Wasted Youth – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

Nothing mattered but the moment we were in
Squandered dreamers

It’s all captured now behind the glass window
A museum of memories rekindled in our dreams

Tripping over the VHS library
Scarred by the rock n roll lifestyle of a suburban nightmare
A manifestation of a perfect world
Kids played, parents loved and the world was a small bubble of safety

I remember a different time where a fifth of Mad Dog and a fantasy in the pages of Playboy behind the quick stop was the American dream

Satan toyed with our youth, not in fire or fear
Nor pain
Nor tears

Our souls locked up in the boredom of utopia
A 40 in the woods
Our future secured with one misguided orgasm

Our moms and dads pledged to love and honor for the sake of the children
Love poured down the drain as emptiness filled the bedroom

No white picket fence to protect us
Just John Hughes to keep us in high school forever
Don’t you forget about me cries Bender as he raises his arms to the air
End frame, end scene, end film

The varsity jacket still smells new as I slide it on listening to the chimes of achy bones

You can’t go back
On the field, the jerseys read the same numbers, but new faces
Cheerleaders soon to be moms because they trusted he would pull out
Players running a 4.4 today then holding a 44 to their forehead tomorrow

The curse of youth is not the unattainable; but the unrealized

With wings on our heels, we raced for the finish line
What if we stopped?
What if we questioned what are we racing for?
What if we fled?

I’m leaving on a jet plane.
I didn’t.
I took that minimum wage and squandered it on I don’t know

On the corner
In a town
Like any other town
In a place
Like any other place

I watched the world pass by
From feet, to bike, to car, to wheelchair

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This Is Our Love Story – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

This is our love story
Restless hearts
Empty dreams

Songs remind us of the memories left behind
The soundtrack of our lives

Washed away with the ocean waves
I love you
Written on notes
Launched in a thousand bottles looking for a home

You are a bittersweet glass of whiskey flowing inside my body and biting away at my heart
Poisoning my blood with a love I cannot let go

Were you afraid to tell me the truth?
To commit to the unknown
You said you were scarred

We are all scarred
Life attacks us with razors cutting deep
Deeper than the skin
Deeper than the nerves
To places we cannot comprehend

I asked you to stay
I wanted more, but hid behind the comfort of simplicity

You didn’t trust my intentions
You didn’t trust your own heart

Now, you are with another, alone
Fighting the demons of your past
Looking for a way to find happiness in the future

Are you happy?
I ask, knowing there is no answer to be spoken

Back and forth
Like a see saw tottering with highs and lows
Grounded, then lifted to the sky

What if it was my face you saw in the hourglass in front of the fortune teller
My name you wrote on your notebook over and over
Or did you?

Did I do enough to hold onto your magical qualities?

Too many questions.
This is our love story

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A Poem in Progress – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

I remain a poem in progress
A human erred by creation with a promise to share
A message of life

I promise a life of fulfillment
I promise to chase life
I promise to paint the darkness with color
I promise to touch you with the warmth of my words
I promise never to hide in the web of uncertainty

Break the silence

The appropriate suicide of civilization is a miswritten commandment of a golden calf
Misguided by the temptation of failure

Erase the playbook
Clean the slate
Shower it with a rainbow of comfort
Scream, dance and splash passionate energy

Worn out, I rest in a bed of apathy surrounded by petals of intellect

Yellow friendships
White peace
Red love
Orange hope

This soul is kind
This soul is purposed
This soul gives

I had a dream
So comforting, it took hold of all the goodness in my heart
Family, friends, and a union so strong

61067f7f2f084c4ac18a8852cbf21aadI could fly, but stayed grounded by gravity
Observing past, present and future
All the importance in my life in one circle

It was my eternal greeting card
This is your life it read
Do not survive; thrive

I woke seeing through the eyes of a newborn, but present with a touch of grey

I promise to be in celebration

Top Five Reasons You Won’t Nail Down the Best Candidate

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By Mark A. Leon

Don’t take this personally recruiters, talent acquisition specialists, talent engagement partners or whatever “term” of the moment you are using, but most of you are average.  You fill roles, make your commissions or bonuses and move on.  Talent is just a commodity similar to cattle that fills seats and keeps the economic train going.  Most don’t even put up a fight when I make a statement like this.  They nod their heads and continue to chug along.

We need those type of recruiters.  We need lots of them.  With 5.2 million open jobs in the US right now, there are bodies needed for those seats or counter tops.

Yet, there are a few that truly look to identify, engage and place the Grade A top talent in the industry and there are many who fail trying.

Here are five of the top reasons you will not close the deal on the best talent in the marketplace and ultimately settle for the average performers:

  • Lack creativity – Recruiters, headhunters, search firms are all playing the volume game. Throw it out there and see what you can reel in.  Unfortunately, that means tailored email blasts, follow up blasts and follow up to the follow up.  If that doesn’t work, lets blast them with InMails and finally, call until the cows come home.  For those that think you are the only ones diligently doing all these things, stop reading.  Just stop.  I had two “customized” emails sent to me by search firms in the last 3 days.  One was for a software engineer and the other for hotel housekeeping.  I will give you all a moment to stop and look up my background.  Let me know if you see anything remotely similar to either skill set?  I couldn’t either.  I explained the error of their approach and both sent me new email blasts with new roles, not even responding to me personally.  I did unsubscribe from their nonsense.  Back to my point.  The internet is your oyster.  Learn about your candidates, find commonality, personalize your approach and make “human connection” with something original.
  • You are boring – The idea that a recruiter is boring. Unheard of.  Well, most of you are.  You get us on the phone, go through a scripted set of buzz words, pretend you know the role and hope I will fold to your Jedi ways and move on in the recruitment process.  The best performers don’t fall for that.  Be passionate, be energetic and know the role.
  • Entitlement – How many of you work for Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, Apple, GE and just assume people want to work for you? A few nods there.  No one should ever approach a candidate will the feeling that they would be honored to work for you.  Be proud, but don’t be cocky.
  • Too mysterious – “We have a great benefits program” “We offer competitive wages” “We have great opportunity for growth”. Try complete transparency.  It actually works!   If am going to make a massive life change, I want complete information.  I want to know to the dollar what I will make, what are the benefits are and how they affect my family and what kind of culture I am going to spend half my life in.  If you are going to be wishy washy, you aren’t getting anyone good.
  • You are lazy – I called and he/she didn’t answer. I tried a second time and no response.  Oh well, time to move on.  When you spot the girl or boy of your dreams, do you give up that easily.  Maybe you do.  I shouldn’t assume anything.  When you find something truly remarkable, you take the ultimate risk and don’t give up until someone tells you to right to your face.  If you see a diamond in the rough, don’t give up.  Fight for that candidate.

Time to take out the notebook and take the test.  How many of these five represent you?

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Passion is Woman – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

You have a body men built temples for
A shrine to the miracle of life
Eyes wide open; heart so free

Artists have wept to immortalize your beauty on canvas
A glow so radiant, a warmth so comforting

Your soft silky skin a fervor of goosebumps bringing the weak to its knees
Subtle curves reach for the heavens
A wonderland of treasures so pure

Lips dripping in the nectar of wine
So wet, so confident

Hair lined in strings of gold
Lace and satin so nice
Fingers running down the swell of your back
A slide of euphoric arousal

Gravity taking control down your thigh

A deep breath
A pause
Handcuffed in sexual tension
Pursued by the passion to go on

A kiss on the plane of your stomach
A moan leaking from the gallows of the throat

Gravity, so penetrating

To my knees, I am but a servant to your perfection
Humbled to let my weary body succumb to you

A princess, a myth, a hope, a fear

You are the angel that hides in my dreams
A symbol of life’s greatest masterpiece

Fingers tingle as your energy fuses with mine
Bodies in motion
Minds at ease

Each touch an awakening
A love so pure, so raw
Unhinged and full of fire

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I Love You – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

I woke up and something was missing
The air was a little crisper, but that wasn’t it
The sun was shining bright, but that wasn’t it
A chill filled my senses leaving goosebumps behind

The trees, clouds, wind all spoke to me
A plea
A request from the stars

In soft spoken chords, I heard a collective song of terror asking for help

We have lost our way
That line echoed over and over

Lost without direction home

Innocence engulfed by lust
Sharing shattered by greed
Compassion, a fleeting memory
Acts of kindness trampled by arrogant selfishness

Our bubble of beauty has popped
Bleeding out, short of breath, praying for a miracle

Today, I say to you, without fanfare, without expectation, without reward

I love you
I love you all
Each of you has blessed me with a life of meaning

For each hand I touch, I am inspired
Each voice, a new life lesson
Each act of giving, a reward so priceless

I love you
I don’t say it enough
I don’t say it with all the vigor in my heart

Now, I have awoken

I want today to begin a quest to regain that love around the world

I ask kindly
Say it today
Say it everyday
With zest and passion and vitality

I love you

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How do you communicate passion over practicality in the workplace?

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By Mark A. Leon

I grew up with an overwhelming amount of imagination. I was the youngest of four and for the most part my parents loved me, but didn’t feel like going through the motions of involving me. From a very young age, I have been on my own to discover the world. This most likely has contributed to my nomadic and creative persona.

For the last decade, I have been motivated by a world of possibility. Not quite in the Houdini manner, but I look at organizations and I see potential outside the walls of accepted practice.

A number of years ago, General Electric (GE) coined the term “boundaryless”. That term has stuck with me throughout my career.

In 2008, the idea of a corporate community page on Facebook was taboo. In 2009, creating LinkedIn groups focused on building a skill specific talent community was silly at best. In 2010, a career experience blog highlighting individual success stories and telling the cultural story one person at a time was shunned upon. “What is the value added?”, “How is this going to help us hire people?” – These were the questions posed by the senior leadership or the naysayers.

In 1998, we had a challenge: How do we support our growth in Engineering and Product Development as a result of a major decade funded government contract? The solution: Let’s show them what we got. The idea was formatted for an on-site career fair and expo.

Here was the pitch:

  1. We reach out to the professional sports teams, museums, theaters and radio stations asking for donations and participation.
  2. We do a picture collage of the last 80 years and focusing on the number of generational families that have worked here.
  3. We show off our state of the art 3D simulation studio.
  4. We have hiring managers on-site to answer questions and do same day interviews.
  5. We offer an inside look at the future of military design and development with plant tours.Impossible they said. You won’t get buy in from all the departments. We can’t interview people right off the street. This will be overwhelmingly expensive.At about $600 per attendee and 21 confirmed hires, this was a raging success. The answer was simple; we brought passion, culture and a very intimate personal touch to the candidate experience. If you drove by our facility, we looked like an old manufacturing plant gated in with no clue what was going on inside. Invite them in and they will come. They sure did. Almost 300 attendees on a Saturday morning.In the last 15 years, I have updated my resume once and have not seen the light of day of a job board. I am approached and on occasion I listen.The career choices I have made have been because of a few common trends.

    1. The recruiter provided me with an incredible candidate experience. Quick follow up, education on the role, deep interest in my background and love of their company.
    2. The hiring managers challenged me. They weren’t looking for a body with some technical or soft skills to fill a role. They were looking for individuals to partner and contribute to the growth and innovation of their teams.
    3. A set of values that were demonstrated in the words and actions of the team.

    I am very good at what I do and I know I have limitations. I work extremely well as an individual contributor, but thrive with a team that shares expertise and values support.

    We all have good and bad days, but the minute it becomes a regiment of mental clock in and clock out the passion dies and the wall come tumbling down.

    Do we need process? Absolutely
    Do we need checks and balances / QA? You bet
    Do we need mandatory training? Hmmmm, I suppose
    Do we need structured hierarchy? No always.

    What companies truly need is a human capital element that thinks and acts with emotion. The ability to care about your team, clients, supervisors, subordinates and cross functional groups is a gift. That gift will reverberate and send positive shivers down the spines of all you are in contact with.

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    Start each day with positive electricity and energize those around you.