EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

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 the person knew how to get you from “here to there.” And, you hoped that the person advising you wouldn’t give you a whole lot of options. Frankly, you didn’t know which route was better because you didn’t know how to get “there” anyway, and you may not even have known where “here” was at the time you asked the question.

If any of this sounds like “the story of your life,” I’m not surprised, because it is the normal human condition.

When faced with a vexing problem like managing your career, the best approach is to seek out the advice of as many learned individuals as you can and ask your questions. The first time you ask questions, you may not know how to ask them and/or you may not know what the questions are. Even as you hone your interrogation methods, you will find the answers still vary all over the lot.

The reason is actually a lot simpler than you would think. Most people don’t listen all that well. Careers are complicated. Speech is the slowest form of communication. And lastly, no one knows what is best for you, except YOU.

So, as you move down the road of life, learn to ask a lot of questions. You should even be so bold as to ask questions to which you think you know the answer. These might be considered test questions.

At all times, consider the source. How well does your background mesh with the person you are interrogating? Perhaps they don’t understand your career all that well, but they may be experts in some other aspect of your life for which you need advice.

All of your sources will provide information, portions of which you can use to piece together something we call intelligence.

No matter how stressed you are, remember that at the end of the day, it is YOUR life. Advice, conflicting or otherwise, can be determined to be valid or invalid only once you have run it through YOUR filters.

Unless, of course, the advice is coming from me. Then you can run with it without thinking! (Just kidding. Don’t trust me either.)

Regards, Matt

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