HIGH SEAS HEMMINGWAYS


I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but I have a confession to make. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m talking about. Sometimes I can hide it by skirting around the fact. I use liberal amounts of B.S. For example, I once explained the workings of a vacuum cleaner to my grandson. “The vacuum cleaner,” I explained, “Sucks all the dirt of the floor and deposits it inside the wall through the plug.” This tactic, when coming from the seasoned voice of a know-it-all grown adult saved me from embarrassment.

Sometimes I glean over the facts as if they were part of common lore. Years ago, at about the turn of the millennium, I had a job moving people on from the fishing industry because there were no fish. It was a government project, and someone from one of the government offices phoned to ask me how shore workers managed to get all those fish of the boats. I told her that there are a lot of ways to do it. Sometimes they use gaffs, or hooks on sticks and carry then ashore. Sometimes they use vacuum hoses. The problem with the hoses is getting the fish out of the walls afterwards.

In the latter case, I always try to redeem myself by finding out. As soon as I hung up the phone, I asked my partner Marco. “Hey Marco,” I said. “How do shore workers get all those fish off the boats?”

“In the old days,” he said, “They used to gaff them and throw them onto a conveyor belt, but now they suck them out with big vacuum pipes.”

“Hmmm,” I thought. “I didn’t do as badly as I thought.” I was about to ask how they got all those fish out of the walls when he continued. “. . . There are two tanks attached to the pipes. One is for water, and one is for the vacuum. If the water levels aren’t exactly correct, the boat can capsize. I know of one boat that capsized and sank once. Once it starts, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

As he went on to describe a scene of disaster, I began to realize what I’d been doing all those years at Community Fisheries Development Center. I’ve been privy to some of the most wonderful stories of life at sea and ashore.

I usually hear these stories as a result of composing resumes and looking for transferrable skills. I recall one incident that involved the rescue of a boat that ran aground on a rock on the way to Namu. The skipper who described the scene sent his deck hand to the bow to pick his way through the shoal as he threw a line to the stranded vessel. His boat and another nearby shouldered the stranded and powered it to the safety of a nearby beach. They showed up late for the opening for their efforts.

“Jeez,” I said. “You’re a hero.”

“We’re all heroes out there,” he said.

Unfortunately, modesty is not one of those traits that looks particularly good on a resume. But storey telling does – especially when viewed in the light of current labour market trends. To be successful in today’s labour market, your resume needs to stand out. To stand out, it needs to tell a story. For example, In British Columbia, tourism is becoming a major contributor to the economy. Buzz words such as Eco- Tourism and Heritage Tourism are opened doors to people from the fishing industry to use their marine skills to guide, transport, and otherwise interpret the coast to tourists of all description.

When you do your resume, make sure that you let your storey jump out at your prospective employer as he or she reads between the lines. If, for example, you say in your profile that you are an. “… award winning writer,” say what award you won. If you are a medalist at the Paralympics, tell them what color the medal was. They will want to meet you, and they really will look forward to meeting you. If sales is your forte, give them some numbers about how you wrestled a company from the verge of bankruptcy to oblivion – especially if the position is for a rep for a demolition company

The trick is to tell the storey with your summary of skills. Balance modesty with fact rather than fact with fiction.  (Unless I don’t know what I’m talking about,) you should score that big time intereview.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

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One Response to “HIGH SEAS HEMMINGWAYS”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Funny story with a moral. Good job, Mike.

    Now I know why by walls are starting to bulge. Hope there’s no fish in there.

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