By Robert P. Poindexter
Nautically speaking, a partner is a stout wooden frame surrounding the mast that takes the strain off of the deck timbers.
Of course, most people don’t associate that word with the sailing vernacular above. Maybe they should though. After all, isn’t that what being a partner is all about? When you think about it, being a good partner means taking on some of the burden in order to lighten the load of someone who depends on you.
It took me more than 40 years to find that kind of true partnership, and I am grateful for it every day. Decisions I made before this partnership, meant that I was all alone no matter what the outcome may be. I had no one to support my good decisions, and more importantly, no one to warn me before I made a bad one. Those of you fortunate enough to be in strong relationships, know exactly what I mean.
Being a good partner means lending support when it is needed, where it is needed. Of course, in order for it to be a good partnership, all parties involved should be willing to be supportive and, vice versa, accept support. It’s a baffling trait we humans seem to share, but we tend to find being supportive easier than accepting it.
Perhaps we are afraid that the support being offered will come with too many limitations on what we want to do instead of what we should do. Or maybe, we are too embarrassed to ask for the help, because of some unrealistic fear of being perceived as weak or unable to take care of things on our own. And sometimes, it is simply a matter of not trusting the opinion of someone claiming to be a partner. It’s an unfortunate fact that many of us have had pseudo partners who only offered advice that ultimately only served them.
When seeking a partnership for your professional resume, ask yourself a few key questions before deciding whom you want to work with.
- Do I trust what this person is telling me?
- Does this person have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to me if I’m wrong about the direction my resume should be going?
- Do they care about the outcome, or are they only concerned about their income?
- Will they answer my questions based on fact, or based on what they think I want to hear?
- Do they wait to formulate their answer once they are sure they have heard my concerns?
- Does their track record show an ability to be a good partner?
There are many times in our lives when we need a good partner, and today’s job seeker needs this more than at any other time in our recent history.
So find a partner that will throw you a life-ring, not an anchor.
Otherwise, you could find yourself and your career “sleepin’ wit’ da fishes,” so to speak.