My Alternative CV

All About Niall:
The things I probably wouldn't mention in my C.V.

Niall, an Engineer.
My first two degrees were both in Engineering, and I still consider myself to be an Engineer, although nothing resembling traditional engineering design has been part of my work for almost 30 years. I get rather irritated with people who refer to anyone who does a slightly technical job as an engineer. The word engineer comes from the same root as the word ingenuity, and describes someone who uses their ingenuity, their knowledge of science and maths, and their ability to deal with complexity to design solutions to problems.
A different type of Engineer.
It is also acceptable to refer to someone who is in charge of an engine as an engineer, although that use of the word has fallen out of fashion as engines have become simpler to operate.

My attempt to draw Sarah
in the style of Quentin Blake..
She doesn’t really look like this.
I live in the West End of Glasgow with my wife, Sarah, two cats, several fish, some shrimps, and some aquatic snails. Some mice also would like to live in our house, however most of the time they just have to live in the garden, or in our garage. I recently found that some mice had converted one of my PA speakers, which was stored in the garage, into a desirable mouse residence, however fortunately they didn't do any damage to the speaker cone or the wiring.

I like to build things - usually ugly but functional things:

I designed my desk to provide a large work surface in a small flat. The section where the lamp is sitting can be detached and folded away under the desk, and the flap that links it to the main desk folds down.
Sarah’s Ukulele hanger is a rare piece of functional but not ugly woodwork. Fitting Sarah’s giant whiteboard was also quite challenging - the supports I created are hidden by the sofa.

This is where I do woodwork - it’s a rather messy workbench I'm afraid.

Work history and Skills (missing out all the boring bits that are included in my real C.V.)


  • Artist’s model
  • Fashion photographer (specialising in shoes.)
  • Roady for Camera Obscura
  • Live Sound Engineer (for many bands)
  • Tour bus driver for V-Twin
  • Pub quiz host
  • Keyboard player (not a very good one though )
  • Management Consultant


  • Cooks excellent Pizza
  • Can make a decent vegetarian curry
  • Can work how to use most gadgets
  • Can draw extremely badly

Interesting/Uninteresting facts about Niall

One of my favourite TV shows is the quiz “Only Connect”. At the start of each episode Victoria Coren Mitchell introduces each contestant with a silly fact about them. Here are some fact that she could say about me if I were ever a contestant:
  • Niall has never been inside a barber shop or even met a barber.
  • Niall once met a kidnapper who worked for Rupert Murdoch. (For legal reasons I should make it clear that this person did not work as a kidnapper for Rupert Murdoch, and I have no reason to believe that Mr Murdoch is aware of his butler's former career.)
  • Phil Knight once asked Niall to design ski poles for him, but as Niall had no idea that Phil owned Nike, Niall turned him down.
I've created this Only Connect style connection wall that reflects some of my interests. You can try it out at

All text, doodles and photographs Copyright © 2015, Niall S F Barr. Reuse permitted under CC-BY-NC-SA licence


Maureen Crawford said...

So far you hold 1st place in my rankings of #DigiWriMo Alternative CVs! Why? Because your piece is entertaining, interesting and varied. The drawings added a great deal, the photographs brought clarity and then the game show additions added levity. Niall, thanks for a delightful AltCV and a peek at Sarah's ukes! (I wonder which one it was that was broken in the storyjumpers?)

Unknown said...

I found the transition from something that looked casual with the zigzagging pictures to the next part that looked more like a traditional CV design interesting, especially that the traditional looking part was funny.

I never thought that anyone misused the word engineer other than Egyptians :) I never use it unless the person is really an engineer, but Egyptians in general tend to over use it, and they do the same to other titles too.

I like the desk idea, I am impressed by your work history, your skills (especially the ones to do with building things), and the fact about Phil Knight made me laugh :).

I really enjoyed reading your unCV :)

Unknown said...

You are a super interesting person!!!