The Financial Executives Networking Group
The Power of Networking. The Power of Friendships.

Matt's Editorials: Sailing is a Metaphor for Life

Developing a thick skin

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 scores. It was indeed hard not to take all of this personally.

In part our careers as Chief Financial Officers sets us up for these kinds of disappointments. I don’t know about you, but there was usually a line at my door waiting for checks to be signed or for budgets to be approved. You see, when you hold the purse strings (or are at least on good terms with the person who does) everyone has to be nice to you.

Job search is a sales process. And, as any good sales professional will tell you, you have to make a lot of sales calls to make a sale. When I was in the college textbook business, our sales representatives were expected to make 20 calls a day. Obviously, not all sales calls result in business. In job search, I suppose you are fortunate that you only have to make one successful sale and then you are tied up for a while.

It has been said that the discourtesy in the world as evidenced by phone calls not returned and messages not answered has risen dramatically in recent years. Hard to say if this is true or if it even matters.

The hard lesson to be learned is that you can’t take any of this personally because to do so casts a pall over your search effort that is very hard to overcome.

If you are feeling ignored, I would humbly suggest to you that you just aren’t making enough phone calls or sending out enough letters. The cure is to do a volume of human communication in the activity that we call networking.

While it still may be true that ALL of your phone calls and emails aren’t getting appropriate responses, I think you will find that a significant percentage are. Targeted networking makes it more likely that those with whom you are communicating want to hear from you. This being the case, they are more likely to get back to you.

It is important to understand that even in the best of circumstances not everyone will treat your communications with the “tender loving care” that you would give to theirs. And, I hope that when you are gainfully employed you will remember how others made you feel and strive not to be that kind of person.

Remember, I’m a sensitive guy.

Regards, Matt

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