EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I had lunch a long time ago with one of our members. I always enjoy meeting and talking to the members of our august body because I am reminded of issues that I have discussed before that bear repeating. And, when I discuss them again, it is usually with a different twist because I continue to learn.

The subject for tonight is how we allow others to wear us down.

The way this usually happens is we set up a lot of networking calls with friends and recruiters who really can’t help us. We all believe that the first thing we should do when we are out of work is networking, and I encourage everyone to network as much as possible, but do it with the right folks and you will save yourself a lot of energy.

If you think about it, the firm who handles your accounting matters is not a good networking source. Sure they will see you, after all you were a client, but consider that they have a relationship with your former employer. Even if you left on good terms or for explainable and perfectly rational reasons, they can’t be sure. And therein lies the reason they can’t be too helpful. What if someone at your old firm found out that they were helping you? How could they be sure this won’t have a negative impact on them?

The answer is they can’t, and this is why they tend not to be too helpful.

The same is true for recruiters you used at your last firm. For all the same reasons they will make appointments to see you, but will tend to not be very helpful.

Even friends tend to shy away from you after you have contacted them once or twice. The net result of this is that after you have made the rounds of all these folks is you start feeling very discouraged!

At each meeting the individual with whom you are meeting will give you a reason you can’t cure as to why he/she can’t help you. (If only you had a CPA, but you don’t. If only you wanted to relocate to “who knows where” I am sure there are jobs there, but you don’t. Etc., etc.)

It is my belief that the key element in successful networking is to be in front of folks for whom your background makes sense. This is one of those truths I have seen work without fail as our network has grown and grown.

When I was unemployed in 1991 I was able to get in to see some folks in the manufacturing business. Friends, they didn’t understand any of the stories I had to share about my work experiences. My background is intellectual property and my skill set is making financial issues understandable to non-financial folks. Having been in the advertising business for 9 years I had a wealth of experience dealing with people who are not quite there, if you know what I mean. None of these stories had any relevance to them.

The lesson I drew from this experience is the need to get yourself in front of folks who understand what you are talking about. With these individuals you will have warm and fuzzy conversations and be able to develop relationships.

Now you ask, how do you identify these key players in your future? Well, I hate to repeat myself, but the key is The FENG Membership Directory Search feature. Have you searched for those in your industries? Have you searched for those in your specialty area like treasury or internal audit?

You will have the best conversations with this audience and they can introduce you to related individuals such as recruiters and their accounting firms. Although they can’t help your new friend without exposing themselves to risk, they can help you.

And therein lies the secret of our success as a networking group. Our ability to run a free market in favors!

Regards, Matt

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