One of the most disconcerting aspects of looking for a job is that you often get the feeling that people aren’t treating you with as much respect as you deserve.
I could be wrong, but I think that those of us who have been senior level financial executives may have a tougher time dealing with this problem than others.
All during the time we are working there is a line of supplicants outside of our office. (Oh, Matt, please send my vendor a check. Please Matt, won’t you take a minute and approve my expense report. Matt, I really need more money in my budget for next year.)
Then, boom, you are out of work and there just aren’t as many favor seekers standing outside your door. (I don’t know about you, but I always enjoyed the fawning.)
Being treated with respect is so nice. Being Rodney Dangerfield isn’t as much fun.
One of my goals for our organization from the very beginning was to create an aura of respect for those of us who might be perceived as “over the hill.” I like to think about it more in terms of “been there, done that,” there is no mountain I can’t climb, because I have climbed them all before! Heck, with 20 years of work experience, there really isn’t anything we can’t do. And, we deserve respect for that, or so you would think.
Well, we are now in a better position than in 1997 when I began as Chairman, to enjoy the respect of the search community. We have a national organization with a great reputation. In discussing our organization with those who do recruiting, be sure that you speak about our circle of friends in the hushed tones appropriate to such an august body. Have them go out to our website and register as a “Friend of The FENG”. (Oh, what an honor to be a “Friend of The FENG!”)
You will find it is easier to talk about us in these ethereal tones as The F.E.N.G, or The Financial Executives Networking Group, rather than using the word FANG. (Sure, I know it is a hard habit to break, but you only have to do it with “outsiders.”)
And, since I am beating the drum about respect in tonight’s editorial, let me take a few sentences to suggest that we all make the extra effort with each other as well.
I get about 50-100 emails a day and I make a special effort, far into the night sometimes, to get back to everyone. If you sponsor someone for membership, we try to get an acknowledgement out within 24 hours. Hey, they are your friends and you are my friend, and if I expect you to treat me and our organization with respect, I need to treat you and your friends that way too.
Most of those you send my way are either recently out of work or soon to be. I want them to know that, as an organization, we care about them. Any friend of yours is a friend of ours.
This leads me to remind you of the importance of our member to member relationships. If you get a call or email from another member, please treat it as a matter of great importance. If you are an alumni member and really pressed for time, write or call back ASAP and suggest a time that works for you to give their request proper consideration.
This “bad” habit of treating other members with respect will hopefully get out of hand in short order, as will the hand of friendship I hope you will extend at every opportunity.
If you thought the reputation of The FENG was remarkable before, you will be amazed and astounded where it will be in a few more years if we all continue to work together toward this common goal.
God bless you Aretha Franklin!