Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tolerance Theatre and my CV

The Laramie ProjectThe first time I saw a theater production of the Laramie Project, it was at Otterbein College in Ohio, USA, where I was studying International Relations during my undergraduate year. The intensity of the play did not let me go for a while, and when a couple of years later a group of alumni of that undergraduate exchange program were discussing an idea for a community project, I suggested that we translate and stage it in Russia. The project evolved into a much bigger thing. We adapted the script to fit the Russian reality, so that we could appeal to our audiences on a deeper level and the actors turned into trainers after the performance and conducted facilitated discussions with the audiences on the topics unearthed in the play. I won't go into details - if you are interested, I have uploaded a newspaper article about the Tolerance Theater project, take a look (GoogleDocs does not always open it from the first time, just click "Refresh" if it happens).

What I really wish to discuss here is what impact that project had (still has and potentially might have) on my career. To tell you the truth, I have quite forgotten about that year of presentations, trying to gain support, searching for a director, keeping the team motivated, rehearsals, performances, exhilaration of the first successes... It was back in 2004-2005, between now and then there are a couple of years filled with other achievements: hiring people, firing people, implementing policies, designing learning interventions, etc. Many of them were noticed and recognized by big people in my company (and outside, I guess... otherwise, how would you explain multiple job offers? :) I never mentioned the Tolerance Theater project on my resume, considering it distant and not really relevant to work environment. Up until now...

I was working on a case study in Organizational Behavior with my classmate Jessica and I asked her to review my resume and provide any suggestions for improvement. In our discussion that ensued it transpired that, probably, Tolerance Theater is the most distinguished result I have delivered so far and it should be featured prominently on that piece of paper most people will request from you when you are looking for a job.

This proves the value a team can bring into your life. You will never be able to deliver on something of that magnitude on your own, and at the end of the day it has the potential to set you aside from the rest of potential applicants, because it has a kick, it makes you special, it gives you that notorious USP all recruiters are after (USP - not to be confused with UPS - Unique Selling Point). I am so grateful to Jessica for making me realize what I should genuinely be proud of. If you want to be a success, you need to be the best, the first or different (the credit for this maxim goes to my English teacher at school, Mila Paulsen). So I am not the best and I am not the first, but one thing you cannot deny me - I am different.

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