EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

If job search is one thing, it is stressful. The uncertainty, the very idea that others are sitting in judgment on your credentials without you there to defend yourself, can all work to cause you to over react to situations.

My first job out of the Army in 1971 was in retailing at B. Altman & Company. A fine institution dedicated to customer service. They would take ANYTHING back. I understand that on more than one occasion they took back merchandise that they didn’t even sell to the customer who was complaining.

Still, there are those customers who wouldn’t be happy if they got double their money back and if the manager and all of the employees at the store were fired.

My own approach to those I serve and from whom I get service is to always be low key. More often than not, those manning customer services lines have the ability to do some limited favors for you. And, consider this: Most people yell at them. What a waste of everyone’s energy.

As our primary form of communication in job search becomes more and more email and less and less human contact in the form of phone calls and face to face meetings, never lose sight of the limitations of the “typed” word. As Steve Allen once said about a mispronounced word, the emphasis was on the wrong syllable. (The preceding sentence is REALLY funny when I say it aloud. But, I guess you can’t hear me when I type it.)

On the receiving end, if perchance some harsh criticism has come your way, ASSUME that the note you got was written by someone who was only trying to help. You will find you have nothing to lose.

On the sending end, REREAD all notes written in haste. Once you hit send, they are gone and have the potential to “ruin your whole day,” not to mention that of the recipient. Understand that your attempt at humor may fall flat, or your attempt to explain (or be slightly sarcastic) may not be heard in the way you intended.

In the days of the Wild West, it is said there was a saloon with a sign that read: “Don’t shoot the piano player. He is doing the best he can.”

Remember, you always catch more flies with honey than vinegar. (I don’t know why anyone would want to catch flies, but we will leave that thought for another night’s editorial.)

Regards, Matt

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