There is, of course, the old saw that free advice is worth what you paid for it. That said, it has been my experience that some of the advice I have paid for over the years was worth less and in some cases was worthless. (Notice the interesting play on words.)
I think the operative expression when it comes to the advice you receive is “consider the source” and also consider the motives of those passing out the advice.
The FENG is awash in “free” advice. Still, I hope that you will take very seriously the words of wisdom that are contained in our evening newsletter and use that which you believe to be valid to great advantage as you move down the road of your career in the pursuit of “work opportunities.”
The price of admission in The FENG is putting yourself in the debt of another by allowing that person to sponsor you. This is a debt that you should be glad to incur and one which you should always be working to pay back. The person granting the favor has granted it to you to pay back their debt to The FENG. The gift of their friendship is at all times given freely and without hesitation. It is common knowledge in our august body that bringing in new friends is one of your jobs as a member. And, helping other members to be successful is part of what we try to do for each other.
As you network within our membership, you will find yourself receiving lots and lots of “free advice.” It is free for the taking, but I ask that you receive it with appropriate gratitude because the person providing it is only thinking of your well-being.
In the world of evil motives, there is no benefit in providing false information to another member of The FENG. If I help you and you help someone else, before you know it, my good advice is somehow passed back to me and I benefit.
In our meeting here in Westport when we don’t have a speaker, we have a tradition where after you complete your 90-second announcement, you share a job hunting tip. Even after 15 years of running these meetings I still hear things that are new. They are perhaps not totally new, but at least they have a different spin.
As important as advice can be about what to do, advice about what not to do tends to be underrated. I try to do a little of both when speaking with members about their searches. As an example, many of us have a firmly held belief about getting to know all the right recruiters based on searches early in our career. The truth is that later in your career, when you are in your late 40’s and 50’s, they are not a valued resource for you. While it is possible, and someone does win the lottery every day, the more likely case is that you would be best advised to devote your time and energy elsewhere.
I hope that all of you will devote your best efforts to making the “free” advice you are providing to your fellow members as valuable as possible.
In this way, sooner or later, we will have to come up with another phrase for “free” advice because it is so precious.