EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Making career decisions is never easy. And unfortunately, being a senior financial executive doesn’t make it any easier.

In fact, because you are at a point in your career where you have probably held almost all of the appropriate titles for your skills, it is actually harder to be selected for jobs you would enjoy doing, but for which you appear to be taking a step back. For example, if you have been CFO of a small company, you might be hard pressed being considered for a Controller slot at a much larger firm.

As I have mentioned from time to time, if we expect the world to be flexible about opportunities for which we should be considered, we also need to be mentally flexible about potential work opportunities. (We used to call them jobs.)

I generally advise members to take any work opportunity that will provide them with sufficient income and sufficient intellectual stimulation to feel good about going to the office.

Between you and me, there is a lot of nonsense out there about long term jobs. If only I can get a job that will get me through retirement, is the cry I hear. Friends, there is no such thing anymore, and I am not sure there ever was. Well, maybe there was, but as they say in a commercial I saw once, “That was so 15 minutes ago!” If a job lasts 2 years today you are doing real good. The world is such an impermanent place. It simply makes no sense “Waiting for Godot.”

So, what kinds of approaches work for our modern times? In a word, be a flexible thinker.

What is really important to you about a potential work opportunity? Work content is certainly important and so is money. Also important is whether or not you will be inconvenienced. By that I mean, are you going to have to move or live away from the family for a period of time? What is the nature of the folks with whom you will be working every day? Listen, a day at work is a long period of time to be with members of the human race you really don’t like. And don’t think you will change them.

Get beyond titles and career progression issues when you make your decision about any specific opportunity. And, make sure that you have played out all of your cards. Never dismiss any situation out of hand. Work it through until you are satisfied that all the facts are in. Some of the best jobs in the world can initially sound bad.

As I have been frequently heard to say, call me anything, but not late for lunch.

Regards, Matt

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