EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

When I was in my mid-30’s, I had the great honor of being treasurer of my congregation, a job I held for 4 full years.

It is probably true that I lean towards all consuming jobs. Or, perhaps I just try to do a good job even when I am not getting paid. Nonetheless, I discovered a lot about human nature performing this often times thankless task.

The congregation had a very long list of “members” who were behind in their payments. So, I set about to call all of them. Sure, I tried writing to them, but I found that the only way I got any kind of response was by picking up the phone.

Most folks were very nice. If they had a story to tell, they shared it with me willingly and I was able to make appropriate adjustments in their obligations. Sometimes I wrote them off completely. Hey, it was a religious organization, and I was not of a mind to be “hard nosed” about the whole thing. What was important for me to find out was whether or not they were going to be able to meet their financial commitment, not to force them to do it.

Over the 4 years there were several folks who would never call me back. Please understand that I use the “glass bell” technique, not the hammer and anvil. All of my messages were polite to a fault. None of them were ever threatening in any way shape or form. (I kind of like that “any way shape or form” phrase. Don’t you?)

Anyway, the lesson I learned was that you can never allow yourself the luxury of ASSUMING why someone isn’t calling you back. It is a great lesson, and one totally applicable to job search.

NEVER start making up reasons in your own mind why someone isn’t calling you back. The reason I say this is that often times you are wrong and the “made up” reason, totally without factual basis, will tend to stick in your mind and cloud your judgment and your response should your ever reach the miscreant who has been so impolite as to not get back to you. (Oops, I fell into the trap I told you to avoid! I guess it is easy to say, harder to implement than I thought.)

The story goes that early in the history of The FECG (my consulting practice), I had a friend out on assignment with a very special friend of long standing. It was only a short assignment and I was “hot to trot” to get it billed.

I called the consultant and didn’t get a call back. I called again and left another message. I called again and left another message. (Each one was a little more strident, fully violating “Matt’s law,” even though I was aware of “Matt’s law” at that time.)

Well, talk about feeling like a first class dope. When I finally got a call back from the consultant it turns out that his son had been in the hospital all week and he and his wife had only left his side to go home and change clothes. (I guess I wasn’t very high on his priority list! What was he thinking?)

While I would be the first to admit that most of those who don’t get back to you may in fact be rude or uncaring individuals, you need to give them the benefit of the doubt AT ALL TIMES.

Their priorities and the way they are dealing with them with regard to you and YOUR needs must make sense to them. Although I do know some individuals who are consistently guilty of inconsistent thinking, for the majority of humanity, this is not so.

Getting yourself all worked up over a presumed slight will not benefit you in any way shape or form. (Notice how I squeezed that phrase in twice tonight!) So, why do it?

Besides, getting aggravated will only diminish whatever energy you have for that most important task of finding another job.

Regards, Matt

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