EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The competition is fierce

From our daily member newsletter on January 22, 2020

What everyone should be clear about is that although I believe that “been there and done that” is more respected now than in most previous time periods in our great nation, you still have to “prove the null hypothesis” that you can do the job better than anyone else. The reduced lack of age discrimination only means you will have a chance at being considered. It doesn’t mean you will have a leg up on the competition. The primary prejudice against “old” people is that they aren’t up to date on the latest technology and that if they are hired for a job that is “beneath their dignity” that they will leave the moment the market picks up. To tackle [ Read more… ]

Is the glass half full?

From our daily member newsletter on January 21, 2020

We are probably all aware and have been known to ponder the enigma of: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” As good accountants, we have also probably pondered whether the glass was half full or half empty. If only “they” had a good accounting procedure, I am sure we would know. We would also know which portion had been charged to expense and which was still “hung up” on the balance sheet. (I always visualize a meat locker labeled “Balance Sheet” with sides of beef hanging inside when I hear the phrase “hung up on the balance sheet.”) Actually, tonight’s editorial is about the need for all of us to recognize, in ourselves and in those around us, [ Read more… ]

The suspension of disbelief

From our daily member newsletter on January 20, 2020

Key to the success of most movies is the suspension of disbelief. There are so many improbable events that make of the fabric of what you are viewing, that without this critical element in full force, in most cases the pleasure you experience wouldn’t be there. (My favorite phrase is “based on a true story.” Oh sure! All right, I’ll play along.) It may initially come as a surprise to you as a new member that the most valuable part of your membership in The FENG isn’t the job leads, but rather it is the networking opportunities with other members. Here too, a little suspension of disbelief is in order. (Yes, I know in good times we publish about 500 [ Read more… ]

The FENG’s Resume Review Committee

From our daily member newsletter on January 19, 2020

My dear friend Norm Weinstock passed away a little over 10 years ago. Norm agreed to Co-Chair of The FENG when I began my Chairmanship back in 1996 and he also acted as our Treasurer and raised money for us to buy our first computers and to hire our first Administrative Assistant, Ann Marie Hobbs. Back in the day when we thought job boards posted worthwhile job leads, he also ran a committee of “Web Watchers.” But by far the best thing he ever did was to start our Resume Review Committee. Friendship and service to fellow members is the foundation upon which the Financial Executives Networking Group is built. One of the great features of membership in The FENG [ Read more… ]

Summing it all up

From our daily member newsletter on January 16, 2020

Not unlike your 90-second announcement, the space at the top of your resume is vitally important to getting folks to “listen” to the rest of your story. Try to visualize if you will, 200 resumes piled up on some poor screener’s desk. With any luck, they have been printed and collated correctly with the resume on top and email cover letter stapled behind. (Reference is usually made to cover letters only when there is interest in the candidate and there is an unanswered question on the resume.) With a strong cup of coffee (black, of course), the goal is to eliminate as many resumes as possible with what I call the “at a glance” test. Simply stated, if you don’t [ Read more… ]

More information please

From our daily member newsletter on January 15, 2020

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… ]

Hang on tight

From our daily member newsletter on January 14, 2020

I often receive messages in which members comment about how job search puts you on an emotional roller coaster and I thought I would address this issue in tonight’s editorial. I am not a professional psychologist, but having been out of work myself for two very long years back in 1991 and 1992 — I’ve been there. I think the first thing you need to accept if you are active in your search is that your daily routine has been interrupted. Where you go every day, how you plan your day and what you do every day is VERY different than it was in the most recent piece of time. Add to this the fact that suddenly everyone is treating [ Read more… ]

Coziness is a state of mind

From our daily member newsletter on January 13, 2020

I suppose that at times being a member of the runaway train we call The FENG would appear not to lend itself to a whole lot of warm fuzzies. Ah, if only we could return to those halcyon days when there were only 50 of us and on a good day 15 of us would gather around that small table in the Westport library and discuss jobs we heard about. Friends, although this sounds good, I don’t want to go back. (Besides, we can’t.) Sure we are a whole lot bigger these days, but like love, sharing the warmth of our friendships with more and more people is INCREASING the warm fuzzies, not the reverse. Back in those DARK days [ Read more… ]

Conflicting advice

From our daily member newsletter on January 12, 2020

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you asked a question, you got the same answer? Unfortunately it seems that every time you ask a question, sometimes even of the same person, you get different answers. Perhaps this is good. It gives you the chance, as an adult, to make your own decisions and choices. I know there are those of you out there who prefer certainty. This is part of the reason we went into Accounting. (Ah, the symmetry of it all.) But, the truth in this world is that everything in this world is someone’s OPINION. (What’s your opinion? Wrong!) When you had to ask for directions (back in the old days prior to GPS), you hoped that [ Read more… ]

Walter Mitty

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2020

Walter Mitty was an interesting guy. Although he did one thing in his real life, he had the opportunity to do lots of exciting things in his imaginary life. As we advance in our careers, I think all of us want the opportunity to do new and different things. It is only normal to want to change industries or change careers. And, many of us actually succeed in doing it. I am doing something very different in my second career and enjoying every minute of it. I hope that no one will read this editorial and think I am trying to discourage them. Hopes and dreams, however, have to be measured against the economic reality of your value to a [ Read more… ]

Building your inner circle of friends (part two)

From our daily member newsletter on January 8, 2020

The idea that you can wipe the slate clean is an enduring and endearing idea of mankind, and one I fully support. No matter how bad you have been at networking in the past year, this week you have the opportunity to get a strong start on building and strengthening your inner circle of friends in 2020. The best analogy I can come up with tonight is not a sailing one. (I know everyone is disappointed, but I’ll try to come up with one in the next few days.) Hopefully all of you are familiar with the circus act where someone sets up plates and straws. It is very much this way in building and strengthening your inner circle of [ Read more… ]

Building your inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on January 7, 2020

If you are having trouble getting your job search off to a flying start in 2020, may I suggest you try increasing your inner circle of friends? The most valuable feature on our website is Member Directory Search: http://thefeng.org/membersonly/memberSearch.php All you have to do is follow the link above and sign-in to use it. Think of it as LinkedIn on turbo. The reason I say this is that some huge percentage of the folks on LinkedIn, and that includes members of The FENG, do NOT have complete directory listings. On The FENG website EVERYONE has a complete directory listing because our professional staff sees to it. Not only are listings for all new members created by our professional staff, but [ Read more… ]

When your cup runneth over

From our daily member newsletter on January 6, 2020

From time to time I have gotten messages from members who either had multiple offers outstanding or wanted me to discuss what to do when you are so blessed. Or, is it cursed? (I don’t know about you, but I hate having too many choices.) Of course, when faced with the possibility of multiple offers, you can be assured that they won’t all come to fruition on exactly the same day. Hence the conundrum. Being individuals of high integrity, there is an urge to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God” to everyone involved in the process. My first suggestion is to operate on a “need to know” basis. I know it [ Read more… ]

Welcome to 2020!

From our daily member newsletter on January 5, 2020

One of my observations is that everyone seems to be shutting down earlier and earlier around holiday periods, and returning later and later. Last week was especially quiet. Well, we’re going to be off to a flying start tomorrow. My advice is wait until Tuesday to call anyone for networking purposes. Anyone who can actually help you will be digging through a mountain of email. I want everyone to know that we had a very successful series of fund raising events to close out 2019. Thanks to so many generous members, we are starting 2020 with sufficient cash balances to ensure we will be able to pay for our new website with no problems. And, our new website should be [ Read more… ]

No sad stories

From our daily member newsletter on December 29, 2019

As everyone heads off for the final celebration of 2019, I would suggest that those of you who are actively seeking a new position keep in mind the “warning” I give to those I coach on 90-second announcements: NO SAD STORIES. Whether you are with family or friends, keep in mind what I tell anyone who will listen: every event is a NETWORKING event. You just never know who can help you, even Aunt Polly or your 90 year old Uncle George may know someone. I would also point out that some “youngsters” who are in their 30’s, if they are in attendance, may also have a few suggestions for you. There may also be some friends of your relatives [ Read more… ]

A delicate subject

From our daily member newsletter on December 22, 2019

I know there are some members who have been “in the hunt” a long time and may feel that they are getting “a little long in the tooth.” I can understand the problem since I was out of work for almost two full years – 1991-1992. Tradition has it that if you are still at work, your most recent job can be shown as 2005-Present. If you are no longer there, it would be shown as 2005-2019. You may argue that your likelihood of getting called about a job is lessened if you are no longer employed, and that may be true. I frankly, don’t know if it is or it isn’t. I would suggest that the more difficult issue [ Read more… ]

The consummate professional

From our daily member newsletter on December 19, 2019

Although there is no truth to the rumor that I have a pair of wing tip boat shoes, I do try to dress well for our meetings here in Connecticut as well as to any other networking event I attend. I suppose since the meeting of the Westport Chapter is near where I live, at the end of day, and since I work out of the house, I’m sure no one would think it odd if I was wearing old ratty jeans and a sweatshirt. I could always tell them I was fixing something around the house or make up some other lame excuse. The truth is that I don’t get many opportunities to wear my “grown up” clothes. Just [ Read more… ]

Performing the behaviors

From our daily member newsletter on December 18, 2019

I’m not sure why it is, but most financial folks think they are terrible networkers. The truth is that scattered throughout our newsletter every night are ideas you can harness in your daily life to earn the title “Master Networker.” All of us are amateurs, I suppose, at most things we do in life. You can start with raising your kids (if only you got to do it over), to relationships with others, including your significant other. We come to life to learn, and the best lessons are the ones we learn the hard way. Most of our members are over 40. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, and yet a lot more is yet to pass. [ Read more… ]

If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me

From our daily member newsletter on December 17, 2019

Several years ago, a very old friend of mine called my attention to this song by Jimmy Buffet. I’m not sure why it is, but many people never call anyone. In the enigma within a puzzle that is life, they are also always wondering why no one calls them. When I was in college, my grandmother once said to me that if I wrote to her she would write me back, but I had to write first. At the moment she said it, I thought it was a little strange, but without the feedback that your letters are being received it IS kind of pointless to keep writing. Everyone has to take their turn. I’m glad I followed my grandmother’s [ Read more… ]

Asking for and accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on December 16, 2019

One of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is getting our members to ask for and accept help when they need it. I suppose it is a guy thing and roughly 90% of our members are guys. As everyone knows, guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station. (Have you ever wondered why? Thank goodness for GPS! We don’t have to do that anymore.) Well, I have explored this issue from all sides and the conclusion that I have come to is that the reason most folks shy away from asking for and accepting help is a fear of being unable to pay back the debt they have incurred to the person who provided the assistance. [ Read more… ]

Our open door policy

From our daily member newsletter on December 15, 2019

I’m sure all of you have heard the joke about the executive who was addressing the entire staff and when he came to the part about having an open door policy, he asked if whoever took his door would give it back. Well, the open door policy in The FENG is of a similar nature. None of us should have closed doors when it comes to communications from our fellow members. Yes, I know that at times we get messages from our fellow members that appear to be a little impersonal and/or not well thought out, but we should all give these “misguided” individuals the benefit of the doubt and try to help them anyway. Not everyone is a wiz [ Read more… ]

To Whom It May Concern

From our daily member newsletter on December 12, 2019

One of the more amusing aspects of this time of year is the effort some people make to reach out to those in their address book with holiday greetings of some kind. In years past, this took the form of Hallmark cards, all very colorful, that I opened and put on the fireplace mantel and/or around my office to create a festive atmosphere. (I miss those cards, don’t you?) Now I get a lot of email greeting cards. (How boring!) While I don’t print them and use them for decorations, they have the same flaw that the physical cards had: Who was that masked man that sent them? While often times the envelope the card came in had a return [ Read more… ]

Tilting at windmills

From our daily member newsletter on December 11, 2019

From time to time, I have been accused of tilting at windmills. Actually, I am never offended when I hear this because in large part everything we do in The FENG has elements of it, and I’m proud of it. It has indeed been a long road developing The FENG. Most importantly, I haven’t had to do it alone. I have had the support of a huge number of “Fanatic FENG’ers. We are now the largest organization of our type in the entire world. It’s not too shabby, having had only 63 members at the end 1996 to now have over 37,000 members nationwide and around the world. We are indeed a force in the world ALREADY and yet growing [ Read more… ]

It’s always about you

From our daily member newsletter on December 10, 2019

For those of you who are movie fans, there was a memorable scene in a totally forgettable movie called “The Mexican” with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. Julia is throwing Brad’s clothes down on him from a balcony while having an argument with him and screaming: “It’s always about you!” Well, one time when it should always be about you is when you are doing your 90 second announcement. You would think with all the focus us financial types have that it would be easy to talk about ourselves, but you would be wrong. For those new to the 90 second announcement, it all too easy to fall into the trap of discussing why you left your last job, frequently [ Read more… ]

The too hard pile

From our daily member newsletter on December 9, 2019

Everyone has a “too hard pile.” (Even I have one!) It’s all that work that sits in a pile by your desk and you never seem to get to it. I suppose there ought to be a law or something that would prevent us from leaving things in the “too hard” pile for very long. Of course, many of us (myself included) would now be guilty of a crime. (Perhaps a law would be too harsh.) Anyway, what started me thinking about the “too hard” pile is the constant state of my desk these days. I know I move a lot of the paper on my desk every day, but the pile isn’t going down as fast as it should. [ Read more… ]

Local candidates only

From our daily member newsletter on December 8, 2019

I know how disheartening it can be to get to the bottom of a job posting and see those deathless words: “Local candidates only.” Still, the facts are that there are always lots of qualified folks applying for any great job, and at least in major metropolitan areas there is no need for a company to move someone. In addition to the availability of local talent, a not so obvious issue is the difficulty of meeting and getting to know a candidate from outside the area. If we are talking “East Coast/West Coast,” the three hour time difference can make it difficult to connect. With this as a backdrop, if you see a job posting that is a good fit [ Read more… ]

Hi, it’s me the pest!

From our daily member newsletter on December 5, 2019

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 December 4, 2019

At most meetings of The FENG here in Westport I take a few minutes during my introduction to explain the best approach to contacting other members of our now vast organization. The best approach to contacting just about anyone, including other members, is to first send a letter of introduction 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 me see if I can explain. The first of Matt’s laws of which you should be aware is that speech is the slowest form of communication. To call someone and walk them through your background is a difficult proposition at best. The same information [ Read more… ]

Presenting your credentials

From our daily member newsletter on December 3, 2019

Job search is a draining and discouraging process at times. (Or, is that most of the time?) Well, maybe not, unless you make it so. The truth is that most of us financial types stay in jobs a lot longer than those in other disciplines like marketing or sales. In addition, most of the work we do is being Mr./Ms. Inside where others know us. The need to “explain ourselves” just isn’t part of our make-up. (Besides, do they want that check signed or not? Ah, the golden rule. He/she who has the gold or controls the gold, makes the rules.) At the end of the movie “Good Fellas,” the wise guy who has ratted out his fellow mobsters is [ Read more… ]

Don’t be lazy

From our daily member newsletter on December 2, 2019

In a sense, a sailboat isn’t a complicated machine. Compared with other means of transportation such as cars or planes, there really isn’t much to a sailboat. Sails are pretty simple, and if you are like me, you don’t use the motor if you can avoid it. (We only burned about 50 gallons of diesel this summer, including our vacation. How much wear and tear could a motor get being used that little?) And, laziness tends to go right along with the summer, doesn’t it? And after a long day in the hot sun, it is easy to forget that this “thing” on which your life depends may need some attention when you would much rather head off for a [ Read more… ]

The failure to communicate

From our daily member newsletter on December 1, 2019

The story I hear more often than not is how perfect someone was for a particular posting and their amazement that they didn’t get a call. Of course, there are a lot of possible reasons why someone doesn’t get a response. It could be they were in too late. It could be that there were requirements for the job that only became obvious once responses rolled in. Criteria that didn’t seem attainable are suddenly appearing on so many of the credentials of candidates received that those without it aren’t even considered. My only concern tonight is to address the possibility that you don’t communicate your areas of expertise in an easily absorbed manner. Let’s put ourselves on the other side [ Read more… ]

The holiday networking season

From our daily member newsletter on November 25, 2019

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 personal relationship [ Read more… ]

Stopping the aging process

From our daily member newsletter on November 24, 2019

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about the steps people are taking these days at work to conceal their age. I understand where this comes from. Ageism, as with all forms of prejudice, comes from ignorance. Across all of the ways of earning a living, it is true that SOME workers who are older are just not cost effective in the work they can do. Paying a lot more for a ditch digger who is well experienced may not make a whole lot of sense. When you look at work content and how experience plays into that is key to deciding whether or not hiring a “well experienced” person makes sense. There is, of course, the mean spirited [ Read more… ]

Abbreviations

From our daily member newsletter on November 21, 2019

I guess the desire to shorten just about everything is part of human nature. I once worked with a guy named Harry and the boss insisted on calling him Har. I suppose he could have called him H, but maybe that was TOO short. When I was in college, everyone was talking about the ATGSB. For those of you who don’t know, this stood for the Aptitude Test for Graduate Study in Business. Like slang expressions, folks use abbreviations to set themselves apart from others. If you don’t know what it means, you are probably not part of the “in crowd,” or at least MY in crowd. With this as an introduction, I’m not sure if I can articulate everything [ Read more… ]

An advertising over promise

From our daily member newsletter on November 20, 2019

For almost a decade I was Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency. In addition to learning how to deal with a wild and crazy bunch of folks, I learned a lot not only about the advertising business, but also about advertising in general. One of the facts that I learned was that a good advertising campaign could get customers to try the product. (We were a very creative shop!) In some cases, we were so good at what we did that we almost put some of our clients out of business. Sounds odd, but oh so true. Promising 10 and delivering 5 is about one of the worst things you can do. In the context of job search, I [ Read more… ]

Move to where?

From our daily member newsletter on November 19, 2019

In 1991 when I was last out of work I was at a point in my life where I didn’t want to move. Although born in Chicago and raised in northern Indiana, I had lived in Connecticut for almost 20 years and I liked it here. My wife’s parents lived nearby and I had a daughter and son in high school. Moving really didn’t make sense in that it would have been very disruptive. And, much as I respect those who have taken jobs out of town and commuted for a period of time, it wasn’t something I was prepared to do. It seemed to me at the time that because I lived in the New York metropolitan area, there [ Read more… ]

Creating actionable messages

From our daily member newsletter on November 18, 2019

I’m a pretty organized guy. If I weren’t, it would be impossible to get all the things done in a day that I try to accomplish. (Sometimes I have even gotten all my email up to date!) Still, a few times a day I get an email from someone with incomplete information. A few years ago I wrote to a new member applicant and asked him to send me a resume with his educational information. Not a smart thing to leave off your resume. But okay, these things happen. He was also lacking a sponsor as far as I knew, so I mentioned that as well. The note back read in part: “Attached is a revised resume and, oh by [ Read more… ]

The original 2 for 1 sale

From our daily member newsletter on November 17, 2019

Every once in a while The Wall Street Journal publishes a cartoon worthy of discussion. Several years ago, the “Pepper … And Salt” cartoon showed a job seeker, obviously older, explaining his credentials to the interviewer with the following words: “Don’t think of me as a 54-year-old job applicant. Think of it as getting two 27-year-olds for the price of one.” This is not quite as good as the Jos. A. Bank buy one, get two free sales, but close enough. I’ve been sent several articles recently about age discrimination. Great topic and one that I think we should spend a lot of time beating a dead horse about. I’m thinking in terms of a belief system where we can [ Read more… ]

Common courtesy

From our daily member newsletter on November 14, 2019

There are some who would argue that in this day and age of email, texting and Tweeting, the world has become a more impersonal place than in those halcyon days of yesteryear. Please say it isn’t so. In this electronic age, it has become SO easy to be personal, that I can’t for the life of me fathom why anyone wouldn’t take the time to say thank you to anyone and everyone who sends them a message. I like to think that I have a society of 37,000+ friends. (I hope all of you feel the same way.) Although all of you need to be patient with me from time to time because I fall behind in my email, I [ Read more… ]

Dream a little dream

From our daily member newsletter on November 13, 2019

Up until the age of 46 I didn’t spend a single day unemployed. From the time I got out of the Army in 1971 until 1991 I only changed jobs twice. It doesn’t give you a lot of time to think about your career or to consider that you might be doing other things. During the two years I was out of work I did a lot of thinking and I tried a lot of different things. I suppose if I had found a job immediately my life would not be what it is today. I would venture to say it is better than it might have otherwise been despite the “years from heck.” As you know, all jobs are [ Read more… ]

Have a magical day

From our daily member newsletter on November 12, 2019

For those of you who have been there, I’m sure you recognize the Disney way of concluding a conversation. It is kind of cute, don’t you think? And, in the context of Disney, it sets you up for what you should be experiencing. The more common phrase in the United States, of course, is “Have a nice day” or for those given to extremes “Have a great day.” Perhaps I am a curmudgeon of sorts, but I have always considered such phrases to be somewhat of an over promise. The world I live in is to under promise and over deliver. If I say: Have a great day to someone, I always worry that I am setting them up for [ Read more… ]

Did you have a bad day?

From our daily member newsletter on November 11, 2019

Let’s face it, sooner or later you are bound to have a bad day. The odds of having 365 perfect days in a row just aren’t high. It’s sort of a reverse thing to the odds of your winning the lottery. Sure, someone wins it every day, but it never seems to be me. (I guess it would help if I bought a ticket, but I am a tightwad financial guy and I would never spend the money – but I digress.) By the way, if it turns out to be you, I hope you will make a generous contribution to The FENG or buy me a new car or something. Anyway, getting out of bed every morning, energized and [ Read more… ]

True confessions

From our daily member newsletter on November 10, 2019

While confession may be good for the soul, it is deadly when it comes to job search. The dreaded question: What is your greatest weakness? This is one of those questions we could easily do without. And, they often catch us by surprise. Enron aside, the problem is that most senior financial folks are very honest. I’m sure there is something about each of us we believe to be our greatest weakness. However, this is not the time to tell ANYONE about your secret concerns. Okay, you do have to say something. To say you have no weaknesses comes off as conceited or worse arrogant. But what should you confess to? My suggestion is that you target those things that [ Read more… ]

The quest for eternal truths

From our daily member newsletter on November 7, 2019

“Must have industry experience” often appears on position descriptions in this newsletter as well as ones one might see in the newspaper or on the various job boards that exist in the nether world of the Internet. The question is whether to respond or not to respond when the requirement is so clear. The obvious answer is that it depends. Much as we would like to believe that we have transferable skills (and we do), each industry has its peculiarities that need to be learned. Is a little cross fertilization from another industry a good idea? I have always been of this opinion. Still, in any job market, there are always going to be candidates who fit the bill to [ Read more… ]

They’re a pack of liars

From our daily member newsletter on November 6, 2019

There are an awful lot of people in this world who lie from time to time, some more frequently than others. And, not all of them are politicians. Others may have a different definition, but having an accounting background, I believe that anything that is said that isn’t the WHOLE truth is sort of a lie. I’ll give you a little hint about where I am going with tonight’s editorial by telling you that some of the worst prevaricators in this world are on the other side of the desk interviewing you for jobs you would love to have. Of course, if your wife asks you if her new dress makes her look fat, I hope you will have the [ Read more… ]

Old friends and your job search

From our daily member newsletter on November 5, 2019

One of the greatest disappointments you may discover during your job search is that old friends don’t call you back. When I began my job search back in 1991 and in the years since, I have often struggled to explain this syndrome to my many friends. My purpose is not to make excuses for anyone, but rather to explain the situation in a way that will lead us to be more forgiving. And, if we are lucky, perhaps to discover ways that in the end will cause us to benefit from these long established relationships. The syndrome you are experiencing I call “the death in the family thing.” People tend not to call or even to write because they are [ Read more… ]

Boo!

From our daily member newsletter on November 4, 2019

It has been said that everything you really need to know, you learned in kindergarten. Several years ago, I had the great pleasure of going trick or treating with my grandson. It is one of those things you obviously can’t do at my age unless you have grandchildren living nearby, and I am so blessed. It was a little cold and windy here in Connecticut that night, but it was one of those opportunities you just can’t miss. As my son and I wandered around the immediate neighborhood where my grandson lives, it was obvious that although most of the houses were decorated in the spirit of Halloween, there were also quite a few houses that weren’t decorated and in [ Read more… ]

25 words or less

From our daily member newsletter on November 3, 2019

There is this great place right at the top of each resume that I find is not generally very well used. Right after your name, address, telephone numbers and email address, there is nothing more appropriate to appear than a summary. A summary, précis, or synopsis appearing in this location can save those reading your opus a lot of valuable time, and work to insure that you are included in that most desired pile of resumes to read later, as opposed to the pile that is positioned ever so close to the circular file. Look, I don’t know anything about you, so at this juncture you have a golden opportunity to give me a clear mental picture of what you [ Read more… ]

Throwing up on the customer

From our daily member newsletter on October 31, 2019

I hope you will all forgive me for the rather melodramatic subject of tonight’s editorial. Now that I have encouraged you to talk, my fear is that you will talk too much. Personal selling is a grand profession. Unlike many of the products that can be sold through mass marketing, personal selling products tend to be complicated, just like you. Complex products require a lot of sales training. Those of you who have experimented with selling insurance or other related financial services can relate to your fellow members of The FENG that the technical information was easy to absorb, but the real job of these folks is selling and more selling. That said, when you have a great product like [ Read more… ]

Do you want to be found?

From our daily member newsletter on October 30, 2019

I never cease to be amazed at the extremes job seekers go to hide. It is almost as if they would prefer NOT being selected for a job interview. Call me silly, but I make every attempt to make it easy for others to contact me. I know it isn’t the default, but I have even been known to use an outgoing signature on REPLIES to emails sent to me. You see, I have this stupid idea that perhaps you don’t know how to reach me. And, much as I dread human contact, it seems to be the only way to make a living. My outgoing signature (yes, I am going to beat that drum again) contains my “greeting to [ Read more… ]

Attached is the file

From our daily member newsletter on October 29, 2019

Many of us pride ourselves on being brief. Being a financial person in part is defined as being factual and to the point. Any member of our profession who had a tendency to rattle on would be viewed as a little odd, don’t you think? Many of you may be aware of Calvin Coolidge and his reputation for being brief. Both his dry Yankee wit and his frugality with words were legendary. As the story goes, his wife, Grace Goodhue Coolidge, recounted that a young woman sitting next to Coolidge at a dinner party confided to him she had bet she could get at least three words of conversation from him. Without looking at her he quietly retorted, “You lose.” [ Read more… ]

Do you get out much?

From our daily member newsletter on October 28, 2019

The second Wednesday in November we will be having another meeting of The FENG’s Westport chapter. I tell you this not so that you will attend. Goodness knows, it is probably a little far for most of you. (But if your travels bring you to Westport on the evening of one of our meetings, please know you will be more than welcome to attend.) No, my reason is to remind you that chapter meetings represent a golden opportunity that honestly shouldn’t be missed. Have you been practicing your 90-second announcement? If you have been doing this in the comfort of your own home, let me assure you this is a good thing to do, but it is hardly enough. The [ Read more… ]

Fending off “silly” questions

From our daily member newsletter on October 24, 2019

Here you are (minding your own business) interviewing for a highly desirable “work opportunity” and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a question is raised about your knowledge of a specific topic. If the issue being raised was on the position description, shame on you. I have to assume that you carefully read this obvious document and are clear in your mind where you have shortcomings. These areas are the proverbial “elephant sitting in the room” and are part and parcel of your preparation process. Given that you have been selected to be interviewed, one must assume that on balance you are a good fit and under active consideration. If you have a “knowledge void,” with respect to a [ Read more… ]

Force Equals Mass Times Acceleration

From our daily member newsletter on October 23, 2019

You might wonder what natural laws have to do with job search, but there is honestly a strong connection. The “mass” in this formula is you and your many talents not currently being applied to accounting and finance matters. The “acceleration” is a measure of how active you are in your job search. Are you actively networking, or have you given up? If you aren’t “fighting the good fight” the measured acceleration is obviously low. If you were untalented but working hard at finding a job, there would be more “force” being applied than if you were extremely talented and doing nothing. It has come to my attention that despite the recession having officially ended several years ago, many of [ Read more… ]

Can you hear me now?

From our daily member newsletter on October 22, 2019

One of my favorite commercials of all time was Verizon’s cell phone commercial. I actually didn’t like it, but because it is so well known I use it as a point of humor when talking to those I call and who call me when their cell phone connection fades in and out. Honestly folks, if you have to take or make an important phone call, don’t do it on a cell phone. If you do, make sure you have a strong signal. I could be wrong, but years ago it was actually possible to interrupt those who called you. Not to say rudely interrupt, but rather to get a word in edgewise. Phone service just doesn’t seem to duplex as [ Read more… ]

The darkest hour is before dawn

From our daily member newsletter on October 21, 2019

As you can tell by the length of tonight’s newsletter, the published job market isn’t as strong as we would like it to be. That said, with 37,000+ members, I would hope we could generate more job leads for our newsletter. A few suggestions follow below. If I may paraphrase Yogi Berra, our politicians have messed up right field so bad I don’t think anyone can play it. You may substitute the senior financial job market for right field. To mix a few metaphors tonight, as good as the economy may appear to be, the job market for senior financial executives seems to be a little thin. That said, we have no choice but to play the cards we have [ Read more… ]

Increasing the depth of your friendships

From our daily member newsletter on October 20, 2019

Several years ago I read a book sent to me by one of our Associate members, Rich Guha. The title of the book was How to Get What You Most Want in Life. At 103 pages, even the busiest of our members honestly has the time to read this rare volume. I can assure you it is worth the time. If you want a copy the link is: http://www.amazon.com/How-What-Most-Want-Life/dp/0595662595. Although I found the book overall to be of great interest, tonight I would like to focus on Chapter 5: Making Friends & Networking. What caught my attention and interest was the following: “In the 18th century, many educated people spent hours a day writing letters to friends and talking to [ Read more… ]

Demonstrating attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on October 17, 2019

The world today is filled with more opportunities to communicate than ever before. From email at your desk station to email by smart phone, to texting, to telephone calls. Every time you reach out and touch someone, all they know about you is what you send them. As one of my friends used to say: “Don’t make your first impression your last.” I would add to this the idea that EVERY communication that emanates from you needs to be professional. There are no casual communications possible, even in person. Like the Citizens Band radio that preceded it, those who pour out endless streams of communication feel that it is somehow okay to take short cuts. I suppose this is okay, [ Read more… ]

On being gracious in defeat

From our daily member newsletter on October 16, 2019

I have written many times about the fact that when the answer is no, you don’t get much honest information. There are two approaches that are typically used. The first is what I call “The excuse you can’t cure.” If you only had a CPA, and you don’t, there isn’t much that you can say. The second approach is to blame someone who “isn’t in the room.” I liked you, but there were other folks who interviewed you who didn’t and they didn’t tell me exactly why. It is a corollary of “blame shifting,” which many of you are familiar with from psychology class. The reason you only rarely get a “true” answer is that job seekers, especially us financial [ Read more… ]

The wealth of talent

From our daily member newsletter on October 15, 2019

I have to tell you that I come away from most meetings of The FENG considerably impressed with the wealth of talent in the room. Perhaps it is just me, but the experience that most of our members bring to the party is truly amazing. The only problem that our members actually face is marketing their experience to others. Hey, if we were marketing experts, I assume we all would have gone into marketing. Unfortunately, we are accounting/finance types, and that coupled with our innate modesty appears to prevent us from bragging appropriately. The other not so obvious “syndrome” is that we have a wealth of talent and experiences. Yes, I know I said that already and in a positive [ Read more… ]

Knowing you’re not alone

From our daily member newsletter on October 14, 2019

They say that misery loves company. I hope all of you know that this has never been what The FENG was all about. While it is true that most of us are in that vast and over crowded arena called “middle age” and that the focus of our organization is job search related, what we share as an organization is the idea that none of us are alone. Yes, you have to do most of the “heavy lifting” yourself when it comes to managing your career, but knowing that there is help and support EVERY WHICH WAY you turn is what makes The FENG different than any other organization of which you might be a member. Several times a week [ Read more… ]

One device-many uses

From our daily member newsletter on October 13, 2019

In 1969 I was drafted into the U.S. Army. It was of course a difficult time. But, my approach to life has always been to see the humor in every situation, and I must say the Army gave me many opportunities. One of the most amazing things I was given during basic training was a little device called a P-38. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of Army service or those who did, but memory doesn’t serve, the P-38 was a rather remarkable can opener. About an inch or so in length, and sort of like a hinge in design, it could open any can of C-Rations. But enough of simple devices. The device that actually came [ Read more… ]

Oops, I made a mistake!

From our daily member newsletter on October 10, 2019

It sure is a disappointment to find out you aren’t perfect. I don’t know about you, but I have always enjoyed the fact that typically the spreadsheets of my life tick and tie. I guess it goes with the territory of being a senior financial executive. Most things in our lives are measurable or can be forecast with some accuracy. Everything that is except for the people and companies we have to deal with when we are working, and especially late in our career. And so it is that after a successful career with perhaps several large corporations, we join a company that loses money and/or goes out of business. Even worse, we may do this more than once over [ Read more… ]

Who are you and why are you writing?

From our daily member newsletter on October 9, 2019

I continue to be amazed and astounded how many emails I get every day that aren’t signed and/or that make only vague references to what they are about. “Thank you for adding Joe to our membership” isn’t really all that helpful unless I know who you are and who Joe is. I am fortunate in that I have what I call “Matt’s secret decoder ring” (The FENG membership directory) handy at all times, but it is clearly an additional step to look you up, and then I may have to check my sent mail or my deleted mail to see what we were talking about. Sometimes my mystery correspondent has taken the additional step of writing to me from an [ Read more… ]

Conflicting advice

From our daily member newsletter on October 8, 2019

One thing there is a lot of in this world is advice. What makes matters worse, a lot of it is conflicting advice. Just as it is difficult to work when you have your nose to the grindstone AND your shoulder to the wheel all at the same time, one person’s advice can often be in TOTAL conflict with another person’s. And, both of these individuals may be trusted advisors. One thing that I say at a lot at our meeting here in Connecticut is to put any advice you get through your own filters. To be quite honest, I often don’t know what’s best for me. How could I know what’s best for you? In the course of our [ Read more… ]

Square pegs and round holes

From our daily member newsletter on October 7, 2019

It is important to understand that all job leads are not created equal. In fact, the very idea of a job lead is that something very specific is being sought. Often times the primary issues are repeated in a lead in paragraph and referred to as “must haves.” The question is often how seriously to take them? From a job seekers perspective (the one I always try to take) a specific job lead can attract your interest for reasons of location, industry, skill set or compensation. The fact that a job lead has caught your attention, however, doesn’t mean that your background as presented in your resume will be viewed as a reasonable fit. To use a legal analogy, this [ Read more… ]

Social media and job search

From our daily member newsletter on October 6, 2019

Anyone who wants to jump in here and correct me is more than welcome to do so, but I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of misconceptions about the value of social media in your job search. Let me be clear that I strongly recommend you have as complete a LinkedIn profile as you can. Keep your listing up to date and make sure it is completely consistent with your resume. Anything you publish about yourself can and very likely will be checked by some compulsive in the Human Resources department. A significant difference can derail you getting a perfectly good job, and you will never know what hit you. I would also strongly recommend that [ Read more… ]

Standard formats

From our daily member newsletter on October 3, 2019

As many of you know, one of my weekly occupations is reviewing new member applications. I try to keep in mind that for the most part I am seeing resumes that have just been completed out of whole cloth. In effect, these are the first result of days of writing and rewriting. Unfortunately, most are not even close to being finished, or as polished as they need to be. With my backgrounds in educational publishing, information publishing and advertising, I have a personal preference for standard formats. Although the information between the top of page one and the end of page two can be very creative, the structure really shouldn’t be. The rationale I would suggest to you is that [ Read more… ]

Self-improvement

From our daily member newsletter on October 2, 2019

Seeing difficult times as times of opportunity I suppose is a skill in and of itself. It is far too easy to see a job search as full of trials and tribulations. Of course, it is a difficult time, but it is also a time when if you are going to go through a change, it is a good time to sit and think about your future and what you need to do to be where you want to be. For most of our members it is my belief that this is a good time to bone up on your technology skills. Most of our members move from large companies to smaller firms. In these smaller firms you can be [ Read more… ]

The importance of responding to messages

From our daily member newsletter on October 1, 2019

I guess there has indeed been a total breakdown of law and order. Not only are many people ignoring their email, they are also apparently ignoring their phone calls. I don’t often make cold calls to support our consulting practice. Most of our clients in The FECG are actually members. And, all of our candidates for assignments are members, so I guess each of you in your own way have me spoiled rotten. Once last year I made over 50 phone calls to Private Equity Groups to generate assignments. I think I actually reached and spoke to only 3 people (other than administrative assistants), the rest of the time I went into voice mail. I’ve been in business with since [ Read more… ]

Rising tides

From our daily member newsletter on September 30, 2019

In chatting with members over the many years I have Chaired The FENG, one hope frequently voiced has been a wish that as the economy improves there would be more jobs. The basic theory is that a rising tide floats all boats. If I wait long enough, it won’t be all that difficult to find another job. Unfortunately, wishing won’t make it so. And, our political process is again up to its old antics of creating uncertainty, which is never good for business. My suggestion is to stop waiting for good things to happen and set about to make good things happen for yourself by rethinking what you want to accomplish with your job search and with your career over [ Read more… ]

So much to do, so little time

From our daily member newsletter on September 29, 2019

So, you’ve started a new job. Congratulations. Now you only have to survive the first 90 days and then the first year. After that, your tenure will be more related to the business than to personalities. The first thing I would suggest you do is get a copy of John Lucht’s book “Insights for the Journey.” On page 17 is a jewel of a section titled “Fit In.” If you read this section and take it to heart, it will be worth the price of the book. You remember all that stuff you were told about shaking things up and being a change agent? Wrong! Your first goal is to gain the support of those around you so they won’t [ Read more… ]

The importance of hobbies

From our daily member newsletter on September 26, 2019

I once worked for a division president who wouldn’t hire anyone who didn’t have a hobby. His theory was that your brain couldn’t be active and productive if you didn’t have something to think about other than work. While he admired those with “fire in their belly,” he was a man with hobbies. The two I remember best were road rallies and running. The road rally hobby was an interesting one. As I recall, he participated in the macho class where all you were allowed was a stop watch and a clipboard. The theory as I understood it was that you had to arrive at your destination and at several check points at a very specific time. Being able to [ Read more… ]

The incredible shrinking newsletter

From our daily member newsletter on September 25, 2019

Although the great recession ended quite some time ago, we are still not getting a lot of leads for our evening newsletter. The two most important things that I hope that all of you are making every effort to share are good news announcements and job leads. Good news announcements let your fellow members know that there are actually jobs out there. The theory is that if someone found a job yesterday, it is possible that through my sustained efforts, I may also find a job. It is a vital part of the encouragement we offer each other. While I accept that all of you are a little on the bashful side, I would encourage those who have found a [ Read more… ]

The networking process

From our daily member newsletter on September 24, 2019

In the days of wooden ships and iron men, the determination of longitude was thought to be an impossibility. The simple solution was creating a clock that was accurate enough to keep track of what time it was in Greenwich, England. If you knew what time it was at a fixed point and you knew the time of what is called local apparent noon, you could through some complex mathematical calculations determine your East/West position. The science of all of this is a little long to go into here, but the short story is that John Harrison, the man who created the first accurate chronometer, was seeking a prize worth about $12 million in today’s currency. Not only did he [ Read more… ]

Gump happens

From our daily member newsletter on September 23, 2019

If only each of us had a crystal ball (highly polished of course) that we could call upon over the course of our lives. The problem is that we don’t. I once heard a very nice presentation on how to get a good start in a new job. Parachuting in at the top is always difficult, and the speaker did a good job in discussing the issues involved and how to deal with them. One of the issues discussed, as you might expect, was in doing a little due diligence before accepting an offer. If only this were the panacea it is always presented to be. Truth be told, we are more often put in a position in any job [ Read more… ]

Selling into a new industry

From our daily member newsletter on September 22, 2019

It is not unusual, and is perhaps typical, that members of The FENG would like to change industries. I wish I could tell you that this is easy. Unfortunately, I think the phrase “easier said than done” is applicable here. Of course, someone telling me that a project is impossible is always a good way to gain my interest and I hope yours as well. The trick is to understand the nature of the person with whom you are communicating and how best to “work them.” Now, nothing evil here, but an understanding of your “customer” and how they think about things is very much in order. When working with retained search firms and contingency firms, to a degree they [ Read more… ]

Projecting a winning attitude

From our daily member newsletter on September 19, 2019

If there is anything that typically jumps out at me when we have our meetings here in Connecticut, it is the need for us financial folks to be completely honest, even in our assessments of ourselves. However, interviews and 90 second announcements are no time for an extensive evaluation of why you lost your last job. For the most part in our fast changing world, there may not even be a need to explain it at all, let alone in depth. What everyone is interested in hearing is why they should be talking to you. What are your strengths and how can you solve their problems? It is very important at these times to have an explanation that satisfies the [ Read more… ]

A wealth of information

From our daily member newsletter on September 18, 2019

The first time I show someone a navigational chart their eyes usually glass over. There are so many detailed pieces of information and so many strange colors and symbols. It can be more than a little overwhelming. Most folks purchase charts in bound books covering specific geographic areas. The first problem is finding the chart you need. This can be done by studying the cover where the total geographic area is shown. On this page there are boxes with numbers indicating what page to use for each harbor of interest. After all these years, I’m not sure what stuff is obvious and what isn’t to the uninitiated. Water depth, symbols for various kinds of channel markers, and different colors for [ Read more… ]

The out-of-town job offer

From our daily member newsletter on September 17, 2019

It sure is romantic to think about a job offer out of town with a full relocation package as a way to start over again. And, in many ways and for some people, it just may be your ticket to a life of sheer happiness for you and your family. However, for most people I have known over the years, the joy has turned out to be a lot less than it first appeared to be. I, unfortunately, can regale you with more bad moving stories than good ones. In fact, I would be hard pressed to come up with a good moving story, as in one that ended well. Let’s start with the idea that all jobs are temporary. [ Read more… ]

The fine art of commiseration

From our daily member newsletter on September 16, 2019

It is, unfortunately, far too easy to fall into the trap of having a negative conversation with other members. While it is very important to have empathy for others, to get into extended discussions on the state of the world and how everything is hopeless benefits no one. The world is what it is. If I may quote from the movie “The Deer Hunter,” Robert DiNiro was heard to say “This is this.” The job market is what it is and each of us in our own way is what or who we are. (If you aren’t confused yet, please call me because I think I am starting to confuse myself.) Anyway, the point of all of this is for [ Read more… ]

The truth about jelly beans

From our daily member newsletter on September 15, 2019

Many years ago a college professor of mine related a story about one of his students who wrote a research paper about an experiment she conducted with an elderly stroke victim at a convalescent home near the campus. The basic premise of the experiment was that whenever the patient in question performed the appropriate behavior (and forgive me, but I don’t remember what that was), he was rewarded with a jelly bean. After the class had ended and the student had received her “A” in the class, she had occasion to see this professor walking through campus and stopped to say hello. In the course of that conversation she told the professor that she had a small confession to make. [ Read more… ]

Adapting in Darwinian fashion

From our daily member newsletter on September 12, 2019

I’m not sure if any of us really want to adapt to changing world conditions in true Darwinian fashion. That would require that only those of us with appropriate features survive to create the next generation. As human beings, we have the unique ability to adapt who we are and what we are to appear to be more suitable to current market needs. The problem is that most of us don’t take advantage of this characteristic. To begin with, your resume should have a traditional structure in order to be most easily absorbed. Our work history from most recent to least recent is how we must begin in presenting our credentials. And, rightly so. The details under each “work opportunity” [ Read more… ]

I’ve got you covered

From our daily member newsletter on September 11, 2019

We can all get a lot of help writing resumes. There are even lots and lots of very good books and articles on this topic. Still, the first thing most recipients read or at least glance at is your email/cover letter. As bad as most of the resumes I see are, the email/cover letters are often worse. We are all kind of stuck with the fact that in this electronic world, the email message you send with your resume IS your cover letter. And, please don’t attach two files. In any case, no one has time to open and print two files. Attach your resume and be sure to name it with the standard of LastNameFirstname.doc. Don’t under any circumstances [ Read more… ]

Approaching networking contacts

From our daily member newsletter on September 10, 2019

Since The FENG has been built by friends introducing friends, I imagine that as an organization we are probably more sensitive to networking abuses than most people. Still, I thought it might be helpful if I took a little time tonight and suggested a few ways to go about this delicate process of asking others for favors. Let me start you out with the simple philosophy I call “Asking for the world’s smallest favor.” As you think about the networking contacts with whom you are about to communicate, consider the range of requests you might make and try to pick ones that don’t push the envelope too far. For example, you wouldn’t ask someone you don’t know to put your [ Read more… ]

Eating elephants

From our daily member newsletter on September 9, 2019

Unless you buy your mustard in 55-gallon drums, and have some very sharp knives, eating an entire elephant can be a formidable task, not unlike the task facing you at the beginning of a job search. There are so many things to do and all of them appear to be urgent. In addition, they all appear to be unstructured. Unlike the monthly closings and analytical work that followed at your last job, the best approach and the approximate time required to do them is unknown. It can leave you feeling like a “deer in the headlights.” (In case you haven’t noticed, I thought I would try some animal analogies tonight.) When I was working on my Master’s thesis (oh so [ Read more… ]

Do you know who I am?

From our daily member newsletter on September 8, 2019

There is an extended joke I heard quite some time ago about a “gentleman” who was standing in line at an airline ticket counter trying to get on an over booked flight. In a demanding voice he uttered the above words at which point the ticket agent got on the PA system and announced that there was an individual at her counter who didn’t know who he was. If anyone recognized him, she would appreciate it if they would come forward. At times, this job search thing can be really discouraging if for no other reason than those we are communicating with don’t know who we are. By that I mean they don’t know how important we are. (Or is [ Read more… ]

Communicating your special value

From our daily member newsletter on September 5, 2019

One of the most challenging aspects of looking for a new “work opportunity” is having enough introspection to know what your special value is to a potential employer. I’m afraid that in most cases, we’re the last ones to know. When we do our 90-second announcements at our chapter meeting in Westport, I usually have the appropriate resume in front of me. I am always checking to see if the 90-second announcement matches the resume. Interestingly, sometimes there is more on the resume than in the 90-second announcement, and sometimes the reverse is true. More meat and delightful factoids are in the 90-second announcement, but nowhere to be found on the resume. Although it has been said that many of [ Read more… ]

Fog, rifles & shotguns

From our daily member newsletter on September 4, 2019

The current job market continues to throw a large fog bank over the senior executive job market. Not just us financial types, but all college educated, well experienced executives are struggling with defining who they are and what they do to somehow match what they believe to be the opportunities out in the world. When you are stuck in a fog bank as I have been from time to time (normally smart enough to be anchored at the time, but sometimes not), you can frequently hear other boaters running around you off in the distance. The hope is that they won’t come near your vessel and run into you at high speed. You see, there is an element of panic [ Read more… ]

10 seconds or less

From our daily member newsletter on September 3, 2019

Based on the resumes I see on a daily basis, I am not sure there is full appreciation for the amount of time any reviewer gives to your carefully crafted opus. The sad truth is that unless the information presented has a clarity greater than the other documents in that stack of 100-500, it can easily be passed over even though you MAY be the most qualified person in the pile. Think long and hard about any of the speed reading that you do starting with the morning newspaper. I sometimes feel sorry for the reporters who have slaved over the stories I skip because I have been unable to find even one word of interest to jump up and [ Read more… ]

Proof of the pudding

From our daily member newsletter on August 29, 2019

One of the many fine traditions we have in The FENG is the sharing of job hunting tips. I have to tell you that recently I haven’t been hearing as many job hunting tips as I used to hear. No, it isn’t that I have heard it all. New things are certainly happening. The problem I fear is primarily the nature of who we are and how we perceive the success or failure of the approaches we have taken in our search. The “proof of the pudding” to many of our members is that they found a job. The problem with that standard is that most likely they wouldn’t be unemployed. They would be nose to the grindstone and shoulder [ Read more… ]

Giving up as a concept

From our daily member newsletter on August 28, 2019

One of the more interesting ideas floating around these days is giving up. I can’t say I am an expert on this topic, other than to say that I have heard about it at length from others. Not that they have actually bought into the idea; just that they were talking about it. As you all know, I am a sailing buff. As such I indulge myself in good sailing stories from time to time. Some of the most memorable have been the ones about those who have had to abandon ship. Although the sailors rule is to “always step up into a lifeboat,” there often comes a time when you have to grab your “abandon ship bag” and do [ Read more… ]

Defining who you are

From our daily member newsletter on August 27, 2019

Probably one of the hardest things to do in life is to define who you are. Are you really your resume? Because we tend to be at companies longer than the members of other discipline areas, the reality of what it is we REALLY do best is not always obvious to us. A very long time ago when one of my friends by the name of Bob Graham, came to speak at our meeting in Connecticut, he shared with us a great interview question: What’s the biggest misperception about you? Believing that others have a misperception about you actually implies that there is something about yourself that you don’t accept. Unfortunately, most of us are often the last to know [ Read more… ]

Taking your temperature too frequently

From our daily member newsletter on August 26, 2019

I don’t know if any of you feel as I do, but when I have a cold or the flu, it is at once annoying and thoughtful that those who care about us are constantly checking up on us. Thank goodness I’m not sick very often, but when I am I prefer to be left alone during “the cure.” Human beings vary, of course. Some of us are hypochondriacs, and some of us are foolish to the point of going out when we are sick. The human experience, as in most things, runs the gamut. So, like I said, if those who care about you “discover” that you are a little under the weather, the constant phone calls or the [ Read more… ]

Hurting other members

From our daily member newsletter on August 25, 2019

It is of course true that our own self-interest at times quite naturally overrides our concern for others. If I am drowning, I can’t very well be expected to save someone else. It’s a kind of a “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” thing. For example, I find that members are frequently more helpful to other members AFTER they find a job. Now that they are safe, they can attend to others. When it comes to reasonably well compensated jobs posted in our newsletter, it is slim pickings most nights. I can understand the reasoning of those who respond to everything. They are for good and valid reasons a little desperate. Holding back from the dinner table is very difficult when you [ Read more… ]

Painting a pretty picture

From our daily member newsletter on August 22, 2019

I have often been heard to say that your 90-second announcement is a STORY about you. It isn’t a history book. And, it doesn’t have to be detailed. In much the same way, your resume is a story about you. However, being in print, you need to keep in mind that you aren’t there to present it with meaningful gestures, shined shoes and properly fitting clothes. No, I’m afraid that your opus is standing there all by itself. A frightening thought, isn’t it? No one is there to explain what you “meant by that remark.” I hope all of you have gotten into the habit of picking up resumes at networking meetings. If you have, have you taken the time [ Read more… ]

Career decisions

From our daily member newsletter on August 21, 2019

Making career decisions is never easy. And unfortunately, being a senior financial executive doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, because you are at a point in your career where you have probably held almost all of the appropriate titles for your skills, it is actually harder to be selected for jobs you would enjoy doing, but for which you appear to be taking a step back. For example, if you have been CFO of a small company, you might be hard pressed being considered for a Controller slot at a much larger firm. As I have mentioned from time to time, if we expect the world to be flexible about opportunities for which we should be considered, we also [ Read more… ]

Working those business contacts

From our daily member newsletter on August 20, 2019

One of the biggest half-truths in this world is the idea of saving your business contacts. The truth is that unless you “work” your business contacts they don’t know you exist. Sure, you don’t want to “bother” them, but unless you call once in a while with something they actually can do for you, or something you can actually do for them, what are you saving them for? The approach I am going to suggest to you will not only yield those hidden jobs for all of us, they will also make you a lot of friends (at least within The FENG), mutually make you aware of jobs about which you would otherwise never have heard (from others), and keep [ Read more… ]

A curious requirement

From our daily member newsletter on August 19, 2019

As our organization has gotten better known, each week we get several membership applications without a sponsor indicated. But as all of you know, a sponsor is required. Our first approach is to ask “Who sent you to our website?” Usually that brings up the name of a member. But failing that, we ask the applicant to pick up that 400 pound phone and call us. Strangely, some never do. It always has been my thinking that what makes this whole thing work that we all kind of know each other. I don’t think that it is all that easy for strangers to share job leads with each other. What exactly would be the incentive? But in the case of [ Read more… ]

Ensuring a productive interview

From our daily member newsletter on August 18, 2019

I think you will find as you are out and about interviewing, that there are always at least two difficult questions that an interviewer would like to ask you. And, not much will happen during an interview unless you get them out of the way. While the “elephant sitting in the room” varies by person, the most obvious question first question is why you left your last job. I tend towards wise guy answers like: They stopped paying me. Or the ever popular: When the security guard threw me out into the street with all my possessions, I didn’t think it made sense to go back to work. Why this question is so important is hard to explain, but just [ Read more… ]

OUR SPONSORS:

cfo