Selling yourself

This started as piece about the need to sell yourself in job interviews and ended with a comment on language use…. 

Every time I get feedback, (“Ti angen gwerthu dy hun mwy. Ti angen gwerthu dy bwnc a dy ddoniau!“) it’s always focused on my ability to sell myself.  If anything, these comments show the commodification of education. They say nothing of my classroom skills, the depth and breadth of my subject knowledge, my experience and enthusiasm, which are assessed in classroom jobs during selection processes.

Nobody believes me when I say I’m shy but I am. Subsequent generations to mine had a different upbringing and despite being a child of the sixties, my upbringing was more 1950’s-spare- the -rod -and -spoil- child type; with “Mind what you say.”, “No showing off.”, and “Behave yourself!” as frequent exhortations. “You can’t say that!” was a confusing command, because I just had (said whatever it was)! It was a thought, which I verbalised and was clearly wrong. Often I had no idea why. Also it was only ‘bad women” who sold themselves. I didn’t have much idea about that either – just that the museum steps were a no-go area as was the bottom of Wind st.

The result was I was pretty quiet and rarely drew attention to myself. I was the one at the back of the classroom, the one who slipped through the net. A careful writer and generally a  more careful listener, so when I’m required to be an all-singing-all-dancing, gregarious, interviewee, it’s not me. I simply cannot do it. It’s not that that coat won’t fit… I never bought it in the first place.

This led me to thinking about job applications and the need to “sell yourself on paper” which I can do –  often playing “jargon bingo” in the process. The letter of application is not an explanation, but it is an exercise in saleability, setting out a stall. So lying in bed, unable to sleep, I began to wonder how would I sell myself as say, a house.

Smart tidy four bedroom house, recently internally renovated. Some external tidying up needed. House contains an enormous library and access to information systems.


Rolls Royce – coach built for comfort.


Affectionate dog, likes company  and very sociable with others of her breed. Needs a little reassurance from time to time and affection from those she loves. This breed can be stubborn on times and does not respond well to shouting and group training exercises. Incredibly loyal and hard working breed.


Filing cabinet. Bit muddled in places, stuffed with info and can be full of crap.

Book Genre.

Slightly battered and dated cover, this book can be found in Romance /Historical Fiction. Loves time travel and has a tendency to fall in love with characters –  especially if they have a Scottish Accent, red hair and Jacobite affiliation. Can also be fickle and found in the Medieval, Victorian, and Welsh Writing in English and Colonial Sections. Restoration texts need not apply. Stream of consciousness also unwelcome. Can be a promiscuous reader and has been known to abandon texts believing that life is now to short to finish books she doesn’t enjoy.

Main Selling Points

This woman is full of compassion and has an ability to empathise. She encourages those around her by use of humour and honesty. She loves having supper with friends and watching a rugby game. She recently defected to the Scarlets after long and careful thought( actually it was the scores  a week last Friday). She is loyal and supportive friend of  a handful of close people.  She reads a book a week and writes an average of 1-2k of words a week.  She loves cooking and walking her dog. Day to day she is a competent teacher and lecturer and firmly believes that if the learner is well and happy then everything will fall into place. Consequently, she is a good pastoral tutor and teacher who effectively tracks, monitors and targets her pupils so that they can aim and reach for their potential. She would prefer to do this at less frequent intervals believing that too much targeting is worse than none at all. It can be counterproductive, lead to a certain helplessness (oh my God Miss It’s never good enough), and accusations of being too demanding which need to be effectively counterbalanced with  realistically high expectations.

Such targeting does not happen in her personal life. She believes that generally life is messy and uncertain. Personal plans included Engaged @21, married @22, Boy @ 23 girl @24.  And we all know how effective THAT plan was. Her excuse – it was a plan to deviate from.

Professional plans after a fall into  adult education included graduate @33, MA @34 PGCE at 35. That plan had to be revised  as it made no provisions for long term illness leading to  widowhood. It didn’t really factor in Austerity, Michael Gove, Leighton Andrews and raft of curricular and subject reforms.

Otherwise known as  “The Bleach Queen” and latterly Princess Pledge she has a certain fondness of ‘eau de clean house.”  The  early plan that life deviated from contained hazy dreams of couples holidays, empty nest (no syndrome!) and did not include three remain at home children who have been known to change food fads as often as their shirts! Once she horrified her mother by soaking and orange duster in said polish and stuffing it behind the radiator, fooling everyone that the house had been cleaned.

However,  the light ironic turn of phrase used here and by a generation of parents (Peter and Jane, Mamgu on Facebook ), highlight a growing discontent for some people her age strangled by austerity and the social expectations of what is appropriate. No one ever says, “That’s a bloody stupid idea.” They’re more than likely to ask a question, or say, “I’m a little unsure of that. Is it wise?” Which means appropriately, she is more likely to use  words  such as “Satisfactory”,”Good”and “Excellent”,  and never ever jump up and down shrieking “That was awesome you freakin genius.” which is what she really feel on times.


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