EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

America is a great place, isn’t it? Everything is always someone else’s fault. I guess this is why Americans are so quick to sue. After all, we can’t take the blame for that which has happened to us. There were significant mitigating factors. Primarily due to, partially offset by. I’m sure you are familiar with the approach.

All right, perhaps I shouldn’t have made those disparaging remarks about the way the boss dressed and how he always came in late, but I only mentioned it to most of his staff. And, I was only kidding.

Actually, I am only kidding here. But, I thought I would make the point that it is human nature to come up with some explanation as to why we left our last job or why we are thinking of leaving our current job.

Key to success in responding to this kind of a question is not to do any “blame shifting.”

I was speaking to one of our members the other day and his tale of job hunting success highlighted this issue, so, I asked him to “write it up,” which he did.

Dear Matt,

It’s important to always take the high road in your interactions with others. I was recently in an interview. The questions were unusually tough. Then came what may have been a bombshell! The CEO said, “It says on your application that you left one of your jobs to pursue a better
opportunity, but when I talked to your reference there, he said there was some tension between you and your last boss . . . tell me about that?”

What had my reference said? I thought we had a good relationship!? Was I wrong? Did this reference bag me? Oh @#$%!

All things that went through my mind . . . but one has only seconds to think . . . don’t panic . . . think . . . a pause is never as long as you think . . . be positive.

I admitted there was some tension there. We had differing professional views on how to run the organization that he had founded. We discussed these issues openly, but in the end we were having difficulty reaching an agreement. So, when a better opportunity came along, I pursued it!

The CEO looked at me and asked, “Were you aware they fired your former boss shortly after you left?” Yes, I replied, I was aware of that fact. He paused and then said, “How gracious of you not to bring that up!”

I talked to my reference later that day . . . he had been positive about me and negative about my former boss! The CEO interviewing me managed to read between the lines and test me to see what I would say about someone with whom I had a rough relationship.

I got the job and believe it may have been in some part due to my handling of this situation.

It would have been easy (and fun) to trash the old boss (we’ve all been there) . . . but that’s something best done with a close friend in private!

In a public situation . . . always take the high road!

Anonymous FENG Member

The lesson here is that we have all met folks that Will Rodgers never met. (He’s the guy who said “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I guess Will didn’t get out much.) But the truth is that you never come out looking like a winner discussing it with those who haven’t met them.

Sing along with me: “I’ll take the high road and let him take the low road, and I’ll get to job land before him.” (I may sound a little off key, but hey, I’m a financial guy, not a vocalist.)

Regards, Matt

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