EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Rising tides

From our daily member newsletter on September 30, 2019

In chatting with members over the many years I have Chaired The FENG, one hope frequently voiced has been a wish that as the economy improves there would be more jobs. The basic theory is that a rising tide floats all boats. If I wait long enough, it won’t be all that difficult to find another job. Unfortunately, wishing won’t make it so. And, our political process is again up to its old antics of creating uncertainty, which is never good for business. My suggestion is to stop waiting for good things to happen and set about to make good things happen for yourself by rethinking what you want to accomplish with your job search and with your career over [ Read more… ]

So much to do, so little time

From our daily member newsletter on September 29, 2019

So, you’ve started a new job. Congratulations. Now you only have to survive the first 90 days and then the first year. After that, your tenure will be more related to the business than to personalities. The first thing I would suggest you do is get a copy of John Lucht’s book “Insights for the Journey.” On page 17 is a jewel of a section titled “Fit In.” If you read this section and take it to heart, it will be worth the price of the book. You remember all that stuff you were told about shaking things up and being a change agent? Wrong! Your first goal is to gain the support of those around you so they won’t [ Read more… ]

The importance of hobbies

From our daily member newsletter on September 26, 2019

I once worked for a division president who wouldn’t hire anyone who didn’t have a hobby. His theory was that your brain couldn’t be active and productive if you didn’t have something to think about other than work. While he admired those with “fire in their belly,” he was a man with hobbies. The two I remember best were road rallies and running. The road rally hobby was an interesting one. As I recall, he participated in the macho class where all you were allowed was a stop watch and a clipboard. The theory as I understood it was that you had to arrive at your destination and at several check points at a very specific time. Being able to [ Read more… ]

The incredible shrinking newsletter

From our daily member newsletter on September 25, 2019

Although the great recession ended quite some time ago, we are still not getting a lot of leads for our evening newsletter. The two most important things that I hope that all of you are making every effort to share are good news announcements and job leads. Good news announcements let your fellow members know that there are actually jobs out there. The theory is that if someone found a job yesterday, it is possible that through my sustained efforts, I may also find a job. It is a vital part of the encouragement we offer each other. While I accept that all of you are a little on the bashful side, I would encourage those who have found a [ Read more… ]

The networking process

From our daily member newsletter on September 24, 2019

In the days of wooden ships and iron men, the determination of longitude was thought to be an impossibility. The simple solution was creating a clock that was accurate enough to keep track of what time it was in Greenwich, England. If you knew what time it was at a fixed point and you knew the time of what is called local apparent noon, you could through some complex mathematical calculations determine your East/West position. The science of all of this is a little long to go into here, but the short story is that John Harrison, the man who created the first accurate chronometer, was seeking a prize worth about $12 million in today’s currency. Not only did he [ Read more… ]

Gump happens

From our daily member newsletter on September 23, 2019

If only each of us had a crystal ball (highly polished of course) that we could call upon over the course of our lives. The problem is that we don’t. I once heard a very nice presentation on how to get a good start in a new job. Parachuting in at the top is always difficult, and the speaker did a good job in discussing the issues involved and how to deal with them. One of the issues discussed, as you might expect, was in doing a little due diligence before accepting an offer. If only this were the panacea it is always presented to be. Truth be told, we are more often put in a position in any job [ Read more… ]

Selling into a new industry

From our daily member newsletter on September 22, 2019

It is not unusual, and is perhaps typical, that members of The FENG would like to change industries. I wish I could tell you that this is easy. Unfortunately, I think the phrase “easier said than done” is applicable here. Of course, someone telling me that a project is impossible is always a good way to gain my interest and I hope yours as well. The trick is to understand the nature of the person with whom you are communicating and how best to “work them.” Now, nothing evil here, but an understanding of your “customer” and how they think about things is very much in order. When working with retained search firms and contingency firms, to a degree they [ Read more… ]

Projecting a winning attitude

From our daily member newsletter on September 19, 2019

If there is anything that typically jumps out at me when we have our meetings here in Connecticut, it is the need for us financial folks to be completely honest, even in our assessments of ourselves. However, interviews and 90 second announcements are no time for an extensive evaluation of why you lost your last job. For the most part in our fast changing world, there may not even be a need to explain it at all, let alone in depth. What everyone is interested in hearing is why they should be talking to you. What are your strengths and how can you solve their problems? It is very important at these times to have an explanation that satisfies the [ Read more… ]

A wealth of information

From our daily member newsletter on September 18, 2019

The first time I show someone a navigational chart their eyes usually glass over. There are so many detailed pieces of information and so many strange colors and symbols. It can be more than a little overwhelming. Most folks purchase charts in bound books covering specific geographic areas. The first problem is finding the chart you need. This can be done by studying the cover where the total geographic area is shown. On this page there are boxes with numbers indicating what page to use for each harbor of interest. After all these years, I’m not sure what stuff is obvious and what isn’t to the uninitiated. Water depth, symbols for various kinds of channel markers, and different colors for [ Read more… ]

The out-of-town job offer

From our daily member newsletter on September 17, 2019

It sure is romantic to think about a job offer out of town with a full relocation package as a way to start over again. And, in many ways and for some people, it just may be your ticket to a life of sheer happiness for you and your family. However, for most people I have known over the years, the joy has turned out to be a lot less than it first appeared to be. I, unfortunately, can regale you with more bad moving stories than good ones. In fact, I would be hard pressed to come up with a good moving story, as in one that ended well. Let’s start with the idea that all jobs are temporary. [ Read more… ]

The fine art of commiseration

From our daily member newsletter on September 16, 2019

It is, unfortunately, far too easy to fall into the trap of having a negative conversation with other members. While it is very important to have empathy for others, to get into extended discussions on the state of the world and how everything is hopeless benefits no one. The world is what it is. If I may quote from the movie “The Deer Hunter,” Robert DiNiro was heard to say “This is this.” The job market is what it is and each of us in our own way is what or who we are. (If you aren’t confused yet, please call me because I think I am starting to confuse myself.) Anyway, the point of all of this is for [ Read more… ]

The truth about jelly beans

From our daily member newsletter on September 15, 2019

Many years ago a college professor of mine related a story about one of his students who wrote a research paper about an experiment she conducted with an elderly stroke victim at a convalescent home near the campus. The basic premise of the experiment was that whenever the patient in question performed the appropriate behavior (and forgive me, but I don’t remember what that was), he was rewarded with a jelly bean. After the class had ended and the student had received her “A” in the class, she had occasion to see this professor walking through campus and stopped to say hello. In the course of that conversation she told the professor that she had a small confession to make. [ Read more… ]

Adapting in Darwinian fashion

From our daily member newsletter on September 12, 2019

I’m not sure if any of us really want to adapt to changing world conditions in true Darwinian fashion. That would require that only those of us with appropriate features survive to create the next generation. As human beings, we have the unique ability to adapt who we are and what we are to appear to be more suitable to current market needs. The problem is that most of us don’t take advantage of this characteristic. To begin with, your resume should have a traditional structure in order to be most easily absorbed. Our work history from most recent to least recent is how we must begin in presenting our credentials. And, rightly so. The details under each “work opportunity” [ Read more… ]

I’ve got you covered

From our daily member newsletter on September 11, 2019

We can all get a lot of help writing resumes. There are even lots and lots of very good books and articles on this topic. Still, the first thing most recipients read or at least glance at is your email/cover letter. As bad as most of the resumes I see are, the email/cover letters are often worse. We are all kind of stuck with the fact that in this electronic world, the email message you send with your resume IS your cover letter. And, please don’t attach two files. In any case, no one has time to open and print two files. Attach your resume and be sure to name it with the standard of LastNameFirstname.doc. Don’t under any circumstances [ Read more… ]

Approaching networking contacts

From our daily member newsletter on September 10, 2019

Since The FENG has been built by friends introducing friends, I imagine that as an organization we are probably more sensitive to networking abuses than most people. Still, I thought it might be helpful if I took a little time tonight and suggested a few ways to go about this delicate process of asking others for favors. Let me start you out with the simple philosophy I call “Asking for the world’s smallest favor.” As you think about the networking contacts with whom you are about to communicate, consider the range of requests you might make and try to pick ones that don’t push the envelope too far. For example, you wouldn’t ask someone you don’t know to put your [ Read more… ]

Eating elephants

From our daily member newsletter on September 9, 2019

Unless you buy your mustard in 55-gallon drums, and have some very sharp knives, eating an entire elephant can be a formidable task, not unlike the task facing you at the beginning of a job search. There are so many things to do and all of them appear to be urgent. In addition, they all appear to be unstructured. Unlike the monthly closings and analytical work that followed at your last job, the best approach and the approximate time required to do them is unknown. It can leave you feeling like a “deer in the headlights.” (In case you haven’t noticed, I thought I would try some animal analogies tonight.) When I was working on my Master’s thesis (oh so [ Read more… ]

Do you know who I am?

From our daily member newsletter on September 8, 2019

There is an extended joke I heard quite some time ago about a “gentleman” who was standing in line at an airline ticket counter trying to get on an over booked flight. In a demanding voice he uttered the above words at which point the ticket agent got on the PA system and announced that there was an individual at her counter who didn’t know who he was. If anyone recognized him, she would appreciate it if they would come forward. At times, this job search thing can be really discouraging if for no other reason than those we are communicating with don’t know who we are. By that I mean they don’t know how important we are. (Or is [ Read more… ]

Communicating your special value

From our daily member newsletter on September 5, 2019

One of the most challenging aspects of looking for a new “work opportunity” is having enough introspection to know what your special value is to a potential employer. I’m afraid that in most cases, we’re the last ones to know. When we do our 90-second announcements at our chapter meeting in Westport, I usually have the appropriate resume in front of me. I am always checking to see if the 90-second announcement matches the resume. Interestingly, sometimes there is more on the resume than in the 90-second announcement, and sometimes the reverse is true. More meat and delightful factoids are in the 90-second announcement, but nowhere to be found on the resume. Although it has been said that many of [ Read more… ]

Fog, rifles & shotguns

From our daily member newsletter on September 4, 2019

The current job market continues to throw a large fog bank over the senior executive job market. Not just us financial types, but all college educated, well experienced executives are struggling with defining who they are and what they do to somehow match what they believe to be the opportunities out in the world. When you are stuck in a fog bank as I have been from time to time (normally smart enough to be anchored at the time, but sometimes not), you can frequently hear other boaters running around you off in the distance. The hope is that they won’t come near your vessel and run into you at high speed. You see, there is an element of panic [ Read more… ]

10 seconds or less

From our daily member newsletter on September 3, 2019

Based on the resumes I see on a daily basis, I am not sure there is full appreciation for the amount of time any reviewer gives to your carefully crafted opus. The sad truth is that unless the information presented has a clarity greater than the other documents in that stack of 100-500, it can easily be passed over even though you MAY be the most qualified person in the pile. Think long and hard about any of the speed reading that you do starting with the morning newspaper. I sometimes feel sorry for the reporters who have slaved over the stories I skip because I have been unable to find even one word of interest to jump up and [ Read more… ]

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