EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The snow storm that hit Connecticut a few weeks ago is to a degree, long forgotten. Except for a few odd places, there isn’t even any snow on the ground.

It was all very exciting, at the time, but one thing I would share with you is that I never go out on the first day of a big storm. (And, sometimes not on the day after either.)

It goes well beyond my well-founded fear of hitting a tree or something. I grew up poor in Northern Indiana and logged many a mile on snowy and ice packed roads in an old car much in need of new tires. I got pretty good at driving on slippery surfaces. Still, why take chances? Very little is so important that I need to venture out when it is snowing. While I may be a more experienced driver given my age, I am also more cautious.

Actually, the real reason I never go out when the snow first hits is that even though I am a good driver, the other people out there either never had good driving skills, or more likely, they have forgotten. They charge around, hell bent for leather, running stop signs and generally in a panic that they are going to get caught in the storm. (Which in fact they are already in.) The very act of their doing so could easily ruin MY whole day. Even if it is their fault, it will still cause me inconvenience and annoyance.

Better to avoid the entire experience and just work on email.

Skills can be lost very easily. A long summer followed by a mild winter can cause us to get rusty in our essential driving skills. Much the same is true of our accounting and finance skills.

The thought I had for today was to highlight for those of you active in your search the importance of working a consulting assignment or two while you are looking. It is easy to think of such things as taking away from your efforts to look for gainful employment, but the reality is that you need a tune up game or two to really be on your game in the world of work.

What enabled you to keep your last job may have been your abilities in the arena of diplomacy with your boss and with your peers, but what will get others interested in you for your next job will primarily be your technical skills.

Now I will really shock you. You don’t actually have to get paid for it. Consulting assignments with friends are possible if you are willing to “donate” a little bit of your time to work on a project. And, the hidden secret is that these “volunteer” assignments often result in jobs or paid consulting assignments.

As you are out and about networking with friends, ask about the problems they are facing. Is it possible you have faced these same challenges? If so, would it be possible for you to stop by and help him/her structure a solution? Free is hard to pass up. Our little secret will be that you will actually be the one who is benefiting.

By having an opportunity to practice your skill sets in a safe environment you will be acquiring marketable experience. You honestly can’t lose. Having a chance to be more hands on never hurts either.

So have at it and see where it goes. Who knows, you might even avoid being in an accident when it next snows.

Regards, Matt

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