EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

A long time ago I read a book by Dodge Morgan. Those non-sailors among us will probably not recognize his name, but in his 50’s, Dodge decided to sail solo around the world on a sloop especially designed for him. (I also bought the video of his voyage and heard him speak about his trip, but we won’t get into that.)

The area around the equator is referred to by sailors as the doldrums. Ships making passages around the world could be assured of spending an inordinate amount of time trying to cross this part of the ocean. This is in contrast to the southern ocean where the wind blows almost non-stop all year around because there are no land masses to slow it down or divert it.

Preparing for and dealing with storms or high winds is a frenetic activity. There is much to do. From shortening sail, to checking for chaff in your running and standing rigging. You need to be on your game, day and night to remain safe. (Standing rigging holds up the mast. Running rigging controls sails.)

Dodge had a typical sailor’s response to the doldrums. It was boring. And, it was frustrating. As he so eloquently put it, “There isn’t a blessed thing you can do about it except wait it out.”

We are very much in this situation with any job market. All of the skills we have acquired to solve “the job search process” at times, either don’t appear to work, or as in the case of interviewing skills, we don’t seem to get sufficient occasions to practice.

When the wind isn’t blowing at all, the slating of your sails can be very annoying. They have to be up all the time because you can’t risk missing out on even the most gentle of breezes. The slightest breath of wind moving you along will ultimately get you out of this zone of endless time.

Despite the reports of low unemployment nationwide, the job market today is still slow for senior level people. All I have to do is count the pages in the newsletter, although they are increasing. The point here is that it isn’t you. Please don’t think for a moment that the skills you bring to the party aren’t needed any more or that the approaches you have taken to job search don’t work.

We are just in the doldrums. This is across the country, all industries and all areas of expertise. It is also a worldwide event.

Just as a tide ebbs and drains a harbor, the return of the water or flood as it is called has to begin at some point. So hang onto your hats. It can’t be long now. The demand for financial folks just has to pick up at some point. As the baby boom generation continues to age, many very qualified people have retired and there is now also some churn in the market.

As I have often said: “Smile, things could be worse. So, I smiled and sure enough things got worse.”

Regards, Matt

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