A professor from the University of Princeton recently published his failure CV which have been widely circulated. (https://www.princeton.edu/~joha/Johannes_Haushofer_CV_of_Failures.pdf) He is a academic and his failure CV has sparked a debate on what constitutes success as well as begs the question- what is failure if you are a professor at Princeton?
I won’t get into the debate but I thought it would be fun to write my own failure CV now that I am employed full time to qualify to have a CV, versus being a homemaker.
School I failed to get into:
1979 : Failed to be admitted to SCGS despite my mother’s attempt to plead with the Principal as she was an ex student. I had been posted to Bouna Vista Sec School if I had wanted to change to English Stream (that means to study English as a first language instead of as a second language at Nanyang).
Jobs I failed to get:
1985: Sacked after two days as a part-time supermarket promoter of Magic Cloth – a wonder cloth that claimed to clean every surfaces.
1996: I went for an interview at a headhunter and then at GE Plastics.
2000: After being made redundant at ICI, I was headhunted by AMROP for an interview at Milliken Chemicals which I had been very confident of getting because the young and handsome American director offered to show me around their facilities after the interview.
2003: After a break of three years since my last attempt at job search, I applied for a position as a Business Development Manager at DSM Engrg Plastics. I got an interview but failed to get the job.
2005: My aunt alerted me to this job of a Customer Service Advisor at Infineum (S) Pte Ltd as she didn’t want me to sit around at home. I failed to get even an interview.
2016: I listed my CV in Job Street and wrote to one German chemical company to be a PA. I didn’t get any reply.
1996: A business to import dried Australian wild flowers to supply to local retail stores failed because I was totally clueless about the retail scene, and being taken advantage of by Guardian Pharmacy (as the judge harshly told the purchaser at Guardian Pharmacy when we met at the tribunal.)
Magazines/Books I failed to get published:
2007: I enrolled in The Writing Bureau and the homework to one module was to write to as many magazines as possible. One editor from a woman’s magazine replied brutally to me that my writing is like secondary school composition.
2015: Ethos rejected my manuscript Little Cloud of Bukit Brown, pointing out that the story line is predictable and the protagonist is unlikable.
Writing competitions I failed in:
2015: Writing in the city
2015: writing in the City : Poetry
2015: Golden Point Fiction
2015: Golden Point Fiction – Second article submission.
2015: Epigram Book Award
Writing this failure CV has been rather cathartic. I actually feel okay with all these failures. I realise my failure CV is rather short (no?) and there are two reasons for it:
- I have been lucky and generally jobs in my initial career life have just fallen onto my hands without me having to applied for them.
- I haven’t tried hard enough or persevere in my writing career. My mentor had wanted me to edit my manuscript (after three times) and I stubbornly refused due to writer’s fatigue and laziness.
Having read the The Surrender Experiment (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/the-surrender-experiment-by-michael-a-singer/) I am happy to just surrender to life and see what it has in store for me. I hope it can lead me to a master degree in creative writing and allow me to publish one book before my life ends, though.
OK, that’s the plan.