EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

A delicate subject

From our daily member newsletter on December 28, 2016

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 2005-2016. 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 22, 2016

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 21, 2016

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 20, 2016

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 19, 2016

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 18, 2016

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 15, 2016

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 14, 2016

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 50,000 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 13, 2016

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 12, 2016

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 11, 2016

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… ]

Rules of engagement

From our daily member newsletter on December 7, 2016

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 6, 2016

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 5, 2016

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 4, 2016

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… ]

Abbreviations

From our daily member newsletter on December 1, 2016

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… ]

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