I’m Not THAT Marty Bird

Besides, he doesn’t even spell his name the same as I do. Yes, I’m referring to Marty Byrde, the fictional character in the Netflix series Ozark played by the talented Jason Bateman. Clearly, we don’t resemble one another, but I do get stopped at the credit card terminal time and time again with “Hey, do you watch that show . . . that show . . . on Netflix?” I respond with a smile, “Do you mean Ozark?” “Yes! Look everyone, it’s Marty Bird!” Joking of course, the Starbucks / Target / Panera / Chick-fil-A employee finds it hard not to express their joy and surprise that a same (similar) named person just showed up in their shop.

When this attention began 2 or 3 years ago, I had to find out if Jason Bateman’s character did spell his name the same as I do, and found no – it’s Byrde. As the show has become more popular, I get the money-laundering jokes and side-eyes from time to time. “Better check that twenty!” (As if I ever pay with cash any more.)

Since I thoroughly enjoy the Netflix series Ozark, there are times when this public recognition results in a few fun facts about the show, along with the requisite “When do you think they’ll start the next season?”, and “Wow did you see how last season ended? Sick!”

I’m OK with the attention. What I’m not OK with? My number 1 ranking for the search “Marty Bird” on Google has been replaced by this guy:

Jason Bateman - Ozark
Credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix
Creator: Jessica Miglio/Netflix | Credit: Jessica Miglio/Netflix

Smooth Landing at Ritron

After 8 months in transition, I landed at Ritron, a manufacturing company that helps customers solve unique communications problems through their niche radio products. The great news – this is a fantastic company for me, and I’m eternally grateful to be here. I started in May 2018, and I’m approaching the end of my first 3 months here.

During my time in transition (honestly – I was jobless, and really struggling to find value in myself), I learned to re-story my situation to put a less negative spin on how I was feeling every day. My personality type as an Achiever means I have a strong desire to feel valuable and worthwhile. I constantly strive to succeed and be recognized to gain energy. And admittedly, I use my Work Identity to define my overall happiness. You can see how, as an Achiever, being jobless is a big problem.

My fear of being worthless was difficult to control, and I needed to know I was doing something to overcome that fear. Along with setting and holding informational meetings with my network several times per week, I joined two job search networking groups that proved helpful. The first was Dale Hinshaw’s Team Networking Group (TNG). Dale has faithfully led this group’s weekly Wednesday (and now Friday) sessions for several years at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. The second group (Career Curve) was led by Chuck Quakenbush and Jim Hubbard, meeting at St. Mark’s in Carmel.

These two accountability groups provided my reason to be. Homework assignments, reading, presenting, networking, and showing up on time for the weekly meetings gave me a reason to feel valuable. My ability to contribute gave me a sense of being worthwhile. I established and nurtured relationships with people who were experiencing similar hurdles.

The ups and downs (mostly downs) during this time were gut wrenching. I did my best to put my prettiest face forward when:

  • I was offered what appeared to be a great job two months into my search only to be called by the president of the company and told, “we are rescinding the offer” for no reason. (Later I found the hiring manager was not authorized to make the offer.)
  • One month later, I was well into multiple interviews with an opportunity only to finish as the runner-up.
  • Later in my job search I was moments away from receiving a written offer when the offshore HR team instituted a company-wide hiring freeze. (This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since the entire department was downsized – that means fired – recently.)

I sought guidance through the Stephen Ministry at St. Luke’s, and my counselor helped me realize that these opportunities were not meant to be, and even though patience is required, a path that is meant for me will be revealed in time. The Stephen Ministry allowed me to explore and express my previously untapped faith in God.

I experienced the effects of Chakra balancing. Well-balanced chakras translate into feelings of well-being, relaxation, centeredness, increased vitality and embodiment of oneself. This was not simply a distraction, but served to open my mind to areas of help I would not have considered.

This led to a morning ritual of meditation, as well as keeping a success journal to keep my mind focused on the positive. The meditation served to relax my mind, and take me out of “panic” mode. The success journal was my outline to present to my loving wife upon her return from work as we recounted the events of our day. This dramatically changed the tone of my daily report, and really did help!

When I started interacting via email, and then interviewing in person with Ritron, I new something was different. It felt right, and it felt good. I know better than to get my hopes up, and treated this opportunity with appropriate caution. I always conduct a good amount of research on any opportunity, and this was no exception. Turns out, my professional and personal network had connections inside Ritron, and were able to provide some kind words prior to my interviews.

And . . . I was offered the job! I enjoyed the interviewing format, presenting a marketing campaign to several Ritron leaders, all based around a real business opportunity. Doing the research, and presenting tangible materials, all led to a feeling of usefulness. I have a high amount of confidence in my marketing abilities, and only had the normal anxieties of fitting in to a new culture the first few weeks on the job.

No doubt, I have been welcomed. My work is appreciated, and people are kind and supportive of what I’m doing to help the company grow. I’m looking forward to growing my career here.

Wisdom for job seekers? I think it really depends on your personality. I took it hard. Others, you may bounce back quickly and the job searching may not be such a big deal for you. Surround yourself with good people – that may be a combination of family, friends, your professional network, mentors, and especially your spouse. Dig in and do the work, and also take some time for yourself. The meditation was important to train my mind to not be so negative. Be open to try something you have not been open to before. Not out of desperation, but out of a keen curiosity and enthusiasm to make yourself a better you.

From The Field – Job Hunting

Some observations while out in the field hunting for my next job.

Staying Positive:

This is not how my Life Plan was supposed to turn out! I did not anticipate that I’d be out of work and hunting for a job (twice in the same year – ugg!!). I do see that’s pretty naive of me, but truly it’s not something I had pre-planned. It’s a test of my character to handle what has been presented to me, to stay positive by keeping busy, asking for and accepting help, as well as working my plan to connect to a great career role.


I can’t say enough how important my network has been, and will continue to be, for me. Making the ask for an informational interview to discuss my job search strategy has been getting easier, and I have found is especially rewarding when I’m treated with empathy and a true willingness to help.

Even with my strong network, no one is going to do this for me. I listened to Jon Gordon’s wonderful book, The Energy Bus. This provided inspiration and motivation to help me realize I am fully onboard and driving my own bus. There will be no magic to my next career position, this one is all on me. The Energy Bus teaches that you must find and communicate your own vision and drive that bus toward that vision.

Career Coaches:

The best advice I have received so far from a career coach is to turn the thought of “interviewing” into “evaluating.” This tip helps me to create equal stature and lowers barriers. I am looking for a career opportunity that makes sense for both parties, where the match is excellent and both parties benefit. I am evaluating companies, and job opportunities, to ensure a great fit.

Importance of taking some time off:

To stave off the anxiety, I have to remember to take some time off. Time to think, time to read, time to work in the garage, time to reflect, and time to look forward. And don’t feel guilty about taking this time to myself.

Discover myself:

Others see me much more clearly than I do. That makes selling myself a little tough. StrengthsFinder has helped me see that my top strengths are Discipline, Learner, Responsibility, Intellection, and Relator. Understanding how those strengths relate to a particular job, and being able to talk about it helps me greatly.


Without full support and encouragement from my wife, this experience would be horrible. She’s my true life partner and she gets me. My extended family is also supportive and helpful by understanding this is a temporary, yet delicate condition. They allow me to vent my frustrations, and I do exploit their kindness when I must.

I become frustrated that I have placed myself in this position of discomfort. I have yet to convince myself that it’ll all work out. Yet, I am assured from all external sources that I am doing all I can, and more than most do, to ensure this exercise is to have a positive outcome. I have been told this is happening for a reason, and assured good things are in my future because of me, my skills, my attitude, of who I am. I’ll keep being who I am, and trust this process is yet another part of life’s wonderful journey.

An Open Letter To My Future Employer

Dear Future Employer,

I’m betting you’ll get to know me for more than my past experiences and accomplishments outlined on my LinkedIn profile and resume.

You’ll soon find out my talent and desire for the process of learning feeds my curious nature. You’ll find I am disciplined, which helps me create the structure I need to work successfully. And, you’ll find my passion for strong and deep friendships makes me excellent at building and leading high-performing teams.

You’ll also find I take my work seriously, and take great responsibility for the work I do. Others seek me out when complete and accurate work is needed. And, when given time for deep and focused thinking, I’m at my best.

Is it rare that I admire and excel at creating standards and procedures and process? I also maintain a unique blend of creative, strategic, and technical abilities.

Since we both want this to be a great match, I’m a firm believer and find it critical to our success that the essence of our core values should match. Like accountability, professionalism, integrity, loyalty, and truth.

I’m excited to know that we can create something together that would not be possible individually.


Marty Bird

Pursuit of happiness?

Where do you get your strength? Where do you find happiness? Does happiness just seem to find you? Does your happiness come from money? From your job? Family? Wife / girlfriend? The home you own? The car you drive? From food? Maybe from alcohol or drugs? Or from a prescription bottle specifically designed to help make happiness? Maybe your happiness comes from your diet or your weight? From your accomplishments? Or from your friends? Are you happy when the sun shines or when you have a day off to yourself? Or do you find happiness through others, by volunteering, or through philanthropy?

Maybe you’re still trying, attempting to find happiness through all of the above at one time or another. Maybe it’s not one single thing, so you’re taking a shot at several areas where you might find happiness. Life is full of ups and downs, and I struggle to find the source. Why is it some days just feel better from the time I get out of bed, all through the work day and in to the night? Then the very next day – for some unknown reason – can feel really crappy?

I am absolutely sure that happiness comes from within – certainly not to be found looking around aimlessly. I want to find that inner switch that enables happiness to win out over sadness more often than not.

Stepping out of the comfort zone

I’m one that likes to check a map or Google it before I depart to an unknown destination. I also create a list (at minimum a mental list) before I go shopping for groceries. I’ll do some research before making even a modest purchase. You get the drift – I’m a planner. I make excellent decisions after I do the appropriate amount of legwork.

Now let’s transfer that line of thinking into the professional work realm. I assume that sought after skills in an employee would include those attributes mentioned above – someone that makes excellent decisions by way of methodical research. Someone that does not jump the gun and forge ahead without at the very least asking a few questions.

Yet I am finding out that is NOT the case. In today’s super-fast-paced world what is most sought after is that employee with attributes that include quick decision making, the ability to forge ahead with confidence and to run with the ball all the way to the . . . oh, ok . . . the end zone.

Employers must establish a trust level before allowing an employee to make decisions on its behalf in that manner. Even if that employee shows visible signs of stress and discomfort at doing so, beware – one may be asked to be in that position again and again. And what do you know, that employee shines even when out of their comfort zone and is rewarded with even more big decisions to make on behalf of the company!

For me, long gone are the days where you work within your area of trained expertise (the comfort zone). I am asked time and time again to do these things, so the trust is there. But wow, the stress is there, too. I grumble a bit (a lot), and if I step back like I have done today, I see that I am actually being trusted with responsbility that others are not. I also see that rewards are tangible via the accomplished feeling I obtain and that I’m actually growing as a person by being pushed.

Now, back to my list.

Race Day Memories – Indianapolis 500

Marty Indy 500 1992
Working the Pits on Race Day 1992

Twenty years? How did that happen? I was 27 and working for Fox 59 in Indianapolis as a news photographer and thoroughly enjoying the month of May. Each news organization had their own newsroom near the pagoda where we set up monitors and editing equipment, prepared packages to air later in the day, shared stories, stopped for some food and drink, charged batteries (literal) and even relaxed a little.

Excitement – Everyone on the news team was excited for the Indy 500. We spent hours and hours at the track developing stories covering drivers, fans, weather, speed, practice, qualifications, pit crews, food vendors, luxury suites, Yellow Shirts, parties, camping, sunburn, team owners, controversy, traffic and more. Our two sports guys were Kerry Addington and Brian Hammons although most members of the on-air news staff made it out to the track to put a story together. Bob Donaldson and Chris Wright frequented the track during the month.

Race Day – Our new-to-Indianapolis news director Jim Sanders prepared us by deferring to Brian Hammons who had the most experience with Race Day. (Brian had worked for other news organizations and was actually  working as a pit reporter for the IMS Radio Network on this day.) Our team was focused with their assignments as we loaded our gear. We were escorted by police into the track (what a thrill!) and to our newsroom along the main straightaway. Our fire suits customized for Fox 59 were issued several days prior so those working the pits were protected.

You may remember the weather was cold! This presented a challenge to everyone as we were sure we’d be hot and uncomfortable. Not so! Here are some random memories:

  • Feeling special. Yes I felt fortunate and special to be so close, much closer than a fan could be. Working every day out at the track exposed to drivers and owners and celebrities felt great.
  • Loud. I remember how loud it was, even with ear plugs for protection. Then I had to put an earpiece in to hear directions over the radio and had to turn that up so loud it hurt. There was likely a better way.
  • Access. With the television camera and credentials, access to most everything was a given.
  • Watch out! With cars coming in and out of the pits, you are responsible for getting out of the way. I had to be smart and not put myself in danger. There were a few close calls.
  • Cars on the grid. Prior to the “start your engines” call, I was out on the grid with all the cars, colors, people and that crowd! The grandstands were packed. Crazy.
  • Confusion. It was so loud and communication was tough. I did not have a good sense of what was going on but I knew I had to be taking good video. Our rookie news team likely was not as prepared as we could have been – maybe we should have been listening to the radio broadcast to determine where to go.
  • Crazy race. Remember? Roberto Guerrero crashed on the pace lap, Michael Andretti led most of the way, and  Al Unser, Jr. just barely won by 0.043 seconds over a hard charging Scott Goodyear.
  • I was in Scott Goodyear’s pits at the end of the race and from the reaction of the pit crew thought he may have won the race. That quickly changed as we learned that Little Al had won.

To all those news photographers working today – be safe! You’ll have memories for a lifetime to cherish.

Big Weekend of Transition and Celebration

What a huge weekend in store for the people in my life! Kayla has completed her degree at Butler and commencement ceremonies take place on Saturday. Her sister Tara is flying in from San Antonio today to help celebrate.

Kayla and her housemates have a party planned starting immediately after the Hinkle Fieldhouse graduation ceremony, and the parents of the graduates have used Facebook to help coordinate food, tables, supplies and other arrangements. The weather looks to be cooperating as well, with sunshine and temperatures in the middle 70s.

Then Mother’s Day on Sunday – the timing was perfect for Laura,  with both her girls here to take her to a nice dinner. Lots and lots in store with a wonderful future ahead for all of us.

When You Don’t Have Kids

Is that what’s missing? When I’m seeking something better, something more?

When the world around me is no longer about me, is that what’s missing? When I don’t see myself as the most important, is that the way it was always supposed to be?

When I hear guys at work talking about their kids in T-ball, smiling so hard inside that it spills out of them, with such force that they revel in telling anyone about what happened over the weekend with their kid – I nod and move along and wonder – have I ever smiled like that?

When I’m told “you don’t really know what it’s like, you’ve never had kids” – is that what’s missing in my life?

When I’m no longer proud of me and I’m longing for something to be proud of – is that what having a kid is all about? Never running out of something to be proud of?

Time for an update?

It most certainly is. I have been away from the blog for awhile but after stumbling across some of my old posts and enjoying what I read, I decided to come back and see how this feels.

30 Years! Our high school class of 1982 president sent a message recently asking for input on how we wanted to handle a reunion. My goodness – 30 years. As my mom and I agreed, the mind does not age but the body fools us when we look in the mirror and don’t see that person we knew from back then.

Milestones: Laura’s daughter Kayla is graduating from Butler University this month. I remember the feeling of having the world in front of me, having all options open to me – and it was overwhelming. Kayla has the smarts, contacts and experience to handle what’s in front of her and I’m looking forward to helping in any way I can.

New friends: Facebook is a huge time waster, but I have recently found a group of fellow diabetes insipidus buddies that makes my visits to Facebook leaving me feeling like that time spent is more productive. What a wealth of information! Connecting with those that have many of the same experiences has been comforting. It’s also a place where I can contribute my knowledge and hopefully help others gain some understanding.

Marty with his JackBacks iPhone back.

Technology geek: Not a high-tech gadget, but combining wood with the glass and aluminum that makes up my iPhone has proven to be just the individual piece of flair I was looking for. I found JackBacks, “real wood iPhone accessories,” and ordered the Amber Bamboo wooden back. I like it. My goal was to get rid of the cover I was using, even though it was pretty minimal, to better show off the design of the phone while throwing some of my personality at it. I think I nailed it!

Finances: Always on my mind. I like to think I’m in a little better control and see some positives very soon. My hope is that I mellow out on the whole money thing but I don’t think I’m wired that way. Somebody, give me something else to worry about!

Health: I see my doctor at least four times per year and I’d like to cut that back to twice a year. To do that, I need to get back on the healthy side by exercising and eating properly. Sounds so easy, right!?