EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

When jobs are winding down, it can be very difficult to “keep it all together.”

I’m sure we have all been there. During that final period of time, whether it is 3 weeks, 3 months, or even longer, as “the forces of evil” overwhelm the organization you have worked so hard to make profitable, it frequently appears that everyone turns on you.

It really isn’t so hard to see why it is so stressful. As a person of integrity, my guess is that you have been doing your best to make the organization, your peers and your boss as successful as they can be. So, when they turn on you, it is hard to accept.

Keep in mind that you are the one reporting the bad news. Killing the messenger is a favorite sport of those receiving the point of view that the sky is falling. After all, you are the one who has determined this is the case. Perhaps you are wrong and 1 plus 1 can indeed be made to equal 3. How do you know it isn’t possible that white is black and black is white? You’re just an accountant!

So, if you are not enjoying being picked on, threatened and abused, join the club. None of us finds it pleasant. And, be assured that it typically catches all of us financial types by surprise that others can act this way when we are just trying to help.

To put a little perspective on it, let’s try to keep in mind that it is just a job. My assumption is that they are paying you for your advice, and my attitude always was that I had an obligation to deliver the news and views that I thought they were paying me to provide.

The parable goes that the lion was wandering through the jungle. He came up to the monkey and roared: Who’s the king of the jungle? You are Mr. Lion, came the reply. He next strode up to the gazelle and again roared: Who’s the king of the jungle? The reply, as you might expect was the same. He next encountered the elephant and roared at him: Who’s the king of the jungle? The elephant picked the lion up by the tail, swung him around his head a few times and threw him with a thud to the ground. The lion looked up at the elephant and softly said: Just because you don’t know the answer, you don’t have to get sore.

My point here is that many of the individuals delivering stress to you are not actually aware that they are doing so. THEY are under a lot of stress and are reliving that stress by taking it out on you. Perhaps not fair, but life is often not fair.

The only problem is that you are taking the situation too seriously. You may not be able to control the entire world, but you can control your inner reaction by recognizing that the situation is most likely not your fault. You can’t make the boss be a better boss. You can only give him the tools he needs to guide his decisions. The same is true of your peers. If the sales manager can’t sell and the marketing manager can’t market, these things are not under your control. You can only report that they aren’t happening.

So, take a deep breath and recognize that you are only human. The really important people are the ones at home, not the idiots at the office. Even if you have to find another job, if you keep your sense of self, even that won’t be all that difficult.

Regards, Matt

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