Thursday, March 17, 2011

Resumes from the Psychiatric Ward

What do you do with resumes that come from the psychiatric ward? No, I'm not referring to resumes from employees of the hospital, but from the patients. This isn't a hypothetical situation proposed during an alcohol enhanced conversation. I really did get them, and they kept coming!

It all started with a brilliant computer programmer. We worked together for some time and became good friends. Eventually I hired him. We worked together for a long time, and became close friends, I knew his family, his friends, and he knew mine. At one point he became depressed. The depression progressed and eventually became very serious. His family was very worried and I was asked to talk with him.

This was my first exposure to depression, real depression. I had heard about it and read about it, but never witnessed it personally. I tried to help and did what I could, but I was at a loss. How do you deal with this? Things continued to get worse and eventually he was hospitalized. The experience was frightening, he was a good friend and I felt completely useless, helpless.

For the first few days he was hospitalized I only heard from his family. They were worried, but hopeful. I too was worried, but felt it was too early to try to contact him so I stayed in the background. It is times like this that you learn how much you appreciate a friend. I missed him. He drove me crazy, but I missed him.

Several days went by and the phone rang. It was him! He sounded good, not great, but a definite improvement. He had a positive attitude and felt hopeful. He was recovering. He said that medication was helping. But he thought that getting up each morning, shaving and showering, a rigid schedule of meals and activities combined with the medication is what really helped. I was so happy that he called. We agreed to chat every day and I set aside time to chat with him. I looked forward to it.

Before I go on, you should understand that although we were good friends, he was also an employee. As an employee, he was great, far better than average. But, he could be quirky, annoying, persistent, and he could drive you nuts. At one of my family's gatherings, I sat next to my father just relaxing. Out of the blue my father said "You know you're going to have to fire him?” I asked who? And he told me. I asked "What makes you think that?” He paused and said "You know, he's driving you crazy." Looking back, I realize my father war right. But that would apply to most of the technical people I've hired. I did in fact fire him. Several times in fact. But the next morning he would be back at his desk. At one point I asked him if he understood that he had been fired. He simply pointed out that I really didn't mean it. It's hard to argue with logic like that!

We continued our daily chats and he continued to improve. At one point, he sounded really good, it sounded like my good friend was back, and I was pleased. As we chatted, the subject turned to the people he met at the hospital. He met people with similar backgrounds that he could really relate to. As a matter of fact some of the patients were also computer programmers. He spent time with talking with them and kept assuring me that they were very good, that they had excellent qualifications. He was excited and he was going to send me their resumes. My response that he didn't have to do that fell on deaf ears. I repeated my response every time he said he suggested he would be sending their resumes. Eventually he paused and asked why I didn't want them. I just blurted it out "Because they're nuts!” He was unfazed by this. He just asked "What makes you think that?" My response was "Because they're in there with you!" He said "You're probably right. But I'll send them anyway." The subject changed and the conversation ended on a pleasant note, as always.

He fully recovered. It took several months. We continued to work together for many more years. We're still good friends. And for many years I continued to receive resumes from that facility. He left my business card posted on their bulletin board.


  1. Very funny! Do you still have any of those old resumes laying around?

  2. I probably do, but at this point I wouldn't be able to tell if that is where they came from. I have gotten quite a few humorous resumes. You'd be surprised how many resumes don't include any contact info at all, no address, phone number email, nothing! Glad you enjoyed the article!


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