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.

Job Search Journey

With the new year now well underway, I’d like to remind my network that I remain active seeking my next career opportunity. It’s proven that the best hires are found through personal connections, so you may hold the key to helping me find a great match. I’d appreciate your help!

I am a marketing leader passionate about helping business develop and execute innovative marketing strategies designed to generate revenue, decrease costs, and fill the sales funnel.

I’m targeting small to medium-sized companies (or teams or functional areas in larger companies) in the Indianapolis area where I’d oversee the planning, development, and execution of marketing initiatives. My passion is in the marketing technology space, using appropriate software to effectively solve problems. Typical job titles may be Director of Marketing, Vice President of Marketing, or Chief Marketing Officer – depending on the company size.

I have been proactive with my network, holding informational interviews, as well as identifying target companies while receiving support and helpful advice from networking groups. I’m positive a great door will open for me soon!

How can you help? Connect me to those in your network you think I may benefit from knowing. I’d then ask them for a brief phone call or informational meeting. If you have tips that have helped – send them my way. Your assist means the world to me – thank 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

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.

Thinking positive in a down economy

I’m one that understands that the current economy affects many and therefore is a topic at the top of any news editor’s assignment board. We see story after story of how companies and lives are crumbling due to the decrease in consumer confidence, decrease in spending, credit not as freely available as it once was and a multitude of other factors.

I’d like to thank Safari Solutions, an Indianapolis based human resources firm, for publishing an email newsletter today that takes a different angle on today’s circumstances. The topics in the newsletter include “5 Benefits of Hiring in a Down Economy” along with “Low Cost Strategies for Hiring in a Down Economy.”

Ann Clifford, President, writes:
A tough economy presents opportunities for companies to hire top talent. Investing in “A” players can increase revenues, productivity, and profits. Doing business as usual with existing “B” players may not. Below are tips for taking a proactive stance in a sluggish economy!

Ron Giles, HR Consultant, continues:
Business owners may be fearful or hesitant to recruit during an economic downturn. However, if a sluggish economy is affecting your business, hiring top talent may energize your company and give you a competitive advantage when the market turns around. Benefits to hiring during a downturn include:

  • Larger pool of higher quality candidates.
  • Industry talent available from competitor closings.
  • Top performers available at affordable salaries.
  • Top talent may position your company to excel when the market improves.
  • Business owners can focus on high impact activities by delegating to proven performers.

Now isn’t that refreshing?

Communications basics in the office.

An office environment is made up of people with a range of personalities, needs, desires and skill levels. When managed even at a basic level the environment can be very healthy. We all know it’s not easy to keep the balance with the variety of motivations employees (and managers) have during office hours. Here are some very basic tips or best practices I’ve learned “over the years.”

  • Leave your personal baggage at the door when you walk in the office every morning. This is harder than it sounds since you spend a lot of time with your co-workers and some may even become friends that you trust. You then start to share your personal business and develop deeper relationships with those you work with. Back to my point . . . if you can practice taking a deep breath on your way in the door each day and thinking “I’m at work now” and put your personal business away to concentrate your efforts on work for the next 8-10 hours you’ll be much better off. And so will those around you.

  • Don’t assume others are at your beck and call. Everyone is busy. Practice this: “Is there time in your schedule to accommodate me for 10 minutes later today or tomorrow morning?”
  • Help others realize you are not at their beck and call. Practice this: “I’d really like to help, my schedule is full now, how about tomorrow morning?”
  • When another does walk into your office, have the courtesy to take your hands off your keyboard, look in their direction and give some sign of acknowledgment.
  • In the extreme basics category fall: say good morning; acknowledge one another when passing by in the hall; don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink (must I go on?).

If you manage people, you have responsibilities as part of your job that are not practiced often enough:

  • Provide adequate resources to do the work expected.
  • Provide training and a source of advice when questions arise.
  • Listen.
  • Provide feedback. This is a big one for me. People want to know how they are doing. Am I doing well? Not so well? Tell me! What can I do to improve?
  • Another big one: Say thank you! In person. In front of others. Via email. During reviews. All of the above. Sounds simple but few practice what means so much to so many and can have such positive results.

I know some think it corny but one of the best exercises performed at a prior place of employment was to hire a consultant to conduct a personality seminar – you know, like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or similar. All benefited from the day, learning how to communicate effectively with other personality types. I’m sure it’s still paying off, because I know as part of the hiring process that company now does some basic personality typing to not only help managers, but also help employees get the most out of the work environment.

Shout Out for Doug’s Tuned In Calculator

I work with Doug Karr, who has so much enthusiasm and creativity, it spills out of his office and every now and then I’m fortunate enough to soak up a little. Admittedly, Doug likes to plan, model, ponder and create and has a great number of ideas 90% completed and he can’t remember them all! In a flurry of genius, Doug recently created (and finished) the Tuned In Calculator which has garnered a bit of interest. To help him celebrate this achievement, I invite you to check it out. Here’s the result on this blog:

Start up impressions – working for a young technology company

I’m going to try to keep more content coming in to this space on a more regular basis, some topics may just be about “me” while others may take on a more work – life – hobbies tone.

I’ve been with my new employer for three months now, well into my initiation period. I now see my contributions making a difference (in a small company most everything makes a difference in some way!). Our management team had a good conversation today about the future of the company (we get together every two weeks for financial and strategy sessions) and I truly appreciate the amount of involvement I have with these decisions. There are moments when I want things to happen much more quickly, though. That’s my impatient side coming through and I tend to ignore the guy on my other shoulder whispering “you better watch what you ask for!”

Safe landing at Patronpath

So I did it! I’m now director of marketing for Patronpath, provider of marketing and e-commerce solutions for the restaurant industry. (Actually I stared about a month ago, I’ve just been late in posting about it!) I happen to be working with Douglas Karr, a great marketing and technology wizard who is active in the Indianapolis blogging scene. My days are spent developing and implementing marketing strategies to help this small, young company build a strong, sustainable and growing customer base.