EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

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 world. You may not know this, but most men, especially older men, tend not to have a lot of friends. The pressures of earning a living and their natural tendency to “be a man,” and to go it alone, prevent men from acquiring and nurturing lasting friendships.

Add to this the nature of financial people. We are admittedly not the most gregarious of folks.

Into this challenging environment we are thrust as unwilling participants to go forth and network our way to another job. And, truth be told, there is no more effective approach. Our ability to compete when responding to job boards or to search firms has far less impact than networking at its best.

If you understand networking as the building of personal relationships for the rest of your life, you will begin to understand better what we are trying to do with this modest enterprise we alternately call The FENG or a circle of friends.

Each day you have the opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to others. Some of those you speak with and exchange emails with, will need more from you than you will receive in return, but that is the nature of how long lasting friendships are created.

A long time ago my station car died. I had another car on order, but it wasn’t due in for several weeks. A new friend of mine had just gotten delivery of a new car and had not sold his station car. Upon hearing of my “requirements” he called and made the kind offer of his old car. I couldn’t believe it. The loan of a car was a pretty big “favor” and I was reluctant to accept. I was scheduled to see him at a community event that night and he brought the keys with him. The car was still at his house, but it was a gesture of friendship. How could I say no?

Gestures large and small are what the building of friendships requires. Sponsoring a new member may seem at the time like a small thing, that is, until a new member experiences all that The FENG is all about. Then, the enormity of the gesture is hard to believe.

What I hope others will learn if they haven’t already is that this process of extending the hand of friendship or requesting the hand of friendship from others changes you. Perhaps it is even possible that it will somehow make you a better person.

The point is to let it happen. Helping others through their job search can appear to take time away from your own search. But, the truth is that done properly, you are building toward a good personal future and not to achieve some evil plan.

Your primary goal is, of course, to be once again “between searches.” Your secondary goal is to get there with as many new friends as possible. And your third goal is to continue to keep in touch with those new friends as you move down the road of life.

What I have gotten out of my involvement in The FENG is the great personal wealth of many new friends. I wish the same for each of you.

Regards, Matt

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