3 min

Fudging your career

When you have lots of gay on your resumé

SECOND THOUGHTS. How much of yourself should you give away?

I’ve slashed my resumé down to reflect a straighter me, ripping out any of the gay organizations I’ve belonged to or publications I’ve written for. It’s a competitive job market and I’ve learned the hard way that not all employers want to hire gay.

Sounds cowardly of me, I know. After all, who would want to work for a company who’d refuse to hire someone based on something as trivial as sexuality? But I had no choice. Sometimes succeeding in your chosen career necessitates a wee bit of sacrifice. Besides, I’m not terribly anxious to suffer any repeats of my last job interview.

It was for a private school that I instructed teens in grammar and math on evenings and weekends. When I entered the school 10 minutes early, I was impressed by the school. But the supplemental application form they asked me to fill out told me something was wrong. It requested the stuff you legally can’t ask in a job interview: date of birth, Social Insurance Number, marital status and religion. They may as well have asked me if I wiped my ass up or down. Though I felt I should have left the questions blank, I filled them all out, convincing my troubled conscience that I was answering their invasive queries for the greater good of a perfect part-time job.

The interview consisted of a formal interview, a painfully long aptitude exam and a classroom role-playing session. The interview had gotten off to a smashing start. I got along so well with my interviewers (two identical-looking women with tight faces and hair pulled into the same tight bun) we could have been sisters at a sleepover. And then, out of nowhere, my tiny window of opportunity slammed shut in my face. I discovered I had accidentally sent them my gay resumé. What was I thinking?

Scanning it, the first woman seemed intrigued by two of the publications I had written for and thus proudly included under the heading “Other.”

“What kind of magazines are they?” she asked.

They were gay magazines, I told her without hesitation. Lying about it was out of the question. For one, maybe she already knew the answer and was just testing me, in which case she must be okay with the gay thing or else why would she have called me in for an interview in the first place? Second, if I were to bend the truth, it would only be a matter of time before someone discovered the nasty say-it-isn’t-so truth.

In an instant, their eyelids widened to the point their eyeballs might have simply spilled out of their sockets and bounced onto the table below. The pair exchanged swift glances, and then – dropping all pretence of professionalism – the mother of all naughty job interview questions was asked, the one that plainly can’t be asked.

“Oh. Are you gay?”

“Yes.” I had nothing to lose at that point and heck, maybe there was a wee chance they wouldn’t care.

But of course I was wrong. Why? Turns out this was a school, they quickly informed me, backed by none other than the Lord himself. Oopsee! Seems I had sent my über-gay resumé to a staunch Christian organization. Indeed, a glaring oversight on my part. Why hadn’t I noticed?

That’s when things immediately turned Twilight Zone. Like one of those 3-D posters from the 1990s where you’d squint, stare and strain your eyes and an image popped out. The moment my eyes darted across the interviewing room, I saw all the signs that should have been so obvious earlier. The portrait of Jesus, a few scattered shots of his disciples and the faded print of The Last Supper that was surely an Honest Ed’s original. Even the Virgin Mary posture of both my interviewers became instantly apparent.

We continued the interview, but after that point the questions seemed decidedly rushed. I doubt they were even listening anymore. I could have told them that my future plans included taking hormone pills and growing a third tit and they still would have blankly nodded their heads in flaccid agreement.

One of the women said she had to ask me something, but if I wasn’t comfortable answering, I didn’t have to – as if we weren’t past those silly informalities of civility already. Would I be willing, they wondered, to adhere to the school’s principles of Christianity by not being “out” in the classroom?

That would have been my intention anyway, so I replied yes, knowing that in the unlikely event I actually did get the job (and Saturn collided with Earth tomorrow), I’d have no problem respecting their views, so long as they respected mine.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and looking back, of course, my passivity in the interview mortifies me. I should have walked away the moment they handed me their stone-aged supplementary form, politely requesting that they shove my resumé up their tight buns.

Hence my resumé genocide. I still keep a gay version. It’s tucked away in my hard drive alongside my straight one, just itching for the day it can out itself again. Waiting for the day employers like the one who interviewed me don’t let their outdated values upstage what’s good for their company, and those who stand a chance to benefit from it.