EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Let’s keep it a secret

From our daily member newsletter on January 14, 2021

Any more than someone would write “Please Broadcast Widely” at the top of their resume, putting “Confidential” is just as silly in many ways. I’m sure that this is written up somewhere as the appropriate thing to do, so I am not faulting anyone who does it, but it really is unnecessary. It is just as silly to not show your current employer and to put in something like “Major Manufacturer.” It is unfortunate, but those doing search these days have even less time for mysteries than those who were doing it before the Great Pandemic set in. The volume of email and paperwork that crosses one’s desk today is beyond belief. If you want to get yourself excluded from [ Read more… ]

Putting your best foot forward

From our daily member newsletter on January 13, 2021

The development of a resume can be a long and involved process. There are so many ideas that others have to share with you, and each person with whom you speak has their own perspective about what is right and what is wrong. Your resume is also in part an historical document charged with chronicling your career from formal education through most recent work assignment. Some of the nonsense, misapplied these days, centers on the idea that only the most recent 10 years are of interest to the reader. True, but that doesn’t mean leave off everything earlier. The formatting and shaping of a resume is so much easier today than it was back in 1991 when I faced my [ Read more… ]

Hanging on to unpleasantness

From our daily member newsletter on January 12, 2021

I don’t know if you remember “Rain Man” with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, but there was one scene where Tom Cruise either hit or yelled at Dustin Hoffman and Dustin proceeded to write it down in a notebook he carried. He was very meticulous in noting the “offense” and the date and time. In much the same way I hear stories all the time from our members about various things that have happened to them over the course of their job search. I’m sure the offending person has continued on their way without noting the damage that they have done, but the pain they have inflicted often remains as strongly felt as the day it happened. It is easy [ Read more… ]

There’s honestly no excuse

From our daily member newsletter on January 11, 2021

There was a time, I suppose, when it was really hard to get back to people. Let’s say someone sent you a smoke signal. I guess you would first have to build a fire, and a smoky one at that. If they sent you a message towards the end of the day, would you really have enough time to respond? And, if you waited until the morning, how would you know if they were still listening? If someone sent you a papyrus scroll, not only would you feel obligated to respond, you probably would have to feed and house the messenger who brought it while you prepared your own papyrus scroll. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, it probably was. If [ Read more… ]

Unbelievable!

From our daily member newsletter on January 10, 2021

When asked how your job search is going or your job, the best answer is “unbelievable.” Unbelievable can of course mean in reality good or bad. If things are really really bad, they are certainly unbelievable. And if you are pinching yourself to make sure you are awake, they could also be unbelievably good. You have the opportunity by saying “unbelievable” to leave others with the impression you are doing quite well. The question you may be asking is why you would do such a deceitful thing which is tantamount to lying if you are having one heck of a bad day. The reason is quite simple. No one really wants to know. It’s not that they don’t care. It [ Read more… ]

Why we share job leads

From our daily member newsletter on January 7, 2021

One of the core values of being a member of The FENG is that we share job leads. There are a lot of reasons why we do this, and it isn’t just because it is a nice thing to do. It is actually a very smart thing to do. The only problem is that it is apparently a counter-intuitive idea. So, forgive me if I am going over old ground because you are one of those members who “gets it.” Let me start you off with the idea that it is impossible to keep a secret these days about any job out in the market. If you still believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, I suppose I will [ Read more… ]

Today’s events in Washington, DC

From our daily member newsletter on January 6, 2021

For those of you who don’t know my entire background, please know I served in the United States Army for two years, 1969 and 1970. I can’t say it was a happy time, but I was fortunate to perform my entire service at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. For those of you who have attended my meetings in Westport and/or meetings where I have been a guest speaker, you may remember that for almost the entire 1980’s I was Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency by the name of Levine, Huntley, Schmidt & Beaver. Donald Trump was one of our clients. Unlike most of the vendors doing business with the Taj Mahal, I did collect ALL of the money owed [ Read more… ]

Information please

From our daily member newsletter on January 5, 2021

I am more often than not surprised by the amount of time it can take for a company to develop a position description and yet at the end of the day not really be able to capture the essential elements for a particular opportunity. I suppose in part this is because senior level position descriptions are a compromise. They are partly a reflection of who is in the job currently, but they also reflect things that the individual who held the job previously wasn’t able to accomplish. And, let’s not forget the fact that the company at which these tasks are to be performed isn’t static either. As readers of the end result, and especially with regard to opportunities that [ Read more… ]

Unsolicited advice

From our daily member newsletter on January 4, 2021

It is a sad fact that most men don’t appreciate getting unsolicited advice. That said, there are even those among us who reject advice they have asked for out of hand and in a dismissive way. The giving and receiving of advice is always a delicate balance. Even though probably 75% of my mail comes in without an outgoing signature and I could pull my hair out over it at times, I still write “May I suggest….”, when I should say “Haven’t you heard me mention this before?” (I try to keep my suggestion about providing a FULL outgoing signature from being mentioned in my editorials to only once or twice a WEEK. Perhaps I need to pick up the [ Read more… ]

Why bother saying thank you?

From our daily member newsletter on January 3, 2021

For those of you who are sailing fans and/or history buffs and saw the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World, there was a scene where Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany were having a heated argument about the merits of flogging. The comment made by the captain was that the good doctor didn’t understand what held their little wooden world together. Please understand that I am not recommending we flog members of The FENG who fail to say thank you, but the analogy is that those who don’t say thank you apparently don’t understand what holds our little electronic world together. NO ONE ever hears thank you enough. All of you are very kind to me and [ Read more… ]

Saturday Night Live!

From our daily member newsletter on December 29, 2020

I have been known to get seriously silly at times. (I know this will come as a great shock to all of you.) Back in the old days when I was able to stay up late, Saturday Night Live had an ongoing skit about an individual named Pat. Over the course of the seasons or season it was on (as I indicated, it was a long time ago), all of the skits revolved around figuring out if Pat was a male or a female. Some of them were actually pretty funny. (Keep in mind that it was late at night and I do get slaphappy when I am tired.) Anyway, the issue for tonight is labeling yourself properly. As you [ Read more… ]

The personal, impersonal

From our daily member newsletter on December 28, 2020

One of the very nicest parts of the holiday season is getting greeting cards, both email and physical, from the many people that I know. The good ones are filled with newsy information about what the sender has been doing for the past 12 months and perhaps what their plans are for the year to come. The bad ones may as well be addressed as “To Whom It May Concern.” The last time I sent out physical holiday greeting cards was many years ago and I felt even back then that for the most part they were a waste of time if they really weren’t personal. So, with only a few days left to send out “holiday greetings,” I thought [ Read more… ]

The CB Radio craze

From our daily member newsletter on December 22, 2020

I don’t know if all of you are old enough to remember the CB Radio craze, but it was a fun period in America. I assume no one still uses this technology, but for most of us it is a fond memory. I remember how all of us used to talk about our “handles,” and putting the antenna on the top of the car was an absolute must before starting any long trip. (After a while, the static and the rude people on the air did take some of the charm out of it.) Anyway, many of the elements of the CB Radio craze have valid comparisons to the beginnings of the Internet. AOL was one of the earliest forces [ Read more… ]

Putting it behind you-NOT

From our daily member newsletter on December 21, 2020

Since much of what we do in The FENG is about job search, I thought it might be appropriate to make a few suggestions to everyone about what to do when you do actually find a new job. I’ll be blunt. Job search is primarily filled with uncertainty, highs and lows and activities like making networking calls, which as financial folks we generally don’t like doing. Still, as I frequently remind everyone: “All jobs are temporary.” If you are going to be successful at this “career thing” you need to face facts, and the most important one is that you are never really employed, you are just between searches. A sad state of affairs, perhaps, but one that is factual. [ Read more… ]

Networking by brute force

From our daily member newsletter on December 20, 2020

From time to time, someone tells me that networking as an approach is falling into disfavor. (If it does, we will have to change the name of our networking group, and I am at a loss as to how to come up with another name!) When people talk about networking in this way, the networking that they are talking about is the kind that John Lucht discusses in his book Rites of Passage as “the NFL approach to networking.” This is where you hold someone down and refuse to let them up until they give you three names. (Or maybe four!) This brute force approach to the gentlemanly game of making genuine business relationships for the future has never worked [ Read more… ]

Who is that masked man?

From our daily member newsletter on December 17, 2020

I have at this point in my chairmanship of The FENG listened to a fairly significant number of 90-second announcements. I try to listen patiently and assess how best to help and make suggestions for improvements in the delivery of this vital communication. The time frame presents a formidable challenge even for the most gifted of speakers, and how best to use this “white space” is the subject of much long winded and contradictory debate. (Clearly a paradox in and of itself.) What I would like to understand more than anything else is the essence of who and what you are, but that rarely happens. Most of the members of The FENG are living through the part of our lives [ Read more… ]

Building friendships-a lot of hard work

From our daily member newsletter on December 16, 2020

The definition of networking I use is: Networking is a process by which you can create meaningful business contacts and relationships to further your career and enhance your professional life. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most difficult, networking is a 5. Building friendships is a 10. I know that many of you have become better and better at this “networking thing.” The constant “nagging” I do in our evening editorial I hope has had a significant impact on your daily activities. And, I hope you are enjoying the rewards as well. But, being one who NEVER leaves well enough alone, I thought I would share one of the deep dark secrets of effective networking – some [ Read more… ]

It could be Santa Claus

From our daily member newsletter on December 15, 2020

I don’t know what it is about returning phone calls. I get them by the truck load and still do my best to return them all. (Sometimes it does take a few days.) Perhaps I have a high level of curiosity, but I have found that you can never tell who has called or what they have called about without actually calling them back. Some of the dumbest messages I have gotten were actually pretty important, and if I hadn’t taken the time to call back I would have missed out, big time. I would also suggest that one of the most annoying things about looking for a job is all of the individuals in this world who don’t return [ Read more… ]

The captain can show no fear

From our daily member newsletter on December 14, 2020

There was this very amusing comedy routine that I heard many years ago. During part of it, the comedian pointed out that when operating on a patient under local anesthetic, surgeons are not allowed to say “oops.” (I know what I mean when I say oops. What did he mean?) In much the same way, and for many of the same reasons, the captain of a ship is not allowed to show fear. No matter how fierce the storm, no matter how lost he may be at the minute, even if the vessel is becalmed and the water and food are running out, the captain is expected to keep his wits about him and act like nothing is wrong. There [ Read more… ]

Call me Mr. Know-it-all

From our daily member newsletter on December 13, 2020

I know we don’t mean to do it, but as financial types who come to our decisions the hard way (usually the long scenic route), we often react to information being presented to us by others in a dismissive, “oh, I knew that” manner. I suppose there was a time in my life when I actually thought I did know everything. As the Chief Financial Officer of a top 50 Advertising Agency back in the 1980’s, I was expected to know the answers. People looked to me for solutions to problems. There was a constant parade of folks trooping through my office all day long trying to persuade me about this or that. Talk about “analyze this.” As I have [ Read more… ]

Words are important

From our daily member newsletter on December 10, 2020

The words we use when referring to others are important in that they affect our thinking and ability to problem solve. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but I usually refer to “members of the search community” or to “search professionals.” I sometimes refer to them as “recruiters.” Although even they refer to themselves as “headhunters,” I find that term less than professional. Another potential trap we might fall into is the use of the word “gatekeeper.” It brings up visions in my mind of my being on the outside looking in and needing the permission of some imposing individual with a spear or something even more threatening blocking my path. While in many cases our ability [ Read more… ]

Pitfalls and their avoidance

From our daily member newsletter on December 9, 2020

The world of job search can be an uncharted place. I can’t think of any activity that is so specific to one’s background, while at the same time one that we generally don’t practice a whole lot until the crisis is upon us. Over most of our careers for us stable financial types, practicing the art of job search would not be a good use of our time. There are budgets and financial statements to prepare, and always meetings to go to. So, when we find ourselves active in our search, what are the basic steps to take? First and foremost I would suggest taking the approach we have probably taken to most work related activities: we should do a [ Read more… ]

When the newsletter thins

From our daily member newsletter on December 8, 2020

I realize that on days when the newsletter thins, there is the temptation to “click and shoot” all of the remotely possible postings that appear. Please don’t. One of the core values of The FENG is that we don’t respond to postings unless we are a good fit. Very simply put, if you wouldn’t hire you for the job, resist the temptation to buy a lottery ticket and submit your credentials. The thing to keep in mind when there are lots of folks out of work is that any posting that has specific requirements (beyond your having a pulse) is going to get lots and lots of appropriate responses. The role of the recruiter is to identify those candidates who [ Read more… ]

The illusion of trust

From our daily member newsletter on December 7, 2020

It is always difficult to explain why you trust someone. In our daily encounters, out in the world we come across all kinds of folks. Most of the individuals we do business with on a daily basis don’t have to be our friends, and the nature of the exchanges we have with them don’t even require that we trust them. As an example: purchasing gas. As long as we can bring ourselves to trust the gas station attendant not to pour the gas into the back seat of our car, there isn’t really much at risk. And, since we probably put this exchange on our credit card, there is no possibility that the value received isn’t the amount we paid. [ Read more… ]

Are you skipping ahead to the leads?

From our daily member newsletter on December 6, 2020

I sometimes wish I didn’t publish job leads at all. I know this is shocking for someone who is sending out a newsletter full of job leads, but it is the truth. Our newsletter contains a wealth of information as do our membership directories. For those of you determined to never learn anything about the job search process, I would suggest you conduct a passive job search and only read the leads. For the rest of you, may I suggest that you read my editorial, the Good News Announcements and Members in Need of Assistance, as well as the additional editorial material that I include in every newsletter and then IF you have time, read the job leads. (By the [ Read more… ]

What happened?

From our daily member newsletter on December 3, 2020

One of the most difficult questions one is almost required to answer is why we left our last job. Being a little bit of a wise guy, my inclination is to say “They stopped paying me.” Or, in the alternate, “When they changed the locks on my office and had security escort me out to the street, I thought it best not to come back.” Okay, you can’t really use these lines in an interview, unless of course you are really good at comedy. The problem with the question is that it is at once a silly question, an unfair question, and a difficult question, especially for us financial types who are used to providing incredible detail in any situation [ Read more… ]

Money is important

From our daily member newsletter on December 2, 2020

When it comes to deciding if someone is a fit for a particular position, industry experience and candidates current locations are often the first criteria that employers consider when weeding out applicants. After these first two issues appear to be satisfactory, the next point of focus is your recent work history. What have you done in the last ten years that is applicable to the job in question? Much of this kind of information can be quickly gleaned from a resume and is often followed up by a telephone interview. Whether the call is from a contingency or retained recruiter, or even from a corporate recruiter, the last point on the check list is usually money. Let’s be honest, money [ Read more… ]

Mastering technology

From our daily member newsletter on December 1, 2020

This is probably just a lucky guess on my part, but I have the very real sense that the high technology tools we have to conduct a job search are here to stay. (To quote Larry King, “High technology, what will they think of next?”) Friends, Al Gore invented the Internet a long time ago. And, even if the Federal Government declares it to be a public utility, chances are good that you would benefit significantly by developing a mastery of its many intricacies. And, to bring you back to the beginning of time itself, I’ve had a computer in my office since the early 1980’s! Should I mention cell phones? It is honestly high time that all of you [ Read more… ]

Weather forecasting

From our daily member newsletter on November 30, 2020

Ever the wise sailor, I always (well, almost always) check the weather forecast before heading down to the boat to go out for the day. This may or may not be a valuable activity. My wife jokes that in her next life she wants to be a weather forecaster. They never have to be right and they still get paid. I have to agree that they are frequently wrong, and sometimes I have taken their prognostications to heart and they have caused me to miss a perfectly good sailing day. (As you may know, the sailing season is very short – it is less than 52 weeks per year, so I hate to miss even one day.) There is also [ Read more… ]

What makes The FENG unusual?

From our daily member newsletter on November 29, 2020

Several years ago I spent an evening out with an old friend of mine who previously had been in the search business. He is a very special friend. We first met in 1977 when I was Business Manager for CBS College Publishing and we have been close friends ever since. Since he lived nearby, our families also had the opportunity to bond as well. He was instrumental in my career development in that he made a point of getting me invited to leadership meetings that I am sure I would not otherwise have attended. When I was out of work in 1991 and 1992 he was in the outplacement business and as a courtesy provided me with a place to [ Read more… ]

Please, give me a hint

From our daily member newsletter on November 23, 2020

Every once in a while I get an assignment for The FECG that draws more than its fair share of attention. I think our all time high a few years ago was an assignment that drew 225 responses. However, even when you get an assignment that draws more than say 40 responses, it can get a little difficult to see the forest for the trees. And, with all that talent to choose from, those who provide the clearest presentation of their credentials are the ones we are most likely to send to our client for consideration. To be very honest, it’s hard to justify forcing our client to “read between the lines” when you have so many better submissions. Here [ Read more… ]

Email cover notes

From our daily member newsletter on November 22, 2020

Based on the email cover notes I see, I’m not sure we have all made the transition from messages sent in envelopes to those sent by email. Personally, I have always found electronic files to be maddening, especially very highly developed Excel spreadsheets. Adopting naming conventions so that you can be clear which version of a file was the latest one, used to and still does drive me crazy at times. And, as you can imagine, I’m a pretty organized guy. Purging files from your computer can also be unnerving because when it’s gone, it’s gone. The problem in a nutshell (Help, I’m locked in a nutshell!) is that reviewing the files on your computer by opening them is like [ Read more… ]

Picking a restaurant

From our daily member newsletter on November 19, 2020

People who know that my wife and I are into sailing often ask us what we most enjoy making for dinner when we are on the boat. My standard response is reservations. The hard part is, of course, picking the restaurant. Are we in the mood for Mexican food, Pizza, French, Italian, or Chinese? Fortunately for us, although you can’t always tell by the name of the restaurant what they serve, all restaurants have enough common sense to stake out their areas of expertise when being listed in the telephone book, or in the many local brochures available at our favorite harbors. No restaurant would consider keeping their area of expertise a secret. It just wouldn’t be good for business. [ Read more… ]

Staying close to home

From our daily member newsletter on November 18, 2020

With the holiday season coming up fast, it is perhaps the time to repeat the simple advice that now is the time to be making phone calls and trying to schedule Zoom meetings. One of the great misunderstandings about networking is that things slow down during the holidays. Nothing could be further from the truth. This year, more than any other, very few people will be taking vacation time. And, with all we have been through so far this year, lots of folks will be doing less work next week, and hopefully will become bored and welcome your calls. For those of you who can’t think of any other excuse to make phone calls to old friends, what better excuse [ Read more… ]

Reinventing yourself

From our daily member newsletter on November 17, 2020

Much as I hate using cliché phrases as the one above, I don’t really know if there is a better one to describe the process of self-examination that is required when faced with looking for another “work opportunity.” (I call them work opportunities instead of jobs, because they don’t generally last long enough these days to be dignified with that “job” label.) Of course, I should preface my comments with the very obvious fact that changing industries or professions in any job market is very difficult. There are plenty of folks who are “local candidates,” or from the required industry. Competing against them in any sense isn’t an even contest, but competing rarely is as much fun as folks make [ Read more… ]

The competition is fierce

From our daily member newsletter on November 16, 2020

No one ever said it would be easy. And, when it comes to finding a job after the age of 40, it can easily become a demoralizing situation. For those of us who are even older, like in our 50’s or 60’s, it can be extremely difficult. Let me start you out with the idea that you are no longer the least expensive product out on the market. You bring a wealth of experience to the party, and those on the other side of the desk feel obligated to pay more to you than for someone earlier in their career should they decide to hire you. It’s true, of course, that they should pay more, but what is often missed [ Read more… ]

Hard won personal relationships

From our daily member newsletter on November 15, 2020

The world is actually built on a series of personal relationships. The truth of this statement was brought home to me many times during my near decade in the Advertising business, and subsequent to that from my experiences during my job search in trying to get to know people in the Venture Capital and Search business. It is hard to get people to trust you when their income depends on who they introduce to whom. From 1997 to just before the recession that began in 2001, I worked the search community one recruiter at a time to sell The FENG as a resource. Unfortunately, recruiters don’t talk much to each other. And, even within firms, they pretty much run an [ Read more… ]

Networking, networking and more networking

From our daily member newsletter on November 12, 2020

For those of you who are new to networking and for those of you who think you know everything about networking, I thought I would take tonight’s editorial space to distinguish for you the 3 kinds of networking. The first kind of networking is identifying new networking contacts. The recommended way to do this at in person meetings (I’m sure you remember those.) was to introduce yourself to people you didn’t know, the theory being strangers are only friends you haven’t met. Today we have to rely on Zoom meeting rooms. My suggested approach is to take charge and go first. It really is pretty painless. You just say: “Hi, I’m Matt Bud.” (Be sure to use your name and [ Read more… ]

A lifetime commitment

From our daily member newsletter on November 11, 2020

It is in some ways a shame that the idea of networking has gotten itself so tightly connected to job search. One of the reasons that I call members who have found new jobs is to remind them to continue networking. Sad to say that many people allow themselves to get so absorbed in their new jobs that they get disconnected from their network. I often refer to The FENG as a circle of friends. I also refer to those with whom you have the most in common and with whom you should stay in contact as your “inner circle of friends.” However, to describe it as “your very own insurance policy” puts it in the context of job search, [ Read more… ]

Never let a volunteer get away

From our daily member newsletter on November 10, 2020

At the beginning of time itself in 1995, there was only a Westport Chapter of The FENG. In fact, the name of entire organization was The Financial Executives Networking Group of Fairfield County Connecticut. Over the past 25 years we have grown into an International organization with 37,000 members, 85 Chapters and 35 Special Interest Groups. Our first Special Interest Group was started by Bruce Lynn, one of our Co-Chairs who, in his modest way, suggested it would be nice if the Treasury folks could identify each other. We are an army of volunteers. Bruce Lynn, Marty Latman (our other national Co-Chair) and yours truly are ALL volunteers, just like the other 200 folks who head up our organization. The [ Read more… ]

What is a “Tip Talk?”

From our daily member newsletter on November 9, 2020

I’m sure I don’t need to go into the details, but it goes without saying that the past 9 months of unending stress have been hard on all of us. I don’t know what happened to it, but when I worked for “the great corporation,” I had a bulletin board in my office with one section covered in cartoons. (People liked to kill time in my office.) In one of them a man is sitting on the edge of his bed trying to get up for the day. He clearly didn’t sleep well, hasn’t shaved, and he has the appearance of someone who is ready to give up. The caption has his wife saying: “Yeah, well you didn’t know how [ Read more… ]

Enabling technology

From our daily member newsletter on November 8, 2020

When I became Chairman of The FENG in 1996, there was at the time an emerging technology called the Internet. (Rumored to have been invented by Al Gore.) I was working for The Thomson Corporation at the time and had learned how to use email. Some days I got as many as 10 emails! (This was referred to as being buried in emails.) I thought, email could really prove useful and enable The FENG to more currently send job leads to our 60 members. Utilizing my AOL account, I started what is now our evening newsletter. As they say, the rest is history. Moving to current times, I had an at length Zoom meeting last week with Steve Parkes and [ Read more… ]

Developing a thick skin

From our daily member newsletter on November 5, 2020

It has often been said that I am a sensitive guy. I don’t think anyone who does what I do as a volunteer could be characterized as anything different. Still, when it comes to job search, being sensitive probably isn’t a good thing. You know the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” When I was looking for work during 1991-1992 (yes, two long years), it seemed as if not many folks in the world were aware of this idea. After many successful years in business always returning the phone calls of others, I found mine going unanswered. And, the same thing was true about responses to my many letters. Primarily silence on both [ Read more… ]

I’ll call him back

From our daily member newsletter on November 4, 2020

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… ]

A fear of being contacted

From our daily member newsletter on November 3, 2020

Gosh, please don’t call me. That’s the message that I seem to get from time to time when I am trying to track down candidates for the consulting assignments and full time jobs I am handling through The FECG. I have also been alerted to this fear by one of our chapter chairs who noted that folks weren’t putting their phone numbers on his meeting attendance sheet. Okay, you do have one phone number on your resume and you may even have this same number in your outgoing signature. That said, you can’t be reached there. If you are still employed, it is your home phone number. I’m sure you will find my message when you get there at the [ Read more… ]

Starting over is never easy

From our daily member newsletter on November 2, 2020

Although I constantly repeat our two mantras that all jobs are temporary and that one is never actually employed, only between searches, when this truth rears its ugly head I don’t know if anyone is really prepared. As the clock winds itself down on a current assignment, it is usually a stressful period of time prior to the actual event of your being given the bad news. This is hardly a time when you will be thinking clearly and focused on your goal of finding that next great “work opportunity.” The FENG is now so old that many of our members have been with us long enough to have gotten 2 or 3 or more searches under their belts. I [ Read more… ]

Things to do this week

From our daily member newsletter on November 1, 2020

Top of the list is, of course, to vote if you have not already done so. My second suggestion is to NOT call anyone until at least Thursday. Everyone is “deer in the headlights” over the election. Hopefully it will be decided by end of day Wednesday so we can all get back to doing whatever passes for our normal activities by Thursday. If you call anyone earlier, you risk getting dragged into a political discussion, which let me assure you, you don’t want to have. Politics and Religion are the two biggies to avoid when it comes to job search. Let me suggest you spend the next several days working on expanding your list of networking contacts by using [ Read more… ]

Two anchors or one?

From our daily member newsletter on October 29, 2020

A long time ago I got into a discussion with another captain about the wisdom of setting two anchors. It may sound silly, since I am known on board my sailboat as Captain Safety, but I have never set two anchors. And, even though I have read a lot about it over the years, in most cases I don’t think it is smart to do. There are conditions when it is appropriate, but I try to be tied to a dock or safely at home during those times or I avoid anchoring in the kinds of places where it might be necessary. Anyway, it got me to thinking about a speech a cousin of mine gave at a family gathering [ Read more… ]

90-second announcements

From our daily member newsletter on October 28, 2020

From time to time I get requests for information on how to do a proper 90-second announcement. So, I thought tonight I would share a few thoughts with you on this linguistic challenge. Since my wife is a speech pathologist by trade, I can tell you with great authority that speech is the slowest form of communication. Smoke signals may be a tad slower, but they aren’t in common usage these days. And, with the drought we have had in many parts of the country, and the heavy rain we have had in other parts, they probably aren’t a good idea anyway these days, not to mention the fact that they are hard to use at networking gatherings. Of course, [ Read more… ]

Accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on October 27, 2020

One of the less well recognized phobias in this world is the fear of accepting help from others. Perhaps it is primarily a guy thing and it explains why we never used to ask for directions at the gas station, but when it comes to job search it is another one of the many things that “get in the way” of very capable individuals finding work opportunities. (I don’t know if anything lasts long enough these days that we can dignify them with the word jobs.) With the new reality in the world we need to be more and more attuned to our own personal information networks for opportunities that fit our background, and that means reaching out to others [ Read more… ]

The art of being sensitive

From our daily member newsletter on October 26, 2020

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… ]

Handling compensation negotiations

From our daily member newsletter on October 25, 2020

Money makes the world go around, or so they say. If this is the case, can there be any more delicate subject to bring up with a potential employer than your potential salary? There was a comment I heard on “Streets of San Francisco” many years ago that is applicable here: “First liar never stands a chance.” As applicable to salary negotiations, it is always better to let the potential employer put something on the table before you try to improve upon it. It is just good negotiating to find out the relevant range before saying anything. The danger of presenting your salary demands too early in the process is considerable. The acceptable price of anything someone might want to [ Read more… ]

No steps forward, two steps back

From our daily member newsletter on October 22, 2020

One of the most difficult challenges in a career is being faced with taking a step or two back. Because we tend to stay with companies longer than most senior managers, the gains we make in our career in terms of compensation and responsibilities are hard won and painstaking achieved. So, when a time comes in our careers that we have to choose whether to accept a title and real responsibilities that are significantly less than our last job, it can be a difficult thing. Even after we come to the decision that it is the best thing to do financially, it can be a bothersome and esteem affecting experience. I know because it happened to me. The truth is [ Read more… ]

This is no time to blend

From our daily member newsletter on October 21, 2020

If you haven’t seen the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” you may not really understand where this line comes from. If this is the case, please accept my apology for this reference out of left field. It is an old movie, and it wasn’t a great one. As opposed to the marketing and sales folks I have met over the years who never miss an opportunity to brag about what they have done, by and large the financial types I have known in great contrast are only brought kicking and screaming into the spotlight for their 90-seconds of fame. Sure, “I was there,” they might say, “but I was only part of a team.” While this may be true, the team [ Read more… ]

The importance of alumni involvement

From our daily member newsletter on October 20, 2020

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… ]

A lifeboat mentality

From our daily member newsletter on October 19, 2020

Unfortunately for all of you, my wife bought me a book once when we were on vacation about the whale ship Essex. No need to go into all the details here, but the short story is that the ship was rammed by a whale and began to sink. Being a devoted sailor, I have certainly read other novels about what happens when the ship goes down. These tales of survival tend to be real page turners for me. (Perhaps in my last life I was a sailor on a square rigged ship.) Anyway, the mentality of someone about to abandon ship and how they feel afterwards as they attempt to survive has parallels with the process we all go through [ Read more… ]

Hidden customer objections

From our daily member newsletter on October 18, 2020

It is a sad fact of interviewing that often times those sitting on the other side of the table hesitate asking questions that you would gladly answer. The kinds of questions I am talking about are things that might be grounds for a lawsuit because they skirt the edge of age discrimination or one of the other laws out there to “protect us.” While it is your decision whether or not to answer questions you know are illegal, the real problem with questions of this nature is that when they are the “elephant sitting in the room,” very little real communication takes place between you and the interviewer unless you get them out of the way. If you had a [ Read more… ]

The hobgoblin of consistency

From our daily member newsletter on October 15, 2020

As many of you know, I have a variety of backgrounds. I was not only in the publishing business for 10 years, I was also in the advertising business for 9 years. Communication, or the assumption that it has taken place, is at the core of most of the problems in this world. (Okay, there are probably others, but that would take away from the points I am going to try to make tonight.) Anyway, when an underpaid overworked and groggy screener is placed in front of a pile of 500 resumes and asked to pull out 20 good ones, how much time do you think they actually get to spend on each one? Yes, I am sure they will [ Read more… ]

The New York minute

From our daily member newsletter on October 14, 2020

I don’t know if all of you are familiar with the concept of a New York minute, but for all intents and purposes it is generally accepted to be a micro second. For your further edification, a Google search turned up the following: New York Minute: A New York minute is an instant. Or as Johnny Carson once said, it’s the interval between a Manhattan traffic light changing to green and the guy behind you honking his car horn. It appears to have originated in Texas around 1967. It is a reference to the frenzied and hectic pace of New Yorkers’ lives. A New Yorker does in an instant what a Texan would take a minute to do. The term [ Read more… ]

Some dumb ideas actually work

From our daily member newsletter on October 13, 2020

Back at the beginning of time itself when my good friend Ed Devlin was running what was to become The FENG, he invited me to join. (I don’t know what he was thinking.) Seeing the networking opportunity for my own job search, I immediately offered to act as social chairman for our small gathering of senior financial executives and bring a membership directory to every meeting for distribution. (It wasn’t all that hard as there were only 15-20 of us.) As the meetings I attended became more than a person could count on one hand, I had the occasion to speak with Ed about how to increase our membership. We had both experienced the committee review method and found it [ Read more… ]

No one has time for mysteries

From our daily member newsletter on October 12, 2020

At one time many years ago I had a lot of time for reading. I picked up an Agatha Christy novel and I was hooked. Over the next several months I believe I read just about everything she had written up to that point. I know that when we moved, I had quite a box of books. Trying to pick up the clues was sure entertaining. There are other fine authors out there that I have indulged in from time to time, but lately the mystery writing on which I spend the most time is confined to the resumes I get from new member applicants. I am not really sure why they feel the need, but they usually begin creating [ Read more… ]

A simple case of identity theft

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2020

Over the past 25 years I have had more than a few opportunities to work with groups of members on their 90-second announcements. In fact, this is typically one of the drills in which we used to engage at all Westport chapter meetings. Although most résumés I see could also use more than a little work, I find that there is already a significant amount of help available there. Within The FENG for example we have a résumé review committee headed up by Lew Bader and Cheri Phillips (ResumeReview@TheFENG.org). Speech is the slowest form of communication and creating a 90-second announcement that projects the real you is a formidable task, and one not to be underestimated in its inherent difficulty. [ Read more… ]

Transferrable skills

From our daily member newsletter on October 8, 2020

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 [ Read more… ]

Great expectations

From our daily member newsletter on October 7, 2020

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… ]

Keeping your chin up

From our daily member newsletter on October 6, 2020

There are lots of good reasons to keep you chin up. Of course, the most important reason is that it is easier to hit! Okay, I am just kidding with you. But seriously, some members have been active in their search for so long, that I fear many of them are beginning to believe things that have been told to them like: If only you had a CPA. If only you hadn’t been with one company for so long. If only you hadn’t done so much job-hopping. If only you weren’t so over qualified. (We rarely hear that we are UNDER qualified.) The “if only” list is too long to publish. (If only it were shorter.) The fear I have [ Read more… ]

Phone interviews

From our daily member newsletter on October 5, 2020

Probably one of the most difficult interviews to pull off well is a telephone interview. (I much prefer Zoom!) Let’s start off with the idea that the lack of face to face contact prevents you from seeing if the words and ideas you are presenting are playing well. A live audience, or a Zoom interview is always better. Is the person on the other end of the phone nodding in agreement? Are they rolling their eyes? Even for someone who spends as much time on the phone as I do, it is often hard to tell. Sitting during a telephone interview is probably not a good idea because your conversation will tend to lack energy. This is at least one [ Read more… ]

Does anyone have job leads to share?

From our daily member newsletter on October 4, 2020

There was a time in the not too distant past when our evening newsletter on Sunday evening ran to over 120 pages. The newsletters during the week were typically 50-75 pages. Lately our newsletter is typically 25 pages or less. Back in the “good old days,” we only had 15,000-20,000 members. Now we have close to 37,000. While I understand that the job market is not good right now, I would hope we could muster more published pages of job leads if we all took the time to send in appropriate items to Leads@TheFENG.org. The FENG is primarily an organization of CFOs, Controllers and Treasurers. Although we have members with many other related titles, the thing that unites us is [ Read more… ]

Dear FENG Member or Current Occupant

From our daily member newsletter on October 1, 2020

In keeping with the spirit of networking that makes The FENG a remarkable organization, it is appropriate that we share our contact information. And, when other members reach out to you, it is EXPECTED that you will take the time to respond. (Yes, I know you are busy, but so am I and I need your help. It is one of those “many hands make light work” things. Besides, I am not always the right person to contact.) What makes this obligation a joy to fulfill is that most members pick and choose whom to contact and are genuinely interested in creating mutually beneficial long term relationships. However, from time to time I find members sending out what appear to [ Read more… ]

Over responding to job leads

From our daily member newsletter on September 30, 2020

One of the foundations upon which The FENG has been built has been relying upon our members to exercise good judgment about the jobs for which they are a fit and only responding when they are. I could no more police this activity when we were smaller than I can now that we are huge. In the world of geese and golden eggs, it is important to us as an organization that the outside world views posting in our newsletter as a civilized experience. While we are viewed as the best resource for financial jobs by those who have tried us, we can always do better. My simple theory is that if we make the effort to be honest with [ Read more… ]

Making small talk

From our daily member newsletter on September 29, 2020

I have never considered myself a social butterfly, but I guess for many of us financial types it is difficult to start a conversation with someone we don’t know. If you give a little thought to conversations you have had over your life with people not known to you, you will fondly remember the favorite topic most of those discussions began with was the weather. (As you know, everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it, but I digress.) If weather isn’t the chosen topic, traffic, sports (How about those Yankees?) will all suffice. Religion and politics are generally not good ideas for conversation openers with strangers. I suppose the reason that one might start out [ Read more… ]

It’s always about people

From our daily member newsletter on September 28, 2020

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… ]

The sounds of silence

From our daily member newsletter on September 27, 2020

If losing your job wasn’t bad enough, the reluctance of business associates at your former company, as well as those who serviced your company as attorneys, accountants or recruiters to return your phone calls can be particularly disheartening. Actually, if you gave it some thought, you wouldn’t be all that shocked or surprised that they don’t. Let’s understand that in most cases when you leave a company everyone involved is typically sworn to secrecy. The “story” as to why you have left may even have been agreed to in writing, the violation of which could very well be cause for legal action by you. Since secrecy is normally the case, is it any wonder that no one at the firm [ Read more… ]

The small town syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on September 24, 2020

I am always chatting with potential sponsors for The FENG and from time to time the character of each of our chapters comes up. They are, of course, all different. Here in the Northeast I suppose there almost aren’t any boundaries. Pre-COVID-19 we used to get visitors to our Westport chapter meeting from pretty far away and I know from talking to members attending our meeting that they often attended meetings in Westchester and New York City. Around here, the whole world is open to you from a job perspective as well. There are simply lots of possibilities if you are willing to commute by train or drive. Not so in other parts of the country. Many of our local [ Read more… ]

Yeah, what do you want?

From our daily member newsletter on September 23, 2020

Sometimes the phone here are world headquarters gets a little quiet. Several minutes can go by and no one calls. It is enough to get you a little out of practice in answering the phone. So, from time to time I just pick up the phone (even though it isn’t ringing) and say hello to see if my energized greeting is still inside my head. As you know, practice makes perfect. Being a professional phone person I can tell a lot about the person on the other end of the phone within the first few seconds of the call. I have found that these are the critical nanoseconds when you can easily influence the tone of the conversation to follow. [ Read more… ]

Docking your boat

From our daily member newsletter on September 22, 2020

Let’s start with the fact that she weighs about 22,000+ lbs., and instead of being on dry land with wheels in firm contact with asphalt, it is more like driving a car on glare ice, only harder. I have been heard to say that there are only two difficult times when you are sailing – leaving the dock and returning to the dock, with returning to the dock being the harder of the two. When you are out in the middle of Long Island Sound there are certainly times when the boat is hard to handle. Still, the prospect of “crunching a little fiberglass” – yours or someone else’s – like hanging in the morning, tends to focus the mind. [ Read more… ]

Giving and taking advice

From our daily member newsletter on September 21, 2020

It is well understood that men don’t like unsolicited advice. It is for this reason we tend not to ask for directions at the gas station. It is a macho thing driving around for hours, lost beyond hope, and yet not stopping for help. (Thank goodness for GPS!) One of our many fine traditions at the Westport Chapter used to be a little coaching on 90-second announcements and resumes that we did as we went around the table. Our goal was not to put anyone down, but rather to search for ways to improve the message being delivered. Having regularly attended our meeting in Westport every month since 1996, I have heard more than my fair share of these pitches. [ Read more… ]

Making a pest of yourself

From our daily member newsletter on September 20, 2020

As I am sure all of you know, one of your responsibilities as a member is, to the best of your ability, to only respond to job postings when you are reasonably qualified. The greatest majority of job postings in our newsletter come your way through the good offices of your fellow members. If they are posted under my name, they are the result of our organization’s great reputation. (Your esteemed Chairman, in his role as official silver tongued devil of The FENG, may also have very recently extolled the significant benefits of becoming a “Friend of The FENG” upon these very fortunate members of the search community. Just as “birds of a feather flock together,” recruiters tend to specialize. [ Read more… ]

The proper placement of obstacles

From our daily member newsletter on September 17, 2020

As we used to go around the table at our meeting here in Connecticut (pre-Covid-19), I was always surprised by the time devoted in 90 second announcements to where folks wouldn’t move and what kinds of jobs they wouldn’t take. I have always been of the philosophy that I will go anywhere to talk to anyone about anything. Okay, fine, there are limits, but I try not to set them before hand and create reasons why others shouldn’t talk to me. By keeping an open mind as to what the “correct answer” might be, I hope that I receive more information than I might otherwise. Changing jobs can be a traumatic time. (Actually any change can be traumatic.) Because of [ Read more… ]

Doing the “friend thing”

From our daily member newsletter on September 16, 2020

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… ]

The truth (as retold)

From our daily member newsletter on September 15, 2020

I know that many of our members are faced with the unpleasant truth that they have been out of work for a significant period of time. Having been out of work myself for almost two years, I know that this unpleasant question of “Why have you been out so long?” gets asked. Like anything else in life, if you don’t prepare a “proper” answer, you will begin to stammer. (Or, sweat!) The natural tendency of financial folks that you need to avoid is the very detailed answer. The good old “primarily due to, partially offset by” approach that we take to providing information is not only a bad idea, it is also unnecessary. As a defense attorney on TV would [ Read more… ]

Have you seen my glasses?

From our daily member newsletter on September 14, 2020

I don’t know about you, but I am always misplacing things. I work pretty hard at keeping my papers organized, but like anything else, papers can get lost. When they do, it makes me absolutely crazy. Even when I have another copy on my computer, I am obsessed to find the copy that is on my desk. Finding information on documents I also find maddening. Back in the early 70’s when I worked at B. Altman & Company as an Internal Auditor, I was just amazed at the inconsistencies in invoicing formats by the firms doing business in the same industry. I know you won’t believe this, but sometimes I can be a little impulsive. Yeah, I know, how could [ Read more… ]

Silver bullets and the tooth fairy

From our daily member newsletter on September 13, 2020

From time to time I get inquiries about the services of career consulting firms. (Please understand I am not talking about recognized and well respected outplacement firms such as Right Management and Lee Hecht Harrison, nor am I talking about a few individual Career Coaches who are known to me and to your fellow members.) For those of us over the age of 40 (and that’s just about everyone in The FENG), the specter of potential unemployment or under employment from now until the end of time can be a scary one. I understand and accept that. In addition, job search for those of us over 40 is more difficult. Not only are we over qualified for just about everything, [ Read more… ]

You’re not from around here

From our daily member newsletter on September 10, 2020

The number of qualified candidates in major metropolitan areas is always strong. The problem faced by our members in “one horse towns” is dealing with the issue of relocation when they apply for opportunities. Most of the folks I talk to who are not from major metropolitan areas feel they are at risk of being cast aside in the sorting process when they apply for jobs that aren’t close to their current location. Alas, it is probably true. It is a simple fact of life and only logical that companies would be less open to relocating folks if they have ample candidates nearby. To some degree, members living in major metropolitan areas who are open to relocation are faced with [ Read more… ]

Bestowing the gift of friendship

From our daily member newsletter on September 9, 2020

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… ]

Reasons for inaction

From our daily member newsletter on September 8, 2020

Labor Day has now passed and, unofficially the summer is basically over. There are, unfortunately, all kinds of events and holidays during the calendar year that can cause us to delay addressing our job search, and I thought I would use the “idea” of these dates as a prime example of the inaction it can cause in all of us, myself included. I think the fear that grips us is one of offending those we call, especially in these trying times. During the summer we can be calling networking contacts just before they are leaving on vacation or, just as bad, when they have just returned. We can be calling when folks are trying to leave early for holiday events [ Read more… ]

A clear piece of communication

From our daily member newsletter on September 3, 2020

It isn’t often that I get a great resume, but I got one recently. I guess I wasn’t surprised given who sent it to me. Although it was three pages, it was still crisp and concise. Perhaps it could have been shaved down to two pages, but it really didn’t bother me that it was a little longer than the “standard.” Here are a few of the things that made it near perfection: 1. It had a well written summary. There were no fluff words like “dynamic” or “born leader,” only prose that served to highlight the accomplishments that followed. 2. The names of all of the firms at which he worked appeared at the beginning of each section in [ Read more… ]

Junk mail

From our daily member newsletter on September 2, 2020

I don’t know what you consider to be junk mail. I view anything I don’t want to get in the mail (including bills) to be unwanted. (Can’t they send my bills to YOU for payment? Okay, you probably wouldn’t pay them and then my credit would be ruined. I guess I’ll have to come up with another plan.) Anyway, the same principle applies to email. We all get a lot of spam these days. It appears that asking to be taken off their list only serves to confirm your address, and you get even more junk email. Now if only I got offers for things I could actually use, or offers for stuff that REALLY was free. (Fine, this probably [ Read more… ]

Reading the tea leaves

From our daily member newsletter on September 1, 2020

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard not to have my eyes glass over while reading job descriptions. It seems to me that they often put the most important information last, buried somewhere or disguised. I am, of course, referring to the EXACT city location of the job in question. Hey, they don’t want to pay for relocation and they don’t want to get too many resumes, but then they go and use phrases like “Northeast.” It is hard to make any sense of it all. Since I can’t post “Matt’s approach to writing position descriptions” on the Search Professionals website (because there isn’t one), we are probably stuck with this problem for the foreseeable future. Trust [ Read more… ]

Retained versus contingency

From our daily member newsletter on August 31, 2020

There is a great deal of fuss made out in “the world” about the difference between retained and contingency recruiters. If you want a full discussion about their differences and differing motivations, a very good source is “Rites of Passage” by John Lucht. All recruiters handle jobs in which you might have interest. And, when they appear in our newsletter under someone’s name, you should give it your best shot by writing a proper cover letter and perhaps even customizing your resume to a degree. You see, when you are responding to a job lead handled by either group, you are in a competition. Unlike networking where you may be the only candidate, this opportunity has been exposed to a [ Read more… ]

Life is a journey

From our daily member newsletter on August 30, 2020

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… ]

Spilling your guts

From our daily member newsletter on August 27, 2020

With all of the flap these days about integrity, I am concerned that members of The FENG, being honest financial types, will again fall into their natural propensity to tell too much about things that are no one’s business. I hope that I can trust you to blather on about all of your technical prowess and your many achievements. I also hope that you will explain at length about all matters that will enhance your candidacy for the position in question. However, when it comes to certain subjects about your past or future, it is perhaps best to “dummy up,” or at worst to say things that will be heard as direct answers. Please understand that I am not suggesting [ Read more… ]

Read any good books?

From our daily member newsletter on August 26, 2020

One of the little recognized facts about interviewing is that the most important part of what you are trying to accomplish in an interview is to make a personal connection with the interviewer. With all of the executive talent floating around these days, starting with the 37,000+ members of The FENG, your ability to distinguish yourself in those precious minutes you have with a decision maker is what is key. I would suggest to you that we tend to be nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel types of people. When we have work, we work. Sometimes for years. We tend not to network during those times, or even to read a few good books. We are just too [ Read more… ]

Give yourself a break

From our daily member newsletter on August 25, 2020

Back in 1991-1992 I was unemployed. Yes, two full years. Honestly, cash was starting to get a little tight. But more importantly, although I had a lot of free time, it was hard to enjoy it. Money, and the prospect of more, tends to focus the “let’s have some fun” part of our brains, whereas the “I don’t know if I will survive this” mindset prevents us from really enjoying our “time off” to any great degree. However, as one of my friends once said, “No one is out of work forever, it just seems that way.” Chances are those last few months in that Heck Hole you refer to as your most recent job were more than a little [ Read more… ]

Rejected out of hand

From our daily member newsletter on August 24, 2020

If there is one thing that is certain about us financial types it is that we always know the answer. Ask us a question and it isn’t long before we are well into the “primarily due to’s and partially offset by’s.” Yet, this major strength of ours and important skill set is an impediment to success at job search. Our perception of the world, much like other human beings, is colored by our experiences, and in our world job change typically hasn’t happened as frequently as it has for many other categories of workers. When I was in my mid-40’s, an art director friend of mine told me that he had already worked at 25 different advertising agencies, some of [ Read more… ]

By way of explanation

From our daily member newsletter on August 23, 2020

Whenever I sit and review candidates for assignments being handled through The FECG, I can’t help but be disappointed by many of the cover letters we get. I know that those who are applying feel they are qualified for the job in question, and being a financial guy myself, I know you could do the job. (Hey, us financial types can do anything!) Although if you have the time, it can often make sense to modify your resume for a specific opportunity, more often than not there just isn’t time. So, what to do? Well, your cover letter is a perfect place to provide explanations for a variety of obvious questions that inquiring minds need answered. Let’s start with that [ Read more… ]

Meeting the RIGHT folks

From our daily member newsletter on August 20, 2020

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… ]

That strange device with the numbers

From our daily member newsletter on August 19, 2020

Although I must admit that I no longer use #2 pencils, I am still greatly addicted to using that ancient device called a phone. If you’re not sure what that is, it has a keyboard that looks a lot like a 10 key pad, but the number 1 is in the upper left hand corner of the 12 key array instead of the lower left hand corner (where it should be), like on an adding machine. (If anyone knows why it’s reversed, please write to me. I’m dying to know.) Some of you may be so old (like me) to also know phones that had rotary dials. (This is where the phrase “dial him up” comes from.) In today’s world [ Read more… ]

Time stands still

From our daily member newsletter on August 18, 2020

I can never understand why people hesitate in contacting old friends. It has been one of the blessings in my life that over the 25+ years that I have been Chairing this august body, I have been able to reconnect with almost all of the people I worked with since the 1970’s. (Yes, I am that old!) I have even reconnected with some new friends that I have only known 10-20 years. My experience has been that anyone you have ever known is DELIGHTED to hear from you. This goes for old “enemies” as well. While you may have argued at length with some of these idiots (Did I say idiots? I meant uninformed individuals.), the “discussion” was actually about [ Read more… ]

Members in need of assistance

From our daily member newsletter on August 17, 2020

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… ]

Damaged goods

From our daily member newsletter on August 16, 2020

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal quite a few years ago that made the following points: 1. The unemployed are damaged goods 2. Recruiters prefer finding those who are not actively seeking new jobs 3. Networking groups are of little value While to a degree I hesitate to take exception with this esteemed periodical, I must point out that the first two issues are not news. Anyone who has read John Lucht’s book “Rites of Passage” would already know that recruiters have an inherent prejudice against those who are unemployed and are generally speaking charged with stealing someone from a competitor. That’s why they get the “big bucks.” Hence, those who are unemployed are not really of [ Read more… ]

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