Thursday, December 3, 2015


Here is a letter I wrote to “Psychology Today”magazine yesterday.

In the May/June issue, Kaja Perina writes on page 46, “Even community service, for some the standard metric of character development in the form of ‘giving back’, has been reconfigured as a resume enhancing path to achievement.”

How many community service jobs are resume builders? Can the author or the editors name any? I am a retired college English instructor. I volunteer two days a week at an animal rescue group. I clean litter pans and cat cages. Imagine that on a resume.

When I was in college, I was asked to dress up as a gingerbread cookie for Special Olympics. The girl who recruited me said it would look good on my resume. I started giggling. Did she think I would be applying for any jobs as a gingerbread cookie?

Most of us who clean the litter pans or dress up as cookies, do it to help the community. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had, but this is not giving back or resume building. You oversimplified a complex topic.

And you insulted people who give of their time for unselfish reasons.

David Brooks and Kaja Perina could learn something about character building by talking to people who volunteer to clean litter pans. I am often up at 5:30 a.m. and I stumble through snowbanks in Michigan winters to get to the animals I volunteer to help.

Excuse me. I have to add “Gingerbread Cookie” to my resume.

Excuse me. I have to add “Gingerbread Cookie” to my resume.