EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Probably one of the hardest things to do in life is to define who you are. Are you really your resume?

Because we tend to be at companies longer than the members of other discipline areas, the reality of what it is we REALLY do best is not always obvious to us.

A very long time ago when one of my friends by the name of Bob Graham, came to speak at our meeting in Connecticut, he shared with us a great interview question: What’s the biggest misperception about you? Believing that others have a misperception about you actually implies that there is something about yourself that you don’t accept. Unfortunately, most of us are often the last to know or at least the last to accept truths about who we really are.

I am sure that this is not one of those “financial executive” defining issues. I am sure everyone is faced with this issue. But, since we tend to change jobs less frequently we have to ask it less often about ourselves. I am not sure if constant self-assessment is a good or bad thing. But, during a time when you are changing jobs it is a good thing to ask and discover about yourself.

As many of you know, I spent nearly a decade in the advertising business. One of the things you never want to do is make “an over promise.” It is also not necessary or desirable to err too far on the other side. (We do have a tendency as financial folks to be modest. I hear it in 90-second announcements all the time.) You really need to be as correct as possible about the “person” you are projecting.

The question is how to go about the discovery process. I would first suggest rereading your resume and then thinking about the stories you like to tell in interviews. What are the things about which you are most proud? These are the things you like to do and I would suggest that these are the things at which you will most likely be the most successful in your next endeavor. The key is to repeat them to someone who really knows you for a reaction. Is this the real you, or is it just someone you made up to get another job?

I will never know, but your friends hopefully will tell you. (Personally, I sometimes wish my friends weren’t so honest!)

Regards, Matt

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