EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Feelings of helplessness

From our daily member newsletter on September 30, 2012

“They” say (I don’t know who they are) that searching for a job is filled with highs and lows. It doesn’t matter who you may have heard it from or how often you heard these words of consolation, if you have been through a long job search, you know the feelings. I suppose we can find ways to live with the highs. But, the lows, that’s another story. I believe you feel helpless when you are job searching because the whole process seems to be out of your control. In some sense we flatter ourselves that before we were looking for a job we somehow had total control over our lives. As “they” say, the best laid plans of mice [ Read more… ]

Lucy, you got some splaining to do

From our daily member newsletter on September 27, 2012

Down sized, right sized, laid off, fired, reduction in force. I think you have to agree that the world has developed a very colorful vocabulary to describe those things that have caused many of our members to be active in their respective job searches. If one of us went in for an interview and was wearing a cast on one arm, I don’t think that we would hesitate much to explain how it happened. Furthermore, I am pretty sure that we would provide an explanation without any prompting. It is just such an obvious thing that it cries out for commentary. And, as long as it didn’t happen in any embarrassing manner, such as sheer clumsiness, I don’t think that [ Read more… ]

Counterintuitive ideas

From our daily member newsletter on September 26, 2012

There are a lot of counterintuitive ideas out in the world. (It is sometimes called “out of the box thinking.”) What may not be fully recognized is that The FENG, our little circle of friends, is based on quite a few radical ideas, and amazingly they all work. The earliest premise of our organization was that sharing job leads was a good idea. Not well accepted at the time, but for most of our members today it is so ingrained in our makeup that when someone claims not to understand why we do it, we have almost forgotten what the explanations are. (How could anyone not understand the wisdom of it all?) Our resume review committee headed up by Bill [ Read more… ]

The care and feeding of those who help

From our daily member newsletter on September 25, 2012

After “I love you,” “thank you” is probably the next thing no one hears enough. The subject, I am going to discuss tonight could also be called common courtesy, or common courtesies. I know that everyone who is active in their search is very busy, but so are those who are sharing their valuable business connections. If you haven’t fully noticed, I never miss an opportunity to thank those who provide editorial material AND I always encourage those members who are in the mood to “pile on” by adding their own thanks and comments for someone taking the time to share a big idea with us. It takes time to write, and your thank you notes encourage them to write [ Read more… ]

Puzzles within enigmas

From our daily member newsletter on September 24, 2012

I can see from the resumes that cross my desk, that more than a few of our members don’t take to heart some of the editorial material presented in this newsletter, or are taking advice from lightweights in matters related to job search. I hope this will stop! (For our loyal readers and followers, please ignore my previous harsh comment. It is all the “other” members I am speaking to tonight.) More and more I am seeing resumes with early work histories left off and/or year ranges left off jobs early in your careers. Friends, I have a fertile imagination. Were you in prison for some period of time so that if you provided the years there would be gaps? [ Read more… ]

Dumber than dirt

From our daily member newsletter on September 23, 2012

There is a lot of poor thinking going on out in the world about how to be considered for jobs that are a step or two back in your career. The thinking seems to be that you have to dumb down your resume. I agree. I just don’t agree that deleting work history from earlier in your career or leaving off dates is the suggested approach. The constant challenge for most members of this august body is that we are over qualified (or should I say well qualified) for most jobs. After 20+ years of work experience, how could you not be? The approach to appearing “dumber than dirt” or “as dumb as a box of rocks” isn’t to make [ Read more… ]

Best supporting actor

From our daily member newsletter on September 20, 2012

I once wrote an editorial I called: Your resume stands alone If I must say so myself, it was one of my better missives. It highlighted the simple fact that unless your resume sings your praises properly, you honestly don’t stand a chance. A resume needs to be complete, as in no missing jobs or obvious skipped time spans, especially at the beginning of your career. The companies you have worked for need to be defined in one simple line or two, and your job titles need to sort of jump off the page. Career progression speaks miles about you, especially early in your career. If the resume is so darn important, you might ask, what is the role of [ Read more… ]

The benefit of the doubt

From our daily member newsletter on September 19, 2012

The FENG is a networking organization. I hope none of you are fooled by the volume of job leads we publish. The actual purpose of our little circle of friends is to be helpful to one another as often as possible in this struggle we all face to earn a living. In my role as Chairman, I am always searching for ways for you to think about the many folks who might contact you from time to time with no further verification of their credentials than that they are part of our extended family. When you are the “giver,” it is hard not to be a little suspicious of those contacting you. After all, they are asking for access to [ Read more… ]

After all we have meant to each other

From our daily member newsletter on September 18, 2012

A few times a week I get a note from one of our members asking me to stop the newsletter. Although sometimes I do get an explanation of sorts, often times I don’t. All I get is the subject: Unsubscribe. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I am a little offended that someone who has been receiving our free newsletter, usually for several years, can’t take the time to dash off a few lines of thanks and an explanation. Have they decided to retire? Are they no longer working in Finance? Inquiring minds want to know. I won’t even get into the notes that ask me to stop because they are starting a new job on Monday. You would think [ Read more… ]

Confusing tools with a cure

From our daily member newsletter on September 17, 2012

I saw an article several years ago that went on at length about the dissatisfaction folks had with outplacement firms. While I’m not a big fan of everything outplacement firms teach, it is vitally important that anyone who wants to work until THEY want to stop learn about this whole job search thing. It’s not that outplacement firms do a bad job, it is more that they don’t exist to find you a job, because they CAN’T. No one can find you a job except you. All that anyone can do for you, if you are a job seeker, is help educate you on the process. In part, I think the reason people over value job leads is that they [ Read more… ]

Digesting the newsletter

From our daily member newsletter on September 16, 2012

I have to admit that reading the newsletter most nights is like drinking water from a fire hose. The newsletter goes out to many audiences. Like the 6 blind men standing around the elephant, each of those audiences has different needs. This being the case, I will try to suggest a few approaches that are universal. First of all, please know that I love trees. However, if you really want to get the most information out of our newsletter, you honestly need to print it. Back in the bad old days when I got a lot of interoffice mail, I used to read it over the garbage pail. It is a simple fact that, at a glance, you can glean [ Read more… ]

Don’t spill the beans

From our daily member newsletter on September 13, 2012

As financial officers, our natural instinct is to provide full and complete disclosure. It is all part and parcel of our basic honesty. When I was in the Advertising business, now so many years ago, I was often in a situation where I had to inform my boss about something important. He was a brilliant guy, but he honestly had a very limited attention span. My task was to ensure he knew enough that I met my responsibilities, but not tell him SO much that his attention trailed off. If you consider that most of our “meetings” took place between phone calls that he “had to take,” or on the way to the elevator, you can appreciate the complexity and [ Read more… ]

Using your imagination

From our daily member newsletter on September 12, 2012

I have often joked that I am known for “in the box thinking.” Thinking outside of the box, whatever that means, isn’t easy. As financial folks we just aren’t built that way. Still, being boring and unimaginative doesn’t have to become a way of life. And, although this may sound counterintuitive, it is possible to develop a methodical method of “thinking outside of the box.” (Have you ever thought about who owns the box, or why THEY aren’t happy with the box? No, this never seems to come up.) The truth is that every member of The FENG is well educated. And, we got that way by “learning how to learn.” That is what a formal education is actually all [ Read more… ]

The intimidation factor

From our daily member newsletter on September 11, 2012

One of the many things I have heard mentioned to me after our various chapter meetings is “I can’t believe the talent in the room. How can I ever expect to get a job if all of these folks are out of work?” I am not sure why I am usually caught off guard by this comment, but I am. Perhaps it is because the person asking it is usually quite obviously talented as well. Let’s face it, if there is any one trait that I would identify with financial folks it is our modesty. I have to admit that being as talented as we are it IS hard to be modest. Okay, all kidding aside, I think we all [ Read more… ]

Always do your best work

From our daily member newsletter on September 10, 2012

I have never quite understood why the emails I get are so sloppy. I fully realize and accept that most people don’t type 90 words a minute like I do. Still, even if you only hunt and peck, it is my honest advice to you that you make an effort to spell words correctly and to check your sentence construction to ensure that EVERY message you are sending will be well received. Do all messages matter, you might ask? I would argue that they do. The truth is that you may send hundreds of messages out each week, but if you stop and think about it, I may only get ONE of those messages. For me, everything I know about [ Read more… ]

Last man standing

From our daily member newsletter on September 9, 2012

In this age of political correctness, perhaps this editorial should be titled “Last person standing.” However, the point would be the same. In the days following 9/11, my son found himself trying to get home and without a connecting flight at Heathrow Airport. Since his mother had read him the riot act that he needed to return to the United States, he knew he better do what needed to be done to get on a plane. As he listened to the conversations of those ahead of him in line, a plan came to mind. Anyone he heard considering staying in London, he would encourage them to do so. Amazingly, he talked several people into leaving the line and got on [ Read more… ]

Two hours for lunch

From our daily member newsletter on September 6, 2012

One of the little jokes I used to tell back at the office was how hard it was to get anything done, what with an hour coffee break in the morning, two hours for lunch, another hour coffee break in the afternoon, combined with leaving early, there just isn’t much time to get things done. In much the same way, the “good” weeks of the year for networking can be made to disappear. As we end this first work week after Labor Day, we are now into the golden networking period of Labor Day to Thanksgiving (which like Summer), is a very short “season” since it is less than 52 weeks. Of course, much of the “urban legend” you hear [ Read more… ]

The ultimate scam

From our daily member newsletter on September 5, 2012

I was recently reminded of one of my favored approaches to networking that I discovered in the early 90’s. (Sometime in the late-90’s I stopped calling some of the things I was doing “scams” and started calling them “approaches,” which for some reason those in polite society found more acceptable.) Anyway, the problem circles around trying to find reasons to be in touch with the “regular” contacts on your networking list. As you make the rounds during your search, you are frequently in the position of the copywriter for news radio shows who has to keep freshening up the copy just in case you are still tuned in. The “new and improved” resume that you are taking the time to [ Read more… ]

No one ever calls

From our daily member newsletter on September 4, 2012

I had an interesting comment from one of our members of long standing a long time ago to the effect that no one was calling him. Of course, the ultimate revenge would be to give all of you his phone number and ask you to call our very own “lonesome George,” but that would be mean. While it is certainly mathematically possible that no one in The FENG thought his background was of interest for networking purposes, I am more concerned with the idea that he is waiting around for the phone to ring so he can help others. As we all know, except for the very brave souls who make good use of our “Members in Need of Assistance” [ Read more… ]

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