Peanut Butter and Dill Pickles

I was talking to a friend the other day who is having money problems. As a result, he has started bringing his lunch to work. That day, he’d had a peanut butter sandwich. Being a Texas boy, I figured it was a peanut butter and banana sandwich. To my total disbelief, he told me that it was a peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich. He assured me that it was good and that I should try it. So I did. Not bad but not great either. I’m going to stick to peanut butter and banana sandwiches but I did, at least, give it a try.

That started me thinking back to something my sister-in law told me. She and my favorite Aggie brother-in-law expatted to England a few years ago. He works for a British company and they made it worth his while to spend a couple of years in Cambridge. The friends they made at church and in the neighborhood found certain American eccentricities to be marvelous fun. For example, each time a new person visited their house, they just had to see the enormous “American fridge” (refrigerator). The British use refrigerators about the size of a dorm refrigerator.

Not everything they observed at my sister-in-law’s house was typically American. For example, she loves flavored creamer in her coffee.  When she would invite friends over, she would hear them make reference to “American coffee.”  These Brits came to believe that every American drinks coffee with vanilla, hazelnut or caramel macchiato creamer in it.

I’ve come across a number of odd instances during my visits to the UK which show a funny perception of Americans. For example, I went out to dinner one night and ordered a cup of tea. The waiter brought me the water, a tea bag and a timer. He then explained to me how to brew a cup of tea.  I guess they thought that the Boston Tea Party was the end to our drinking tea in the States.

One thing the Brits just can not understand is our love of peanut butter. They can not imagine spreading that “ghastly stuff” on perfectly good bread. When my sister-in-law mentioned that we occasionally put a banana on it, nausea was clearly visible on their faces. Not being at all deterred, she added, “Or sometimes we put jelly on it.” With clear dread registering in their voices, they would ask, “What… sort… of… jelly?” The horrific answer, “Grape” was far beyond their wildest expectations. What sort of creatures are these Americans?

We can not really understand a culture until we have spent some time there.  Some people would be much happier watching a TV show about England or Egypt than to actually experience the country and the culture first hand. The problem is, you just don’t understand it if you have not been there.

I have often said that the problem with a resume is that we are so much more than a two page Word document. This is like seeing the pyramids on TV rather than riding the camel up to them, going inside them, wandering around through the dimly lit walkways, finally making it back out into the daylight and being ripped off by the old guy who just stands at the exit with his hand out like a tour guide (even though he has nothing to do with the pyramids).You can not experience the pyramids on TV. Can you know anything about me from my resume?

This is where platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can be very helpful. Share a little bit about who you are. Help me to get to know you.

Business Insider had a great article on what the top high-tech companies want to see in your LinkedIn profile. In addition to the usual stuff such as a complete profile, lack of worn-out buzzwords and specific skills they also want to see what you are passionate about. If you are a social media marketer, do you have anything about social media marketing on your LinkedIn profile? Are you reading books about it? Are you going to the Social Media Club in your area? Are you connected to social media experts? Do you belong to the social media LinkedIn groups? Do you update your network with the latest social media news? Does your LinkedIn profile connect to your Twitter account….and do you Tweet social media stuff? Do you have a link to your personal blog….and does that show any passion for your field?

Your resume may get you in the door but your personality is what will get you the job. Show me that before I pick up the phone and call you. Give me a reason to keep your resume instead of deleting it. I really can not understand much about you from a two page overview of your career. Your resume may make you look like an uptight stuffed shirt. Show me a little passion, a good sense of humor, an interesting person and an intelligent person and I will be more inclined to give you the benefit of a doubt.

Good Luck and Godspeed.

 James Snider
Business Development Director
817 203 4944

About jamessnider

James Snider is the Vice President of Business Development for Engstrom Trading, LLC. Engstrom imports products from Scandinavian countries and builds a market for them in the USA and Canada. View all posts by jamessnider

2 responses to “Peanut Butter and Dill Pickles

  • Bill Yates

    From pickles to refrigerators to resumes. I like it.

  • Chris Desjardins


    Thanks for making the case for having a personality. I get a lot of comments both good and bad about the picture I use on LinkedIn and a one-sheet profile. It’s not your typical corporate head shot – I’m sitting on the wheel of a race car in a Nomex suit. Some use it as a conversation starter, while others say that I should use a more professional picture.

    Consider this: once a candidate makes it through the door for an interview, qualifications and technical abilities have been vetted. What will get the offer has to do with personality and how it fits within the organization. I know I lost a job as a result of explaining how I take a collaborative approach to deliver the internal audit services that a company needs. I’m OK with it, while it would have been a great job, it would have been the wrong place.

    I’m not changing my picture.

    Chris Desjardins

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