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Bite Size Memoir No. 6

Peeing Like a CowgirlWhat surprises me weekly in pursuing Bite Size Memoir, is that the memories of others opens a pathway for my own. The prompt has me going, then I read Lisa Reiter’s responses and several new memories intrude. I see her picture and a different set of memories flicker to mind. When I read other responses, still more memories churn to be noticed.

Where do I keep all of these? Suddenly I renew respect for my mind that files all these clips as if it were my internal “cloud.”

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled to try memoir, even in bites. Lots of memories taste bitter and others I doubt. But you know what? They are mine, and I’ve found a safe release valve of sorts where I can let them steam to mind and it’s my choice what I share.

This week, Lisa prompts us to remember “First Jobs.” Her prose touches upon what it’s like to be a woman at a man’s job. She even relives the triumph of surviving the first day among men who tell the women to “pee in the trenches.”

That certainly brought to mind a similar situation that I faced at age 19. Working road construction was its own special hell, but the money was triple anything else available. But before that job, the first one I held outside of the forced labor for my parents, I had already learned to go when you had to go.

Peeing Like a Cowgirl

From the time I was 12 until 18 the local ranch paid me to push cattle to summer pastures. That first fall round-up when I rode with the other ranch hands, peeing posed a problem.

I could pee outside, just not in front of a bunch of lanky men in Wranglers and boots. Whispering my dilemma to the foreman, he shouted at the cowpokes, “Don’t watch!”

Thus I did. And no one watched. Cowboy code of dignity. But such codes didn’t exist off range. At 19 my first labor union job was flagging for road construction crews; mostly men. “Flaggers” were the token females.

When it came time for our union pee-break, our boss laughed and pointed at the sagebrush. The other men, knowing we wouldn’t dare, jeered at us, crossing their legs in fun of our discomfort. So I walked out to the sagebrush and peed like a cowgirl.

Submit a Better Resume

Insider Tips to Submitting Your Resume

If you have been seeking a career change or looking for a job, you are in good company. It is a competitive market for jobs. As former senior management, I’ve seen first-hand the mistakes applicants make. I’ve even reviewed over 300 resumes for a single job posting, but only selected 20 for consideration.


First of all, so many of the resumes sounded alike. If you are following a formula for building your resume, use it as the foundation. Be able to express how you are different from 300 other people applying for the same job. Also, many applicants made mistakes that they weren’t even aware of making. Here are five tips to help you stand out and avoid common mistakes:

  • Follow directions. This seems simple enough, but cannot be overemphasized. If your first mistake is to submit your application any other way than specified by the hiring company, it will often be your last mistake. Applications or resumes submitted incorrectly often are never even reviewed. Read the directions when applying, and follow them specifically. If you have trouble making sense of the directions or difficulty with uploading documents, ask a friend or job service employee for help. A different perspective often helps. Calling the company will not.
  • Proof before you send. Imagine the response your resume will get when you state that you have an “attention for detale.” Spell-check can help you proof on your computer, but some application systems do not offer spell-check. You can always copy and paste into Word for a quick review, however, some misspellings and word omissions will not be detected that way. When writing or changing your resume, print it and then proof it. Better yet, let someone else look at it for you, even your spouse or a friend. A second set of eyes will catch what you missed.
  • Please PDF. As someone who has perused hundreds of resumes, it physically hurts my eyes when formatting is lost on a resume and I have to try to read garbled lines. On your computer, in your version of Microsoft Word, your resume looks beautiful. But not so in a different operating system. A PDF file will maintain the structural integrity of your resume.
  • Know yourself. Some people are humble and have trouble naming their achievements. Others are not so humble and have trouble understanding their own flaws. The truth is that we are made up of both strengths and weaknesses. The key is to know what yours are. Your resume is the place to state your strengths. Even two people who have had the same job for the same number of years will have different strengths. This is how you can stand out. When interviewed, you may be asked about your weaknesses or failures. Counter those with honesty. Focus on how you overcame with your strengths. Ask your local job service if they offer any strengths finder tests or have books on the topic.
  • Know the company. If you really want to land the job, be sure you learn all you can about the company offering the job. Company websites often have pages dedicated to who they are and what the culture of their service is like. Take a clue from repeated words like “pride” or “community.” If it fits who you are, it will be easy to stand out in your resume as a person who would fit in with the company. Tell them what your “pride” of workmanship has been or how you have served your “community” over the years.

If you are interested in having your resume reviewed, contact Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications. My services are professional, strategic and affordable. Let me help you take your career in a new direction.

Phone or in person coaching available: or 952.686.4532.