A few words with winner Joan Carter of San Francisco:
What do you do for a living?: I’m a principal technical writer for Oracle.
Has your sense of humor ever helped you on the job?: Every day! Technical writing is fraught with stress, resulting mostly from it’s unending cycle of deadlines. The other writers on the team and I keep each other from imploding with far-flung and funny IM exchanges.
Ever used humor in a job search?: Wish I could say yes, but, no. The few times I’ve tried writing peppy, upbeat cover letters have been met with chilling silence. I suppose that in itself is funny.
What’s your best advice for jobseekers?: After a while, the vigorous stream of advice that everyone gives you on your resume yields diminishing returns. Think of the old man and his son trying to get their donkey to market.
The first person they meet chides them for walking when one can ride. The second chides them for letting youth ride while age walks. The third for their slow pace when the donkey could easily accommodate the weight of the boy as well as the man. The fourth for tiring the animal out and lowering its worth.
Finally, the old man and his son tie the donkey’s legs together, slide a pole through, and carry the it along, swinging between them. They come to a bridge, and the donkey swings out so far, the men lose their balance and pitch the bound donkey into the wild river below, where it drowns. This illustrates that, if you let everyone tell you how to get your donkey to market, you’ll wind up losing your ass.
What do you find funny and not funny about a job search?: Funny, how everyone has an opinion about that resume, which opinions are often in conflict; not funny, the potential for serious financial hardship while unemployed.