EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The sploosh syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on February 28, 2018

Life onboard a boat, whether sail or power, is in many respects different than life on dry land. I was watching Ax Men on the History Channel a few years ago and the crew dropped a bolt on the ground from one of their pieces of equipment for which they didn’t have a replacement. Despite the “needle in the haystack” nature of this problem, they actually found it in the pile of logs and dirt. Not so out on the water. When something goes “over the side,” it makes a brief sploosh sound and then it is GONE. I suppose if it were large enough and expensive enough you could call a diver, but that is generally not the nature [ Read more… ]

Explaining the magic

From our daily member newsletter on February 27, 2018

One of the great challenges we face as financial folks is explaining to non-financial types what we do for a living. And, some of us financial types do things that are so esoteric that we need to work hard to even explain what we do to fellow financial types. At one time, I was Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency. To be quite honest, the accounting aspects of the job were not all that difficult. For example, we had no international operations and we were initially privately held. That said, what WAS difficult was getting all of those individuals with egos as big as all outdoors to work together to make a profit and preventing them from “burning the [ Read more… ]

Keeping busy and productive

From our daily member newsletter on February 26, 2018

One of our members wrote me a while back and asked me about how to keep a proper attitude when your job search stretches into what seems like an eternity. The reason he addressed this question to me is that he noted that I have mentioned on several occasions that beginning in March of 1991 I was unemployed for almost 2 years. (It was only 1 year and 9 months, but who’s counting?) This is not an easy question to answer from many perspectives. Time has dimmed my memory to a certain extent. (And, not only about my job search. Those senior moments happen more frequently lately, but I digress.) When I left my job in 1991 as Chief Financial [ Read more… ]

The challenge of redefining yourself

From our daily member newsletter on February 25, 2018

I have had several at length conversations with members from financial services organizations over the years. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, I have no experience working at a bank, insurance company, capital markets firm, or asset management organization. As a result, I have been somewhat hard pressed to help in the challenge of creating an appropriate focus for their job search activities. The best thing that can happen to anyone looking for a job is to find an identical job with another firm. As in my case, if you were Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency, become a Chief Financial Officer at another Advertising Agency. That is clearly your highest and best value added. The business is identical and [ Read more… ]

Asking for the world’s smallest favor

From our daily member newsletter on February 22, 2018

Although most of us have acquired enough manners over the course of our lives that we know enough not to ask a stranger to give us his/her seat on a bus or train, when it comes to networking, I find that many folks don’t know when they have overstepped their bounds. The approach I would suggest to you is what I call “asking for the world’s smallest favor.” The silence is palpable when you are face to face with a networking contact and you ask for something you shouldn’t. It is much harder to see this same “stormy silence” through email when often times it is a non-response. The first “smell test” on a favor you are about to ask [ Read more… ]

Listening & throwing up

From our daily member newsletter on February 21, 2018

One of the many skills we always need to be polishing as financial professionals is our listening skills. The problem begins with the fact that as financial professionals we are more comfortable receiving our information in written form. Put us in a “selling” situation, especially over the telephone, and our listening skills may not be serving us very well. As we all get into personal selling, and that is what networking is all about, we fall into a syndrome called “throwing up on the customer.” Briefly what happens is that we are so into our sales pitch about ourselves that we forget to listen. An additional element to be considered is the normal human reluctance to “do business” with strangers. [ Read more… ]

What have you accomplished?

From our daily member newsletter on February 20, 2018

I hope that over the past few days everyone has gotten a few ideas for the framework of their resume. In order to “get into the game,” you need to have a clean looking resume with the major points discussed in the past few days “looking good.” Now that your resume has been selected for further examination, what you write in your accomplishments or bullet points can make the difference between your being picked or discarded in this final round. The issues you develop for this section can take a lot of forms, and I don’t have a strong preference. All I can say for sure is that they all need to be well written with no typographical errors. While [ Read more… ]

The 80/20 rule

From our daily member newsletter on February 19, 2018

I have always been a keen observer of managers. One of my favorites was a gentleman who worked at the Thomson Corporation in a senior financial role. He was one of those tall wiry types who always seemed to be in motion even when he was standing still. Sort of like your favorite basketball coach. (He also talked loud most of the time like he was trying to be heard over a crowd. But, I digress.) Anyway, one of my favorite discussions he held was at a meeting shortly after I met him when he discoursed at length on the good old 80/20 rule. (He also talked about giving him a 20,000 foot review of your areas of responsibility, but [ Read more… ]

The tried and true

From our daily member newsletter on February 18, 2018

You would think that with all the books and materials written about how to write a resume, that each and every one that came across my desk would be close to perfect. Well, you would be wrong if you thought so. Under the heading of “explaining the meaning and purpose of life,” I thought I would write about the how’s and why’s of resume writing to perhaps explain the unexplainable to those who have, through no fault of their own, “strayed from the path.” Let me start with a few simple ideas. Although a resume appears to be a reverse chronological recital of your work history, it is actually a selling document. One point of particular importance is that it [ Read more… ]

Maintaining your self-esteem

From our daily member newsletter on February 15, 2018

Maintaining your self-esteem during a job search can be difficult at times, especially if your search has been going on for any length of time. So much of who we perceive ourselves to be comes from the reflection of our personalities upon those with whom we are engaged on a daily basis. Cut off from an office environment where folks were bringing us checks to sign, we tend to lose sight of the fact that we haven’t changed. All that has changed is that we don’t see as many folks every day to give us that kind of reinforcement. There is a great importance to visualizing success. In brief, it takes just as much energy to think negatively as it [ Read more… ]

Call me Mr. Know-it-all

From our daily member newsletter on February 14, 2018

One of the most endearing qualities of us financial folks is that we almost always have a firm opinion about everything. And, if we don’t have an opinion about something, we figure we can reason one out. (Hey, just take the facts and multiply by two!) It is sort of part and parcel of who we are. Nothing wrong with it, per se, but it does get in the way of getting advice from others, which is an essential part of the networking process. Believe it or not, APPEARING to be open to new ideas is a lot harder than it sounds. (Or, I’m not as stupid as I look.) For example, members will often announce at meetings that they [ Read more… ]

Life changing events

From our daily member newsletter on February 13, 2018

There are many things that can happen to you in your life that change your perspective. Losing your job and/or having to find another one, easily falls into this category. As you all know, The FENG is a networking group, it is not a job listing service. Sure, we publish lots and lots of job leads, but that is more than a little misleading with regard to our real purpose. Perhaps at this point in the state of the world, even the word networking has become a little shop worn. Still, absent a better word, we will have to live with it. About 90% of our members are men. And, men have their own peculiarities about how they see the [ Read more… ]

Sharing job leads

From our daily member newsletter on February 12, 2018

The sharing of job leads has been an integral part of The FENG for so long that I have come to believe that everyone in the entire world understands the reasons why we do it. Alas, it isn’t true. A few years ago, I had an exchange with a member of the search community who was upset that one of our members had posted a job lead sent to him in our newsletter, apparently without permission. Putting this part of the problem aside for the moment, the recruiter’s additional comment was: I have NEVER in my life understood why someone looking for a job, or someone outplaced would share a job specification with one million possible competitors for the job???!!!! [ Read more… ]

Is it business or personal?

From our daily member newsletter on February 11, 2018

In the closing scene of the first Godfather movie the individual who betrayed Don Corleone is being led away. Just before he gets into the car to his certain death, he turns to consigliere Tom Hagan and says that he hopes he understands that it was all about business and that it was nothing personal. Well, it didn’t change things for him. His fate was unchanged. Too many things in this world are strictly about business. I’m glad that The FENG isn’t one of them. Everything about our circle of friends is INTENDED to be personal. I hope you have noticed that I sign the newsletter “Regards, Matt” and that all of our job leads are “From” someone. The tone [ Read more… ]

Helping out the competition

From our daily member newsletter on February 8, 2018

Over the years that I have been writing editorials, I have devoted a lot of time to discussing the basics of job search. Why? Because I often can’t believe what folks send us for assignments being handled by The FECG. In a world of more candidates than there are jobs, people who screen resumes often develop arbitrary rules to eliminate candidates. By arbitrary, I mean to imply that they often don’t take the time to look beyond embarrassing errors in spelling, grammar and resume formats or fonts that make your opus hard to read to seek out your “true value.” As I have said many times, the burden of communication is on you. Let me be clear. Your sloppiness or [ Read more… ]

A few observations

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2018

I hope you all don’t mind, but I am going to ramble a bit tonight about some very important job search issues. The most important issue I am going to cover is outgoing signatures. If you don’t know what one is, you are already in a lot of trouble. I am considering hitting the delete key on any message I receive from a member of The FENG that doesn’t have an outgoing signature. It would cut my required correspondence to 20%. Yes, about 80% of the messages I get don’t have one. If you do have an outgoing signature, let me make the point that one should appear even on replies. I realize that Microsoft in their wisdom believes this [ Read more… ]

Homogeneous groups and pitfalls

From our daily member newsletter on February 6, 2018

Is there a possible pitfall in sticking with a homogeneous group of unemployed people? First of all, I would never suggest to anyone that they should solely and exclusively network within The FENG. What I have suggested and do strongly suggest is that you START with our networking group and use it to springboard your way to presidents and general managers who might need a “been there, done that” senior financial officer. Just as every great journey starts with a single step, so too does success at networking start with a few successes. Us shy financial types need to experience a positive result to keep on coming back for the inevitable beatings that will come our way as we network [ Read more… ]

I never met a job I didn’t like

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2018

Will Rogers is remembered as saying: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I only wish everyone reviewing job possibilities would keep in mind the job search equivalent as stated above. Most jobs, upon initial examination, are bound to have more than a few flaws. Let’s face it, if it was an easy job, they wouldn’t need a well experienced financial officer like you to solve the huge mess they have gotten themselves into. Let me point out that it is the height of stupidity to say “no” to a job that hasn’t even been offered to you. Perhaps the commute is too far, or the money is too low or the job responsibilities aren’t broad enough. However, it [ Read more… ]

Dropping in a little artillery

From our daily member newsletter on February 4, 2018

The truth is that even friends sometimes don’t get back to you when you call. Ever wonder why? So, if friends have trouble returning calls, is it possible that strangers might be even more reluctant to return phone calls? I guess the real question is not why folks don’t return phone calls, but what steps can we take as master networkers to improve our results? What factors do you suspect are at work? Let’s be generous and accept the fact that the world of work is a busy place and the individuals we are trying to reach are those folks who control what I like to call work opportunities. Let us also accept the fact that speech is the slowest [ Read more… ]

Interrogate or dummy up?

From our daily member newsletter on February 1, 2018

Speaking with strangers is never fun. And, if these strangers are deciding whether or not to hire you, it can be a little stressful, especially if you want the job. There are so many ways to offend and so few ways to ingratiate yourself without appearing overly solicitous. In the classic “damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” the asking of questions during an interview can be very tricky indeed. For those of you who watch a lot of lawyer shows, I hope you know the lawyers’ rule: Never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer. It is a good rule and one that is applicable here. Questions during an interview need to be [ Read more… ]