EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Home is where the heart is

From our daily member newsletter on March 25, 2020

As many of you know, in 1991 and 1992, I was unemployed. (Yes, two long years!) Hard to say exactly why it took so long to find another job, but suffice to say that it was a recession and after 9 years in the Advertising business (which was in the dumper) and no recent experience in Publishing (my other background which was also in the dumper), there weren’t a lot of job possibilities. One of the things I took off the table immediately was moving. Sure, I was born in Chicago and had lived in Northern Indiana when I was growing up, but for nearly 25 years I had been living in Norwalk, Connecticut. It is arguable if moving would [ Read more… ]

The golden rule

From our daily member newsletter on March 22, 2020

If there is any complaint I hear more than any other, it is that those we send messages to about jobs opportunities are not responsive. Sometimes even when a company or recruiter has taken the time to interview one of our members, weeks and weeks later all that is heard is silence. If this disappointment and/or anger truly reflect how we feel about the “outside world,” it makes me wonder why it is that I hear rumors from time to time that MEMBERS are being unresponsive to one another. Here within our little society called The FENG we have the opportunity to receive many benefits from building relationships with each other. Access to 37,000 folks from every industry, from every [ Read more… ]

Picking the pennies up off the floor

From our daily member newsletter on March 17, 2020

I am often asked how one should budget one’s time when conducting a job search. The easy answer is that it depends. I would suggest to you that the primary element of your search is, of course, networking, networking and more networking. The reason I say this is, it works best. That said, just as the odds of winning the lottery on any given day are very low, and in my case nonexistent since I don’t buy lottery tickets, someone does win the lottery every single day. Let me start you out with the idea that initially you need to devote yourself to creating a competent resume and a competent 90-second announcement. Both of these items are tools you need [ Read more… ]

Kutsher’s convalescent home

From our daily member newsletter on March 15, 2020

When my wife and I were first married, we had occasion to go to book a several day vacation at Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club. I’m not even sure we had children at the time, it was that long ago. For those of you not familiar with the Borscht Belt of grand resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, Kutscher’s was one of the longest running of these hotels. It was really a charming place. The food wasn’t great, but there was plenty of it. And, there was evening entertainment. Anyway, having not all that recently gotten out of the Army, my “bride” and I were looking forward to some time away. Although I had learned to play [ Read more… ]

The race to the finish line

From our daily member newsletter on March 11, 2020

Stop me if I am wrong, but I guess many folks find job search a painful process. Perhaps it is the lack of a steady paycheck, or the uncertainty, or the rejection. Just like beating your head against a wall, it sure feels good when you can stop. (Is this why we are having so much fun or what?) Perhaps that is why a few times a week I get a message from one of our members to stop their evening newsletter because next week they are going to be starting a new job. Next week? (Sure you don’t want to overlap a few days?) Is the newsletter an unpleasant reminder of the pain of job search? Or, is it [ Read more… ]

Who am I anyway?

From our daily member newsletter on February 25, 2020

Since 1991 (when I was out of work for the first time in my career), I can’t begin to even estimate how many 90-second announcements I have heard. I also can’t tell you how many I have given. It is an interesting process to be sure. When I was in the Army back in 1969, the “Who am I” question was always answered by some description of what you did when you were “back on the block.” Since many of us didn’t want to “own” what we were at that moment in time, it was logical and comfortable to refer back to civilian life. In college, the “Who am I” question was usually answered in the present. You were your [ Read more… ]

Maintaining a positive attitude

From our daily member newsletter on February 16, 2020

Having a positive attitude at ALL times is the most important thing you can do in life. And, not just when you are job searching. But is it really possible to maintain a positive attitude ALL the time? Well, I suppose not, but it never hurts to try. If you are having trouble from time to time maintaining that winning smile of yours, DON’T call anyone or see anyone that hour or that day. My Grandmother used to say: “The worm that lives in the horseradish thinks the whole world is horseradish.” The analogy for your search is that if you only call others and meet with others when you are able to maintain a positive persona, they will come [ Read more… ]

The easy button

From our daily member newsletter on February 12, 2020

Staples, the office supply company, had an “Easy Button” that they sold in their stores several years ago. (I think they still carry it.) I worked on an assignment for Staples a few years ago and although we didn’t place anyone with them, their Human Resources contact sent me an Easy Button as a gift. (WOW!) The TV commercial they ran at the time featured people in various difficult work situations lifting up a cover plate and finding an “Easy Button.” Apparently, whatever the task, this easy button got the job done for you. Since I have had one on my desk, I have found it really does work! (Yeah, right.) Now, if only they could invent an “Easy Button” [ Read more… ]

The fine line

From our daily member newsletter on February 10, 2020

To call or not to call, that is the question. To write or not to write, that is the question. When is enough, enough? (Or perhaps you should just show up in person and demand to see someone?) At what point do you move from showing your persistence and tenacity to just being a pest? Well, the truth is, I don’t know. I do operate on the principle that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It comes from my many years as Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency trying to collect bills from our clients. How often I heard the story: “I was just about to put your check in the mail.” Oh sure, now that I called. [ Read more… ]

Guns blazing

From our daily member newsletter on February 6, 2020

Have you ever had the feeling that the world was against you? How can I tell you this? It is. To be a member of our august body you need to have at least 20 years of work experience. You also need to have held a senior level title and earned at least $120k per year. Most of our members have a lot more experience and have earned a lot more. You would think this would be a good thing, but you would be wrong. Okay, if you are at the lower end of our membership in terms of age and/or compensation, many of my remarks are not entirely correct. But, if you are in your late 40’s, early 50’s [ Read more… ]

Acquiring knowledge

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2020

One of the things you learn pretty quickly in sailing is that “Mighty Mouse” is not going to come to your rescue if you get into trouble. Sure, there is an “AAA” type of service for boats, but the risks out on the water and the timelines for help getting to you are always significant. In the early days of our sailing as a family, we certainly had our share of misadventures. And, although we do more and go further than we used to, the tall tales I tell tend to have happier endings. Over the 35+ years I have been sailing, I have acquired a wealth of knowledge and I am at all times delighted to share what I [ Read more… ]

Developing a thick skin

From our daily member newsletter on January 26, 2020

As someone who now makes sales calls all day long, it is sometimes hard for me to remember the difficulty I initially had in picking up that 400 pound phone. Back in the dark days of 1991-1992 (the two years I was out of work), I found that my experience doing collection work as a CFO sort of gave me a baseline of mental strength to pursue my networking contacts. I was CFO of an Advertising Agency. I suppose that collecting from “clients” is a little different than collecting from other deadbeats. To that end, I developed what I referred to as the “glass bell” technique. I found that if I called often enough, had my facts in order and [ Read more… ]

Is the glass half full?

From our daily member newsletter on January 21, 2020

We are probably all aware and have been known to ponder the enigma of: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” As good accountants, we have also probably pondered whether the glass was half full or half empty. If only “they” had a good accounting procedure, I am sure we would know. We would also know which portion had been charged to expense and which was still “hung up” on the balance sheet. (I always visualize a meat locker labeled “Balance Sheet” with sides of beef hanging inside when I hear the phrase “hung up on the balance sheet.”) Actually, tonight’s editorial is about the need for all of us to recognize, in ourselves and in those around us, [ Read more… ]

Hang on tight

From our daily member newsletter on January 14, 2020

I often receive messages in which members comment about how job search puts you on an emotional roller coaster and I thought I would address this issue in tonight’s editorial. I am not a professional psychologist, but having been out of work myself for two very long years back in 1991 and 1992 — I’ve been there. I think the first thing you need to accept if you are active in your search is that your daily routine has been interrupted. Where you go every day, how you plan your day and what you do every day is VERY different than it was in the most recent piece of time. Add to this the fact that suddenly everyone is treating [ Read more… ]

Conflicting advice

From our daily member newsletter on January 12, 2020

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you asked a question, you got the same answer? Unfortunately it seems that every time you ask a question, sometimes even of the same person, you get different answers. Perhaps this is good. It gives you the chance, as an adult, to make your own decisions and choices. I know there are those of you out there who prefer certainty. This is part of the reason we went into Accounting. (Ah, the symmetry of it all.) But, the truth in this world is that everything in this world is someone’s OPINION. (What’s your opinion? Wrong!) When you had to ask for directions (back in the old days prior to GPS), you hoped that [ Read more… ]

Walter Mitty

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2020

Walter Mitty was an interesting guy. Although he did one thing in his real life, he had the opportunity to do lots of exciting things in his imaginary life. As we advance in our careers, I think all of us want the opportunity to do new and different things. It is only normal to want to change industries or change careers. And, many of us actually succeed in doing it. I am doing something very different in my second career and enjoying every minute of it. I hope that no one will read this editorial and think I am trying to discourage them. Hopes and dreams, however, have to be measured against the economic reality of your value to a [ Read more… ]

When your cup runneth over

From our daily member newsletter on January 6, 2020

From time to time I have gotten messages from members who either had multiple offers outstanding or wanted me to discuss what to do when you are so blessed. Or, is it cursed? (I don’t know about you, but I hate having too many choices.) Of course, when faced with the possibility of multiple offers, you can be assured that they won’t all come to fruition on exactly the same day. Hence the conundrum. Being individuals of high integrity, there is an urge to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God” to everyone involved in the process. My first suggestion is to operate on a “need to know” basis. I know it [ Read more… ]

A delicate subject

From our daily member newsletter on December 22, 2019

I know there are some members who have been “in the hunt” a long time and may feel that they are getting “a little long in the tooth.” I can understand the problem since I was out of work for almost two full years – 1991-1992. Tradition has it that if you are still at work, your most recent job can be shown as 2005-Present. If you are no longer there, it would be shown as 2005-2019. You may argue that your likelihood of getting called about a job is lessened if you are no longer employed, and that may be true. I frankly, don’t know if it is or it isn’t. I would suggest that the more difficult issue [ Read more… ]

Asking for and accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on December 16, 2019

One of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is getting our members to ask for and accept help when they need it. I suppose it is a guy thing and roughly 90% of our members are guys. As everyone knows, guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station. (Have you ever wondered why? Thank goodness for GPS! We don’t have to do that anymore.) Well, I have explored this issue from all sides and the conclusion that I have come to is that the reason most folks shy away from asking for and accepting help is a fear of being unable to pay back the debt they have incurred to the person who provided the assistance. [ Read more… ]

Move to where?

From our daily member newsletter on November 19, 2019

In 1991 when I was last out of work I was at a point in my life where I didn’t want to move. Although born in Chicago and raised in northern Indiana, I had lived in Connecticut for almost 20 years and I liked it here. My wife’s parents lived nearby and I had a daughter and son in high school. Moving really didn’t make sense in that it would have been very disruptive. And, much as I respect those who have taken jobs out of town and commuted for a period of time, it wasn’t something I was prepared to do. It seemed to me at the time that because I lived in the New York metropolitan area, there [ Read more… ]

Dream a little dream

From our daily member newsletter on November 13, 2019

Up until the age of 46 I didn’t spend a single day unemployed. From the time I got out of the Army in 1971 until 1991 I only changed jobs twice. It doesn’t give you a lot of time to think about your career or to consider that you might be doing other things. During the two years I was out of work I did a lot of thinking and I tried a lot of different things. I suppose if I had found a job immediately my life would not be what it is today. I would venture to say it is better than it might have otherwise been despite the “years from heck.” As you know, all jobs are [ Read more… ]

Have a magical day

From our daily member newsletter on November 12, 2019

For those of you who have been there, I’m sure you recognize the Disney way of concluding a conversation. It is kind of cute, don’t you think? And, in the context of Disney, it sets you up for what you should be experiencing. The more common phrase in the United States, of course, is “Have a nice day” or for those given to extremes “Have a great day.” Perhaps I am a curmudgeon of sorts, but I have always considered such phrases to be somewhat of an over promise. The world I live in is to under promise and over deliver. If I say: Have a great day to someone, I always worry that I am setting them up for [ Read more… ]

Did you have a bad day?

From our daily member newsletter on November 11, 2019

Let’s face it, sooner or later you are bound to have a bad day. The odds of having 365 perfect days in a row just aren’t high. It’s sort of a reverse thing to the odds of your winning the lottery. Sure, someone wins it every day, but it never seems to be me. (I guess it would help if I bought a ticket, but I am a tightwad financial guy and I would never spend the money – but I digress.) By the way, if it turns out to be you, I hope you will make a generous contribution to The FENG or buy me a new car or something. Anyway, getting out of bed every morning, energized and [ Read more… ]

Do you get out much?

From our daily member newsletter on October 28, 2019

The second Wednesday in November we will be having another meeting of The FENG’s Westport chapter. I tell you this not so that you will attend. Goodness knows, it is probably a little far for most of you. (But if your travels bring you to Westport on the evening of one of our meetings, please know you will be more than welcome to attend.) No, my reason is to remind you that chapter meetings represent a golden opportunity that honestly shouldn’t be missed. Have you been practicing your 90-second announcement? If you have been doing this in the comfort of your own home, let me assure you this is a good thing to do, but it is hardly enough. The [ Read more… ]

Force Equals Mass Times Acceleration

From our daily member newsletter on October 23, 2019

You might wonder what natural laws have to do with job search, but there is honestly a strong connection. The “mass” in this formula is you and your many talents not currently being applied to accounting and finance matters. The “acceleration” is a measure of how active you are in your job search. Are you actively networking, or have you given up? If you aren’t “fighting the good fight” the measured acceleration is obviously low. If you were untalented but working hard at finding a job, there would be more “force” being applied than if you were extremely talented and doing nothing. It has come to my attention that despite the recession having officially ended several years ago, many of [ Read more… ]

The wealth of talent

From our daily member newsletter on October 15, 2019

I have to tell you that I come away from most meetings of The FENG considerably impressed with the wealth of talent in the room. Perhaps it is just me, but the experience that most of our members bring to the party is truly amazing. The only problem that our members actually face is marketing their experience to others. Hey, if we were marketing experts, I assume we all would have gone into marketing. Unfortunately, we are accounting/finance types, and that coupled with our innate modesty appears to prevent us from bragging appropriately. The other not so obvious “syndrome” is that we have a wealth of talent and experiences. Yes, I know I said that already and in a positive [ Read more… ]

Knowing you’re not alone

From our daily member newsletter on October 14, 2019

They say that misery loves company. I hope all of you know that this has never been what The FENG was all about. While it is true that most of us are in that vast and over crowded arena called “middle age” and that the focus of our organization is job search related, what we share as an organization is the idea that none of us are alone. Yes, you have to do most of the “heavy lifting” yourself when it comes to managing your career, but knowing that there is help and support EVERY WHICH WAY you turn is what makes The FENG different than any other organization of which you might be a member. Several times a week [ Read more… ]

One device-many uses

From our daily member newsletter on October 13, 2019

In 1969 I was drafted into the U.S. Army. It was of course a difficult time. But, my approach to life has always been to see the humor in every situation, and I must say the Army gave me many opportunities. One of the most amazing things I was given during basic training was a little device called a P-38. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of Army service or those who did, but memory doesn’t serve, the P-38 was a rather remarkable can opener. About an inch or so in length, and sort of like a hinge in design, it could open any can of C-Rations. But enough of simple devices. The device that actually came [ Read more… ]

Self-improvement

From our daily member newsletter on October 2, 2019

Seeing difficult times as times of opportunity I suppose is a skill in and of itself. It is far too easy to see a job search as full of trials and tribulations. Of course, it is a difficult time, but it is also a time when if you are going to go through a change, it is a good time to sit and think about your future and what you need to do to be where you want to be. For most of our members it is my belief that this is a good time to bone up on your technology skills. Most of our members move from large companies to smaller firms. In these smaller firms you can be [ 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… ]

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… ]

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… ]

Giving up as a concept

From our daily member newsletter on August 28, 2019

One of the more interesting ideas floating around these days is giving up. I can’t say I am an expert on this topic, other than to say that I have heard about it at length from others. Not that they have actually bought into the idea; just that they were talking about it. As you all know, I am a sailing buff. As such I indulge myself in good sailing stories from time to time. Some of the most memorable have been the ones about those who have had to abandon ship. Although the sailors rule is to “always step up into a lifeboat,” there often comes a time when you have to grab your “abandon ship bag” and do [ Read more… ]

Taking your temperature too frequently

From our daily member newsletter on August 26, 2019

I don’t know if any of you feel as I do, but when I have a cold or the flu, it is at once annoying and thoughtful that those who care about us are constantly checking up on us. Thank goodness I’m not sick very often, but when I am I prefer to be left alone during “the cure.” Human beings vary, of course. Some of us are hypochondriacs, and some of us are foolish to the point of going out when we are sick. The human experience, as in most things, runs the gamut. So, like I said, if those who care about you “discover” that you are a little under the weather, the constant phone calls or the [ Read more… ]

Asking for and accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on August 15, 2019

In today’s mail came a note from one of our new members that warmed my heart. He forwarded a note to me with a copy of his resume and as I scrolled through his message I smiled to myself in pride at what a remarkable organization we have created for ourselves. I didn’t actually need yet another copy of his resume, but the story of why he sent it was what was important. It seems he had been in touch with his chapter chair and special interest group chair to make them aware of his joining and he had also been in touch with Jim Saylor to ask for a peer review of this important document from our esteemed Resume [ Read more… ]

Have I reached the party to whom I’m speaking?

From our daily member newsletter on July 30, 2019

Many years ago Lily Tomlin had a skit on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In where she played Ernestine, the telephone operator. This was one of her great gag lines. In much the same way, those of us who make a lot of phone calls are in the same pickle. I’m not sure if people just never call their phones or if privacy considerations are what have caused the problem, but a very large number of folks don’t seem to have their voice mail properly set up. The voice message I get sometimes very helpfully tells me the number I called. Being an accountant, punching numbers into the phone pad isn’t all that much different than a calculator, and I rarely [ Read more… ]

You can’t direct the wind

From our daily member newsletter on July 22, 2019

I have given much thought over the years to how sailing is a lot like life. In dreamy meditation at the wheel of our sailboat, I have often thought about the unseen and uncontrollable forces affecting our progress and how through the skills I have acquired at her helm I have been able to make her go where I wanted her to go. A long time ago my wife sent me some quotes from a lecture she attended and I thought I would expand on some of those ideas for tonight’s editorial. Here are the quotes: “You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” “Life is a voyage in which we choose neither vessel nor weather, but [ Read more… ]

Arrested but not convicted

From our daily member newsletter on April 25, 2019

We have had speakers at over the years at our meetings here in Connecticut and each in their own way has brought up the subject of having an explanation as to why you are looking for another job. I have always felt that it was a waste of your valuable time to provide an explanation in your 90 second announcement, and I still feel that way. Unless you were arrested and convicted of a crime, or fired for cause, I probably will not find any useful information in your explanation. And, if that was why you are now looking for another job, you probably won’t tell me. What I really need to know is the nature of your credentials and [ Read more… ]

Getting started …. AGAIN

From our daily member newsletter on April 7, 2019

If looking for a job the first time wasn’t hard enough, going at it a second time after only a short break can be in some respects even harder. Sure, bringing your resume up to date isn’t all that difficult. There is the issue of how to deal with a short period of employment, but once you have decided how to display it, you are basically there. The really hard part is restarting your networking process. Contacting all of the friends and associates who were kind enough to see you last time can be more than a little intimidating. How are you going to explain why you are “back at it” again? In part what is going on here is [ Read more… ]

The power of negative thinking

From our daily member newsletter on April 1, 2019

So much for the “little engine that could!” Give me an opportunity to obsess about some problem and I can guarantee you that not much will get done. First, I won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep, and then in my grogginess the following day, it will be suitably difficult to focus on any task. Basically, I may as well take the whole day off, or, the rest of the week! The best problems to select are those you can’t do anything about. The war in Syria, the economy, the 2020 presidential election, the fact that it is raining (or isn’t) – almost anything will due. Let this idea, whatever it is, take over your whole mind. Roll [ Read more… ]

Sticking with a bad situation

From our daily member newsletter on March 27, 2019

Deciding whether or not to stick with a job you have just taken is a difficult choice indeed. Whether your job search has been long or short, the realization that you have made a mistake is enough to cause you sleepless nights. I know because it happened to me. After 9 years as CFO of an advertising agency (not exactly a walk in the park) and almost two years of unemployment, I had a short tour of 5 months as CFO of a firm in Connecticut. I now refer to this as the job from hell. (Or, for the more sensitive among us, the job from heck.) Anyway, sitting here tonight, it is hard to understand what made that job [ Read more… ]

Can you find me a job?

From our daily member newsletter on March 25, 2019

I’m not sure why people tend to lose their common sense when it comes to job search, but they do. Were it not for this tendency, the organizations that feed on the unemployed wouldn’t exist. And, try as we might to put them out of business, new miscreants arise out their ashes. I fully understand that job search is a stressful time in your life. I was out of work for two years, and the word stress doesn’t even begin to cover it. And, much like a person being rushed to the emergency room of your local hospital in an ambulance, you feel at times like those experts who are taking care of you must know best. I only wish [ Read more… ]

A new job on Monday

From our daily member newsletter on March 14, 2019

A few times each month I get a good news announcement from one of our members that begins with: “Please stop the newsletter, I am starting a new job on Monday.” It is at these times, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Starting a new job on Monday and already this individual is ready to disconnect themselves from our august body. Gosh, don’t you think he/she should at least wait until some of those paychecks clear? Sometimes they provide their new business card information, but sometimes they don’t. When they do, they sometimes conveniently leave off their new office phone number. In effect they are saying: “It was nice knowing you when I needed you.” I try not [ Read more… ]

Charles Darwin slept here

From our daily member newsletter on March 13, 2019

Although you wouldn’t know it from the influence it had on his thinking, one of the little known facts is that Charles Darwin actually didn’t spend all that much time in the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands cover a rectangle of about 125 miles from North to South and about 175 miles from East to West with about 13 significant islands and many small ones. As I understand it, Charles was only there for several weeks. And, instead of a cruise ship making about 15-20 knots with a rubber dingy powered by a 48 horsepower outboard on a preplanned tour, he was in a boxy square rigged ship with a few oar powered boats for getting to the islands. I [ Read more… ]

Putting your life back together

From our daily member newsletter on March 11, 2019

No matter what the crisis, it is a natural human instinct to try to put your life back together again. When it comes to the end of a long job search, the instinct is no different. Understand that you have been in crisis. And, the crisis probably didn’t begin at the exact moment you lost your job. Most likely there was also a period of time prior to that when you were preparing for the possibility of a search. In terms of a life crisis, job search ranks right up there. Talk about having to put your life on hold and doing without. When your income drops to zero, the necessary belt tightening can’t help but affect you, especially if [ Read more… ]

Why Sundance wouldn’t jump

From our daily member newsletter on February 11, 2019

For those of you who remember the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, there was a memorable scene where Butch and Sundance were cornered on the edge of a cliff and the only way out was to jump into a river and float away. As you may recall, Sundance was reluctant to jump, and only with much prodding did he confess to Butch that the reason he didn’t want to jump was that he couldn’t swim. In an effort to reason with him, Butch at this juncture pointed out to him that the fall was probably going to kill him. Impressed with this logic, the two of them proceeded to jump. Fortunately, the movie didn’t end at this point [ Read more… ]

Why you left your last job

From our daily member newsletter on January 31, 2019

When they stopped paying me, that was bad enough. But, when they had the security guard escort me from the building and dumped my few personal belongings on the sidewalk, I decided enough was enough. I just wasn’t going back to work at THAT place anymore. If you have a sense of humor and think you might be able to carry it off, the use of humor to explain why you were “booted out,” terminated, down sized, or just plain fired, please feel free to use my opening paragraph. That said, I doubt that it will work for most people. I get the sense from most of the folks I have heard explain why they left their former employer that [ Read more… ]

I will work for food

From our daily member newsletter on January 30, 2019

I’m sure some of you have been seriously considered for jobs that paid less than you were previously earning. As an experienced sailor would tell you; any port in a storm. Unfortunately, there is always a bit of disbelief coming from across the table that ANYONE would work for less than they earned before and not bolt for the door once the economy picks up. My own experience has been that this is not what financial folks do. However, telling someone you will work for food, is probably taking their employment offer a little too far. First, let’s do the math from your side. Every month you stay unemployed is 8% of the year. It doesn’t take long at these [ Read more… ]

It’s all in the preparation

From our daily member newsletter on January 28, 2019

According to a survey that Bruce Lynn completed late last year, only about 30% of our members have ever been to a chapter meeting. In a word, those of you who have never attended a meeting of The FENG are missing out big time. (And no, we don’t wear funny hats or actually have a secret handshake. That is just an ugly rumor.) Chapter meetings are the friendliest gatherings of human beings that you as a member of The FENG can ever imagine. And, to make them even friendlier, we have created a series of tools on our website to make your meeting experience as beneficial as possible. As they say, you can bring a horse to water, but you [ Read more… ]

The art of getting up again

From our daily member newsletter on January 24, 2019

You have to kind of feel sorry for folks who have never been unemployed. I know it may sound strange to say this, but if you have never been knocked down, you may not know that not only will you get up again, but that you may be a better person in many ways when you do. I hope that members of The FENG know this. If you have never known defeat, you may think you are invincible. But, we should know that NO ONE is invincible. At some point everyone you know experiences a major setback in their lives that shakes their world to its very core. Early in my life I envied many of the people I came [ Read more… ]

Past, present & future

From our daily member newsletter on January 22, 2019

I have often said that a member’s visualization of his new job is his last job on his last day. In a sense, how could it be any different? As accountants, we value our history more than anything else. This “rear view mirror” approach to life is one of the many things that can cause us to limit our view of our present and of our future. To use a well worn phrase “we don’t know what we don’t know.” The view of the future is clouded. The view of our past is in sharp contrast by comparison. Our work history is hard won. By saying this, I don’t mean to diminish in any way shape or form the skills [ Read more… ]

Is the glass half full?

From our daily member newsletter on January 16, 2019

We are probably all aware and have been known to ponder the enigma of: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” As good accountants, we have also probably pondered whether the glass was half full or half empty. If only “they” had a good accounting procedure, I am sure we would know. We would also know which portion had been charged to expense and which was still “hung up” on the balance sheet. (I always visualize a meat locker labeled “Balance Sheet” with sides of beef hanging inside when I hear the phrase “hung up on the balance sheet”.) Actually, tonight’s editorial is about the need for all of us to recognize, in ourselves and in those around us, [ Read more… ]

The consummate professional

From our daily member newsletter on January 10, 2019

The title of this editorial is actually: “The consummate professional in an electronic world,” but I thought that was a little long. As senior financial professionals, we tend to stay in our jobs a long time. Up until I was 46, I only had 3 jobs. Who you are and what you are tends to be known by other members of the organization, especially if you are the Chief Financial Officer, or in some other senior level management position. Even when you are not in the room, people feel your presence. Because you hold the checkbook and most likely have the ear of the CEO, knowing who you are and how you think about things is vitally important to those [ Read more… ]

Putting it behind you

From our daily member newsletter on January 7, 2019

Since much of what we do in The FENG is about job search, I thought it might be appropriate to make a few suggestions to everyone about what to do when you do actually find a new job. I’ll be blunt. Job search is primarily filled with uncertainty, highs and lows and activities like making networking calls, which as financial folks we generally don’t like doing. Still, as Russ Potter, a member of long standing would say: “All jobs are temporary.” If you are going to be successful at this “career thing” you need to face facts, and the most important one is that you are never really employed, you are just between searches. A sad state of affairs perhaps, [ Read more… ]

Hang on tight

From our daily member newsletter on January 6, 2019

I often receive messages in which members comment about how job search puts you on an emotional roller coaster and I thought I would address this issue in tonight’s editorial. I am not a professional psychologist, but having been out of work myself for two very long years back in 1991 and 1992 — I’ve been there. I think the first thing you need to accept if you are active in your search is that your daily routine has been interrupted. Where you go every day, how you plan your day and what you do every day is VERY different than it was in the most recent piece of time. Add to this the fact that suddenly everyone is treating [ Read more… ]

A time for reflection

From our daily member newsletter on December 26, 2018

As accountants we know only too well that the time periods into which we divide a year are a little arbitrary. They only mark the passage of time in a logical manner (which is very important to all of us financial types). We also know intuitively that the concept of getting a fresh start with the coming of the New Year isn’t quite true. Still, it is a very fine tradition. And, with all the time you will have in the next few days, it couldn’t hurt to spend some time in quiet reflection. (I said reflection — not napping.) I don’t know what the New Year will bring for the members of our networking group, but with any luck, [ Read more… ]

Paint on a smile

From our daily member newsletter on December 16, 2018

Over the next two weeks or so, a great opportunity will be presenting itself to you in the form of gatherings of those who know you (and presumably love you). In order to enjoy the greatest benefit, you need to paint on a smile. I don’t care if you have been out of work 3 or more years or if you are losing your job in January, being down in the dumps or coming off as a “sad sack” won’t help your cause. In the opening scene in Patton, you may recall that George C. Scott explained why America wasn’t going to lose the war. Very briefly, Americans love a winner and won’t tolerate a loser. No matter what the [ Read more… ]

Unsolicited advice

From our daily member newsletter on December 11, 2018

It is a well known fact that men don’t like unsolicited advice. It is for this reason that we used to drive in circles from time to time, even though our spouse quietly suggested we stop at that gas station we kept passing and ask for directions. (GPS has at least solved that problem.) We have even been known to provide a few harsh words to some people who were only trying to help. As one sets out on a job search, you will find yourself getting more unsolicited advice than you can stand at times. What is particularly annoying is when folks try to give you the SAME advice that someone else just gave you a few minutes ago. [ Read more… ]

Don’t be lazy

From our daily member newsletter on December 5, 2018

In a sense, a sailboat isn’t a complicated machine. Compared with other means of transportation such as cars or planes, there really isn’t much to a sailboat. Sails are pretty simple, and if you are like me, you don’t use the motor if you can avoid it. (We only burned 50 gallons of diesel this summer, including our vacation. How much wear and tear could a motor get being used that little?) Laziness tends to go right along with the summer, doesn’t it? And after a long day in the hot sun, it is easy to forget that this “thing” on which your life depends may need some attention when you would much rather head off for a nice hot [ Read more… ]

Presenting your credentials

From our daily member newsletter on December 4, 2018

Job search is a draining and discouraging process at times. (Or, is that most of the time?) Well, maybe not, unless you make it so. The truth is that most of us financial types stay in jobs a lot longer than those in other disciplines like marketing or sales. In addition, most of the work we do is being Mr./Ms. Inside where others know us. The need to “explain ourselves” just isn’t part of our makeup. (Besides, do they want that check signed or not? Ah, the golden rule. He/she who has the gold or controls the gold, makes the rules.) At the end of the movie “Good Fellas,” the wise guy who has ratted out his fellow mobsters is [ Read more… ]

Don’t pretend to be what you’re not

From our daily member newsletter on November 28, 2018

I have over the years had endless discussions with our many members on the topic of disguising your age or generalizing your background and despite my best arguments, I find people still doing it. Hopefully it is not the same people. (Why don’t they listen to me?) Actually, I am not whining. Everyone in our membership is an adult many times over. Still, in times of stress and with advice coming from all directions, much of which is in significant disagreement, it is hard to choose. Others provide compelling opinions as to why this or that is correct. It’s just that they usually don’t past the “smell test.” All advice needs to be benchmarked by your own logic. Put yourself [ Read more… ]

Getting from here to there

From our daily member newsletter on November 27, 2018

Sailing can be a very simple or a very complicated activity. It depends on how you want to approach it. To get from here to there can be planned on a very simple basis or a very complicated basis. For example, if you are sailing across Long Island Sound from North to South to a particular destination, it doesn’t hurt from a planning stand point to consider the fact that the dominant wind in our part of the world is southwest. In addition, the tidal current which you also should consider runs East and West, so you have to know the state of the tide. At its full force, it can be pushing you in one direction or another at [ Read more… ]

Giving up is not really a good idea

From our daily member newsletter on November 25, 2018

At some point during a long job search I often get an email from a member in which the primary message is about “the futility of it all.” Having been out of work myself for almost two full years in 1991 and 1992, I guess I can say I’ve been there and done that. Being out of work is never easy, and but it is especially hard on those of us who are older. It’s not just that employers are looking to cut costs and our big salaries are a good target, it is also that we are at that point in our lives when we are faced with particularly large financial obligations. This could be college for our teenagers [ Read more… ]

The usual pack of lies

From our daily member newsletter on October 23, 2018

I often wonder to myself how politicians can do so much lying and get away with it. Okay, sometimes we boot them out of office for lying, but we only replace them with new folks who also lie. The truth I suppose is subject to each person’s individual judgment. What one person considers to be an out and out lie, another person might consider to be stretching the truth a bit. To the degree that it suits ones purpose, putting a positive or negative spin on someone’s job performance is what makes politics such great fun. Man is a political animal. When I hear members tell me that they want to find a company that is less political, I say [ Read more… ]

What I did on my summer vacation

From our daily member newsletter on October 7, 2018

Remember back at the beginning of time when you would return to school in the fall and would have to write something about what you did all summer? Oh how I envied all those kids who did exciting things over the summer. We didn’t have a lot of money and my father was a plumbing contractor, so we really couldn’t go anywhere during the summer. My father worked 7 days a week and I worked with him 6 days a week. Summer was a time to make money. (And, it was up hill BOTH ways to school. Not only that, but the snow was always 6 feet deep!) Although I suppose I could have written about the work I did [ Read more… ]

That feeling of incompetence

From our daily member newsletter on September 27, 2018

Have you ever felt you didn’t know anything about computers? I do all the time, and I have been using them since my first Apple IIe. Still, there is just so much to know and so much to learn. And, the rules keep changing. Things that work on one computer don’t work on my next one. (Why Microsoft does this I don’t know, but I wish they would call me and clear their “improvements.”) Anyway, the process of job search is really what I wanted to talk about tonight. Much like that new computer you got, the process itself often times seems like it has a mind of its own. And, it probably does. The truth is that NO ONE [ Read more… ]

Feelings of helplessness

From our daily member newsletter on September 26, 2018

“They” say (I don’t know who they are) that searching for a job is filled with highs and lows. It doesn’t matter who you may have heard it from or how often you heard these words of consolation, if you have been through a long job search, you know the feelings. I suppose we can find ways to live with the highs. But, the lows, that’s another story. I believe you feel helpless when you are job searching because the whole process seems to be out of your control. In some sense we flatter ourselves that before we were looking for a job we somehow had total control over our lives. As “they” say, the best laid plans of mice [ Read more… ]

Keeping a proper attitude

From our daily member newsletter on August 23, 2018

One of our members wrote me once and asked me about how to keep a proper attitude when your job search stretches into what seems like an eternity. The reason he addressed this question to me is that he noted that I have mentioned on several occasions that beginning in March of 1991 I was unemployed for almost 2 years. (It was only 1 year and 9 months, but who’s counting?) This is not an easy question to answer from many perspectives. Time has dimmed my memory to a certain extent. (And, not only about my job search. Those senior moments happen more frequently lately, but I digress.) When I left my job in 1991 as Chief Financial Officer of [ Read more… ]

I will work for food

From our daily member newsletter on August 9, 2018

Although the job market appears to be getting better, it is still a sad fact of life these days that most of our members face the prospect of a salary lower than they previously enjoyed. From our perspective as financial folks we struggle with the burden of our hard won escalations in salary over our careers, as if somehow these increases were our birthright. Alas, they aren’t. Unlike those who change jobs more frequently and who, in turn, have a better sense of the market and their value in it, we often do not enjoy such a “sixth sense.” Therefore, when faced with providing our “salary requirements” in responding to a job posting, we are often at a loss as [ Read more… ]

Giving up as a concept

From our daily member newsletter on July 31, 2018

One of the more interesting ideas floating around these days is giving up. I can’t say I am an expert on this topic, other than to say that I have heard about it at length from others. Not that they have actually bought into the idea; just that they were talking about it. As you all know, I am a sailing buff. As such I indulge myself in good sailing stories from time to time. Some of the most memorable have been the ones about those who have had to abandon ship. Although the sailors rule is to “always step up into a lifeboat,” there often comes a time when you have to grab your “abandon ship bag” and do [ Read more… ]

Any excuse will suffice

From our daily member newsletter on July 26, 2018

I am sure you have heard it too, the at length explanations others give as to why they are looking for another job. Sometimes I forget to mention at the beginning of our meeting in Connecticut that I really don’t need to know and you don’t really need to tell anyone. No explanation is actually required even when you go on a job interview. What you need to do is separate yourself from the situation a little bit and develop a short factual explanation that will address the issue. The reason it has to be short is that the more you talk about it, the more important it must be to who you are and whether I should hire or [ Read more… ]

Life is a journey

From our daily member newsletter on July 23, 2018

I have often noted to my friends who aren’t into boating that the difference between a power boater and a sail boater is that power boaters usually use their boats to go somewhere, whereas sail boaters are already there once they step onto their boat. In our goal driven, management by objectives, over achiever world, the difference in philosophy between someone who has an obsessive desire to reach a goal versus someone who lives for the journey is considerable. The truth is, of course, one can do both as long as you think about both. To me the purpose of sailing is to enjoy good times and adventures with my spouse, members of our family and our many friends. Whether [ Read more… ]

Don’t go it alone

From our daily member newsletter on July 22, 2018

Job search is in many ways a unique experience. In contrast to the world of work where we have had folks reporting to us and have had folks that we reported to, the world of job search can tend to be a lonely place. Outplacement facilities with their rabbit warren of cubicles at first glance seem to place you with a lot of other people. There are classes to attend, and at least in my own experience with this kind of environment, you have others with whom you can have lunch and share experiences. Not a totally bad situation. But still, everyone is on a different track and when they find work or their time ends, they typically disappear. And, [ Read more… ]

Fog sandwiches

From our daily member newsletter on July 18, 2018

Although by and large, the one thing we make more often than anything else for dinner on our boat is reservations, there are times when the fog giant descends upon us and if there is nothing else to eat, we make fog sandwiches. To make fog sandwiches, of course, you need fog. To this one should add bread, mayonnaise (if you are making a fog sandwich with chicken or turkey), and mustard or ketchup (if you are using roast beef). The type of bread is your choice. I prefer fog sandwiches made on whole wheat, but that’s just me. The problem with fog sandwiches is that the fog portion provides no recognizable flavor or for that matter substance. (Unlike smoke [ Read more… ]

Hard on the wind

From our daily member newsletter on July 10, 2018

Since not all of the members of The FENG are sailors, I really need to start this editorial with the idea that you can’t sail directly into the eye of the wind. In fact, you generally have to be about 45 degrees off the wind to make any headway. However, this is only a real nuisance at those times when the wind is blowing from where you want to go. Sailing as close as you can to the eye of the wind is called being “hard on the wind.” As exhilarating as sailing hard on the wind may be to us die-hard sailors, it has an entirely different effect on those who are only putting up with your hobby. You [ Read more… ]

Just showing up

From our daily member newsletter on June 18, 2018

There are several folks who claim credit for it, but one of the things I have been heard to say from time to time that I didn’t make up is that “90% of life is just showing up.” (Okay, perhaps it is only 89%. Whatever!) As we begin the months of the well respected summer doldrums, I would ask all of you who are around when meetings are taking place of our various chapters and special interest groups to make a special effort to show up, especially if you RSVP for a meeting. I have to tell you that setting up a meeting requires a lot of hours on behalf of our many hard working chapter and SIG chairs, and [ Read more… ]

Your hidden assets

From our daily member newsletter on June 14, 2018

Almost all of the resumes I see are from members or new member applicants. What is surprising is how much trouble some folks go to disguising their seniority and great skills. It is my belief and I hope to make it yours as well, that the most important thing you have to sell is your wealth of experience. There are so many things in this world that only happen once or twice a year, and most of our members have seen them anywhere from 20-40 times. Like a song you keep hearing on the radio, even if you don’t sing well, you are bound to know the words and can easily hum a few bars. Hiding this important asset of [ Read more… ]

Free advice

From our daily member newsletter on June 12, 2018

I guess the old saw is that free advice is worth what you pay for it. The other popular expression I use from time to time is “consider the source.” There is a whole “guy thing” about the giving of unsolicited advice. In much the same logic as the old saw about guys not asking for directions at the gas station, it is often difficult to find the right words to offer up advice to members when it isn’t requested. I, of course, see a lot of resumes. With such an obvious huge overview of the “resume landscape,” you would think that anything I said about a member’s resume would be gratefully received, but alas, it isn’t so. Unlike most [ Read more… ]

A career in marketing

From our daily member newsletter on June 11, 2018

Just as they should require finance and accounting courses for the members of the other professions in this world, they probably should require more marketing classes for the members of our profession. The question we are always trying to address, whether we are looking for work or currently employed is: Who are our real customers and what is it we are selling them? This isn’t a question that is as easy to answer as it might appear. Not being marketing professionals we often mistake cause and effect. What is it we do for the rest of the organization? Unless you are always thinking in marketing terms your “product offering” is not going to be well received because you haven’t defined [ Read more… ]

Staying hidden from view

From our daily member newsletter on June 6, 2018

I often wonder if people really want to be found. It ranges from the lack of an outgoing signature with your FULL contact information on the emails I receive to answering machines that repeat your phone number when I call, but don’t indicate whose phone it is. The latest wrinkle is not putting a physical address on your resume. I’m not sure what to make of all of these obstacles people put in front of others trying to reach them. There apparently is a major outplacement firm recommending the deletion of home addresses. The fear is identity theft. While I would never recommend you put your date of birth and/or your Social Security number on your resume, I feel very [ Read more… ]

The illusion of time

From our daily member newsletter on June 4, 2018

Although this problem was more common several years ago when there were more corporate layoffs, I still from time to time see members waste the first 6 months of their job search. It’s not that they “goof off,” it’s more that they feel they have the luxury of time. As a sailor, I can assure you that time and tide wait for no man. Neither does the job market and more importantly the marketability of your career. Among the many things I hope are communicated in our newsletter are all the things you shouldn’t waste your time doing. Things such as mass mailings to recruiters or contacting accounting firms and lawyers you may know are generally not a good use [ Read more… ]

Moving down market

From our daily member newsletter on May 23, 2018

I have often been heard to say that it’s always better to be working. Being overqualified for most of the jobs published out in the world can be a little unsettling. But, I think you just have to accept it as a fact of life that once you have 20-30 years of work experience, you have probably done everything at least once. The new and exciting part of your work life is now in doing the same things you have done before, but with different people and in different companies. The model that most of us have in our minds is based on our experience. (What else could it be based on?) The experience for many of us baby boomers [ Read more… ]

Are we a support or resource group?

From our daily member newsletter on May 22, 2018

Like the classic fable of the 6 blind men standing around the elephant, The FENG means a lot of different things to individual members. In part it is dependent on where they are in their career, whether they are active in a search, or if they are currently employed. It can also vary on any given day. Of course we provide support for one another. But, I like to think that the support we provide isn’t the “do it for you” kind, but rather it is our unique ability to be a resource for one another that makes the difference. The FENG comes fully equipped with extraordinary resources for our members. And, other members provide them all. It is sort [ Read more… ]

A fine line

From our daily member newsletter on May 20, 2018

The difference between being viewed as possessing dogged persistence and being an outright pest is hard to define. Like beauty or obscenity, I guess we know it when we see it. I have had many jobs over the course of my career, some paid, some volunteer that have involved collection work. When I was Treasurer of my congregation for 4 years, one of my jobs was to collect outstanding dues owed by members. It was delicate work. In the urban legend in this world, those who didn’t pay on time or not at all were suspected of trying to get away with something. The truth was enough to break your heart some nights when I made phone calls. Very few [ Read more… ]

Rain or shine – you can’t do much about it

From our daily member newsletter on May 16, 2018

I don’t know what the weather has been by you lately, but here in Connecticut we have had a very cold and damp spring. One thing you learn if you are a sailor is that there really isn’t much you can do about the weather. The wind is from whatever direction it is coming from and at whatever speed it chooses. All you can do is manage your vessel to take best advantage and, if need be, change your plans. A few days ago I got a note from one of our members seeking to raise the issue of “Is a CPA needed to be a CFO?” Or, at the very least, the question was, is it being required more [ Read more… ]

Beginnings, middles and ends

From our daily member newsletter on May 10, 2018

I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes the job search process so maddening and one of the many conclusions I have come to is its lack of structure. (Someone should really redesign it!) Unlike all of the other projects we may have in our career as financial folks, this one may have a beginning and it may have an end, but it is the middle that makes us crazy. Hard to know at any point in time where exactly you are on the continuum. You know you have started when you begin your job search either because you have been terminated or know you will be soon. And, you know when you have ended, because you have [ Read more… ]

Keeping hope alive

From our daily member newsletter on April 26, 2018

Whether you are currently working and hate your job or are currently in active search mode, the most important job you have every day is maintaining an optimistic view of the future. The stresses and strains of a job that is winding down may at times seem beyond bearable. Back in 1991 during the last several months before the advertising agency where I was CFO lost our largest account, the back biting and back stabbing among the “leadership group” reached incredible proportions. So too, job search itself is filled with highs and lows. The highs are always diminished by the possibility that the job offer you fully expect to get never comes. The lows when you have no interviews scheduled [ Read more… ]

Having the wind taken out of your sails

From our daily member newsletter on April 23, 2018

Conducting a job search, whether working or not currently employed, can be a difficult time. You tend to go through phases. (I don’t know if I like the phrase “in transition,” but it seems to continue to be well accepted.) At first it can be kind of exciting to be away from the daily grind of a job. If your last job was anything like the ones I was fired from, it was actually a relief of sorts not to be there anymore. And, there are new things to learn and skills to polish. Who ever thought that any of us would strive to be great writers of resumes, and who ever thought that we would get to enjoy making [ Read more… ]

You talkin to me?

From our daily member newsletter on April 17, 2018

Yes, I am talking to you. The purpose of my evening editorial is to make all of you better at managing your careers, and in particular to educate you on what I believe are the key issues in appearing more professional and technology savvy in the digital world we all live in. Let me start as I always do with outgoing signatures. The purpose of an outgoing signature is primarily to enable others to reach back out to you with a minimum of effort. This means that your phone numbers should appear in the order you would like them called. And, if you have more than one, list it. (Three might be a little over the top.) If you believe [ Read more… ]

It is always better to be working

From our daily member newsletter on April 15, 2018

Even though the job market seems to be improving, I thought I would repeat a thought I mention to those who ask. Plain and simple, it is always better to be working. The strategy you take early in your career has to be one of growth. Each job you take has to move you up the ladder of success. However, once you have been a Chief Financial Officer or Controller of a significant firm, and especially if you have reached the advanced age of mid-forties like most of our members, I would suggest to you that it is simply better to be working. My own observation has been that most of our members move from large firms to smaller ones. [ Read more… ]

Defining who you are

From our daily member newsletter on April 9, 2018

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. Some time ago when one of my friends, 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 [ Read more… ]

Asking for help

From our daily member newsletter on April 4, 2018

Asking for help is hard for many people. I don’t know why that is, but I am sure it is just part of human nature. I guess we have been brought up to “do it ourselves.” It is sort of a mark of our independence when we become real adults. I have been told that this is the reason that guys used to refuse to stop at the gas station to ask for directions. (Thank goodness I have GPS and no longer need to ask.) The key is to know when your wheel spinning has reached the point that you would be best advised to ask for help. The reason I bring this up is that there are so many [ Read more… ]

Watching your back

From our daily member newsletter on March 27, 2018

It would be great if we could all see behind us while at the same time looking forward, but it just isn’t possible. And, sometimes just looking forward is hard enough. We have all heard about the “buddy system” that swimmers use. And, of course, having someone “watch your back” is a concept we are all quite familiar with. One of the problems The FENG has always tried to educate our members about is the mistaken belief that job search is a zero sum game. While it is certainly true that only one candidate is going to get the job, the goal is to ensure that one of our members is that person. I hope that it is you, but [ Read more… ]

The Energizer Bunny

From our daily member newsletter on March 26, 2018

Probably one of the hardest things to do during a job search is keeping yourself energized. If you are conducting your job search from home, it can be even more difficult. The thing to recognize is that conducting a job search is in some respects painful for us financial types. We don’t get to do spreadsheets (which we adore), and all we get to do is write letters and make phone calls. Sure, making phone calls to collect past due invoices is a lot of fun. But, making networking phone calls, now that’s painful. So, faced with not needing to sharpen our #2 pencils, it can be difficult to get going in the morning. After all, what is there to [ Read more… ]

The importance of realistic expectations

From our daily member newsletter on March 21, 2018

It is an unfortunate fact of life that no one can find you another job except for you. While it is POSSIBLE that others can help you in some way, they can’t actually do it for you. What we do in The FENG is provide you with the tools for an effective job search. These tools run the gamut from advice about networking, to chapter meetings, to access to our membership directory using our Member Directory Search feature. As it has been said, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. The resources for an effective job search are staring you in the face, but it is up to you to use them in the [ Read more… ]

90% of life is just showing up

From our daily member newsletter on March 18, 2018

While I am sure the correct answer is “about” 90% (90% is a little too precise), there is no denying the fact that showing up is important. If you have an interview and you don’t show up, you can’t possibly get the job. If you expect to get paid, you have to show up for work. And, the list goes on. If you would like to consider yourself a master networker, showing up is also important. The groups that you belong to such as your local chapter of The FENG, your local Chamber of Commerce, your religious organization, these are all places where you should show up on a regular basis. If you don’t show up, the people who are [ Read more… ]

Believing everything you hear

From our daily member newsletter on March 14, 2018

It is a great talent of us financial types that we do a lot of data gathering before we make decisions. In any conversation we have we are looking for the reasons why and why not, and keeping a tally count so that we can construct a graph of some kind, I suppose. This isn’t a criticism. I find myself doing it too, and I should know better. It sort of goes under the heading of “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.” Much of what I know about the world, I learned from other people. I listen to what they have to say and my “take away” is ultimately knowledge. Many years ago I was selling cable TV [ Read more… ]

Taking a punch

From our daily member newsletter on March 11, 2018

One of the lesser rated but most important traits of a senior financial executive is his/her ability to take a punch. I say lesser rated because many of our members who I have talked to over the years feel that having had a punch thrown at them and not having the good sense to duck is something they should somehow be embarrassed about. Let me be clear that everyone has punches thrown at them and inevitably you are going to be looking the other way and get hit by one of them. You can’t be alive for any significant length of time and not be caught off guard from time to time. That doesn’t make it your fault. Being hit [ Read more… ]

Brutally direct advice

From our daily member newsletter on March 6, 2018

The FENG is a society based on helping others. (Not that they actually need our help, of course.) I realize that, at times, members are in a sensitive state and I try to act accordingly. But, I don’t really know if providing brutally direct advice is better than soft peddling what they absolutely have to do. As Butch Cassidy said in the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”: “Don’t sugarcoat it Sundance, tell it to her straight.” The question is which is better? At our meeting in Connecticut I am frequently listening to at least a few pretty bad 90-second announcements over the course of a two-hour meeting. Even though I try to model a good announcement by going [ Read more… ]

Keeping busy and productive

From our daily member newsletter on February 26, 2018

One of our members wrote me a while back and asked me about how to keep a proper attitude when your job search stretches into what seems like an eternity. The reason he addressed this question to me is that he noted that I have mentioned on several occasions that beginning in March of 1991 I was unemployed for almost 2 years. (It was only 1 year and 9 months, but who’s counting?) This is not an easy question to answer from many perspectives. Time has dimmed my memory to a certain extent. (And, not only about my job search. Those senior moments happen more frequently lately, but I digress.) When I left my job in 1991 as Chief Financial [ Read more… ]

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