When Life Starts to Feel Like a Puppet Show, Consider This.

How to seize back control and stop procrastinating.

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
3 min readFeb 9, 2024
Photo courtesy of author

Here I am, going through another job application procedure. As usual, it’s taking far too long. I don’t enjoy it and feel like it’s a complete waste of time. There are too many documents to go through — application letters, CVs, grade lists, aptitude test scores, references, and recommendation letters. There is simply too much information.

Like many things in life, job application procedures have become like a puppet show — a scripted, superficial performance that fails to have any genuine meaning or bigger purpose other than to distract us temporarily from the bizarre reality around us.

I have decided to stick to my usual process of focusing on one or two key components from the CV, such as knowledge of a particular language, relevant experience, or ambition and creativity. I have chosen not to open the other documents shared with me, as the information contained within will not help me identify the ideal candidate.

Also, the documents never predict future success.

The application letters have become standardized, or — more recently — large language model-generated outputs. However, things are even worse for recommendation letters, as they all follow the…



Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (law) exploring the collision of life, work, and technology, with a current project in the works - a sci-fi novel.