• Charles Dunn

Feel Free to Tell Me It Sucks


Where I grew up in the South, it's common practice for the host or hostess to issue a disclaimer prior to any meal. "I think it was better the last time I made it." "I apologize if the ham is dry." I don't know if this is to set expectations low. So, barring the ham doesn't come out like jerky, the meal is a rousing success. Maybe it's to coax out the compliments in a roundabout fashion. "Not at all, it's delicious. I really like what you did with the vanilla and capers."


Unfortunately, I tend to approach self-promotion the same way. I work up the nerve to share my writing, then discount it in the same breath. "I was performing an appendectomy at the time, so ignore the typos." "It's a little derivative, practically word-for-word from Mel Brooks' Silent Movie. I shouldn't even be showing it around."


Imagine a resumé handled the same way.

  • Managed a staff of 5. (Though they really carry their own weight. I could learn a thing or two from them.)

  • Spearheaded the Emerging Markets initiative. (I just pulled it across the finish line. It was 90% done already.)

  • Provided Legal Team support. (As if they needed my help. They're rock stars.)

Confidence. Self-assurance. Positivity. These are words on stupid inspirational posters. I simply need to keep my mouth shut. Put my work there without comment. Let the chips fall where they may. Why should I expend all that energy convincing them in advance it's awful? They can arrive there on their own.