EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

One of the many things I am always surprised about is the degree to which most members of The FENG generalize their very specific talents.

I assume that this approach is their attempt to broaden their background and make it appear more appealing to a larger audience. While it is always required to explain your work experiences in layman’s terms, it is not really desirable to cause them to lose their importance.

As I have been heard to say: “If you are all things to all people, you are nothing to anyone.”

The reason we get paid the “big bucks” as senior financial executives is for being extremely knowledgeable about accounting and finance. Those who seek out our services do so for our expertise. If just anyone who could count would due, they wouldn’t need to hire you.

While I am more than painfully aware that there are fewer jobs in certain industries and that they may not be coming back, your ability to make comprehensible the very detailed nature of what you have been doing for a living the past so many years may make you a sterling candidate for something entirely different in another industry. Why? Because people will figure that if you could make a profit for your employer in THAT industry, ours is simple by comparison and you could make a FORTUNE for us.

The ability for those outside your areas of expertise to draw analogies is contingent on your ability to explain. Clear writing and clear speaking about your many talents will get others to know and understand how smart you are.

Everyone has an area of extreme expertise. Sure, if all you know how to do is make buggy whips, you are probably in a lot of trouble. Knowledge of how to work a comptometer doesn’t come up much anymore either. (My boss at CBS in 1973 had one and they were obsolete then!)

When pressed, I have yet to find a member of our august body from whom I couldn’t squeeze information about what he felt he did best. That said, I have often had to turn certain individuals figuratively upside down and shake them to get them to “give it up.” When they finally did, I have to tell you it was always a better story than the one they first told me that was filled with platitudes and trite words.

It is my firm belief that almost all members of The FENG have done some pretty amazing things in their careers. Your “burden” is to ensure that those you have occasion to speak with are as amazed and astounded as I usually am when I hear your stories.

Think of it as your very own personal “shock and awe” program.

I know that as financial folks we can do just about anything. Your goal is to explain the specifics and let their imaginations run wild. If you don’t you just might be categorized as good for nothing, or worse yet, nothing in particular.

Regards, Matt

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