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Jimmy Buffett and Your Career


By Robert P. Poindexter

‘Waiting for the sails to fill’ is a line from one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs. The image it conjures up can be applied to so many of the moments in life that require patience. Each time I hear this song, I am reminded of the days I’ve sat becalmed beneath sails hanging limp for want of a breeze, the only sound being the halyards slapping against the mast as they are upset by the rocking motion of the boat.

Usually during these times, I am constantly scanning the water’s surface for ‘cat paws.’ Those little ripples that cause such a contrast on the water also cause quite a contrast in my mood. My spirits are suddenly buoyed as I take my place at the controls and prepare for sweet release from the irons that have kept me motionless.

As the ‘paws’ draw closer, my sails begin to come alive. No longer hanging loose, they begin to flutter and eventually take shape as the boat heels to leeward, and a wake begins forming off the fantail. Suddenly, the music sounds sweeter, and life has new meaning for me.

If I were not willing to wait for the wind, I could have simply stowed my sails, started the engine and driven around the lake or back to the marina. But that wasn’t the point of being here to begin with.

If you are currently waiting for the wind to fill your career sails, I don’t have to tell how hard it is to be patient.

Before I ever venture out onto the water, I check my sails for tears and make sure the ropes and winches and other necessary equipment are up to the task. I liken this step to the resume review. What is it about this current resume that may be holding the client back? Are there holes that need to be patched? Is the structure strong enough to move the career? Is failure imminent if the wind (hiring process) gets too stiff?

Next comes moving the boat away from the dock and out of the marina. I use the engine here to position the boat in the wind and out of the way of any dangerous obstacles. This would be the worksheet part of the resume building process. The writer will take this worksheet and begin to maneuver the resume into the place it is most likely to catch career wind with enough leeway for a successful career search.

An extensive interview will help narrow down what direction the wind is coming from, and what direction the client would like to go.

Once all of these pieces are in place, you can start looking for the cat paws on your career waters.

As the blanks are filled in, the career sails begin to fill. This is when you take control and use that wind to your best advantage by steering your vessel towards success.

Be patient, be deliberate, be aware and be successful.

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