Consider a young man fresh out of work, a wife, three children, and needing to find employment soon, real soon.
I read about a job opening for a mechanic at Toomey Equipment, a local tractor and farm implement supply company.
Let me go back a bit. I learned to fix things around the house and on cars working alongside my daddy either in the rental apartments he purchased to supplement the family income or in the garage behind our house in Alabama Village.
I improved my skills during my high school years because the cars I drove needed a lot of tender loving care to keep them running especially after the way I treated them.
After high school, I worked for three years as a pipefitter helper at International Paper Company in Prichard, served a four-year apprenticeship with the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, and then worked three more years as an aircraft electrician repairing electrical systems on various U. S. Navy aircraft, both jets and propeller driven planes. I loved that job but got caught in a presidential campaign promise to shrink the size of government.
Although the navy offered me my old job back, Carolyn and I decided to bring our family back home to Mobile and I accepted a job with Warrior and Gulf Navigation in Chickasaw repairing diesel engines and other mechanical equipment on 85 foot long tugboats. After working there for only eleven months, I knew that was not the job for me so I resigned.
I tried my hand at selling tires and automobile services for another eleven months with Ira Lewis Sr. in Saraland until it was established that sales is another skill that has eluded me. Another resignation and I am back to the start of this story.
How hard could it be to fix tractors and farm equipment?
I had read a book on how to write a resume to get an interview and because this was the third job I was seeking in as many years, I updated mine. At the end I listed some of my positive character traits, the final one, “I am very thourough.”
I was so proud of that resume and the person I would be working for was equally impressed. We talked about the job a long time and we wanted to work it out but could not agree on a salary, naturally I wanted more than he was authorized to pay.
As we finished up, he promised to try and get the amount of money I needed and that he would be back in touch but as I exited the building a lady handed me my resume without saying a word. As I got in my car, I noticed that she had circled one word on my resume—thourough—as if to say, “Not as much as you think.”
In an effort to showcase my skills, I overlooked one little detail that belied the very thing that I was trying to prove.
Did you catch it? If I had, I may still be a tractor mechanic.
Wayne Brady 10/29/2014