EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

As the length of time grows since your last “assignment,” the battle cry that is heard more frequently is the need to reinvent yourself.

I’m not exactly sure how one can REALLY do that. As my Grandmother used to say: “I am who I am.” The question I would pose to you is, are you sure you have looked at everything in the wagon to be sure you are selling everything that’s there?

Clearly, the economic principle of highest and best use applies to your career just as it does to those things that we call consumer products. If you are a Manufacturing CFO, a job in a manufacturing environment theoretically is going to produce the best results for you financially. If you are an Internal Auditor, a senior level audit position is going to work best. If you are an expert in Mergers & Acquisitions, a job without this as a major component is likely not going to pay the “big bucks” you would like to get.

The problem for you to solve is to think analytically about what’s in the wagon and more importantly how it might be used in other industries.

Changing industries is, generally speaking, the biggest issue to overcome, so I’ll focus primarily on that tonight. Anyone having specific questions is welcome to drop me a note so that I can address them in future editorials.

When I work on a client requirement, industry experience is usually at the top of the list. I have been at the work I do since 1999. When I go through resumes, I have a pretty good sense of what kinds of backgrounds make sense in what environments.

The way for you to go about this is in the usual manner available to members of The FENG. Using our Membership Directory Search feature, you can slice and dice our database of your fellow members in an infinite number of ways. Then, in addition to trying to add a few folks to your “Inner Circle of Friends,” consider structuring a survey of sorts among those who are just like you.

If you search the most important firms from your work history and the primary competitors of those firms, you will have a select group of distinguished individuals. Your question to everyone is where they have redirected their careers. Some of this intelligence can be gleaned from their work histories even before you contact them. This will enable you to ask good follow up questions like: How did you make the transition to another industry and more specifically, how did you sell it?

The world can be very narrow minded about the applicability of your skills, but as financial folks we really do have transferrable skills. Unfortunately, we often aren’t good at selling this idea.

Like the itinerant salesman of yesteryear, everything you have available to sell is in that wagon. Thinking creatively and yet resourcefully about how you can apply your many skills is, I guess, what the rest of the world calls “reinventing yourself.”

And, there is no better way to reinvent yourself than getting to know other members of The FENG. Two heads are always better than one.

Regards, Matt

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