Those of us who fit the description “mentally ill” face exceptional challenges when it comes to networking, career advancement, and interviewing techniques. Johnny All-American Lunchbucket probably never had to explain away that year in a Turkish prison to a horrified Human Resources executive. And yet, for the likes of us, that is not even an exceptional challenge.
The mentally ill – (extra-normally enabled) – job seeker needs to be ready with plausible explanations for suspicious terminations, demotions, and outstanding warrants. Honesty is always the best policy, but, bear in mind that when you are talking about intergalactic chess tournaments played in five-dimensional swimming pools, your interviewer simply isn’t qualified to understand you.
There is a fine art to crafting alternate explanations that might conceivably be true and satisfy your HR representative’s need to fill out a form that will never be read, or even touched, by anyone else. It is your responsibility to make yourself easy to hire, and one of the ways you do this is by discussing your past in terms that do not fill prospective employers with dread.
What follows is a list of some common explanations for sudden job departures and long periods of unemployment used by mentally ill people. Let me stress in the strongest possible terms that you are to scrupulously avoid them!
1. Charlie Sheen’s dog told me to sell my possessions and walk across the United States backwards. I was doing fine until I hit Ohio, I couldn’t tell the end from the beginning.
2. For six months I could only speak in palindromes. You know – Able was I ere I saw Elba – A man a plan a canal Panama – Neil an alien – If I had a hifi. It was tough on my colleagues. I’m over it now.
3. I was the walrus, I was the walrus, goo goo ga joob. I was the walrus and then one day I wasn’t anymore.
4. Alien spaceships aren’t nearly as glamorous and comfortable as you might imagine. I was in one that didn’t even have beds, everybody slept in boots!
5. I took a year off to “find myself” – unfortunately I did.
6. Love letters and restraining orders! Love letters and restraining orders! I’ll tell you one thing, I’ve learned a lot about the psychodynamics of interpersonal relationships, and the judicial system.
7. You know that expression, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? According to my doctor, that ain’t always technically true.
8. My inner child chewed through his restraints, it took some time to subdue him.
9. I saw a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, I held infinity in the palm of my hand, and eternity in an hour – and it completely blew my funky mind!
10. I was looking for evidence of subliminal Marxist propaganda in the Muppet Show and movies and let me tell you, I was appalled!
In upcoming blogs we’ll review what you should say!