholarship and is headed to college in the fall. I’ve also been able to help hundreds of folks this year find work and am at the top of my game. Business is great!
Which leads me to right now. I’m reviewing the jobs that my client would like to pursue as in-house legal counsel. And – honestly, this hasn’t happened maybe ever – I’m reading these job descriptions and double-checking my keywords, and there is one keyword that is REPEATED ACROSS 7 JOB ADS. Yes, I said 7. Not 2, or 3, or even 4, but 7?! Want to know what it is? This mystery keyword?
It’s “sense of humor.” Is this a critical skill for an attorney? Apparently so, since it appears literally 7 times. In 7 job ads. For in-house counsel positions across the US. It was listed as a “must-have” skill for roles in San Francisco, Boston, NYC, Atlanta, Wichita, Dallas, and Phoenix.
As I charge forward here in “resume strategy” mode, I can’t ignore this keyword phrase. To have it appear in 7 ads for 7 different markets seems statistically impossible. What I can say is that retaining my sense of humor has been critical to my sanity and mental health. If I hadn’t kept my ability to laugh, I would have packed it in after my dad passed. Instead, I focused on the utter ridiculousness of not being able to find a rabbi to say kaddish and needing my uncle to step in. Because he didn’t have a hat or head covering (it’s a Jewish thing), he grabs the closest thing, my father’s full-size, sorcerer’s apprentice wizard hat, and saves the day. In an absolutely gut-wrenching moment, we all alternated between tears of grief and tears of laughter.
Instead of me continuing on to share resume tips and tricks, I just want to hammer home how important attitude is in any job search. And keeping your sense of humor? Priceless. If the choice is between complaining or a bad dad joke, I’ll choose the bad dad joke every time. And so should you.
Here’s to hoping that 2021 is full of puppies and kittens (and not snake-wolves, shark-nados, or volcanoes in Iowa).