Career Counselling by the Ghost of Freud


sigmund freud
Tell me about your mother. I mean... resume...

There was a time when going for help or advice regarding your career path looked quite a bit different than it does today.  In recognition of the many strides we’ve taken in the field of career development and career counselling, I decided to call on an old friend for some resume advice the way that he would have given it back in his day.

Readers, please welcome my good friend, the ghost of Sigmund Freud – as embodied by this Freud action figure that I keep in my office.  For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Freud’s work, a good place to start is here.  You can also note that he will be played by Viggo Mortensen in the upcoming movie “A Dangerous Method.”

Dave: Welcome, Dr. Freud.  It’s such an honour to speak with you!

Ghost of Freud: Good morning, Herr Lindskoog. What is this… idol that I inhabit?

Dave: That’s an action figure of you – quite striking, actually.  Look, you can even bend your elbows!

Ghost of Freud: Indeed…

Dave: Anyway, I was hoping I you could give me some advice on my resume.  I’ve been wanting to touch it up for a while, and thought you might have a… well, unique perspective.

Ghost of Freud: Resume… resume…

Dave: It’s kind of like a curriculum vitae, you know – you give them to employers, they outline your experience, skills, and achievements, companies use them to decide who they want to interview…

Ghost of Freud: Indeed.  I vaguely recall something similar to this during my early years in medical school in Vienna.

Dave: Right. So, I’ve been wondering – do you think I should include an objective on my resume?

Ghost of Freud: … <says nothing>

Dave: Hello? Did you hear my question?

Ghost of Freud: This would be better if you lie down and face away.  Just lie on the floor and pretend that it’s a chaise.  I get nervous when people look at me.

Dave: Is that really necessary? Look, this is my office, not yours!  Can’t we just – ugh, okay fine.  Is that better?

Ghost of Freud: Yes, much better.  Now then, let’s start by you telling me about your mother.

Dave: Well, she’s pretty great.  Everyone’s always saying how nice she is, and – hey wait! We’re supposed to be talking about my resume!

Ghost of Freud: Sounds like you’re quite… fond of your mother.

Dave: Sure – I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t be.  She used to bake every week when we were kids, that was pretty awesome.  Oh yeah – she was very supportive, too.

Ghost of Freud: Mmm. Tell me, have you ever experience feelings of anger or jealousy towards your father?

Dave: Wait, wait.  I know what’s going on here.  You want me to come to some kind of crazy conclusion that I unconsciously want to kill my father and sleep with my mother.  You know, I respect a lot of your ideas, Dr. Freud, but that one is just too crazy.  Can you please let it go?

Ghost of Freud: Drat.  It’s my favourite one.

Dave: Well, it’s crazy and a lot of people think you were nuts for saying it.  Now, can we PLEASE get back to my resume?

Ghost of Freud: Fine, fine.  Okay, let’s try this.  Just lay back and say whatever comes to mind.  Don’t filter your thoughts.  Just let your stream of consciousness flow.

Dave: This is going to answer my question about objectives how?

Ghost of Freud: … <says nothing, opens a notebook>

Dave: Man, you are frustrating.  Okay… well, it’s raining today.  The weather is actually really bad, especially considering that it seemed like it was going to be a nice day when I left for work this morning.  Hmm… um, what else is there… this coffee tastes good?

Ghost of Freud: <scribbles notes into notebook>

Dave: Hey – what are you writing?

Ghost of Freud: Don’t look at me!

Dave: Bah! This is pointless.  How did you get people to pay you for this?

Ghost of Freud: You’re angry at me because you unconsciously see me as your father.

Dave: I told you – no Oedipus complex!  I just had a simple question about my objective statement! Should I even have one? Why can’t you just answer the question?!

Ghost of Freud: This is good, we’re making progress.

Dave: Progress? You’ve done nothing but try to fit me into the weirdest, least helpful theory in psychology.  Oedipus himself would be upset.  You’re a terrible career advisor, Sigmund.

Ghost of Freud: <scribbles into notebook>

Dave: <sigh> Okay, we’re done here.

Ghost of Freud: I’ll be baaaaaaaaaack! <disappears in a puff of cigar smoke>

So, there you have it.  We’ve come a long way, folks.  A long way.

*Cross-posted at the Career Services Informer.

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