A SKUNK AT THE MARKETING TABLE


Two months ago I spotted an ad for a position that on the Fraser Health Authority website. I hired myself to make a quick and accurate resume and cover letter that I emailed to the HR department. One month later I was interviewed for the position, and a week after that I was hired as the Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor for the Tri-Cities Mental Health Team – a part of the Fraser Health Authority.

It’s also a 5 minute drive from where I live. In a world of skyrocketing gas prices, this is a real perk.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “How big was the tip you gave yourself, you cheap bastard.”

The tip is that I get to use this success story as an opening for my ad on Craigslist where there’s no word limit. It doubled number of clients.

I’ve always had a keen eye for spotting good marketing opportunities. In fact, I already used this story to find job opportunities for some of my clients at Fraser Health. I go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting and find people who need profiles written for their business while, at the same time, tell them how some of my clients could help them in their businesses as employees.

My marketing ideas, however, haven’t always been as productive.
I once worked for a youth services agency. Employment counsellors there wanted to have a table in the mall to promote “Hire a Youth Week.” They asked if I could help in the promotion, and then mistakenly gave me carte blanche to come up with an idea and carry it through.

They probably thought I would show up and talk to people. I’ll bet they never thought I’d show up as a skunk.

The late actor Fran Dowie was an old friend of mine. He had a costume rental store in his house in the middle of a forest. I gave him $30 for the rental of a the skunk. “That costume won’t do anything for you,” Fran said while chewing on the stub of his cheap nickel stinker cigar. “You have to make it work. You have to make it believable.”

In the mall, I had one of the employment counsellors chase me around with a broom screaming, “Get out of here, you smelly old skunk.

I was having a great time as a skunk. I was sitting on laps, dragging businesspeople to the information table, and generally reeking havoc. Reeking was the operative word. I once had a job s an apple with a worm sticking out of it, and I had forgotten how hot it was. My antics were causing me to overheat. Both my costume and my clothes underneath were drenched. People could hear me coming because of the squishing noise. And the combination of my sweat, the sweat of all the previous wearers, possibly even Fran Dowie and his cigars, imparted an odour that would drive ticks off a badger.

This was the state of the skunk when a little boy approached the table and began to pull my tail.

Readers will recall that a skunk’s primary defence mechanism is a gland that produces a mephitic smell designed to disgust the tormentor. (In fact, the smell is so overpowering that Linnaeus called the skunk Mephetus mephetus. It deserved its double-barreled name, as anyone who would pull the tail on the business end of a real skunk would soon find out.

I had no flask of perfume that day. Just me. As I hunkered down next to the kid, I put both hands on my skunk head. Whether it was the tilting of the skunk head releasing a cloud of smell that caused the j=kid to scream in horror, or the fact that I was rotating the head in a 360 degree circle like Linda Blair in The Exorcist circle that terrified him is a moot point.

The real tragedy was I had to explain it to the RCMP – They always get their skunk.

They promised they wouldn’t charge me if I went home to take a shower. “That kid was clearly too young to watch The Exorcist.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there “aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look like.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105 If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

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6 Responses to “A SKUNK AT THE MARKETING TABLE”

  1. energywriter Says:

    ROFL, Mike. I can see (and smell) it all. One brief experience as Smokey the Bear taught me to never go near one of those costumes again.

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