EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Are you selling the right stuff?

From our daily member newsletter on April 30, 2019

I don’t know how many of you are aware of it, but The FENG began its life as an organization of VERY senior financial professionals. In the beginning our original core group was over 50 and a few of those folks were even older. The idea was that senior financial professionals needed more help in finding a new job than those in their 30’s. Unfortunately, this is still true. Call it age discrimination, over qualified, or any of the other direct names you want, the effect is the same. Not even some of the softer words help. The simple fact is that a senior financial professional is going to have a harder time of it than someone more junior. There [ Read more… ]

The quest for personal relationships

From our daily member newsletter on April 29, 2019

Over the many years that folks moved off the farm and the security of their local communities to the “big city,” a rather significant shift took place in American society. Please understand that I am an accountant by trade and not an historian, but I believe that 90% of all Americans lived on farms at the beginning of the last century and now only about 5% do. As the automobile put Americans on the road and many of us moved to new places (I’m originally from Chicago, but lived in Indiana for many years before moving to Connecticut), the powerful sense of community that is so important to us as human beings was severely impacted. I suppose it didn’t disappear [ Read more… ]

The Energizer bunny

From our daily member newsletter on April 28, 2019

Probably one of the hardest things to do during a job search is keeping yourself energized. If you are conducting your job search from home, it can be even more difficult. The thing to recognize is that conducting a job search is in some respects painful for us financial types. We don’t get to do spreadsheets (which we adore), and all we get to do is write letters and make phone calls. Sure, making phone calls to collect past due invoices is a lot of fun. But, making networking phone calls, now that’s painful. So, faced with not needing to sharpen our #2 pencils, it can be difficult to get going in the morning. After all, what is there to [ Read more… ]

Arrested but not convicted

From our daily member newsletter on April 25, 2019

We have had speakers at over the years at our meetings here in Connecticut and each in their own way has brought up the subject of having an explanation as to why you are looking for another job. I have always felt that it was a waste of your valuable time to provide an explanation in your 90 second announcement, and I still feel that way. Unless you were arrested and convicted of a crime, or fired for cause, I probably will not find any useful information in your explanation. And, if that was why you are now looking for another job, you probably won’t tell me. What I really need to know is the nature of your credentials and [ Read more… ]

Changing strongly held beliefs

From our daily member newsletter on April 24, 2019

As they say, old habits die hard. Because we believe they work, we do the same things over and over again that we have learned over the course of our careers. Not to say we can’t be retrained, but it is hard. Us financial types find it particularly hard. Part of the reason is that we generally have come to our decisions and ways of thinking the hard way — through detailed analysis. Why use one spreadsheet when several will do? The most difficult belief I encounter requiring change is the nature of the next job that most folks are seeking. If ONLY there were really a job out there to take you through to retirement. No matter how much [ Read more… ]

The hidden job market

From our daily member newsletter on April 23, 2019

Much has been written over the years about the hidden job market. That said, it may not be clear to all of you how to go about finding these opportunities. After all, if they are hidden, how do you come to know about them? The public job market is reflected by job postings of all kinds. As a member of The FENG you get a truck load of them every week. The problem is that, regardless of the source – job boards or personal relationships, EVERYONE knows about these jobs in short order. The hidden job market is one that doesn’t formally exist. When members find jobs this way, they are always surprised or shocked. But, like most things, it [ Read more… ]

The world is a finite place

From our daily member newsletter on April 22, 2019

When you are out in the middle of the ocean, it is easy to think of the world as being endless. Every direction you look there is only water. (And yes, water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.) However, the truth is that although over 70% of the earth’s surface is salt water, 30% of the earth’s surface is land. In addition, there are parts of the ocean that are shallow. My point is that things are not always what they seem to be. And, if you allow yourself to think of things as having infinite possibilities, it can hamper your thinking. In truth, the world is a finite place. To give you some examples, there are only [ Read more… ]

Search firm rules of engagement

From our daily member newsletter on April 21, 2019

I got a note a few years ago from one of our members asking how to manage his relationship with search firms and the points I made to him then are then are still relevant now. The first thing I would point out to everyone is that the search business isn’t what it used to be. (But then, what is?) I would suggest that there honestly aren’t a lot of searches currently going on anywhere in America, hence the brevity of our newsletter most days. When there are a lot of searches out in the market, my phone here at world headquarters rings non-stop, and the past few years it has been more like a library atmosphere. That said, there [ Read more… ]

This is no time to blend

From our daily member newsletter on April 18, 2019

In the movie “My Cousin Vinny” starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei there is a very funny scene at the beginning of the movie when they arrive in a small Alabama town from New York City, the dialogue for which goes like this: Vinny Gambini: What are you wearing? Mona Lisa Vito: What? Vinny Gambini: You look like a tourist. Mona Lisa Vito: What about you? Vinny Gambini: I fit in better than you. At least I’m wearing cowboy boots. Mona Lisa Vito: Oh yeah, you blend. The need to feel part of a group and the search for common ground when meeting others is a normal human survival behavior. In every initial conversation with a stranger, you search for [ Read more… ]

Selling from a full wagon

From our daily member newsletter on April 17, 2019

One of the great mysteries of this world is why consultants are expected to be over qualified for any job, but when it comes to hiring on a full time basis, companies don’t want anyone who is over qualified. Go figure. The frequent comment from clients for consulting work is “I hope I am not going to have to pay for training time.” Yet, when faced with the wonderful prospect of hiring someone who has been there and done that, most companies shy away. They are just so concerned about your being bored that the very idea that you may not be learning anything really new is a major obsession with them. Have any of them ever been unemployed? Now [ Read more… ]

I’ll leave the light on for you

From our daily member newsletter on April 16, 2019

I am sometimes surprised how bashful financial types can be. Although Matt’s rule of networking is “any excuse will do,” many members of The FENG do hesitate picking up that phone and asking for help. Our goal in The FENG is to take away their excuses and get them to call us. As Forrest Gump would argue, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know if that person calling you will become a friend for the rest of your life or not, but you always have to be willing to take that chance. In all my years of being in the world of work, I have always returned every phone call. Call me stupid, but I have been [ Read more… ]

Attention to detail

From our daily member newsletter on April 15, 2019

I am often disappointed by the correspondence I receive from members, and I wonder if it is just me they treat this way, or if it is everyone in the world. I fear it is everyone in the world. Call me compulsive, call me a nitpicker (and I am admittedly both and proud of it), but there is a certain paradox in our being financial folks who tick and tie spread sheets and the obvious lack of precision in our daily correspondence. (Please, if you have recently sent me a pristine email, this is not directed at you.) There is of course the recently passed law of the last typo. (There is always one more.) But, with the power tools [ Read more… ]

Is your job boring? Is there a cure?

From our daily member newsletter on April 14, 2019

Several years ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a quarterly meeting of the Association of International Bank Auditors on the subject of Networking Strategies. As you might expect in any gathering of financial folks, several of those in attendance were members of The FENG. One of the topics that came up during the Q&A part of my session was what do you do if you are bored in your job. Although I was honestly caught a little off guard at the time, upon reflection, it is actually a very good question and one about which we should always be thinking. Let me start you out with the idea that as educated people we have an inherent need to [ Read more… ]

Experience versus the energy of youth

From our daily member newsletter on April 11, 2019

There was an article I read a long time ago about the value of experience versus the energy of youth. The premise and conclusion were no surprise to me. Experience has a tendency to win out. While I would gladly concede that Americans have always worshiped youth and that there is inherent prejudice out there about us “well experienced” types, the truth is that in the world of work, only the end product and total amount of “real” work produced is what matters. Well experienced people produce more in a shorter period of time, generally speaking, than those still “learning on the job.” Intuitively, this should be something that most folks would accept. In my youth, my father was a [ Read more… ]

How very incomplete of you

From our daily member newsletter on April 10, 2019

I don’t know about you, but the people who write to me and the people I call (when they’re not there) frequently drive me crazy. Let me start you off with the idea that I am a big fan of FULL outgoing signatures. A full outgoing signature includes your “greeting to use,” your physical address, your phone numbers in the order you want them called, and your email address. I’m not sure what is so hard about this concept, but I rarely see anyone comply. I have to ask myself, do they really want me to contact them? I will share with you that I have an “evil plan” at work. I check all of the messages I get against [ Read more… ]

Square pegs and round holes

From our daily member newsletter on April 9, 2019

When we review candidates for assignments being handled by The FECG, we try to do our dead level best to “push the envelope” on your behalf and try to find some way to visualize your credentials as fitting the assignment currently in hand. After all, you responded. It could be you are right. There is a long joke I heard once about a guy who prayed to the “big guy above” to help him win the lottery. After several drawings where he didn’t win with appropriate pleadings in between, he was just about to give up hope when a booming voice thundered: “Help me out – buy a ticket.” In much the same way, we suggest in our postings that [ Read more… ]

The three Musketeers

From our daily member newsletter on April 8, 2019

Have you ever wondered why so many things are structured in threes? In addition to the three Musketeers mentioned above, we eat 3 meals a day. Why not 2 or 4? We use threes in art to define structures like primary, secondary and tertiary colors on a color wheel. Nature is filled with threes: Land, sea, and air. In baseball, there are three strikes and you are out, three outs to an inning, and a trinity of trinities (3X3), in other words, 9 innings. Coincidence? And, for us accounting types, the three principal ways of organizing a business are: as a sole proprietorship, as a partnership, or as a corporation. With all the threes common in the world, it sort [ Read more… ]

Getting started …. AGAIN

From our daily member newsletter on April 7, 2019

If looking for a job the first time wasn’t hard enough, going at it a second time after only a short break can be in some respects even harder. Sure, bringing your resume up to date isn’t all that difficult. There is the issue of how to deal with a short period of employment, but once you have decided how to display it, you are basically there. The really hard part is restarting your networking process. Contacting all of the friends and associates who were kind enough to see you last time can be more than a little intimidating. How are you going to explain why you are “back at it” again? In part what is going on here is [ Read more… ]

War stories

From our daily member newsletter on April 4, 2019

Anyone who has been working as long as most of us in The FENG must have their favorite personal war stories. The question is really how best to use those stories in interviewing and resume writing. I often hear these stories from members and marvel that they frequently don’t appear at all on their resumes. The reason normally given is that they are saving them for the interview. Friends, if they are such great stories, why aren’t they on your resume? If you don’t put them on your resume, you may never get that interview! I think the usual reason is that they are just too long. Knowing many of my own stories and how I can rattle on, it [ Read more… ]

Call me Mr. Magoo

From our daily member newsletter on April 3, 2019

Tonight’s editorial will be somewhat of a repeat for our more senior members as it is on resumes. Yes, those terribly difficult to construct documents that make the critical difference between being pulled from a pile of 500 resumes, or not. You should all accept the fact that writing your resume is somewhat analogous to taking out your own appendix. Only you know that you are sick, but doing the whole operation yourself can be dicey at best. It doesn’t hurt from time to time to seek out some professional or semi-professional help like a member of The FENG’s Resume Review Committee to help you put the finishing touches on this marketing document. (Contact ResumeReview@TheFENG.org for this kind of help.) [ Read more… ]

From desperation to real networking

From our daily member newsletter on April 2, 2019

Networking is a process by which you can create meaningful business contacts and relationships to further your career and enhance your professional life. It is unfortunate that many of us only become aware of the importance of networking when we first become unemployed. And then, many of us fall into our old bad habits of letting our hard won network go to seed when we find a golden “work opportunity,” quickly forgetting our two favorite mantras in The FENG. 1. All jobs are temporary. 2. You’re never working, you’re just between searches. For those of you who are students of psychology, I’m sure you are familiar with “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” When you are stressed about a job search, you [ Read more… ]

The power of negative thinking

From our daily member newsletter on April 1, 2019

So much for the “little engine that could!” Give me an opportunity to obsess about some problem and I can guarantee you that not much will get done. First, I won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep, and then in my grogginess the following day, it will be suitably difficult to focus on any task. Basically, I may as well take the whole day off, or, the rest of the week! The best problems to select are those you can’t do anything about. The war in Syria, the economy, the 2020 presidential election, the fact that it is raining (or isn’t) – almost anything will due. Let this idea, whatever it is, take over your whole mind. Roll [ Read more… ]

OUR SPONSORS:

cfo