EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Ah, the great age of sail! For many hundreds of years, men built great numbers of wooden sailing vessels for commercial purposes and for the making of war.

The truth, as hinted at by the saying above is that there was very little that was actually romantic or desirable about a life at sea. Much of the poetry and writing about life on these vessels was written safely on land.

The building of a large sailing vessel was quite a project in days before computer aided design and no power tools. That said the processes involved in ship construction were well known and changed very little over this period of time. A shipwright from any country or from any of the many centuries would have been very much right at home with any one of his counterparts.

Furthermore, the ships themselves while to our eyes today might be things of beauty, were built to a purpose. And, as they were put into service they might be modified, sometimes rather dramatically. Vessels that couldn’t be put to some economic purpose were very shortly allowed to fall into neglect and disrepair. The Charles W. Morgan, which I visit every summer at the Mystic Seaport Museum, is the last wooden whaling vessel. Why? Well, it was a rendering plant for processing whale oil. Why would anyone want to spend a dime maintaining a smelly factory ship that was no longer useful? This is why she is the last survivor.

Times have changed. Knowledge and experience are passed on more through formal education to new generations than through the learning of a trade as in years past. In our own generation the pace of change itself has risen to a rate that can easily take our breath away if we think about it.

Why is it then that so many folks believe they can find a job that is just like the one they had most recently or one that represents a clear next logical step in their career? Change is the only constant in our world today and trying to prevent its happening is foolishness. Those who will survive will be the ones who embrace change.

We have heard at great length about the need to reinvent ourselves. We may even be open to the idea. But what exactly does this mean in the context of our own lives and our futures as senior financial professionals? If we are to learn what can be learned, are there any success models we can copy so we don’t get an Excedrin headache? (I hate thinking too hard. Don’t you?)

The point is that I am inviting those who have been hard at this process of reinvention or rediscovery of their skills and their applicability to write to us and tell all of us what approaches you suggest.

Let me start with what I know is one of the hardest nuts to crack and see if anyone has some stories to share. How about Banking? This is an industry hard hit by recent economic conditions. Many of our members have been mortgage banking officers at what were previously thought to be some of the best managed firms in their industry, and were well respected for their knowledge and experience. How do these skill sets get put to best use, perhaps outside of banking?

The economic theory we have learned suggests that we need to put our skills to their highest and best use if we are to earn the most income. What is that and how is it different from times past?

If we aren’t going to be able to earn a living from one job, has anyone tried creating two jobs for themselves? Have some members been able to find night teaching jobs, for example?

Sharing our knowledge is what The FENG is all about. If you have a success story to share, take a few minutes and write it up. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Your fellow members will understand.

I look forward to hearing from those with something to contribute to this discussion. Please send them to Leads@TheFENG.org and Leslie will post them under “Notes from Members”.

Regards, Matt

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