EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

There is no greater truth about our profession than the one about our having transferrable skills.

Like lawyers and marketing folks, us financial types come to the world with talents that can be applied in a variety of situations. (Sort of sounds like the introduction to Superman, doesn’t it?) Generally we believe this hook line and sinker. The problem is getting the rest of the world to suspend their disbelief and listen.

That said, if we have built a career that spans decades rather than years or months, there are things we know that are rather specialized. And, if we want to find a job that we will enjoy (that old quality of life issue again), it will tend to be somehow related to things we have learned and in which we have some high level of expertise. If you are engaged in some arena in which you have expertise, you are also most likely to be offered the highest compensation level that you can achieve.

Not unlike recessions past, (Did I say recession?) not only have whole industries reduced the numbers of financial officers they need, but certain very specific areas of expertise have also reduced their staffing levels.

Ferreting out where to go next can be challenging. And, listening to your own voice (there you go talking to yourself again) won’t get you where you need to be.

No one ever said you have to limit yourself to what you used to do in terms of industry or area of specialization, but I always suggest that you START your conversation about what you want to do for the rest of your life with others who are just like you. If I may quote our esteemed Dallas Chapter Co-Chair, Bob Walker, make an effort to “find your mirror.”

Only someone who has been through the same wars you have been through can possess enough knowledge about what you did every day to draw the analogies essential to coming up with alternative plans. Of course, it doesn’t end there. This is only a place to BEGIN.

If two heads are better than one, 3 must be 50% better. And, who knows what a dozen very focused individuals of the caliber of members of The FENG could do if they put their heads together. Some members of any gathering of this nature have been “at it” longer and may already have identified some approach that they feel might work. They might even be willing to share this knowledge with a few close friends like you if you provide the donuts and coffee (or sodas and cookies if the meeting is in the afternoon). Heck, they might even BRING the food offerings if you ask politely. (WOW, an opportunity to show how smart I am! Hard to pass that one up.)

Solutions exist for EVERY problem. I wish I had all the answers, but even though I have been doing this for a long time, I still have more questions than answers about what works and what doesn’t work. Besides, answers that work will tend to be very personal and specifically targeted to you and your background.

If you put a meeting of this nature together, at worst you may only be able to regain your enthusiasm for the process. But, that alone could make the time involved in putting together a brainstorming session worthwhile. And I’m not even talking about the possibility of making a few new friends (for the rest of your life). It really is amazing what a few cups of coffee and donuts can do to you. (Or, for you.)

Hint: the place to look for folks to gather together for your team is either the membership directory of The FENG (using our Member Directory Search feature), or a “Member in Need of Assistance” posting in the newsletter. (If I may appeal to your “inner accountant,” searches using our Member Directory Search feature are free. Run as many as you like. We only want to help you find a new job.)

Regards, Matt

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