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Matt's Editorials: Sailing is a Metaphor for Life

A silver bullet

Ah, if only there were such a thing when it came to job search. Alas, there isn’t.

From time to time I see “Requests for Assistance” in our newsletter asking about the various “blood suckers,” who claim to provide variations on outplacement. I also get emails about these folks. They profess to be able to do either mass mailings, mass emailings or the ability to teach you how to leap over tall buildings in a single bound. (Yes, even at your age. But, I think they catapult you. You don’t actually leap.)

Whatever happened to “If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t?” Have all of you hard nosed and hard headed finance types softened up a bit on me? Please leave your wallet at home if you decide to talk to any of these folks, or at least don’t put a blank check in it for use during the sales pitch they are going to give you.

As our very own Doug Fine has been heard to say: “Everyone should go through outplacement at least once.” Many of the skills you learn are invaluable in your search. And, I know it is hard for many of you to ask for favors from those you know, to in effect provide you with outplacement services for free. Please get over it.

The greatest resource all of you have IS The FENG. As one of our chapter chairs was once heard to say when asked about these firms: “What I would suggest to you is that you have at your fingertips a career counseling, job lead publishing and resume critique service that is the best in the nation and is tailored EXACTLY to your background as a senior financial executive.  The name of the organization is, of course, The FENG. And, the fee they charge simply cannot be beat. What can be better than FREE, right?” (Voluntary donations are accepted.)

Well, it isn’t exactly free. You are expected to pay back (in kindness) whoever comes your way and asks for help. It is a fair deal because you can do it when you are able to do it. If that isn’t until you are working, fine. If it is a week, a month or a year, we can wait. You are a member forever. (You can join, but you can’t resign! Read the fine print on that contract you signed when you joined.)

Please understand that what most of these firms are offering isn’t illegal or a scam. Their services just tend to be pricey.

In days of old, it wasn’t so easy to do these kinds of things on your own. For their normal fee of let’s say $12,000, you can buy computer equipment, mailing lists, a high speed printer and a high speed Internet connection for a year, and still have lots of change.

If you do need personal attention, find a trusted advisor by asking friends in your local area for recommendations. There are a lot of quality folks out there who can do a little “one on one” with you if you didn’t get outplacement. Like a trainer at the gym, it can help you from getting hurt, but it won’t help you much if what you need is plain old exercise.

The hours of walking the treadmill and pumping the iron of job search is stuff you have to do on your own if you are going to tighten and develop those particular mental muscles.

They say looking for a job is the hardest work there is. When you start out, you hear the words but don’t really comprehend their meaning.

My wife’s hairdresser has a sign that reads: “I’m a beautician, not a magician”

If you are looking for someone to wave their magic wand and find you a job, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Let’s leave silver bullets to the Lone Ranger. At least he had two guns that were built for them.

Regards, Matt

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