Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Annual End-of-Year Academic Writing Contest: 2012

For me, this winter break would not be festive without an End-of-Year Attempt-At-Humor Academic Writing Contest Of Some Sort. Oh sure, I can get in the holiday mood by walking into any store, cafe, or gas station and being subjected to a bewildering variety of renditions of the most appalling Christmas songs possible, I can (try to) put reindeer antlers on my most docile cat, and I can even decorate cookies in vile colors (Fig. 1),

but it just wouldn't be the same without an End-of-Year Attempt-At-Humor Academic Writing Contest of Some Sort.

To recap the last 4 contests:

What now? Announcing: the CV (curriculum vitae/resume).

I know what you are (possibly) thinking: the CV? That is not writing.

And so I reply, if you are (possibly) thinking that: au contraire. I have learned in the past few months that even the smallest, shortest, fragmentary attempt to convey information in a visual way is "writing". I learned this in some "meetings".

But that's not why I have selected the CV as this year's writing theme. I selected the CV because I have been continually amazed over the years by the fact that it is possible to go so far astray with what is seemingly a simple document in which some biographical and other facts are arranged to describe a person's qualifications for a position. Even more amazing to me is the realization that it is possible for someone to create (what seems to me to be) an obnoxious CV; not in the nature of the facts but in how they are presented.

Readers who wish to participate: Your challenge is to create an entirely fictitious or at least heavily disguised CV that fulfills one or more of the following outcomes,
  • entertainment;
  • horror;
  • mentoring;
  • all of the above.
whilst not veering (too far) from the norms of the academic CV. In addition, it would be great if the fabricated CV is not too long.

I hasten to emphasize that submitted CVs should not humiliate any actual persons other than yourself. The purpose of this contest is to have fun, relieve end-of-term stress, and perhaps make a dramatic and useful point or three about potential CV pitfalls.

As always, parody -- subtle or savage -- is encouraged, although I realize (from e-mails I have received over the years) that these writing contests may generate some anxiety in those who are in the process of creating the very document that is being featured. I have therefore added "mentoring" as a possible outcome, even if the mentoring is done in an ungentle way.

Entries can be sent to (do not send attachments) and will be reviewed by the FSP Editorial Board. I will be traveling in an unusual place throughout most of late December - early January, but I will post selected entries as internet access permits.

Entries will be accepted until the position is filled. Review of entries will begin on or soon after I start receiving them in the next week or two. Eventually there may be a vote on the Most Entertaining, Most Horrifying, and/or Most Useful Fake CV.

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