Archive for the ‘Robert Poindexter’ category

Equipped to Climb the Ladder

March 25, 2010

By Rob Poindexter, Writer and Sailor

“Wow,”  he thought to himself. The large indoor pool area looked immense as he stood there alone at the foot of the high dive. It soared some 25 feet in the air above the glassy pool’s surface, over 5 times higher then his own 8-year-old frame. Many times he had stood here, only to be told by his mother or some other well meaning adult that it was far too dangerous for him.

Well, none of those would impede him now. He had slipped into the pool area while everyone else had moved on to other activities at the club. He looked up the tall ladder leading to the lofty perch, and then allowed his eyes to trace the board out to the edge, and from there followed his imaginary line of descent down to where he supposed his body would make contact with the water’s surface. He had planned this scene many times in the past year or so, and now he was face to face with the reality of it.

He knew it would not be easy, but the thought that it wasn’t possible never entered into the picture. He let out a soft sigh as he reached for the ladder rail, rung by rung he hoisted himself toward the ceiling, stopping briefly about halfway up to check his progress, looking down first , then up at the board, then across the pool. Concerned, but undeterred, he continued his ascent.

He knew from this height, if he slipped and fell to the hard surface below him, he would be seriously injured, if not killed. For now, those thoughts had to be abandoned if he expected to succeed in this endeavor.  For even at this young age he knew what we all eventually come to realize, that, of course being that fear is usually the number one reason we fail so often in life.

Finally, reaching for the top of the rails, he stepped onto the board. He had two choices at this point, but only one option as far as he was concerned. “After all,  jumping from the board would certainly require less effort then climbing back down the tall ladder,” he thought to himself.

He stood , wide eyed, looking around the huge empty room. The ceiling was still no less then 25 feet above where he stood now, the pool although immense when standing next to it at ground level, didn’t seem to be as large a target from this new perspective. The hollow silence that can usually only be sensed in these large indoor pool areas, felt somewhat intimidating to him.

He walked cautiously to the end of the board, careful not to begin his jump before he was ready by slipping off the side of the narrow runway. Knowing that this may be the last time, for a long time, that he would get this opportunity again , he stood enjoying and taking in, his new vantage point. Finally, the time had come, so he took in a long breath, filling his tiny lungs to, what he hoped was full capacity, and without a second thought, leapt from the board, with no particular target other then the pool itself.

He broke the surface of the pool’s motionless water feet first and continued to slip below the new waves he had caused. Once downward momentum finally gave way to buoyancy,  he kicked his way back up until his mouth and nose were once again able to take in fresh air, and swam to the nearest pool ladder. Once there, he turned himself around and hoisted himself so that he was now seated on the top rung.

He had done it. He was thrilled and relieved to have finally accomplished that which had seemed so overwhelming until just a few short moments ago. What’s more,  he had survived.

Not unlike our little friend here, we have faced our fears at some time or another, and like him we had choices about how to best handle those challenges in order to achieve our goals.

Was he equipped properly to achieve his goals? I think so. He could walk, he could climb, he could jump, he could hold his breath, he could swim. Leave out any of those abilities and I dare say, he could not have jumped from that board with the same amount of success as he demonstrated.

We find the job we’d like to have, we make the proper connections to secure an interview, and then we make our way to the office to be measured by those who will have the last say on the success of this venture.

We are set to enter the ‘pool,’ if you will.

Very little, at this stage of the game, is as important as a well written, professional resume.  You may want to look at it as your life ring in the pool of the job search. For without it you are very likely to be drowned out.

Sleeping Beauty

March 3, 2010

By Robert Poindexter, Sailor and Writer

For six long months she lay at rest in her slip.

Six long months of cold days, and even colder nights, her lines filled with pink fluid, running through her like the medication from an IV filling the veins of a coma patient. But soon she will be awakened from the deep slumber that winter forces on her every time summer’s warm breath gives way to fall’s chilly warning of cold north winds filling her berth.

But now, an early spring sun gleams off her bow pulpit and dances around its edges as her prow rises and softly falls like the chest of a sleeping beauty while muted waves lap at her water line.

I can scarcely contain myself as I walk to greet her. Like a long lost friend who looks so good after a long absence, I reach for her, grabbing a handful of shroud, I caress the wooden rollers and hoist a leg over her lifeline.

One by one, I ease around her decks, releasing bungee cords one at a time from the tarps that have been her blankets for the winter she has endured. Soon enough, they are folded and stowed. The usual inspections are done, the cleaning, leak inspections, hoses reconnected that need be, valves checked, opened, and cleared of anti-freeze, fresh water added to tanks, and the mundane, but necessary tasks that go along with bringing her back to life.

Now it’s time to turn my attention to the iron genny. With new filters and fresh oil in place, I climb into the cockpit and prepare to do battle.

Key on, choke pulled, throttle set, engine room fans on. I listen to them hum for a few minutes, then I bump the key – batteries are strong, and the little four gives it her all, but she needs time, she just needs to wipe the sleep from her eyes and clear her throat. A few more tries, and now she sits idling, water spilling from her stern, singing the sweetest song I’ve heard in ages.

While the melody continues, I move forward and hank the 150 in place, running the sheets to the cockpit, kick off the dock lines and pull away from the slip that has held her captive too long. We glide past the others in our little marina, waving at neighbors as we head towards the lake.

Once past the buoy that marks our harbor, I give the Atomic 4 enough throttle to take a bigger bite out of blue-green water. Looking up the mast, I turn the wheel to port and follow the windvane as it slowly reaches for the bow.

Ahh, there it is, now I cut back the throttle to a sweet idle, kick her tranny in neutral and let the forward momentum keep us moving as I head up and hoist the main. Once secured, I swing around to the port side and hoist the genoa.

Now, back at the helm, I spin the wheel to starboard and watch the sweet westerly fill her sails. As they billow, the smile in my soul makes its way to my eyes, my chest is filled with laughter as I reach for the key and silence the beast in her belly.

She heels slightly as we become one with the wind and waves as our only companions.

It’s only a small lake, in a small town in Kansas, but I couldn’t have felt more content than if it were the wide blue sea.

How like opening up a sailboat after a long winter is the person who is suddenly in a job search situation. Whether you are a new grad looking for the first time or a seasoned pro that has not been in the market for a while, there are basic tools and checklists that must be performed in order to properly launch your new career search.

The most important tool by far being the professionally written resume, which, like the sails on my “sleeping beauty,” when set properly, will catch the eye of the hiring manager to create that “whoosh” that propels your career across the lake of life.

Einstein, Bob Marley and Me

August 28, 2009

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As I sat watching the cars whiz by me on the interstate, I envied them all their 4 good tires, all full of air going around and around, 70 miles per hour plus.

I, on the other hand, had only three, which is why I am here, on the shoulder of the highway I had only moments ago been on. Air conditioning blowing cold, Bob Marley playing at about a level 21 on my level 20 radio, speedo needle dipping just a little over 75, quite confident in my ability to reach my destination in the time I had allotted for myself, not a care in the world, just cruisin’ man, just cruisin’.

The soulful Rastafarian’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ was abruptly interrupted by the sound of rubber being thrown forcefully into the wheel wells, and echoing throughout the cabin. A sense of dread suddenly gripped my soul as my mind tried to come to grips with the sudden change in atmosphere. All of  the usual questions came up:

Do I have a spare?

Do I have a jack?

Do I have one of those things that undoes the bolts on the bad wheel?

Do I have roadside assistance?

Do I have time for this?

The answer to the last question was superfluous at best.

I landed as gently as I could on the shoulder, popped the trunk release and headed for an area of my car, that until now I had only heard of. I rarely carry passengers in my car so the backseat typically holds anything that would normally be fodder for the trunk.

I raised the deck lid, not sure of what I might find, and tried to remember what the car salesman had told me about this area and the tools within when I bought this car 5 years ago. A tab marked ‘pull here’ lurked conspicuously from the right corner of the carpeted trunk. So I pulled, and to my delight, was rewarded with the sight of a wheel with a somewhat smaller tire wrapped around it, and a nifty little plastic bag bolted to the center of the hub with every tool necessary to accomplish the task at hand. I won’t bore you with the details of the next few moments of this scenario, but suffice it to say these car guys really no how to put together a step-by-step manual. It was written as though I had never seen a car before, much less had knowledge that  the wheels were actually changeable.

The guy who wrote this step-by-step brochure made sure that I was parked on a level surface. He also made sure I turned the lug wrench to the left to loosen the wheel and to the right to tighten the wheel in steps 10 and 24 respectively.

Now I’m no mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but this manual could have been less then three steps long and it would have sufficed for most people.

Step 1 . Raise Car

Step 2. Remove old wheel, put new wheel in its place

Step 3. Lower Car

Had I been tasked with this project, that is what you would find in your trunk marked, “Instruction Manual.”

Soon enough I was back on the road, but the detail of that manual reminded me how often people will hand in a resume almost as simplistic as my version of the instructions and then scratch their head and wonder why the phone’s not ringing off the hook.

Instructions manuals are written with the idea in mind that the reader has absolutely no preconceived ideas about the task they are about to undertake, Most are simple yet detailed to the point that Einstein and I both can understand them and decipher them equally as well.

While most resumes are written for a target audience, you never know if the person making the decision will be Einstein or me. If you always assume they are me, like the folks who wrote the manual for changing my tire, then your chances of success go way up.

~~~~~

Written by Rob Poindexter, sales executive and sailor, who, as Jacqui’s husband, provides an observer’s perspective to job-search coaching and resume writing.