EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The official change of seasons

From our daily member newsletter on October 28, 2012

As the days of fall begin to arrive in the Northeast and the trees begin to change colors, it is all very beautiful. However, I know that inevitably the weekend will come when I need to decommission the boat for the season. For those of you who are long standing members of The FENG, you know that in the Bud household, or at least in my mind, the year is divided into only two seasons: summer when I can go sailing, and winter when I cannot. (I try to keep my life simple.) Unlike the spring commissioning which is filled with the promise of warm sunny days, the fall decommissioning is filled with the promise of cold weather. (Perhaps even [ Read more… ]

Passive job searching

From our daily member newsletter on October 25, 2012

I once got a note from one of our members listing several websites with job listings. The question was which ones to sign up for given that some of them had fees associated with them. I will now talk out of both sides of my mouth, so pay attention. Here in The FENG evening newsletter, we make every effort to ensure that the recruiters who post with us contact us as soon as they get a position description by making it free for them to have access to our vast audience. From our members’ perspective, I call it my “first bite of the apple” program. One of our Administrative Assistants reviews every newsletter after it is published and writes to [ Read more… ]

The usual pack of lies

From our daily member newsletter on October 24, 2012

I often wonder to myself how politicians can do so much lying and get away with it. Okay, sometimes we boot them out of office for lying, but we only replace them with new folks who also lie. The truth I suppose is subject to each person’s individual judgment. What one person considers to be an out and out lie, another person might consider to be stretching the truth a bit. To the degree that it suits ones purpose, putting a positive or negative spin on someone’s job performance is what makes politics such great fun. Man is a political animal. When I hear members tell me that they want to find a company that is less political, I say [ Read more… ]

The great white elephant sale

From our daily member newsletter on October 23, 2012

One of the core values of The FENG is our willingness to share job leads with each other. For some reason people seem to overvalue job leads. There are lots of things that are wrong with published job leads. For one thing, it is a fair fight. I much prefer networking where there is often no competition. That said, job leads have value, if not in actually getting a job, in making new friends. A job lead is considered a valuable gift. If you would like to hear about job leads that are out in the market, can you honestly tell me that you are sharing all of the leads you hear about? If you aren’t, why not? Keep in [ Read more… ]

The importance of labels

From our daily member newsletter on October 22, 2012

For those of us who read the newspaper from time to time, one can’t help but notice that just about everyone who is mentioned in any story is given a label. The label selected is usually something very simple such as “a 46 year old truck driver from Illinois.” In this case it is someone’s career. We have learned in short order that this is an older working class individual from the Midwest. In other cases the label selected is one that identifies the individual’s relationship with someone else in the story such as “a close advisor to Mr. Smith.” Labels help us focus our thinking. I think most of us would agree that what particular people say and do [ Read more… ]

Putting your own mask on first

From our daily member newsletter on October 21, 2012

For those of you who have had the pleasure of earning frequent flier miles, I can understand that you may no longer be paying strict attention to the very helpful discussion that precedes take off. Personally, I don’t think that anyone who doesn’t know how to work the seat belt should really be let out alone to wander the earth, but that’s just me. (How does that clip and lever work anyway?) And, who can say they appreciate the crew mentioning that you will soon be arriving at your “final” destination. That said you can always acquire insight even from something as mundane as a legally mandatory drill as takes place preflight. I call your attention to the instructions you [ Read more… ]

What do you do exactly? And, who are you?

From our daily member newsletter on October 18, 2012

The process of self-assessment is never easy. It is sort of like taking out your own appendix, but without anesthetic. As senior financial folks, it is often the case that we don’t have to engage ourselves in the game of “What is it we do? And, who are we?” until very late in our careers. Unlike the denizens of other professions, we tend to stay at jobs a long time and until we hit middle age, many of us have never known a day out of work. As many of you may be aware, I was Chief Financial Officer of an advertising agency for almost a decade. While I could take a few moments to wax eloquent about the difficulty [ Read more… ]

Crawling out from under their rocks

From our daily member newsletter on October 17, 2012

About this time in every recession, the folks who promise to find you a job by waving their magic wand crawl out from under the rocks they call home. You would think that exposure to sunlight would kill them, but like cockroaches, nothing seems to permanently destroy them. Personally, I find it reprehensible that there are organizations in the world who try to sell lifejackets to people who are drowning, especially when the lifejackets don’t even work. If you don’t believe me that all of them are a bunch of thieves, I would invite you to Google the names of their firms and the names of all of the individuals they say are connected to the firm. If you don’t [ Read more… ]

The ingratitude of superiors

From our daily member newsletter on October 16, 2012

As a group I think you will agree that most financial folks tend to be modest. I am not sure, but I think there was a required course on the dangers of bragging back in college, because it is like pulling teeth to get most members to provide an honest assessment of what they did. There were always others at the meetings. It’s as if in our minds our guiding hand and considerable abilities to quantify and analyze the thinking of others, (sometimes publicly, sometimes privately), doesn’t have a direct impact on the results of the company compared to the work of others on the executive team, like those individuals in sales. Is it any wonder that with our sometimes [ Read more… ]

Change – The only constant

From our daily member newsletter on October 15, 2012

I’m not sure why human beings resist change. It is truly the only constant in our world. For almost 6 years I worked for The Thomson Corporation, a company that was really into change. I used to joke that we reorganized every week even when it wasn’t really necessary, just to keep in practice. Is all change healthy? Probably not. But resisting change is somewhat like spitting into the wind. (And as an avid sailor I am well qualified to explain the unhappy results of doing that!) Getting unstuck on the way to your next success requires thinking about your career in new and different ways and that is what tonight’s editorial is all about – envisioning change in terms [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on October 14, 2012

Since we have so many new members AND since we have so many members who are apparently active again, I thought it might be a good idea if I wrote about our “qualified members only” approach to responding to job leads and why it works for you. First, let’s understand that posted jobs are only a small portion of the total job market. Most estimates place job leads from search firms and corporations at about 15%-20% of all jobs that are filled. The rest of the jobs are filled by networking. Given the state of the economy right now, my sense is that quite a few search firms have gone out of business. The ones who are still operating and [ Read more… ]

Handling customer objections

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2012

Anyone involved in personal selling will tell you that one of the more difficult tasks faced by any salesperson is handling customer objections. The easiest customer objections to handle are the ones the customer tells you about. Innocent sounding questions like “What colors does it come in?” can be answered by asking “What color would you like?” If the customer wants red and you don’t have it, you at least know the problem you are facing and can develop strategies to solve it. The worst customer objections to handle are the ones they don’t tell you about. You can see you aren’t making a sale, but you don’t know why. It is a big problem. Of course, the product we [ Read more… ]

What’s the big rush?

From our daily member newsletter on October 10, 2012

As I hope all of you know, I have a consulting practice called The Financial Executives Consulting Group, LLC. (As time permits, please visit our website: www.TheFECG.com to see what we do.) Doug Fine and Bruce Lynn are my two business partners. Both also devote significant amounts of their time on volunteer basis to help me run The FENG. Almost all of our assignments come from employed members of The FENG who, unlike much of the rest of the world, are more open to hiring individuals who are well experienced. (As you know, the rest of the world calls these same folks “over qualified.”) Our assignments normally run under Doug Fine’s name and always have a two day deadline. One [ Read more… ]

Creating an inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on October 9, 2012

It is a sad fact of life that no one ever has enough friends. Men in particular (and our membership is 90% men) seem to have a difficult time making friends. The whole “guy thing” sort of works against us, I suppose. Men are supposed to be strong and never need help from anyone. Remember when we didn’t ask for directions at the gas station, even when we were hopelessly lost? It’s a good thing most of us are technically competent and can work those wonderful GPS units. It is great not being dependent on other people, don’t you think? What I would like to suggest to all of you is that you set a numerical goal for yourself. See [ Read more… ]

What I did on my summer vacation

From our daily member newsletter on October 8, 2012

Remember back at the beginning of time when you would return to school in the fall and would have to write something about what you did all summer? Oh how I envied all those kids who did exciting things over the summer. We didn’t have a lot of money and my father was a plumbing contractor, so we really couldn’t go anywhere during the summer. My father worked 7 days a week and I worked with him 6 days a week. Summer was a time to make money. (And, it was up hill BOTH ways to school. Not only that, but the snow was always 6 feet deep!) Although I suppose I could have written about the work I did [ Read more… ]

That was so 15 minutes ago

From our daily member newsletter on October 7, 2012

It is at all times important to remember that Americans live in the present and the future. If you want to sound like an old person all you have to do is spout phrases like “I remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon.” Or, “I remember when we did spreadsheets with pencils and calculators.” To be honest, no one cares. While it may be amusing to discuss with other old folks like yours truly, you have to be mindful of the fact that talking about the past isn’t going to get you anywhere with the younger generation, some of whom just might be the kinds of people you want to work for. Living in the present and thinking about [ Read more… ]

Working your contacts

From our daily member newsletter on October 4, 2012

I would be the first one to agree that finding ways to keep in touch with your business contacts during a job search is more art than science. That said the old saw “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. At the end of my two year job search which began in 1991, I had about 1,400 index cards with the names of those I had contacted for one reason or another. I also had these names in a database of some kind as I recall, but nothing as sophisticated as is possible today with contact software like Act!. The reason I had all of those names on index cards was so I could carry them with me. (Hard [ Read more… ]

Paint me a pretty picture

From our daily member newsletter on October 3, 2012

Personally, I am not a big fan of art museums. Sure, there are particular “objects of art” that I find to be of interest, but I guess I find the walking around part a little tiring. For amusement during these art museum tours I try to overhear what the tour guides are saying. The at length descriptions of what was in the artist’s mind never fail to bring a smile to my face. I often wonder how they know. Is it possible the artist was thinking one thing, but told his supporters something else? Is it possible that he wasn’t thinking anything at all, but just started painting and worked backwards into his logic once it was done? I know [ Read more… ]

Your many product benefits

From our daily member newsletter on October 2, 2012

One of the biggest problems you face as a senior financial executive is that you have too many product benefits. In a very real sense, you are too good to be true. For those of you who have been hearing you are “over qualified,” let me suggest to you that you are. After over 20 years of work experience, how could you not be over qualified in some sense? That said, being “over qualified” is a good thing. You just have to learn how to sell it. Let me first deal with the words “over qualified” and explain why they are used. The purpose of using these words after an interview, whether by phone or in person, is to create [ Read more… ]

That feeling of incompetence

From our daily member newsletter on October 1, 2012

Have you ever felt you didn’t know anything about computers? I do all the time, and I have been using them since my first Apple IIe. Still, there is just so much to know and so much to learn. And, the rules keep changing. Things that work on one computer don’t work on my next one. (Why Microsoft does this I don’t know, but I wish they would call me and clear their “improvements.”) Anyway, the process of job search is really what I wanted to talk about tonight. Much like that new computer you got, the process itself often times seems like it has a mind of its own. And, it probably does. The truth is that NO ONE [ Read more… ]

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