EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Maintaining your self-esteem

From our daily member newsletter on February 15, 2018

Maintaining your self-esteem during a job search can be difficult at times, especially if your search has been going on for any length of time. So much of who we perceive ourselves to be comes from the reflection of our personalities upon those with whom we are engaged on a daily basis. Cut off from an office environment where folks were bringing us checks to sign, we tend to lose sight of the fact that we haven’t changed. All that has changed is that we don’t see as many folks every day to give us that kind of reinforcement. There is a great importance to visualizing success. In brief, it takes just as much energy to think negatively as it [ Read more… ]

Call me Mr. Know-it-all

From our daily member newsletter on February 14, 2018

One of the most endearing qualities of us financial folks is that we almost always have a firm opinion about everything. And, if we don’t have an opinion about something, we figure we can reason one out. (Hey, just take the facts and multiply by two!) It is sort of part and parcel of who we are. Nothing wrong with it, per se, but it does get in the way of getting advice from others, which is an essential part of the networking process. Believe it or not, APPEARING to be open to new ideas is a lot harder than it sounds. (Or, I’m not as stupid as I look.) For example, members will often announce at meetings that they [ Read more… ]

Life changing events

From our daily member newsletter on February 13, 2018

There are many things that can happen to you in your life that change your perspective. Losing your job and/or having to find another one, easily falls into this category. As you all know, The FENG is a networking group, it is not a job listing service. Sure, we publish lots and lots of job leads, but that is more than a little misleading with regard to our real purpose. Perhaps at this point in the state of the world, even the word networking has become a little shop worn. Still, absent a better word, we will have to live with it. About 90% of our members are men. And, men have their own peculiarities about how they see the [ Read more… ]

Sharing job leads

From our daily member newsletter on February 12, 2018

The sharing of job leads has been an integral part of The FENG for so long that I have come to believe that everyone in the entire world understands the reasons why we do it. Alas, it isn’t true. A few years ago, I had an exchange with a member of the search community who was upset that one of our members had posted a job lead sent to him in our newsletter, apparently without permission. Putting this part of the problem aside for the moment, the recruiter’s additional comment was: I have NEVER in my life understood why someone looking for a job, or someone outplaced would share a job specification with one million possible competitors for the job???!!!! [ Read more… ]

Is it business or personal?

From our daily member newsletter on February 11, 2018

In the closing scene of the first Godfather movie the individual who betrayed Don Corleone is being led away. Just before he gets into the car to his certain death, he turns to consigliere Tom Hagan and says that he hopes he understands that it was all about business and that it was nothing personal. Well, it didn’t change things for him. His fate was unchanged. Too many things in this world are strictly about business. I’m glad that The FENG isn’t one of them. Everything about our circle of friends is INTENDED to be personal. I hope you have noticed that I sign the newsletter “Regards, Matt” and that all of our job leads are “From” someone. The tone [ Read more… ]

Helping out the competition

From our daily member newsletter on February 8, 2018

Over the years that I have been writing editorials, I have devoted a lot of time to discussing the basics of job search. Why? Because I often can’t believe what folks send us for assignments being handled by The FECG. In a world of more candidates than there are jobs, people who screen resumes often develop arbitrary rules to eliminate candidates. By arbitrary, I mean to imply that they often don’t take the time to look beyond embarrassing errors in spelling, grammar and resume formats or fonts that make your opus hard to read to seek out your “true value.” As I have said many times, the burden of communication is on you. Let me be clear. Your sloppiness or [ Read more… ]

A few observations

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2018

I hope you all don’t mind, but I am going to ramble a bit tonight about some very important job search issues. The most important issue I am going to cover is outgoing signatures. If you don’t know what one is, you are already in a lot of trouble. I am considering hitting the delete key on any message I receive from a member of The FENG that doesn’t have an outgoing signature. It would cut my required correspondence to 20%. Yes, about 80% of the messages I get don’t have one. If you do have an outgoing signature, let me make the point that one should appear even on replies. I realize that Microsoft in their wisdom believes this [ Read more… ]

Homogeneous groups and pitfalls

From our daily member newsletter on February 6, 2018

Is there a possible pitfall in sticking with a homogeneous group of unemployed people? First of all, I would never suggest to anyone that they should solely and exclusively network within The FENG. What I have suggested and do strongly suggest is that you START with our networking group and use it to springboard your way to presidents and general managers who might need a “been there, done that” senior financial officer. Just as every great journey starts with a single step, so too does success at networking start with a few successes. Us shy financial types need to experience a positive result to keep on coming back for the inevitable beatings that will come our way as we network [ Read more… ]

I never met a job I didn’t like

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2018

Will Rogers is remembered as saying: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I only wish everyone reviewing job possibilities would keep in mind the job search equivalent as stated above. Most jobs, upon initial examination, are bound to have more than a few flaws. Let’s face it, if it was an easy job, they wouldn’t need a well experienced financial officer like you to solve the huge mess they have gotten themselves into. Let me point out that it is the height of stupidity to say “no” to a job that hasn’t even been offered to you. Perhaps the commute is too far, or the money is too low or the job responsibilities aren’t broad enough. However, it [ Read more… ]

Dropping in a little artillery

From our daily member newsletter on February 4, 2018

The truth is that even friends sometimes don’t get back to you when you call. Ever wonder why? So, if friends have trouble returning calls, is it possible that strangers might be even more reluctant to return phone calls? I guess the real question is not why folks don’t return phone calls, but what steps can we take as master networkers to improve our results? What factors do you suspect are at work? Let’s be generous and accept the fact that the world of work is a busy place and the individuals we are trying to reach are those folks who control what I like to call work opportunities. Let us also accept the fact that speech is the slowest [ Read more… ]

Interrogate or dummy up?

From our daily member newsletter on February 1, 2018

Speaking with strangers is never fun. And, if these strangers are deciding whether or not to hire you, it can be a little stressful, especially if you want the job. There are so many ways to offend and so few ways to ingratiate yourself without appearing overly solicitous. In the classic “damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” the asking of questions during an interview can be very tricky indeed. For those of you who watch a lot of lawyer shows, I hope you know the lawyers’ rule: Never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer. It is a good rule and one that is applicable here. Questions during an interview need to be [ Read more… ]

At a glance

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2018

There is a rumor out in the world that the attention span of your “average American” is getting shorter. Sad to say, but most likely very true. We see it all around us. So many things are screaming for our attention on a given day. Before the advent of computers it was quite a bit harder to respond to job postings. The gold standard was a personally written letter, and how many could a person crank out in a single day? I type 90 words a minute, and when I was in the Army I was fortunate to be in a clerical position where I had my very own typewriter. Still, I couldn’t write very many letters in a single [ Read more… ]

A gap or a cover-up?

From our daily member newsletter on January 30, 2018

Time goes by fast when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? And what greater fun is there than conducting a job search? Okay, it may not be as much fun as it appears to be to those looking in from the outside. But still, you can’t beat those lunches and phone calls with old friends, not to mention all the strangers who are strangers no longer. Unfortunately as the weeks and months go by that old standby on your resume of “2010 to present” rings less and less true, and “2010 to 2016” looks even worse. There are many issues to consider in solving this time problem on your resume. The first is that financial folks generally speaking have great difficulty [ Read more… ]

Selling life jackets to those drowning

From our daily member newsletter on January 29, 2018

Since a significant percentage of our members are in the job market, I thought I would make you aware that almost all of the job search related websites are in the business of selling life jackets to people who are drowning. And, the life jackets they sell don’t actually work. An alternate way of saying it is they are trying to pick your pocket. Job leads, in and of themselves, are almost totally and completely worthless. Heresy perhaps. Yes, someone does win the lottery every day. Yes, you should leave no stone unturned. Still, the perceived value of a job lead, especially on an Internet website, is a LOT less than you think it is. And, be aware that many [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on January 28, 2018

I am sure that I don’t need to repeat the fable of the goose that laid golden eggs, so I will move right into the analogy. The goose is The FENG (also a living organism) and the golden eggs are the ability to network with other members. (If networking isn’t true gold, I don’t know what is.) In order to keep our goose laying golden eggs, all we have to do is treat it well. And, that is why I always recommend being VERY selective in developing your mailing lists of your fellow members of our august body. We need to exercise due care because what might appear to save you time can easily diminish the value of our circle [ Read more… ]

I’m a complicated guy

From our daily member newsletter on January 25, 2018

I always try to tell people who ask that I am just a simple financial guy. But I guess the truth is that all of us financial types are complicated in one way or another. Unlike lawyers and doctors who (thanks to Hollywood) everyone THINKS they know what they do every day, our profession (other than our role in stealing investor’s money) is not very well known. Let’s face it, a TV show about us would probably put everyone to sleep. (Hey, I’m feeling groggy just writing about us.) When asked to do a 90 second announcement about our career, we are hard pressed to find the right words. And how could it be otherwise? What we do IS complicated [ Read more… ]

Removing mental obstacles

From our daily member newsletter on January 24, 2018

A very long time ago, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of our Hartford/Springfield chapter. I was one of two guest speakers. The other speaker was a gentleman from Robert Half who spoke about the local market. What was of particular interest to me was his perception of people who lived in the area and how those who lived in Massachusetts wouldn’t consider jobs just over the border in Connecticut and those who lived on one side of the river wouldn’t consider jobs on the other side, even though all of these possibilities were within 30 miles of their homes and traffic really wasn’t any worse in the various directions. It got me to thinking about how easy [ Read more… ]

Making networking benefit YOU

From our daily member newsletter on January 23, 2018

I am always trying to explain networking to users. Tonight I am going to try to explain networking to givers. The common misperception is that networking is a give and take. You give to others and they take. Nothing could be further from the truth. Networking as I suggest it be practiced in The FENG is a process that should benefit YOU as much as those to whom you give networking contacts. How so? Let me explain. If you are contacted by someone who has a background connection to you, your goal is to present them to someone you know will be delighted to hear from them. Not always easy to figure out, but if the person contacting you is [ Read more… ]

Sharing with the family

From our daily member newsletter on January 22, 2018

Job search can be a lonely business. There you are, in your home office from the moment you get up in the morning until just before you go to bed. Emails are going out. Letters are being sent. Appointments are being made. (And, the only time you leave the house is for this purpose.) The problem is, have you found a way to share with your family what you are doing every day and what progress you are making? Yes, I know progress is hard to measure. I hear it often from members that they tried this or that many times, but of course it hasn’t worked yet. It seems the only measure we feel comfortable as meaning anything is [ Read more… ]

E I E I O

From our daily member newsletter on January 21, 2018

I suppose I could be wrong about all of this, but I find the use of “, MBA” as part of your name to be a bad idea. Yes, I know that not everyone has an MBA, but in my opinion unless you are a CPA or a Ph.D., you need to exercise a little caution in the initials you place after your name. My sister sells commercial insurance and as I understand it, every time you take a test of some sort you get another set of initials you can use after your name. At meetings where you might be introduced, they read your name and ALL of your initials which everyone at these gatherings of fellow insurance folks [ Read more… ]

Attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on January 18, 2018

Stop me if I am wrong, but I always thought that financial folks were known for their attention to detail. Aren’t we known as total compulsives, or did I miss something? Sad to say, but it apparently isn’t true. Most of my daily communication is from fellow financial executives and I am continually appalled at the mistakes of all kinds that I see in what they send me. I was reviewing candidates for one of my assignments for The FECG recently and I couldn’t believe how many email cover letters had no information at all, had no subject, didn’t follow directions on the file naming convention I request, or had cover letters attached that began “Dear Sir or Madam.” You’ll [ Read more… ]

Save the Nauga

From our daily member newsletter on January 17, 2018

I assume that most of you are unaware that in addition to being Chairman of The FENG, I am also president of the Save The Nauga Society. I have been actively involved in trying to save the nauga from extinction for many years. While naugas existed in most parts of the world in large numbers, over the years they have been hunted for their hides for use in making furniture. In my youth, my parents had chairs and a couch covered in material made from naugas. These cute little creatures have very tough skin and the product that is made from it is, of course, called Naugahyde. While one can’t argue with the durability of furniture covered in Naugahyde, these [ Read more… ]

They aren’t making any more of it

From our daily member newsletter on January 16, 2018

Ah, that very useful invention of mine, the day stretcher. If only it actually worked. Not only doesn’t it work, but it would also appear that there is nothing one can do about time that is lost. Once time has passed, it is gone. (When sailing, it is similar to what I call the sploosh syndrome, which I apply to anything that falls over board that doesn’t float.) It is a shame we can’t make our days longer or actually make up for lost time, but it is one of those “facts of life” that we can’t do anything about. All that is left for us to do is to make the best use of the time we have each [ Read more… ]

Selling from a full wagon

From our daily member newsletter on January 15, 2018

Although it is certainly true that it isn’t possible to sell from an empty wagon, the difficulty of selling from one that is full is greatly under rated. As senior financial professionals, and as individuals not seriously trained in sales, we frequently find ourselves in the position of have too much to sell and not enough listening skills in place early in a search process to be able to know what our “customers” want to buy. New salespersons in training typically do what is called in personal selling terms “throwing up on the customer.” All of the hard gained product knowledge is brought forth in one giant burp before the customer can squeeze a word in edgewise. Not a good [ Read more… ]

Getting back at it

From our daily member newsletter on January 14, 2018

Okay sports fans, the new year has begun. It is now January 14th and time is slipping away. At the moment this year promises to be a good one for employment. (Then again, the light at the end of the tunnel I am seeing could be a speeding locomotive.) Although you have to “do it all,” I would suggest that your area of greatest focus needs to be networking, networking, networking. (And then, if you have time, more networking.) Networking within The FENG needs to be conducted with research and careful thoughtfulness as to the time of other members. I have in recent weeks seen several inappropriate approaches. As much as I encourage members to communicate with one another, please [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on January 11, 2018

One of our very most important audiences are members of the search community who are registered as Friends of The FENG. When you communicate with these folks, briefly, you are expected to behave yourself. Members of The FENG are expected to only respond when reasonably qualified. What does this mean? If you wouldn’t hire you for the job in question, don’t respond. Job leads are unfortunately a beauty contest of sorts. With all the well qualified people who are out there in the world, the candidate pool is deep. Let me give you a recruiter’s perspective on how one might go through a pile of resumes. The first criteria is industry. Hopefully you have put a one line descriptor after [ Read more… ]

Knowing what’s important

From our daily member newsletter on January 10, 2018

I always find it interesting during 90-second announcements how nearly identical are the descriptions of “ideal jobs” when compared to the one a member has most recently left. Since we are all financial folks, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. As history based individuals, it is hard to have any view of the world that isn’t colored by our past experience. Add to this the fact that we KNOW what we have been doing, but are not aware of ALL the possibilities out in the world. On the flipside, some members claim to be “all things to all people,” when clearly their background only lends itself to very narrow applications. A job search needs to be viewed as a new [ Read more… ]

Let’s keep it a secret

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2018

Any more than someone would write “Please Broadcast Widely” at the top of their resume, putting “Confidential” is just as silly in many ways. I’m sure that this is written up somewhere as the appropriate thing to do, so I am not faulting anyone who does it, but it really is unnecessary. It is just as silly to not show your current employer and to put in something like “Major Manufacturer.” It is unfortunate, but those doing search these days have even less time for mysteries than those who were doing it before the Great Recession set in. The volume of email and paperwork that crosses one’s desk today is beyond belief. If you want to get yourself excluded from [ Read more… ]

Putting your best foot forward

From our daily member newsletter on January 8, 2018

The development of a resume can be a long and involved process. There are so many ideas that others have to share with you, and each person with whom you speak has their own perspective about what is right and what is wrong. Your resume is also in part an historical document charged with chronicling your career from formal education through most recent work assignment. Some of the nonsense, misapplied these days, centers on the idea that only the most recent 10 years are of interest to the reader. True, but that doesn’t mean leave off everything earlier. The formatting and shaping of a resume is so much easier today than it was back in 1991 when I faced my [ Read more… ]

A rose by any other name

From our daily member newsletter on January 7, 2018

Back in 1991 after I had been out of work for only a few weeks I sent out a mailing and somehow managed to get an interview with a guy who looked and talked like Frank Perdue. After we shook hands, he offered me his business card and asked for mine. I told him I didn’t have one. He then asked me if I had a name. I said yes. He asked me if I had an address. I said yes. He asked me if I had a phone number. I said yes. Well, he said, you should have a business card. Fortunately for me, he moved on with the interview. But, lesson learned, I went out the next day [ Read more… ]

Hanging on to unpleasantness

From our daily member newsletter on January 4, 2018

I don’t know if you remember “Rain Man” with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, but there was one scene where Tom Cruise either hit or yelled at Dustin Hoffman and Dustin proceeded to write it down in a notebook he carried. He was very meticulous in noting the “offense” and the date and time. In much the same way I hear stories all the time from our members about various things that have happened to them over the course of their job search. I’m sure the offending person has continued on their way without noting the damage that they have done, but the pain they have inflicted often remains as strongly felt as the day it happened. It is easy [ Read more… ]

There’s honestly no excuse

From our daily member newsletter on January 3, 2018

There was a time, I suppose, when it was really hard to get back to people. Let’s say someone sent you a smoke signal. I guess you would first have to build a fire, and a smoky one at that. If they sent you a message towards the end of the day, would you really have enough time to respond? And, if you waited until the morning, how would you know if they were still listening? If someone sent you a papyrus scroll, not only would you feel obligated to respond, you probably would have to feed and house the messenger who brought it while you prepared your own papyrus scroll. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, it probably was. If [ Read more… ]

Unbelievable!

From our daily member newsletter on January 2, 2018

When asked how your job search is going or your job, the best answer is “unbelievable.” Unbelievable can of course mean in reality good or bad. If things are really really bad, they are certainly unbelievable. And if you are pinching yourself to make sure you are awake, they could also be unbelievably good. You have the opportunity by saying “unbelievable” to leave others with the impression you are doing quite well. The question you may be asking is why you would do such a deceitful thing which is tantamount to lying if you are having one heck of a bad day. The reason is quite simple. No one really wants to know. It’s not that they don’t care. It [ Read more… ]

A time for reflection

From our daily member newsletter on December 28, 2017

As accountants we know only too well that the time periods into which we divide a year are a little arbitrary. They only mark the passage of time in a logical manner (which is very important to all of us financial types). We also know intuitively that the concept of getting a fresh start with the coming of the New Year isn’t quite true. Still, it is a very fine tradition. And, with all the time you will have in the next few days, it couldn’t hurt to spend some time in quiet reflection. (I said reflection — not napping.) I don’t know what the New Year will bring for the members of our networking group, but with any luck, [ Read more… ]

Why we share job leads

From our daily member newsletter on December 27, 2017

One of the core values of being a member of The FENG is that we share job leads. There are a lot of reasons why we do this, and it isn’t just because it is a nice thing to do. It is actually a very smart thing to do. The only problem is that it is apparently a counter-intuitive idea. So, forgive me if I am going over old ground because you are one of those members who “gets it.” Let me start you off with the idea that it is impossible to keep a secret these days about any job out in the market. If you still believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, I suppose I will [ Read more… ]

A week for housekeeping

From our daily member newsletter on December 26, 2017

If there is a single week during the entire year when it is hard to network, it has to be the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The phone doesn’t ring much and there isn’t even much email. While I will try to take a little time off this week, I will also be spending some time organizing and reorganizing my office. These are things I honestly can’t do very well during the rest of the year. While you may not be able to do much networking, you can PREPARE to do a little networking. If you find yourself with some time on your hands this week, take a minute and visit our absolutely spectacular Member Directory Search feature and [ Read more… ]

Information please

From our daily member newsletter on December 21, 2017

I am more often than not surprised by the amount of time it can take for a company to develop a position description and yet at the end of the day not really be able to capture the essential elements for a particular opportunity. I suppose in part this is because senior level position descriptions are a compromise. They are partly a reflection of who is in the job currently, but they also reflect things that the individual who held the job previously wasn’t able to accomplish. And, let’s not forget the fact that the company at which these tasks are to be performed isn’t static either. As readers of the end result, and especially with regard to opportunities that [ Read more… ]

Unsolicited advice

From our daily member newsletter on December 20, 2017

It is a sad fact that most men don’t appreciate getting unsolicited advice. That said, there are even those among us who reject advice they have asked for out of hand and in a dismissive way. The giving and receiving of advice is always a delicate balance. Even though probably 75% of my mail comes in without an outgoing signature and I could pull my hair out over it at times, I still write “May I suggest….”, when I should say “Haven’t you heard me mention this before?” (I try to keep my suggestion about providing a FULL outgoing signature from being mentioned in my editorials to only once or twice a WEEK. Perhaps I need to pick up the [ Read more… ]

Why bother saying thank you?

From our daily member newsletter on December 19, 2017

For those of you who are sailing fans and/or history buffs and saw the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World, there was a scene where Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany were having a heated argument about the merits of flogging. The comment made by the captain was that the good doctor didn’t understand what held their little wooden world together. Please understand that I am not recommending we flog members of The FENG who fail to say thank you, but the analogy is that those who don’t say thank you apparently don’t understand what holds our little electronic world together. NO ONE ever hears thank you enough. All of you are very kind to me and [ Read more… ]

Saturday Night Live!

From our daily member newsletter on December 18, 2017

I have been known to get seriously silly at times. (I know this will come as a great shock to all of you.) Back in the old days when I was able to stay up late, Saturday Night Live had an ongoing skit about an individual named Pat. Over the course of the seasons or season it was on (as I indicated, it was a long time ago), all of the skits revolved around figuring out if Pat was a male or a female. Some of them were actually pretty funny. (Keep in mind that it was late at night and I do get slaphappy when I am tired.) Anyway, the issue for tonight is labeling yourself properly. As you [ Read more… ]

The personal, impersonal

From our daily member newsletter on December 17, 2017

One of the very nicest parts of the holiday season is getting greeting cards, both email and physical, from the many people that I know. The good ones are filled with newsy information about what the sender has been doing for the past 12 months and perhaps what their plans are for the year to come. The bad ones may as well be addressed as “To Whom It May Concern.” The last time I sent out physical holiday greeting cards was many years ago and I felt even back then that for the most part they were a waste of time if they really weren’t personal. So, with only a few days left to send out “holiday greetings,” I thought [ Read more… ]

The CB Radio craze

From our daily member newsletter on December 14, 2017

I don’t know if all of you are old enough to remember the CB Radio craze, but it was a fun period in America. I assume some truckers still use this technology, but for most of us it is just a fond memory. I remember how all of us used to talk about our “handles,” and putting the antenna on the top of the car was an absolute must before starting any long trip. (After a while, the static and the rude people on the air did take some of the charm out of it.) Anyway, many of the elements of the CB Radio craze have valid comparisons to the beginnings of the Internet. AOL was one of the earliest [ Read more… ]

Putting it behind you-NOT

From our daily member newsletter on December 13, 2017

Since much of what we do in The FENG is about job search, I thought it might be appropriate to make a few suggestions to everyone about what to do when you do actually find a new job. I’ll be blunt. Job search is primarily filled with uncertainty, highs and lows and activities like making networking calls, which as financial folks we generally don’t like doing. Still, as I frequently remind everyone: “All jobs are temporary.” If you are going to be successful at this “career thing” you need to face facts, and the most important one is that you are never really employed, you are just between searches. A sad state of affairs, perhaps, but one that is factual. [ Read more… ]

Networking by brute force

From our daily member newsletter on December 12, 2017

From time to time, someone tells me that networking as an approach is falling into disfavor. (If it does, we will have to change the name of our networking group, and I am at a loss as to how to come up with another name!) When people talk about networking in this way, the networking that they are talking about is the kind that John Lucht discusses in his book Rites of Passage as “the NFL approach to networking.” This is where you hold someone down and refuse to let them up until they give you three names. (Or maybe four!) This brute force approach to the gentlemanly game of making genuine business relationships for the future has never worked [ Read more… ]

Who is that masked man?

From our daily member newsletter on December 11, 2017

I have at this point in my chairmanship of The FENG listened to a fairly significant number of 90-second announcements. I try to listen patiently and assess how best to help and make suggestions for improvements in the delivery of this vital communication. The time frame presents a formidable challenge even for the most gifted of speakers, and how best to use this “white space” is the subject of much long winded and contradictory debate. (Clearly a paradox in and of itself.) What I would like to understand more than anything else is the essence of who and what you are, but that rarely happens. Most of the members of The FENG are living through the part of our lives [ Read more… ]

Building friendships-a lot of hard work

From our daily member newsletter on December 10, 2017

The definition of networking I use is: Networking is a process by which you can create meaningful business contacts and relationships to further your career and enhance your professional life. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most difficult, networking is a 5. Building friendships is a 10. I know that many of you have become better and better at this “networking thing.” The constant “nagging” I do in our evening editorial I hope has had a significant impact on your daily activities. And, I hope you are enjoying the rewards as well. But, being one who NEVER leaves well enough alone, I thought I would share one of the deep dark secrets of effective networking – some [ Read more… ]

It could be Santa Claus

From our daily member newsletter on December 7, 2017

I don’t know what it is about returning phone calls. I get them by the truck load and still do my best to return them all. (Sometimes it does take a few days.) Perhaps I have a high level of curiosity, but I have found that you can never tell who has called or what they have called about without actually calling them back. Some of the dumbest messages I have gotten were actually pretty important, and if I hadn’t taken the time to call back I would have missed out, big time. I would also suggest that one of the most annoying things about looking for a job is all of the individuals in this world who don’t return [ Read more… ]

The captain can show no fear

From our daily member newsletter on December 6, 2017

There was this very amusing comedy routine that I heard many years ago. During part of it, the comedian pointed out that when operating on a patient under local anesthetic, surgeons are not allowed to say “oops.” (I know what I mean when I say oops. What did he mean?) In much the same way, and for many of the same reasons, the captain of a ship is not allowed to show fear. No matter how fierce the storm, no matter how lost he may be at the minute, even if the vessel is becalmed and the water and food are running out, the captain is expected to keep his wits about him and act like nothing is wrong. There [ Read more… ]

Call me Mr. Know-it-all

From our daily member newsletter on December 5, 2017

I know we don’t mean to do it, but as financial types who come to our decisions the hard way (usually the long scenic route), we often react to information being presented to us by others in a dismissive, “oh, I knew that” manner. I suppose there was a time in my life when I actually thought I did know everything. As the Chief Financial Officer of a top 50 Advertising Agency back in the 1980’s, I was expected to know the answers. People looked to me for solutions to problems. There was a constant parade of folks trooping through my office all day long trying to persuade me about this or that. Talk about “analyze this.” As I have [ Read more… ]

Words are important

From our daily member newsletter on December 4, 2017

The words we use when referring to others are important in that they affect our thinking and ability to problem solve. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but I usually refer to “members of the search community” or to “search professionals.” I sometimes refer to them as “recruiters.” Although even they refer to themselves as “headhunters,” I find that term less than professional. Another potential trap we might fall into is the use of the word “gatekeeper.” It brings up visions in my mind of my being on the outside looking in and needing the permission of some imposing individual with a spear or something even more threatening blocking my path. While in many cases our ability [ Read more… ]

Pitfalls and their avoidance

From our daily member newsletter on December 3, 2017

The world of job search can be an uncharted place. I can’t think of any activity that is so specific to one’s background, while at the same time one that we generally don’t practice a whole lot until the crisis is upon us. Over most of our careers for us stable financial types, practicing the art of job search would not be a good use of our time. There are budgets and financial statements to prepare, and always meetings to go to. So, when we find ourselves active in our search, what are the basic steps to take? First and foremost I would suggest taking the approach we have probably taken to most work related activities: we should do a [ Read more… ]

When the newsletter thins

From our daily member newsletter on November 30, 2017

I realize that on days when the newsletter thins, there is the temptation to “click and shoot” all of the remotely possible postings that appear. Please don’t. One of the core values of The FENG is that we don’t respond to postings unless we are a good fit. Very simply put, if you wouldn’t hire you for the job, resist the temptation to buy a lottery ticket and submit your credentials. The thing to keep in mind when there are lots of folks out of work is that any posting that has specific requirements (beyond your having a pulse) is going to get lots and lots of appropriate responses. The role of the recruiter is to identify those candidates who [ Read more… ]

The illusion of trust

From our daily member newsletter on November 29, 2017

It is always difficult to explain why you trust someone. In our daily encounters, out in the world we come across all kinds of folks. Most of the individuals we do business with on a daily basis don’t have to be our friends, and the nature of the exchanges we have with them don’t even require that we trust them. As an example: purchasing gas. As long as we can bring ourselves to trust the gas station attendant not to pour the gas into the back seat of our car, there isn’t really much at risk. And, since we probably put this exchange on our credit card, there is no possibility that the value received isn’t the amount we paid. [ Read more… ]

Are you skipping ahead to the leads?

From our daily member newsletter on November 28, 2017

I sometimes wish I didn’t publish job leads at all. I know this is shocking for someone who is sending out a newsletter full of job leads, but it is the truth. Our newsletter contains a wealth of information as do our membership directories. For those of you determined to never learn anything about the job search process, I would suggest you conduct a passive job search and only read the leads. For the rest of you, may I suggest that you read my editorial, the Good News Announcements and Members in Need of Assistance, as well as the additional editorial material that I include in every newsletter and then IF you have time, read the job leads. (By the [ Read more… ]

What happened?

From our daily member newsletter on November 27, 2017

One of the most difficult questions one is almost required to answer is why we left our last job. Being a little bit of a wise guy, my inclination is to say “They stopped paying me.” Or, in the alternate, “When they changed the locks on my office and had security escort me out to the street, I thought it best not to come back.” Okay, you can’t really use these lines in an interview, unless of course you are really good at comedy. The problem with the question is that it is at once a silly question, an unfair question, and a difficult question, especially for us financial types who are used to providing incredible detail in any situation [ Read more… ]

Money is important

From our daily member newsletter on November 26, 2017

When it comes to deciding if someone is a fit for a particular position, industry experience and candidates current locations are often the first criteria that employers consider when weeding out applicants. After these first two issues appear to be satisfactory, the next point of focus is your recent work history. What have you done in the last ten years that is applicable to the job in question? Much of this kind of information can be quickly gleaned from a resume and is often followed up by a telephone interview. Whether the call is from a contingency or retained recruiter, or even from a corporate recruiter, the last point on the check list is usually money. Let’s be honest, money [ Read more… ]

Thanksgiving

From our daily member newsletter on November 21, 2017

Over the next few days, the instant communications that dominate our lives in the form of phone calls, emails and texts should dissipate a bit. I hope you will take the time for a little thoughtful contemplation. Although Thursday will most likely be totally tied up with family and friends, the rest of the weekend should allow you some time to clean your desk, finish that book that has been sitting on your night table, and who knows what else you might think of to relax. (Don’t get involved in any Black Friday shopping.) When it gets really quiet, take a few hours to think about your life and where it is going. After all, it won’t be too long [ Read more… ]

Paint a smile on your face

From our daily member newsletter on November 20, 2017

As we all blast out of our day to day lives to attend or host Thanksgiving celebrations later this week, keep in mind that whether or not you REALLY are down on your luck, it never helps to let others know it. While there are those who I greatly respect who out of the kindness of their hearts work at soup kitchens for the poor, as a general rule “woe is me” is not a good networking approach. As a member of The FENG, you are anything but down on your luck. You are part of the largest networking group for senior financial executives in the ENTIRE world. And if that doesn’t make you proud, I don’t know what might. [ Read more… ]

Mastering technology

From our daily member newsletter on November 19, 2017

This is probably just a lucky guess on my part, but I have the very real sense that the high technology tools we have to conduct a job search are here to stay. (To quote Larry King, “High technology, what will they think of next?”) Friends, Al Gore invented the Internet a long time ago. And, even if the Federal Government declares it to be a public utility, chances are good that you would benefit significantly by developing a mastery of its many intricacies. And, to bring you back to the beginning of time itself, I’ve had a computer in my office since the early 1980’s! Should I mention cell phones? It is honestly high time that all of you [ Read more… ]

Weather forecasting

From our daily member newsletter on November 16, 2017

Ever the wise sailor, I always (well, almost always) check the weather forecast before heading down to the boat to go out for the day. This may or may not be a valuable activity. My wife jokes that in her next life she wants to be a weather forecaster. They never have to be right and they still get paid. I have to agree that they are frequently wrong, and sometimes I have taken their prognostications to heart and they have caused me to miss a perfectly good sailing day. (As you may know, the sailing season is very short – it is less than 52 weeks per year, so I hate to miss even one day.) There is also [ Read more… ]

What makes The FENG unusual?

From our daily member newsletter on November 15, 2017

Several years ago I spent an evening out with an old friend of mine who previously had been in the search business. He is a very special friend. We first met in 1977 when I was Business Manager for CBS College Publishing and we have been close friends ever since. Since he lived nearby, our families also had the opportunity to bond as well. He was instrumental in my career development in that he made a point of getting me invited to leadership meetings that I am sure I would not otherwise have attended. When I was out of work in 1991 and 1992 he was in the outplacement business and as a courtesy provided me with a place to [ Read more… ]

Please, give me a hint

From our daily member newsletter on November 14, 2017

Every once in a while I get an assignment for The FECG that draws more than its fair share of attention. I think our all time high a few years ago was an assignment that drew 225 responses. However, even when you get an assignment that draws more than say 40 responses, it can get a little difficult to see the forest for the trees. And, with all that talent to choose from, those who provide the clearest presentation of their credentials are the ones we are most likely to send to our client for consideration. To be very honest, it’s hard to justify forcing our client to “read between the lines” when you have so many better submissions. Here [ Read more… ]

Email cover notes

From our daily member newsletter on November 13, 2017

Based on the email cover notes I see, I’m not sure we have all made the transition from messages sent in envelopes to those sent by email. Personally, I have always found electronic files to be maddening, especially very highly developed Excel spreadsheets. Adopting naming conventions so that you can be clear which version of a file was the latest one, used to and still does drive me crazy at times. And, as you can imagine, I’m a pretty organized guy. Purging files from your computer can also be unnerving because when it’s gone, it’s gone. The problem in a nutshell (Help, I’m locked in a nutshell!) is that reviewing the files on your computer by opening them is like [ Read more… ]

Picking a restaurant

From our daily member newsletter on November 12, 2017

People who know that my wife and I are into sailing often ask us what we most enjoy making for dinner when we are on the boat. My standard response is reservations. The hard part is, of course, picking the restaurant. Are we in the mood for Mexican food, Pizza, French, Italian, or Chinese? Fortunately for us, although you can’t always tell by the name of the restaurant what they serve, all restaurants have enough common sense to stake out their areas of expertise when being listed in the telephone book, or in the many local brochures available at our favorite harbors. No restaurant would consider keeping their area of expertise a secret. It just wouldn’t be good for business. [ Read more… ]

Staying close to home

From our daily member newsletter on November 9, 2017

With the holiday season coming up fast, it is perhaps the time to repeat the simple advice that now is the time to be out and about making phone calls and trying to get in to see people. One of the great misunderstandings about networking is that things slow down during the holidays. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure there are those who will be taking vacation time, but most road warriors greatly reduce their travel schedule and stay close to home. There are inevitable parties and social events that require their attendance, and being out of town would just be a bad idea if they plan to stay on speaking terms with their families and friends. For [ Read more… ]

Reinventing yourself

From our daily member newsletter on November 8, 2017

Much as I hate using cliché phrases as the one above, I don’t really know if there is a better one to describe the process of self-examination that is required when faced with looking for another “work opportunity.” (I call them work opportunities instead of jobs, because they don’t generally last long enough these days to be dignified with that “job” label.) Of course, I should preface my comments with the very obvious fact that changing industries or professions in any job market is very difficult. There are plenty of folks who are “local candidates,” or from the required industry. Competing against them in any sense isn’t an even contest, but competing rarely is as much fun as folks make [ Read more… ]

The competition is fierce

From our daily member newsletter on November 7, 2017

No one ever said it would be easy. And, when it comes to finding a job after the age of 40, it can easily become a demoralizing situation. For those of us who are even older, like in our 50’s or 60’s, it can be extremely difficult. Let me start you out with the idea that you are no longer the least expensive product out on the market. You bring a wealth of experience to the party, and those on the other side of the desk feel obligated to pay more to you than for someone earlier in their career should they decide to hire you. It’s true, of course, that they should pay more, but what is often missed [ Read more… ]

Hard won personal relationships

From our daily member newsletter on November 6, 2017

The world is actually built on a series of personal relationships. The truth of this statement was brought home to me many times during my near decade in the Advertising business, and subsequent to that from my experiences during my job search in trying to get to know people in the Venture Capital and Search business. It is hard to get people to trust you when their income depends on who they introduce to whom. From 1997 to just before the recession that began in 2001, I worked the search community one recruiter at a time to sell The FENG as a resource. Unfortunately, recruiters don’t talk much to each other. And, even within firms, they pretty much run an [ Read more… ]

Networking, networking, networking

From our daily member newsletter on November 5, 2017

For those of you who are new to networking and for those of you who think you know everything about networking, I thought I would take tonight’s editorial space to distinguish for you the 3 kinds of networking. (And, no, I won’t have a Rick Perry brain freeze on the 3rd one.) The first kind of networking is identifying new networking contacts. The recommended way to do this at networking meetings of all kinds is to introduce yourself to people you don’t know. Remember, strangers are only friends you haven’t met. It really is pretty painless. You just say: “Hi, I’m Matt Bud.” (Be sure to use your name and not mine.) Step two of this is to ask a [ Read more… ]

A lifetime commitment

From our daily member newsletter on November 3, 2017

It is in some ways a shame that the idea of networking has gotten itself so tightly connected to job search. One of the reasons that I call members who have found new jobs is to remind them to continue networking. Sad to say that many people allow themselves to get so absorbed in their new jobs that they get disconnected from their network. I often refer to The FENG as a circle of friends. I also refer to those with whom you have the most in common and with whom you should stay in contact as your “inner circle of friends.” However, to describe it as “your very own insurance policy” puts it in the context of job search, [ Read more… ]

Developing a thick skin

From our daily member newsletter on November 1, 2017

It has often been said that I am a sensitive guy. I don’t think anyone who does what I do as a volunteer could be characterized as anything different. Still, when it comes to job search, being sensitive probably isn’t a good thing. You know the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” When I was looking for work during 1991-1992 (yes, two long years), it seemed as if not many folks in the world were aware of this idea. After many successful years in business always returning the phone calls of others, I found mine going unanswered. And, the same thing was true about responses to my many letters. Primarily silence on both [ Read more… ]

Meetings all over the place

From our daily member newsletter on October 31, 2017

As I was scrolling through the newsletter the past few weeks, I couldn’t help but be struck by all of the chapter and special interest group meeting announcements. I just wonder if ALL of you out there in the land of The FENG are taking advantage of these great opportunities to meet really nice people (fellow members of The FENG) and to experience the warmth of the friendships that are part and parcel of being a member of our august body. If you haven’t ever been to a meeting, I could try to make you feel guilty by telling you how hard your area chairs work to put on these events, but I haven’t found guilt to be as motivating [ Read more… ]

Working the room

From our daily member newsletter on October 30, 2017

I suppose that one of the most difficult things for us social butterfly accounting types is going to networking events and working the room like a politician. As with any other activity, a little preparation can go a long way in your ability to maximize the value of any potential networking event that you might attend. Let’s me suggest you start by registering for the event as early as possible. Most networking events publish a list of attendees and if you don’t register in advance, you won’t be on the list with all of your contact information. As an additional benefit of registering early, you get a printed badge that is easy to read instead of a cheesy hand written [ Read more… ]

I’ll call him back

From our daily member newsletter on October 29, 2017

Just to prove to you how old I am, there used to be a show on TV called “The Millionaire.” (The show was in black and white. Need I say more?) It seems there was this wealthy man who wanted to give away some of his money and each week he would send this poor sap out into the world to hand someone a check for, you guessed it, a million dollars. Hard to believe the difficulties he ran into just trying to get folks to believe that there wasn’t a catch. I think about that show every time I get a phone call or email. What if the sinister purpose of the message I have just received is actually [ Read more… ]

A fear of being contacted

From our daily member newsletter on October 26, 2017

Gosh, please don’t call me. That’s the message that I seem to get from time to time when I am trying to track down candidates for the consulting assignments and full time jobs I am handling through The FECG. I have also been alerted to this fear by one of our chapter chairs who noted that folks weren’t putting their phone numbers on his meeting attendance sheet. Okay, you do have one phone number on your resume and you may even have this same number in your outgoing signature. That said, you can’t be reached there. If you are still employed, it is your home phone number. I’m sure you will find my message when you get there at the [ Read more… ]

Starting over is never easy

From our daily member newsletter on October 25, 2017

Although I constantly repeat our two mantras that all jobs are temporary and that one is never actually employed, only between searches, when this truth rears its ugly head I don’t know if anyone is really prepared. As the clock winds itself down on a current assignment, it is usually a stressful period of time prior to the actual event of your being given the bad news. This is hardly a time when you will be thinking clearly and focused on your goal of finding that next great “work opportunity.” The FENG is now so old that many of our members have been with us long enough to have gotten 2 or 3 searches under their belts. I would hope [ Read more… ]

Two anchors or one?

From our daily member newsletter on October 24, 2017

A long time ago I got into a discussion with another captain about the wisdom of setting two anchors. It may sound silly, since I am known on board my sailboat as Captain Safety, but I have never set two anchors. And, even though I have read a lot about it over the years, in most cases I don’t think it is smart to do. There are conditions when it is appropriate, but I try to be tied to a dock or safely at home during those times or I avoid anchoring in the kinds of places where it might be necessary. Anyway, it got me to thinking about a speech a cousin of mine gave at a family gathering [ Read more… ]

90-second announcements

From our daily member newsletter on October 23, 2017

From time to time I get requests for information on how to do a proper 90-second announcement. So, I thought tonight I would share a few thoughts with you on this linguistic challenge. Since my wife is a speech pathologist by trade, I can tell you with great authority that speech is the slowest form of communication. Smoke signals may be a tad slower, but they aren’t in common usage these days. And, with the drought we have had in many parts of the country, they probably aren’t a good idea anyway these days, not to mention the fact that they are hard to use at networking gatherings. Of course, you want to begin your 90-second announcement with your name. [ Read more… ]

Accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on October 22, 2017

One of the less well recognized phobias in this world is the fear of accepting help from others. Perhaps it is primarily a guy thing and it explains why we never used to ask for directions at the gas station, but when it comes to job search it is another one of the many things that “get in the way” of very capable individuals finding work opportunities. (I don’t know if anything lasts long enough these days that we can dignify them with the word jobs.) With the new reality in the world we need to be more and more attuned to our own personal information networks for opportunities that fit our background, and that means reaching out to others [ Read more… ]

Buddy up

From our daily member newsletter on October 19, 2017

If there is one enduring truth about The FENG it is that we are a circle of friends. It started with the individual who sponsored you, and ends with … well, it doesn’t end. Just as friends don’t let friends drive drunk, friends also shouldn’t let friends feel alone during their job search. I called one of our members recently to follow up on an old piece of correspondence and was greeted by a drone. Hey, I’m feeling a little down today. (Really? Who knew?) I recognize that the job market isn’t what it used to be when we were in our youth, but then, what is? The important thing is that right now, each and every day, you have [ Read more… ]

The art of being sensitive

From our daily member newsletter on October 18, 2017

I’m sure there are those of you out there who remember a positively awful movie starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts called The Mexican. Some of you may have seen it and have been trying desperately to forget it. I don’t blame you. Anyway, there was this one scene in the movie where Julia is standing on the balcony of a cheap motel throwing Brad’s clothes down on him and screaming at him: “It’s always about you.” If this isn’t something that speaks to our world, I don’t know what does. I know you will all be shocked to discover that the world doesn’t actually revolve around you and your problems, considerable as they may be at any given moment. [ Read more… ]

Handling compensation negotiations

From our daily member newsletter on October 17, 2017

Money makes the world go around, or so they say. If this is the case, can there be any more delicate subject to bring up with a potential employer than your potential salary? There was a comment I heard on “Streets of San Francisco” many years ago that is applicable here: “First liar never stands a chance.” As applicable to salary negotiations, it is always better to let the potential employer put something on the table before you try to improve upon it. It is just good negotiating to find out the relevant range before saying anything. The danger of presenting your salary demands too early in the process is considerable. The acceptable price of anything someone might want to [ Read more… ]

No steps forward, two steps back

From our daily member newsletter on October 16, 2017

One of the most difficult challenges in a career is being faced with taking a step or two back. Because we tend to stay with companies longer than most senior managers, the gains we make in our career in terms of compensation and responsibilities are hard won and painstaking achieved. So, when a time comes in our careers that we have to choose whether to accept a title and real responsibilities that are significantly less than our last job, it can be a difficult thing. Even after we come to the decision that it is the best thing to do financially, it can be a bothersome and esteem affecting experience. I know because it happened to me. The truth is [ Read more… ]

This is no time to blend

From our daily member newsletter on October 15, 2017

If you haven’t seen the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” you may not really understand where this line comes from. If this is the case, please accept my apology for this reference out of left field. It is an old movie, and it wasn’t a great one. As opposed to the marketing and sales folks I have met over the years who never miss an opportunity to brag about what they have done, by and large the financial types I have known in great contrast are only brought kicking and screaming into the spotlight for their 90-seconds of fame. Sure, “I was there,” they might say, “but I was only part of a team.” While this may be true, the team [ Read more… ]

The importance of alumni involvement

From our daily member newsletter on October 12, 2017

There is no topic that comes up more frequently than how can we keep our alumni members deeply involved in the goings on of our organization. Among a small number of our members there is a desire to put their whole ugly job search thing behind them and move on with their lives. In some cases they even ask that the delivery of our evening newsletter cease. (I know we put out a lot of email, but there is always the delete key if you don’t have time to read it.) My guess is that these individuals have not quite absorbed our now well accepted mantra of “all jobs are temporary,” quickly followed by “you are never employed, you are [ Read more… ]

A lifeboat mentality

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2017

Unfortunately for all of you, my wife bought me a book once when we were on vacation about the whale ship Essex. No need to go into all the details here, but the short story is that the ship was rammed by a whale and began to sink. Being a devoted sailor, I have certainly read other novels about what happens when the ship goes down. These tales of survival tend to be real page turners for me. (Perhaps in my last life I was a sailor on a square rigged ship.) Anyway, the mentality of someone about to abandon ship and how they feel afterwards as they attempt to survive has parallels with the process we all go through [ Read more… ]

Hidden customer objections

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2017

It is a sad fact of interviewing that often times those sitting on the other side of the table hesitate asking questions that you would gladly answer. The kinds of questions I am talking about are things that might be grounds for a lawsuit because they skirt the edge of age discrimination or one of the other laws out there to “protect us.” While it is your decision whether or not to answer questions you know are illegal, the real problem with questions of this nature is that when they are the “elephant sitting in the room,” very little real communication takes place between you and the interviewer unless you get them out of the way. If you had a [ Read more… ]

The hobgoblin of consistency

From our daily member newsletter on October 9, 2017

As many of you know, I have a variety of backgrounds. I was not only in the publishing business for 10 years, I was also in the advertising business for 9 years. Communication, or the assumption that it has taken place, is at the core of most of the problems in this world. (Okay, there are probably others, but that would take away from the points I am going to try to make tonight.) Anyway, when an underpaid overworked and groggy screener is placed in front of a pile of 500 resumes and asked to pull out 20 good ones, how much time do you think they actually get to spend on each one? Yes, I am sure they will [ Read more… ]

The New York minute

From our daily member newsletter on October 8, 2017

I don’t know if all of you are familiar with the concept of a New York minute, but for all intents and purposes it is generally accepted to be a micro second. For your further edification, a Google search turned up the following: New York Minute: A New York minute is an instant. Or as Johnny Carson once said, it’s the interval between a Manhattan traffic light changing to green and the guy behind you honking his car horn. It appears to have originated in Texas around 1967. It is a reference to the frenzied and hectic pace of New Yorkers’ lives. A New Yorker does in an instant what a Texan would take a minute to do. The term [ Read more… ]

Some dumb ideas actually work

From our daily member newsletter on October 5, 2017

Back at the beginning of time itself when my good friend Ed Devlin was running what was to become The FENG, he invited me to join. (I don’t know what he was thinking.) Seeing the networking opportunity for my own job search, I immediately offered to act as social chairman for our small gathering of senior financial executives and bring a membership directory to every meeting for distribution. (It wasn’t all that hard as there were only 15-20 of us.) As the meetings I attended became more than a person could count on one hand, I had the occasion to speak with Ed about how to increase our membership. We had both experienced the committee review method and found it [ Read more… ]

No one has time for mysteries

From our daily member newsletter on October 4, 2017

At one time many years ago I had a lot of time for reading. I picked up an Agatha Christy novel and I was hooked. Over the next several months I believe I read just about everything she had written up to that point. I know that when we moved, I had quite a box of books. Trying to pick up the clues was sure entertaining. There are other fine authors out there that I have indulged in from time to time, but lately the mystery writing on which I spend the most time is confined to the resumes I get from new member applicants. I am not really sure why they feel the need, but they usually begin creating [ Read more… ]

A simple case of identity theft

From our daily member newsletter on October 3, 2017

Over the past 15 years I have had more than a few opportunities to work with groups of members on their 90-second announcements. In fact, this is typically one of the drills in which we engage at all Westport chapter meetings. Although most résumés I see could also use more than a little work, I find that there is already a significant amount of help available there. Within The FENG for example we have a résumé review committee headed up by Jim Saylor (ResumeReview@TheFENG.org). Speech is the slowest form of communication and creating a 90-second announcement that projects the real you is a formidable task, and one not to be underestimated in its inherent difficulty. Having been in the advertising [ Read more… ]

Transferrable skills

From our daily member newsletter on October 2, 2017

There is no greater truth about our profession than the one about our having transferrable skills. Like lawyers and marketing folks, us financial types come to the world with talents that can be applied in a variety of situations. (Sort of sounds like the introduction to Superman, doesn’t it?) Generally we believe this hook line and sinker. The problem is getting the rest of the world to suspend their disbelief and listen. That said, if we have built a career that spans decades rather than years or months, there are things we know that are rather specialized. And, if we want to find a job that we will enjoy (that old quality of life issue again), it will tend to [ Read more… ]

Great expectations

From our daily member newsletter on October 1, 2017

For those of you who are familiar with Kermit the Frog, you know it isn’t easy being green. In much the same way, individuals who know about our little society called The FENG have come to expect great things from us. If I start from the outside and work my way in, members of the search community have a perception, not all wrong, that members of The FENG are all very qualified individuals. I have either been able to fool all of the people all of the time, or else those of you who are dedicated members of our august body have been living by our “qualified members only” standard and passing by jobs that aren’t a fit. God bless [ Read more… ]

Keeping your chin up

From our daily member newsletter on September 28, 2017

There are lots of good reasons to keep you chin up. Of course, the most important reason is that it is easier to hit! Okay, I am just kidding with you. But seriously, some members have been active in their search for so long, that I fear many of them are beginning to believe things that have been told to them like: If only you had a CPA. If only you hadn’t been with one company for so long. If only you hadn’t done so much job-hopping. If only you weren’t so over qualified. (We rarely hear that we are UNDER qualified.) The “if only” list is too long to publish. (If only it were shorter.) The fear I have [ Read more… ]

Phone interviews

From our daily member newsletter on September 27, 2017

Probably one of the most difficult interviews to pull off well is a telephone interview. Let’s start off with the idea that the lack of face to face contact prevents you from seeing if the words and ideas you are presenting are playing well. A live audience is always better. Is the person on the other end of the phone nodding in agreement? Are they rolling their eyes? Even for someone who spends as much time on the phone as I do, it is often hard to tell. Sitting during a telephone interview is probably not a good idea because your conversation will tend to lack energy. This is at least one of the things you can solve. If you [ Read more… ]

Does anyone have job leads to share?

From our daily member newsletter on September 26, 2017

There was a time in the not too distant past when our evening newsletter on Sunday evening ran to over 120 pages. The newsletters during the week were typically 50-75 pages. Lately our newsletter is typically 25 pages or less. Back in the “good old days,” we only had 15,000-20,000 members. Now we have over 40,000. With the job market supposedly improving, I would hope we could muster more published pages of job leads if we all took the time to send in appropriate items to Leads@TheFENG.org. The FENG is primarily an organization of CFOs, Controllers and Treasurers. Although we have members with many other related titles, the thing that unites us is that we are all senior level executives. [ Read more… ]

Dear FENG Member or Current Occupant

From our daily member newsletter on September 25, 2017

In keeping with the spirit of networking that makes The FENG a remarkable organization, it is appropriate that we share our contact information. And, when other members reach out to you, it is EXPECTED that you will take the time to respond. (Yes, I know you are busy, but so am I and I need your help. It is one of those “many hands make light work” things. Besides, I am not always the right person to contact.) What makes this obligation a joy to fulfill is that most members pick and choose whom to contact and are genuinely interested in creating mutually beneficial long term relationships. However, from time to time I find members sending out what appear to [ Read more… ]

Over responding to job leads

From our daily member newsletter on September 24, 2017

One of the foundations upon which The FENG has been built has been relying upon our members to exercise good judgment about the jobs for which they are a fit and only responding when they are. I could no more police this activity when we were smaller than I can now that we are huge. In the world of geese and golden eggs, it is important to us as an organization that the outside world views posting in our newsletter as a civilized experience. While we are viewed as the best resource for financial jobs by those who have tried us, we can always do better. My simple theory is that if we make the effort to be honest with [ Read more… ]

Making small talk

From our daily member newsletter on September 21, 2017

I have never considered myself a social butterfly, but I guess for many of us financial types it is difficult to start a conversation with someone we don’t know. If you give a little thought to conversations you have had over your life with people not known to you, you will fondly remember the favorite topic most of those discussions began with was the weather. (As you know, everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it, but I digress.) If weather isn’t the chosen topic, traffic, sports (How about those Yankees?) will all suffice. Religion and politics are generally not good ideas for conversation openers with strangers. I suppose the reason that one might start out [ Read more… ]

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