EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I’ll call him back

From our daily member newsletter on October 29, 2017

Just to prove to you how old I am, there used to be a show on TV called “The Millionaire.” (The show was in black and white. Need I say more?) It seems there was this wealthy man who wanted to give away some of his money and each week he would send this poor sap out into the world to hand someone a check for, you guessed it, a million dollars. Hard to believe the difficulties he ran into just trying to get folks to believe that there wasn’t a catch. I think about that show every time I get a phone call or email. What if the sinister purpose of the message I have just received is actually [ Read more… ]

The art of being sensitive

From our daily member newsletter on October 18, 2017

I’m sure there are those of you out there who remember a positively awful movie starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts called The Mexican. Some of you may have seen it and have been trying desperately to forget it. I don’t blame you. Anyway, there was this one scene in the movie where Julia is standing on the balcony of a cheap motel throwing Brad’s clothes down on him and screaming at him: “It’s always about you.” If this isn’t something that speaks to our world, I don’t know what does. I know you will all be shocked to discover that the world doesn’t actually revolve around you and your problems, considerable as they may be at any given moment. [ Read more… ]

The importance of alumni involvement

From our daily member newsletter on October 12, 2017

There is no topic that comes up more frequently than how can we keep our alumni members deeply involved in the goings on of our organization. Among a small number of our members there is a desire to put their whole ugly job search thing behind them and move on with their lives. In some cases they even ask that the delivery of our evening newsletter cease. (I know we put out a lot of email, but there is always the delete key if you don’t have time to read it.) My guess is that these individuals have not quite absorbed our now well accepted mantra of “all jobs are temporary,” quickly followed by “you are never employed, you are [ Read more… ]

Great expectations

From our daily member newsletter on October 1, 2017

For those of you who are familiar with Kermit the Frog, you know it isn’t easy being green. In much the same way, individuals who know about our little society called The FENG have come to expect great things from us. If I start from the outside and work my way in, members of the search community have a perception, not all wrong, that members of The FENG are all very qualified individuals. I have either been able to fool all of the people all of the time, or else those of you who are dedicated members of our august body have been living by our “qualified members only” standard and passing by jobs that aren’t a fit. God bless [ Read more… ]

It’s always about people

From our daily member newsletter on September 19, 2017

One of the most vexing problems potentially facing those who are active in their search is the decision to accept a job offer you don’t really think is right for you. The agonizing issue of turning down a job offer is only matched by the difficulty of getting one in the first place. Those who have senior level work experience don’t usually get a lot of job offers, and needing the money, they are hard to turn down. Let me start with the idea that if you have 20 years or more of work experience you should have a very good sense of who you are willing to work for in the years to come. By this, I am not [ Read more… ]

Working the room

From our daily member newsletter on September 14, 2017

Bashfulness has never been my strong suit. Nevertheless, when confronted with a room of strangers, it is never easy to figure out a logical way of connecting with appropriate folks. However, having the courage to do so is actually easier. Let’s start with preparation. You need to have business cards. The truth is that they don’t have to be all that fancy, just your name, rank and serial number is sufficient, but you do have to have them. One of the grand gestures of business life is handing someone your business card and asking them for one of theirs. It is hard to come up with a good excuse not to hand you back a business card when you have [ Read more… ]

Doing the “friend thing”

From our daily member newsletter on September 5, 2017

Over the past few months I have gotten several notes from members commenting on how they responded to a posting in our newsletter even though they hadn’t seen it. How did this miracle occur you might ask? One of their fellow members took the time to send it to them to ensure that they saw it. They didn’t think to themselves “Oh, he/she probably saw it.” They took a chance about being dismissed out of hand and MADE SURE that their friend had the chance to say aye or nay. That’s what doing the “friend thing” is all about. It is all very easy to sit around waiting for someone to call you so you can do them a favor. [ Read more… ]

Bestowing the gift of friendship

From our daily member newsletter on August 24, 2017

As all of you are out and about networking, I hope you are aware that one of your most important member responsibilities is to invite your new and old friends who are Senior Financial Officers to join The FENG. While it is certainly true that The FENG dominates our space. And, it may even be true that just about everyone who is a Senior Financial Officer and has a pulse is already a member. (I know it’s hard to tell sometimes since us financial folks are so low key.) That said, I hope there are some “unturned rocks” or “low hanging fruit” out there where you can find appropriate candidates to recommend. If networking is the gift that keeps on [ Read more… ]

Life is a journey

From our daily member newsletter on August 16, 2017

I have often noted to my friends who aren’t into boating that the difference between a power boater and a sail boater is that power boaters usually use their boats to go somewhere, whereas sail boaters are already there once they step onto their boat. In our goal driven, management by objectives, over achiever world, the difference in philosophy between someone who has an obsessive desire to reach a goal versus someone who lives for the journey is considerable. The truth is, of course, one can do both as long as you think about both. To me the purpose of sailing is to enjoy good times and adventures with my spouse, members of our family and our many friends. Whether [ Read more… ]

Meeting the RIGHT folks

From our daily member newsletter on August 8, 2017

Being successful at getting meetings with potential decision makers who don’t have a job right now, but who might make one for you after they meet you, is why networking is the most successful approach to finding a job. Frankly, this is how most business is really done at our level. If you have only gotten interviews through ads or recruiters you are probably wondering how do those lucky dudes do it? How do they manage to get in front of the right people and sweet talk them into offering them a job? Keep in mind that you are not a pea in a pod. You are a unique accumulation of talents acquired over a number of years. If you [ Read more… ]

Members in need of assistance

From our daily member newsletter on August 3, 2017

I am sure I don’t need to tell all of you that The FENG is a remarkable organization. It is also unusual in its tone. If I had to come up with two reasons why things are different in The FENG than in the rest of the world, I would start with the fact that EVERYONE in The FENG was sponsored for membership. Because we are a circle of friends and not a fee for service, many of the things that we do for each other have no price associated with them. After all, what price could one place on friendship or acts of friendship, and how would someone go about coming up with a price structure. (Such are the [ Read more… ]

Human interaction

From our daily member newsletter on July 12, 2017

Sailors are a naturally friendly lot. (Yes, another sailing analogy!) As one of the other couples my wife and I met at a marina pointed out, it would be considered more than a little strange to go to a motel or hotel and start introducing yourself to other people and ask them if they wanted to join you and your wife for dinner at some restaurant. Yet, sailors do it all the time. When you “blow in” from another harbor you have so many stories to tell and they are harder to share with those who haven’t been through what you have just been through. If it was windy and both of you were hanging on for dear life, you [ Read more… ]

Your hidden assets

From our daily member newsletter on July 9, 2017

Almost all of the resumes I see are from members or new member applicants. In any given week, I go through a batch of 60-80 applicants. What is surprising is how much trouble some folks go to disguising their seniority and great skills. It is my belief and I hope to make it yours as well, that the most important thing you have to sell is your wealth of experience. There are so many things in this world that only happen once or twice a year, and most of our members have seen them anywhere from 20-40 times. Like a song you keep hearing on the radio, even if you don’t sing well, you are bound to know the words [ Read more… ]

A little breathing room

From our daily member newsletter on July 5, 2017

I have often been heard to say, “Cash is a four letter word.” It is for this reason that taking a sound approach to your job search REQUIRES that you have your financial house in order. There is nothing that is more distracting than to be concerned about your finances during a search. With any luck, you have hopefully been fortunate to save a little money, and/or have equity in your home. However, regardless of where you have assets you can tap, it is sage advice to get yourself as liquid as possible. If you have equity in the house and your significant other is working, it is usually possible to refinance or get a second mortgage on their income [ Read more… ]

Don’t forget your business cards

From our daily member newsletter on June 29, 2017

I assume that most folks will not be working a full day in the office tomorrow. I know I won’t be. I just thought I would remind everyone that holiday time is networking time. Those family and friend get-togethers this time of year are great networking events. While it would probably be bad form to bring copies of your resume, there is nothing to stop you from bringing business cards and from chatting about your career with those you meet. While the family may know how to reach you, their many friends who might be attending won’t. Business cards are in some respects a gift. When you hand someone your business card, they are sort of obligated to give you [ Read more… ]

The golden rule – revisited

From our daily member newsletter on June 28, 2017

As you all know, I get a lot of email. Most of it is actually pretty routine. There are the inevitable members asking for the user name and password for our website or to have their email address changed. Each week I also get a few good news announcements. (I always enjoy being the first to know. Okay, you can call your significant other first.) It is rare that I get a note indicating that members are being unresponsive to one another. Yes, I am sure it happens a lot. And, sure, you can write it off to the fact that we have gotten to be a large organization, but frankly, I cannot and will not ever accept that as [ Read more… ]

Birds of a feather

From our daily member newsletter on June 27, 2017

We are fortunate in the financial professions to be blessed with a very high degree of transferable skills. Still, the next job for most of us isn’t going to be all that much different from our last one. While it is certainly possible that we will change industries, it is less likely that we will change the skill sets needed in our day to day work. What typically happens in any recession is that certain industries take a downward turn and many of the folks in those industries lose their jobs. It used to be that this was limited to old line industries, but as we have seen in recent years, it can even affect the stars of just last [ Read more… ]

Unsolicited advice

From our daily member newsletter on June 25, 2017

There was a cartoon I saw many years ago. The picture was of a man playing a piano in what was obviously western saloon. The sign above the piano read: “Don’t shoot the piano player. He’s doing the best he can.” I have often lamented that the most difficult task I face each day is getting our members to seek out the advice and counsel of other members in the process we call networking. I don’t know exactly why it is, but for some genetic reason, men don’t like unsolicited advice. And, for those of us who like to give out a lot of advice, it can be a difficult task to make a suggestion and have it actually received [ Read more… ]

Practice makes perfect

From our daily member newsletter on June 20, 2017

Although we are all familiar with the above expression, I am not sure if everyone understands the importance of this idea to his or her search and how to get to where you need to be. The “big show” is of course an interview. When you finally get yourself in front of a hiring manager all aspects of your performance need to be polished. This is not the time to be “practicing” your elevator speech when he/she says “So, tell me about yourself.” We are fortunate within The FENG to have lots of opportunities to practice our pitch. Let’s start with our many chapter meetings. What better place is there to work on that 90-second announcement? You have a friendly [ Read more… ]

Can you hear me now?

From our daily member newsletter on June 20, 2017

I still remember with fondness the cell phone commercial where the technician is in the middle of a swamp somewhere and he is testing his cell coverage. I don’t know where he might be, but he isn’t here in Weston, Connecticut where we have limited cell coverage. (Thank goodness, Sprint, in their wisdom, has provided me with a repeater.) Despite the convenience of being able to make and receive calls anywhere (including when I am crossing Long Island Sound in my sailboat), the use of cell phones is to be approached with a great deal of caution. The fact that it really isn’t your fault that you can’t be heard will be long forgotten. All that will be remembered is [ Read more… ]

Catching a tiger by the tail

From our daily member newsletter on June 11, 2017

I hope we all spend a lot of time networking. (To paraphrase René Descartes, the famous French philosopher: I network, therefore I am.) So you have been hard at it. The FENG Member Directory Search feature is causing smoke to rise from your computer from over use, but incredible as it may seem, you have gotten an appointment with someone on your “A” list for an in person networking meeting. Now is not the time to slack off. All of the hard work you have put into getting this appointment will be as ashes in your mouth if you don’t prepare properly. Let’s assume you don’t know everything there is to know about this valuable individual. What should you do? [ Read more… ]

Phones don’t bite

From our daily member newsletter on June 7, 2017

One of our chapter chairs called me recently, and as usual when he calls, we had a wide ranging conversation about members of The FENG, friends (sometimes these two overlap), and family matters. There generally aren’t many moments of silence since we always have so much to talk about. Since we are both networking maniacs, it is sometimes hard for us to understand why folks find it so difficult to network. Surely picking up the phone and at least calling other members of The FENG can’t be difficult. (This was the topic that we discussed at length.) Then it hit me! Some of our members must think that phones have teeth. What else could it be? Surely everyone in The [ Read more… ]

Job leads versus the job market

From our daily member newsletter on June 4, 2017

It is a true fact (as opposed to a false fact) that most people over value job leads. Perhaps I have said this before, but the real deal is networking, networking and more networking. That said I thought it might be of interest to all of you for me to share my own personal theories as to why published job leads all seem to be out of town and/or require unusual skills. Back in the bad old days before the Internet, job seekers here in the Northeast had the Sunday New York Times and the Tuesday Wall Street Journal to drool over. The Sunday New York Times had a lot of 2 line ads, which now based on the wisdom [ Read more… ]

Your inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on May 31, 2017

The FENG is a circle of friends, not a job listing service. The question I would have for each of you is, have you recently worked to expand your inner circle of friends within The FENG? Regardless of when you joined our august body, and even if you went through our membership directory at that time, an incredible number of new potential friends have joined since that time. Access to our full membership directory is out there on our website for your information and use. I am often asked why the membership directories you can generate using our Member Directory Search feature are only available as Word files and not Excel files or in database form. The answer is simple. [ Read more… ]

Man is a political animal

From our daily member newsletter on May 30, 2017

One of the common complaints I hear from people about their current or prior jobs is how political the situation is or was. To me, this is like complaining about the weather. There is always going to be weather. It is my belief that you can’t really appreciate a sunny day unless you have experienced a rainy one. And so it is with politics. Some of it can get pretty unpleasant, but by and large if you engage the broader implications of it all, you can learn to enjoy it. And, I am not talking learning how to play people off against one another. What I am suggesting is that you can learn to understand the process and the good, [ Read more… ]

Take some time off

From our daily member newsletter on May 25, 2017

For those who are active in their job searches, taking time off can be very difficult. Well, this weekend you really have no choice. No one will likely be around in the afternoon tomorrow and they certainly won’t be around on Monday since it is a holiday. That said holiday weekends are great times for networking with family and friends. Ah, Memorial Day, that great kick off to summer. The key to a successful weekend, other than stocking up on food and beverages of your choosing, is to paint a smile on your face and have a good story to tell. Those who know and care about you are sensitive to your feelings and will likely observe a “don’t ask” [ Read more… ]

Say what?

From our daily member newsletter on May 16, 2017

I used to be very good at multi-tasking. Now that I have gotten older, I am not as good at it. I have a lot to do every day, so when someone writes or calls I find it very helpful if they take a moment at the beginning of their communication to give me some hint how I might be most helpful to them. If I have some sense of where we are going, I am more likely to know what to listen for. I suppose it is a simple communication strategy, but it is one that is often forgotten in the normal course of human events. You see it all around you. Take resumes for example. In a normal [ Read more… ]

Asking for and accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on May 15, 2017

In our male dominated society called The FENG, one of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is getting members to ask for and accept help. I am sure we all know that traditionally guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station. It is much better to drive around and around totally lost. (Thank goodness for GPS, we don’t have that issue to face anymore. Although, since most GPS units have a female voice, we seem to be more comfortable taking directions from women these days, but I digress.) We have a lot of very fine traditions in The FENG. While all of us would prefer to be on the giving end of favors (kind of a [ Read more… ]

No one is out of work forever

From our daily member newsletter on May 14, 2017

One of the pearls of wisdom I heard from a friend of mine in 1991 was that no one is out of work forever, it just seems that way. When you are employed in a W-2 job, weekends and evenings are hopefully your time to relax. Snow days, holidays are also to be anticipated and enjoyed. After all, the money is still coming in whether you are at the office or not. The worst case scenario is that your work is piling up. Once you are out of work, your whole perspective changes. The early morning hours when you are awake and can’t make any phone calls, and the evenings when you would like to catch up with someone are [ Read more… ]

The power of networking

From our daily member newsletter on May 1, 2017

For those of you who have been spending any significant time surfing the job boards may I suggest you stop and turn that energy to networking? I had the great pleasure of speaking with an old friend of mine some time ago (yes, most of my friends are old, but this one is actually just a little younger than I am). Anyway, this friend has been a retained recruiter for most of his career. He has been through the good times and the bad times. One of the topics we covered today was how senior level executives tend to get their jobs. The astounding number he quoted me from a study he was sent was that only 2% of senior [ Read more… ]

Why do boaters wave at each other?

From our daily member newsletter on April 24, 2017

I don’t know about you, but there are lots of things in this world that I wonder about. At one time I wondered about why the sky was blue, but that was before Google. I guess there are lots of things we don’t need to wonder about anymore. We can just look them up. The above topic wasn’t one I was actually wondering about earlier this week, but I got a note from one of our members and, knowing I was an avid sailor, he thought he would give me the answer. I have always known that sailors/boaters wave at each other. I just thought it was a cute tradition. And, you don’t have to be out on the water [ Read more… ]

Reinventing yourself

From our daily member newsletter on March 29, 2017

During every recession, there are typically specific industries that experience more declines than others. One of the truths about the job market is that in any piece of time, one or more industries are usually singled out “for punishment” and lots of folks in those industries lose their jobs all at the same time. For those of us who remember the dot.com bust, pre-bust if you weren’t working for a dot.com you were considered stupid. Post-bust, having been at one proved you were stupid. As they say, you can’t have it both ways. Not much you as an individual can do about industry cycles. If you were a mortgage industry financial professional, it is pretty clear that a large number [ Read more… ]

Birds of a feather

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2014

We are fortunate in the financial professions to be blessed with a very high degree of transferable skills. Still, the next job for most of us isn’t going to be all that much different from our last one. While it is certainly possible that we will change industries, it is less likely that we will change the skill sets needed in our day to day work. What typically happens in any recession (Did I say we are still in a recession? Not me!) is that certain industries take a downward turn and many of the folks in those industries lose their jobs. It used to be that this was limited to old line industries, but as we have seen in [ Read more… ]

Birds of a feather

From our daily member newsletter on June 26, 2011

We are fortunate in the financial professions to be blessed with a very high degree of transferable skills. Still, the next job for most of us isn’t going to be all that much different from our last one. While it is certainly possible that we will change industries, it is less likely that we will change the skill sets needed in our day to day work. What typically happens in any recession (Did I say we are in a recession? Not me!) is that certain industries take a downward turn and many of the folks in those industries lose their jobs. It used to be that this was limited to old line industries, but as we have seen in recent [ Read more… ]

Birds of a feather

From our daily member newsletter on June 22, 2008

We are fortunate in the financial professions to be blessed with a very high degree of transferable skills. Still, the next job for most of us isn’t going to be all that much different from our last one. While it is certainly possible that we will change industries, it is less likely that we will change the skill sets needed in our day to day work. What typically happens in any recession (Did I say we are in a recession? Not me!) is that certain industries take a downward turn and many of the folks in those industries lose their jobs. It used to be that this was limited to old line industries, but as we have seen in recent [ Read more… ]

Working the room

From our daily member newsletter on December 3, 2007

The membership directory of The FENG is now over 3,500 pages. As I am sure many of you are aware, it is a document with many uses. For example, if you print out a hard copy and tie it in a bundle it is formidable enough to use as a doorstop even in a public building. Its use in the home therefore, I guess, makes it “over qualified”. It is actually a little more useful in electronic form. The purpose of our membership lists is actually to facilitate easy communication between you and other members of our august body. All you need to do is open a directory in Word and use Edit, Find. Put in your University and see [ Read more… ]

Hi, it’s me the pest!

From our daily member newsletter on November 28, 2007

The amount of follow up to do with recruiters and networking contacts is always a tough call. It is hard not to feel like a pest when you call. (After all, you ARE being a pest.) However, if you aren’t persistent and keep in touch with those who might be in a position to help you on the day (or within a reasonable time frame) that something of interest hits their radar screen, the odds of THEM remembering to call YOU is very small. So, it unfortunately pays to be a pest. The trick is to be a pest without appearing to be one. When you call it is important that you have some news to share. If you follow [ Read more… ]

Rules of engagement

From our daily member newsletter on November 26, 2007

At most meetings of The FENG here in Westport I take a few minutes during the magic show to explain the best approach to contacting other members of our now vast organization. (The magic show is when Norm Weinstock, Doug Fine and I, from memory, come up with the names of those we have met who our new members should meet. Hey, we only have 27,000+ members, so it really isn’t all that difficult!)   The best approach to contacting just about anyone, including other members, is to send a letter of introduction first with a copy of your resume. I know this flies in the face of things you may have learned, but in a few quick paragraphs, let [ Read more… ]

Reconnect with your chapter

From our daily member newsletter on November 25, 2007

Although I always hope that EVERYONE in The FENG will have a job some day, (And, all at the same time.) I know this is not possible. Still, my sense is that more of our members are working these days than not.   Because of the high percentage of you that are working and because our networking group has been around for a long time, I fear that in certain parts of the country, attendance at our meetings has fallen off.   I wonder if I could ask those of you who are working at the moment to make a special effort this month to reconnect with your local chapter. The holiday season is a great time to meet old [ Read more… ]

The holiday networking season

From our daily member newsletter on November 18, 2007

I try to take a few minutes of your time every year at this holiday season to remind you what a gold mine this time of year is to your networking efforts.   Whether you are working or not working. Whether you are looking for a job or very happy where you are, this is the time of year when you don’t need much of an excuse to call EVERYONE you know and reconnect with them.   The last thing any professional networker wants to be viewed as is someone who only calls when they need a job. This is such a great time of year to call old friends and new friends. Those with whom you have a close [ Read more… ]

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