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

Matt's Editorials: Sailing is a Metaphor for Life

The small town syndrome

I have been chatting with potential sponsors for The FENG this past year and from time to time the character of each of our chapters comes up. They are, of course, all different.

Here in the Northeast I suppose there almost aren’t any boundaries. We get visitors to our chapter meeting from pretty far away and I know from talking to members attending our meeting in Westport that they often attend meetings in Westchester and New York City. Around here, the whole world is open to you from a job perspective as well. There are simply lots of possibilities if you are willing to commute by train or drive.

Not so in other parts of the country. Many of our local chapters, while not truly small towns, have limited job opportunities. For better or worse, many of them had their local economies driven by large local employers who have now been acquired or gone out of business.

If this is where you call home, the opportunities are by definition limited. If you are a member of one of these “small town” chapters and you are a master networker, you will find that the few jobs that are out in the market at any one time are usually known by everyone in your inner circle.

This is not all bad. The goal of The FENG is to ensure that any job known by one member is known by all to the degree that this is possible. Better a friend in The FENG gets the job than someone not part of our little society. We are sort of pledged to help one another and it is in our personal interest to do so. It may seem to run against your best interests to tell others about particular jobs, but as counter intuitive as it is, this simply isn’t true. The job is going to go to someone. Most likely all who will be considered are qualified for the job. But, the one who gets it will be the one who hits it off with the hiring authority and one never knows what will be the key to that decision. These are things that are just out of your control.

By eagerly sharing the “meager rations” that may exist at any point in time, you make more certain that when the one that really is right for you comes up, you will be told about it in time. As you know, timing is everything.

Job search in a geographically isolated large town is a finite problem. As Bruce Lynn points out to me frequently, there are only 1,000 firms in the Fortune 1,000. And, we have 40,000+ members. (Sounds like a shortage of proper opportunities to me. Doesn’t it to you?) Well, I guess it gets even worse at chapters outside of major metropolitan areas.

Home is where the heart is. I don’t recommend moving to anyone. (Unless of course there is a mob chasing you with hot tar and feathers.) So, all we can do is make the best of it and share all we have. No one can ask more.

Regards, Matt

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