EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Weather forecasting

From our daily member newsletter on November 30, 2020

Ever the wise sailor, I always (well, almost always) check the weather forecast before heading down to the boat to go out for the day. This may or may not be a valuable activity. My wife jokes that in her next life she wants to be a weather forecaster. They never have to be right and they still get paid. I have to agree that they are frequently wrong, and sometimes I have taken their prognostications to heart and they have caused me to miss a perfectly good sailing day. (As you may know, the sailing season is very short – it is less than 52 weeks per year, so I hate to miss even one day.) There is also [ Read more… ]

The competition is fierce

From our daily member newsletter on November 16, 2020

No one ever said it would be easy. And, when it comes to finding a job after the age of 40, it can easily become a demoralizing situation. For those of us who are even older, like in our 50’s or 60’s, it can be extremely difficult. Let me start you out with the idea that you are no longer the least expensive product out on the market. You bring a wealth of experience to the party, and those on the other side of the desk feel obligated to pay more to you than for someone earlier in their career should they decide to hire you. It’s true, of course, that they should pay more, but what is often missed [ Read more… ]

Never let a volunteer get away

From our daily member newsletter on November 10, 2020

At the beginning of time itself in 1995, there was only a Westport Chapter of The FENG. In fact, the name of entire organization was The Financial Executives Networking Group of Fairfield County Connecticut. Over the past 25 years we have grown into an International organization with 37,000 members, 85 Chapters and 35 Special Interest Groups. Our first Special Interest Group was started by Bruce Lynn, one of our Co-Chairs who, in his modest way, suggested it would be nice if the Treasury folks could identify each other. We are an army of volunteers. Bruce Lynn, Marty Latman (our other national Co-Chair) and yours truly are ALL volunteers, just like the other 200 folks who head up our organization. The [ Read more… ]

What is a “Tip Talk?”

From our daily member newsletter on November 9, 2020

I’m sure I don’t need to go into the details, but it goes without saying that the past 9 months of unending stress have been hard on all of us. I don’t know what happened to it, but when I worked for “the great corporation,” I had a bulletin board in my office with one section covered in cartoons. (People liked to kill time in my office.) In one of them a man is sitting on the edge of his bed trying to get up for the day. He clearly didn’t sleep well, hasn’t shaved, and he has the appearance of someone who is ready to give up. The caption has his wife saying: “Yeah, well you didn’t know how [ Read more… ]

Enabling technology

From our daily member newsletter on November 8, 2020

When I became Chairman of The FENG in 1996, there was at the time an emerging technology called the Internet. (Rumored to have been invented by Al Gore.) I was working for The Thomson Corporation at the time and had learned how to use email. Some days I got as many as 10 emails! (This was referred to as being buried in emails.) I thought, email could really prove useful and enable The FENG to more currently send job leads to our 60 members. Utilizing my AOL account, I started what is now our evening newsletter. As they say, the rest is history. Moving to current times, I had an at length Zoom meeting last week with Steve Parkes and [ Read more… ]

Transferrable skills

From our daily member newsletter on October 8, 2020

There is no greater truth about our profession than the one about our having transferrable skills. Like lawyers and marketing folks, us financial types come to the world with talents that can be applied in a variety of situations. (Sort of sounds like the introduction to Superman, doesn’t it?) Generally we believe this hook line and sinker. The problem is getting the rest of the world to suspend their disbelief and listen. That said, if we have built a career that spans decades rather than years or months, there are things we know that are rather specialized. And, if we want to find a job that we will enjoy (that old quality of life issue again), it will tend to [ Read more… ]

Does anyone have job leads to share?

From our daily member newsletter on October 4, 2020

There was a time in the not too distant past when our evening newsletter on Sunday evening ran to over 120 pages. The newsletters during the week were typically 50-75 pages. Lately our newsletter is typically 25 pages or less. Back in the “good old days,” we only had 15,000-20,000 members. Now we have close to 37,000. While I understand that the job market is not good right now, I would hope we could muster more published pages of job leads if we all took the time to send in appropriate items to Leads@TheFENG.org. The FENG is primarily an organization of CFOs, Controllers and Treasurers. Although we have members with many other related titles, the thing that unites us is [ Read more… ]

Over responding to job leads

From our daily member newsletter on September 30, 2020

One of the foundations upon which The FENG has been built has been relying upon our members to exercise good judgment about the jobs for which they are a fit and only responding when they are. I could no more police this activity when we were smaller than I can now that we are huge. In the world of geese and golden eggs, it is important to us as an organization that the outside world views posting in our newsletter as a civilized experience. While we are viewed as the best resource for financial jobs by those who have tried us, we can always do better. My simple theory is that if we make the effort to be honest with [ Read more… ]

The small town syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on September 24, 2020

I am always chatting with potential sponsors for The FENG and from time to time the character of each of our chapters comes up. They are, of course, all different. Here in the Northeast I suppose there almost aren’t any boundaries. Pre-COVID-19 we used to get visitors to our Westport chapter meeting from pretty far away and I know from talking to members attending our meeting that they often attended meetings in Westchester and New York City. Around here, the whole world is open to you from a job perspective as well. There are simply lots of possibilities if you are willing to commute by train or drive. Not so in other parts of the country. Many of our local [ Read more… ]

Rejected out of hand

From our daily member newsletter on August 24, 2020

If there is one thing that is certain about us financial types it is that we always know the answer. Ask us a question and it isn’t long before we are well into the “primarily due to’s and partially offset by’s.” Yet, this major strength of ours and important skill set is an impediment to success at job search. Our perception of the world, much like other human beings, is colored by our experiences, and in our world job change typically hasn’t happened as frequently as it has for many other categories of workers. When I was in my mid-40’s, an art director friend of mine told me that he had already worked at 25 different advertising agencies, some of [ Read more… ]

Damaged goods

From our daily member newsletter on August 16, 2020

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal quite a few years ago that made the following points: 1. The unemployed are damaged goods 2. Recruiters prefer finding those who are not actively seeking new jobs 3. Networking groups are of little value While to a degree I hesitate to take exception with this esteemed periodical, I must point out that the first two issues are not news. Anyone who has read John Lucht’s book “Rites of Passage” would already know that recruiters have an inherent prejudice against those who are unemployed and are generally speaking charged with stealing someone from a competitor. That’s why they get the “big bucks.” Hence, those who are unemployed are not really of [ Read more… ]

Awaiting a rising tide

From our daily member newsletter on June 28, 2020

Although I would never willingly admit it, over the nearly 35 years I have been sailing I have had occasion to go aground. (It is always an embarrassing situation.) One time I dragged anchor in a storm (that I can assure you was not in the forecast) and the other times I managed to wander too far out of the main channel. The tidal drop in Long Island Sound where I do most of my sailing can be as much as 8 feet. For most of my sailing life I have had boats that draw around 4-5 feet. At high tide you can easily pass over areas that are exposed at low tide. (For those of you not familiar with [ Read more… ]

Changing industries

From our daily member newsletter on June 11, 2020

More often than not, members of our networking group prefer to change industries when they change jobs. I have to agree that changing industries isn’t such a bad idea. In fact, the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills we have learned to a totally new situation is an attractive concept. The truth unfortunately is often a little harsher. Our maximum value to any new employer is our knowledge and skills, and often times our perceived value is higher if we aren’t making any significant change. As counter intuitive as it may sound, the best approach to changing industries is talking to folks from your industry, especially those who are no longer there. The question to be answered is how [ Read more… ]

An over reliance on job leads

From our daily member newsletter on May 28, 2020

Part of the lecture I deliver to new members who call me is that The FENG is a networking group, not a job listing service. I then add that they shouldn’t allow the fact that we are publishing lots of job leads each month confuse them about our true purpose. In the beginning (when God created heaven and earth), it was my closely held belief that the existence of our job sharing would ensure that most of the good news announcements would indicate that the lucky person got the job from a posting in our evening newsletter. Alas, it has not been so. Sure, over the years I have seen some improvement in this statistic. And, I do work mightily [ Read more… ]

Are you over qualified?

From our daily member newsletter on May 20, 2020

I’m sure tonight’s topic will generate a lot of comments. Those of you who would like to join in on this discussion are invited to send your comments to Leads@TheFENG.org. The short answer to the question of the moment is: I hope so! If you weren’t, I’m not really sure how you were added to our membership. Our entire organization is filled with well qualified individuals who can do just about any job they would like to take. That said the primary focus of tonight’s editorial is for our members who are much older. Let’s say 55-60 plus. When you are interviewed for a possible work opportunity, please understand that the comments made by the interviewer are often a sincere [ Read more… ]

A cut in pay

From our daily member newsletter on May 19, 2020

Probably one of the most upsetting and disappointing aspects of searching for a new job when you are “well experienced” is the need to consider positions for which the compensation is considerably less than your last job. I suppose it is part of our mind set as accountants that we tend to view our gradual increases in pay over the years as hard won. I guess that’s because they probably were. The prospect of losing ground from the heights we have obtained is, at best, difficult to face. I can tell you from my personal experience that early on in my search in 1991 I passed on several reasonable opportunities because they were slightly below my former salary. If only [ Read more… ]

Sharing our knowledge

From our daily member newsletter on May 10, 2020

From time to time, I write an editorial that generates very thoughtful responses from our members. I hope that all of you appreciate those individuals who write in as much as I do. It is an important part of The FENG, that we each take the time to share our knowledge with one another on topics large and small. There are so many ways to share our knowledge. If you are bashful and not interested in communicating with a large audience, there are those weekly new member listings where you can pick up the phone and TAKE THE TIME to share what you have learned with one individual at a time. That is as important as writing an “Op-Ed” piece [ Read more… ]

There are evil doers

From our daily member newsletter on May 7, 2020

The executive search business isn’t what it used to be, but then what is? And, who knows what it will be during (or after) COVID-19. I hate to bore those who already know the primary difference between recruiters, but I hesitate to assume. Retained recruiters typically have an exclusive right to find a particular candidate for a firm and they get paid whether they find an acceptable candidate or not. The only problem is that since they have been paid, they sort of have to keep working on it. Contingency recruiters don’t have an exclusive and will typically present what candidates they can find and then quit looking. Please understand that there is nothing inherently evil with either type of [ Read more… ]

Doing what you CAN do

From our daily member newsletter on April 30, 2020

There isn’t much I personally can do about the job market. I caught a few minutes of the evening news tonight, and as many as 20% of the work force in the USA is now unemployed. These are staggering numbers. Equally staggering is that almost 64,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. With headlines like these in front of you, it can be hard to focus on much of anything. That said, I have worked very hard this week building programming for Chat with Matt. (I’ve even allowed myself to fall behind in my email.) This is something I CAN do. I hope to bring you the best minds I have met over the past 25 years to inspire you, encourage [ Read more… ]

Chat with Matt

From our daily member newsletter on April 26, 2020

As all of you know, The FENG is going “all in” on Zoom. To prove my commitment to all of you and to our mission of educating members about the job search process, I will be hosting a daily 30 minute Zoom meeting. Details about tomorrow’s meeting appear below. I hope you will join us. The daily times for “Chat with Matt” may change each week and during the week. Tomorrow’s meeting is scheduled for 4PM. That’s a little late for our members in London, but should work reasonably well for everyone else. I will nail down a guest or guest for Tuesday tomorrow. I have a few calls/emails out. (Sorry, but I only came up with this idea Friday [ Read more… ]

Your allotted time

From our daily member newsletter on April 23, 2020

I do tend to rattle on. Some night I will tell you the FULL story about how I removed my own home heating oil tank from my property. (It is a long story with many fascinating twists and turns.) The problem is that most folks really don’t want to hear about it. And, even those who have interest appear to be plagued with a total lack of attention span when it comes to one of my favorite stories. I suppose I could also regale you with the story of “The midnight terror,” which very briefly is the evening we dragged anchor off of Milford, Connecticut (when I was unemployed) and almost lost the boat. It is one of my longer [ Read more… ]

Learning new things

From our daily member newsletter on April 22, 2020

I spent almost the entire day today learning how to host meetings on Zoom. In addition to my desk station, I had two laptops set up in my office so I could see what you will be seeing. I also roped my wife and son (who is also The FENG’s webmaster) into helping educate me on the ins and outs of this “new to me” program. Of course, I started from a very high base of knowledge due to the leadership of my two Co-Chairs, Bruce Lynn and Marty Latman. Bruce and Marty took the lead over the past few weeks in experimenting with Zoom. Based on their research and experimentation, it was clear this was the correct choice for [ Read more… ]

Just keep going

From our daily member newsletter on April 16, 2020

As we head into yet another week of lockdown, I hope that tonight’s editorial finds you and yours in good health and good spirits. If you and yours are at least in good health, I would be happy with that alone. I will admit that with each passing day it is getting harder and harder to remember what life was like before the novel coronavirus. I was speaking with Bruce Lynn earlier in the day. (As one of my Co-Chairs, and my business partner in The FECG, I do try to call him several times a week to see what ideas he has and to test his reaction to some of mine.) I remember fondly our lunches at Gold’s Delicatessen [ Read more… ]

Necessity-the mother of invention

From our daily member newsletter on April 14, 2020

With each passing day, it has become clearer that face to face meetings of The FENG are not going to be happening any time soon. At the beginning of time itself, when The FENG consisted of only the Westport Chapter and was only about 50 members, some folks in Philadelphia got wind of the fact that we were sharing job leads over my AOL account daily and asked to listen in. At first, I was not really open to their joining our distribution. After all, how could they possibly come to Westport for our meetings every two weeks? Their solution was that they started their own in person meetings. This made perfect sense and changed my perspective of what we [ Read more… ]

Humpty Dumpty and other matters

From our daily member newsletter on April 12, 2020

As we begin another week with a significant percentage of the US economy shut down, I hope tonight’s newsletter finds you and yours in good health. In terms of everyone’s priorities, I would politely suggest that this be your primary focus. With respect to the economy, at this point in time, I have no clue how they are going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It is my perspective that no one else does either. There are far too many pieces of the economic puzzle that have been seriously dislocated for you to use the prognostications coming from various sources as a guide for future actions. There are only certain aspects of what is going on that are within [ Read more… ]

Miles of bad advice

From our daily member newsletter on April 9, 2020

If there is any one thing that is consistent among senior executives who are in the job market for the first time in many years, it is their inability to distinguish between good and bad advice. The simple story is that if you hear it from me, Marty Latman or Bruce Lynn it is good advice. If you hear it from someone else, please exercise a little common sense. (Just kidding. I would ask you to apply common sense to the things we suggest as well. They may not be right for you.) Stop me if I am wrong, but none of you were born yesterday. To become a member of our little circle of friends you generally have to [ Read more… ]

The hidden job market

From our daily member newsletter on April 8, 2020

For those of you who I have not convinced about the value of networking, I thought I would share my own thoughts about something I have observed about the world and why I think it is so. During my various job campaigns since I started working in 1971 I always noticed a decided lack of published job leads in either Fairfield County Connecticut, where I live, or in New York City, a place to which I was willing to commute. (Please note that my career began well before the Internet, and that nothing much has really changed about job search.) With all of the people who live in this part of the country and with all of the well-known companies [ Read more… ]

Capitalizing on opportunities

From our daily member newsletter on April 7, 2020

During this period of time when all there is going to be over the next few weeks is bad news, it is hard to think about a path forward. I’m sure there is one, but I don’t see it yet. Earlier today I got a call from a Demetria Clark. As we began our conversation, I think she picked up on the fact that I thought it was a crank call. As she went on to explain that she had recently been in Nashville and had been pulled out, the personal nature of her tone started me actually listening to what she was saying. Turns out, she really does work for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Disaster Assistance office and [ Read more… ]

Goals and objectives

From our daily member newsletter on April 2, 2020

My wife and I go cruising on our sailboat every summer for about two weeks. During that time it is a sound bet that there will be at least two full days where we won’t be able to get off the boat most of the day because it is raining too hard. Of course, I always have email to do. Sometimes Peggy and I have a search assignment we’re working on, so we do that. Other times I have a boat project or two that I have been meaning to get to. (If I have to choose between sailing or working on the boat, it is always sailing.) Given that most of the country is on lockdown at the moment, [ Read more… ]

The captain can show no fear

From our daily member newsletter on March 30, 2020

With just about everyone in the ENTIRE world running around like their hair was on fire, I personally wouldn’t fault you if you too were feeling that way. Whether we are watching the news or reading the newspaper, it is impossible at the moment to find any escape from what is going on WORLDWIDE. I know you all enjoy my many sailing analogies, and tonight I have one that is very appropriate to our current circumstances. If you are the head of your family, I want to point out to you that the captain of a ship is not allowed to show fear. No matter how fierce the storm, no matter how lost he may be at the minute, even [ Read more… ]

Just call me Superman

From our daily member newsletter on March 12, 2020

Job descriptions, especially the ones that go on for pages and pages, have to make you smile. That said, with my many years of experience in the Advertising business, I am a big fan of long copy. Long copy sells. In the context of position descriptions posted in our newsletter I believe it gives our members sufficient information so that they can disqualify themselves if they honestly aren’t a fit. The longer the job description, the more likely you will get a good sense of the REAL responsibilities of the job. Most of the ones that catch your eye, I have no doubt that you can do. The more appropriate question to keep in mind is do you have a [ 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… ]

The clock is always ticking

From our daily member newsletter on February 17, 2020

As accounting professionals we always remember to ask: “What is the deadline?” The problem is that when it comes to job search, a deadline is often not indicated. I am sensitive to this little quirk that is apparently hard wired in the minds of my many friends, and for this reason, job leads posted by The FECG always include a deadline. How long do you generally have to respond to a posting? I would say the window for most jobs is between 15 minutes to 48 hours. A lot depends on where it has been posted and the nature of the response address. If it is a temporary mailbox on Hotmail or Yahoo, I would lean toward 15 minutes. No, [ Read more… ]

Urban legends of job search

From our daily member newsletter on February 2, 2020

In the 20+ years that I have been Chairman of The FENG, I have heard more nonsense about job search approaches than any of you would believe. Some of the most accepted practices such as leaving off graduation dates and the proverbial “to present,” even when you have been gone for several months, are so well accepted that those who adhere to these practices don’t believe me when I tell them it simply doesn’t work. If instead of accusing some well-respected members of our august body of lying, let me instead “lower my voice” and suggest instead that they are at times using ineffective approaches in their search. Life is a continual negotiation with others. Let me characterize two very [ Read more… ]

More information please

From our daily member newsletter on January 15, 2020

I am more often than not surprised by the amount of time it can take for a company to develop a position description and yet at the end of the day not really be able to capture the essential elements for a particular opportunity. I suppose in part this is because senior level position descriptions are a compromise. They are partly a reflection of who is in the job currently, but they also reflect things that the individual who held the job previously wasn’t able to accomplish. And, let’s not forget the fact that the company at which these tasks are to be performed isn’t static either. As readers of the end result, and especially with regard to opportunities that [ Read more… ]

Coziness is a state of mind

From our daily member newsletter on January 13, 2020

I suppose that at times being a member of the runaway train we call The FENG would appear not to lend itself to a whole lot of warm fuzzies. Ah, if only we could return to those halcyon days when there were only 50 of us and on a good day 15 of us would gather around that small table in the Westport library and discuss jobs we heard about. Friends, although this sounds good, I don’t want to go back. (Besides, we can’t.) Sure we are a whole lot bigger these days, but like love, sharing the warmth of our friendships with more and more people is INCREASING the warm fuzzies, not the reverse. Back in those DARK days [ Read more… ]

Tilting at windmills

From our daily member newsletter on December 11, 2019

From time to time, I have been accused of tilting at windmills. Actually, I am never offended when I hear this because in large part everything we do in The FENG has elements of it, and I’m proud of it. It has indeed been a long road developing The FENG. Most importantly, I haven’t had to do it alone. I have had the support of a huge number of “Fanatic FENG’ers. We are now the largest organization of our type in the entire world. It’s not too shabby, having had only 63 members at the end 1996 to now have over 37,000 members nationwide and around the world. We are indeed a force in the world ALREADY and yet growing [ Read more… ]

Stopping the aging process

From our daily member newsletter on November 24, 2019

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about the steps people are taking these days at work to conceal their age. I understand where this comes from. Ageism, as with all forms of prejudice, comes from ignorance. Across all of the ways of earning a living, it is true that SOME workers who are older are just not cost effective in the work they can do. Paying a lot more for a ditch digger who is well experienced may not make a whole lot of sense. When you look at work content and how experience plays into that is key to deciding whether or not hiring a “well experienced” person makes sense. There is, of course, the mean spirited [ Read more… ]

The darkest hour is before dawn

From our daily member newsletter on October 21, 2019

As you can tell by the length of tonight’s newsletter, the published job market isn’t as strong as we would like it to be. That said, with 37,000+ members, I would hope we could generate more job leads for our newsletter. A few suggestions follow below. If I may paraphrase Yogi Berra, our politicians have messed up right field so bad I don’t think anyone can play it. You may substitute the senior financial job market for right field. To mix a few metaphors tonight, as good as the economy may appear to be, the job market for senior financial executives seems to be a little thin. That said, we have no choice but to play the cards we have [ Read more… ]

Oops, I made a mistake!

From our daily member newsletter on October 10, 2019

It sure is a disappointment to find out you aren’t perfect. I don’t know about you, but I have always enjoyed the fact that typically the spreadsheets of my life tick and tie. I guess it goes with the territory of being a senior financial executive. Most things in our lives are measurable or can be forecast with some accuracy. Everything that is except for the people and companies we have to deal with when we are working, and especially late in our career. And so it is that after a successful career with perhaps several large corporations, we join a company that loses money and/or goes out of business. Even worse, we may do this more than once over [ Read more… ]

Conflicting advice

From our daily member newsletter on October 8, 2019

One thing there is a lot of in this world is advice. What makes matters worse, a lot of it is conflicting advice. Just as it is difficult to work when you have your nose to the grindstone AND your shoulder to the wheel all at the same time, one person’s advice can often be in TOTAL conflict with another person’s. And, both of these individuals may be trusted advisors. One thing that I say at a lot at our meeting here in Connecticut is to put any advice you get through your own filters. To be quite honest, I often don’t know what’s best for me. How could I know what’s best for you? In the course of our [ Read more… ]

Social media and job search

From our daily member newsletter on October 6, 2019

Anyone who wants to jump in here and correct me is more than welcome to do so, but I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of misconceptions about the value of social media in your job search. Let me be clear that I strongly recommend you have as complete a LinkedIn profile as you can. Keep your listing up to date and make sure it is completely consistent with your resume. Anything you publish about yourself can and very likely will be checked by some compulsive in the Human Resources department. A significant difference can derail you getting a perfectly good job, and you will never know what hit you. I would also strongly recommend that [ Read more… ]

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… ]

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… ]

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… ]

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… ]

Proof of the pudding

From our daily member newsletter on August 29, 2019

One of the many fine traditions we have in The FENG is the sharing of job hunting tips. I have to tell you that recently I haven’t been hearing as many job hunting tips as I used to hear. No, it isn’t that I have heard it all. New things are certainly happening. The problem I fear is primarily the nature of who we are and how we perceive the success or failure of the approaches we have taken in our search. The “proof of the pudding” to many of our members is that they found a job. The problem with that standard is that most likely they wouldn’t be unemployed. They would be nose to the grindstone and shoulder [ Read more… ]

Hurting other members

From our daily member newsletter on August 25, 2019

It is of course true that our own self-interest at times quite naturally overrides our concern for others. If I am drowning, I can’t very well be expected to save someone else. It’s a kind of a “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” thing. For example, I find that members are frequently more helpful to other members AFTER they find a job. Now that they are safe, they can attend to others. When it comes to reasonably well compensated jobs posted in our newsletter, it is slim pickings most nights. I can understand the reasoning of those who respond to everything. They are for good and valid reasons a little desperate. Holding back from the dinner table is very difficult when you [ Read more… ]

Career decisions

From our daily member newsletter on August 21, 2019

Making career decisions is never easy. And unfortunately, being a senior financial executive doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, because you are at a point in your career where you have probably held almost all of the appropriate titles for your skills, it is actually harder to be selected for jobs you would enjoy doing, but for which you appear to be taking a step back. For example, if you have been CFO of a small company, you might be hard pressed being considered for a Controller slot at a much larger firm. As I have mentioned from time to time, if we expect the world to be flexible about opportunities for which we should be considered, we also [ Read more… ]

Abraham Lincoln and Bill Gates

From our daily member newsletter on August 13, 2019

In my distant past I remember seeing a commercial in which an Abraham Lincoln look alike was sitting in an employment agency office. As the recruiter was flipping through his Rolodex he was telling old Abe that without “that sheepskin” he really wasn’t going anywhere. I guess the same thing was probably told to Bill Gates. While I don’t recommend avoiding college and/or not finishing your degrees as a career strategy, there are other certifications and educational achievements such as CPA, CMA and MBA that more often than not seem to be REQUIRED in the postings most frequently appearing in our newsletter. Under the heading of “don’t believe everything you hear,” it would be foolish in the extreme to believe [ Read more… ]

A long term activity

From our daily member newsletter on August 12, 2019

I was shooting the breeze with a few of my fellow sailors this past weekend and got to thinking about the fact that for most of us, our worst misadventures happened early in our careers as sailors. When I got into sailing in my mid-30’s I started out by taking a course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, much as many of you have had the pleasure of going through outplacement. I also did a lot of reading about sailing and subscribed to several sailing magazines over the years, much as all of you have gotten books about job search and hopefully take the time to read my evening editorial. The mistake that many members make is to view job search [ Read more… ]

The sounds of silence

From our daily member newsletter on July 10, 2019

There was an article in the New York Times several years ago about how employers and recruiters no longer seem to get back to job seekers, even when they have been serious candidates for particular opportunities. As easy as it is to click reply when you first send in your credentials, the follow up process is a lot more complex. Everyone should recognize the incredible volumes that those on the receiving end are experiencing. And, clients seem to take forever to review candidates and coordinate interviews for those they have selected. “The great lament” could go on forever. I am sure that each of you has your own special story. However, the explanations as to why this is the case [ Read more… ]

The Superman syndrome

From our daily member newsletter on June 20, 2019

It has been my observation for many years that most of our members who are in their 40’s and 50’s move from large corporations to middle market ones. The reason, as I have often pointed out is that large corporations don’t hire senior executives except rarely. For good and valid reasons, they prefer to grow their own. As our members assume senior level roles at these middle market firms, their systems undergo a shock of sorts. First, the only reason middle market firms hire senior financial executives is that they have a lot of problems. They want to learn from you, which means your peers in senior management are always in your office seeking your advice. This is a good [ Read more… ]

Those lazy hazy days of summer

From our daily member newsletter on June 17, 2019

As a season, summer is sure hard to beat. The days are warmer here in the Northeast. The days are also longer. No more getting up when it is pitch black and coming home when it is pitch black. (Winter is so depressing!) And, outdoor activities like sailing, tennis, and golf sure can’t be beat. The only problem with summer is the perceptual one that job search is more difficult during the summer because so many folks are on vacation. Friends, a little bit of urban legend is at work here. Unless you are planning to wait until after Labor Day to work on your networking activities, I think you are just going to have to accept the simple truth [ Read more… ]

Their lips are moving, but there is no information

From our daily member newsletter on June 10, 2019

There was an article in The Wall Street Journal in 2013 titled: “Didn’t Get the Job? You’ll Never Know Why” by Lauren Weber. The direct link is: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324423904578523683173841190.html and it is still available. I hope that all of you will take the time to read it. I have often said that when the answer is no, the likelihood of there being any useful information passed to you is close to zero. Lauren goes into almost all of the issues that I have discussed in editorials over the years, and I thought you would enjoy knowing that these are “truths” and not just “one man’s opinion.” Although Lauren covered the issues very well, I thought I would add an insidious aspect [ Read more… ]

A few counter-intuitive thoughts

From our daily member newsletter on June 6, 2019

Sharing job leads is only one of many counter-intuitive ideas that those of us who have been involved in The FENG for a period of time simply accept as the truth. As I often say, some of the ideas we have developed in The FENG take a little living with before you come to understand how they can work for you. A second area I would present for your consideration is the idea of asking for and accepting help. As you know, “guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station.” And, since most of our members are guys, this is one of the things I push from time to time in the evening editorial. Networking is frequently viewed as [ Read more… ]

Making the most of middle age

From our daily member newsletter on June 5, 2019

Looking back on my visualization of middle age when I was in my youth, I must confess the picture currently is a lot different. At the ripe old age of 72, I thought I would share a few thoughts tonight in the hopes that others would be willing to share theirs. Any editorial/notes from members contributions should be sent to Leads@TheFENG.org. Please be sure to properly label your opus – Middle Age. And, don’t send it to me. I currently have more than enough emails in my inbox that I am trying to clear. I graduated from college in 1968, went to graduate school because I was 1-A and finally got drafted in April, 1969. After two years in the [ Read more… ]

On becoming obsolete

From our daily member newsletter on May 13, 2019

It is a sad state of affairs when your presumed skills become obsolete, but like the buggy whip manufacturer of old, your only choice unless you want to become extinct is to adapt. Let’s see, buggy whips are made out of leather, so a good first step would be to define yourself as a leather goods manufacturer. Of course, they didn’t have the Internet back in those days, but my bet is that many of the buggy whip manufacturers knew each other. And, if they didn’t know each other, they probably knew who their competition was and as demand fell, they took note of what steps others were taking to adapt their operations. The carriage makers didn’t have such a [ Read more… ]

When is enough, enough?

From our daily member newsletter on May 2, 2019

The story goes that if a frog is thrown into a pot of boiling water he will have the good sense to jump out. On the other hand, if you put a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, he will boil to death. (Please don’t try this at home. I like frogs. I am sure you can verify the veracity of this proposition on the Internet somewhere.) There are similar effects in the world for things like allergies. You can tolerate many things to which you are theoretically allergic, however, once you hit some predetermined level, you begin sneezing and your tolerance for whatever you are allergic to is temporarily greatly lowered and you will begin [ Read more… ]

Changing strongly held beliefs

From our daily member newsletter on April 24, 2019

As they say, old habits die hard. Because we believe they work, we do the same things over and over again that we have learned over the course of our careers. Not to say we can’t be retrained, but it is hard. Us financial types find it particularly hard. Part of the reason is that we generally have come to our decisions and ways of thinking the hard way — through detailed analysis. Why use one spreadsheet when several will do? The most difficult belief I encounter requiring change is the nature of the next job that most folks are seeking. If ONLY there were really a job out there to take you through to retirement. No matter how much [ Read more… ]

The hidden job market

From our daily member newsletter on April 23, 2019

Much has been written over the years about the hidden job market. That said, it may not be clear to all of you how to go about finding these opportunities. After all, if they are hidden, how do you come to know about them? The public job market is reflected by job postings of all kinds. As a member of The FENG you get a truck load of them every week. The problem is that, regardless of the source – job boards or personal relationships, EVERYONE knows about these jobs in short order. The hidden job market is one that doesn’t formally exist. When members find jobs this way, they are always surprised or shocked. But, like most things, it [ Read more… ]

Is your job boring? Is there a cure?

From our daily member newsletter on April 14, 2019

Several years ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a quarterly meeting of the Association of International Bank Auditors on the subject of Networking Strategies. As you might expect in any gathering of financial folks, several of those in attendance were members of The FENG. One of the topics that came up during the Q&A part of my session was what do you do if you are bored in your job. Although I was honestly caught a little off guard at the time, upon reflection, it is actually a very good question and one about which we should always be thinking. Let me start you out with the idea that as educated people we have an inherent need to [ Read more… ]

Experience versus the energy of youth

From our daily member newsletter on April 11, 2019

There was an article I read a long time ago about the value of experience versus the energy of youth. The premise and conclusion were no surprise to me. Experience has a tendency to win out. While I would gladly concede that Americans have always worshiped youth and that there is inherent prejudice out there about us “well experienced” types, the truth is that in the world of work, only the end product and total amount of “real” work produced is what matters. Well experienced people produce more in a shorter period of time, generally speaking, than those still “learning on the job.” Intuitively, this should be something that most folks would accept. In my youth, my father was a [ Read more… ]

Is industry experience overrated?

From our daily member newsletter on March 26, 2019

For those members out of the buggy whip industry, changing industries is exactly what you have to do. It is for all of you that I dedicate tonight’s editorial. (You may substitute your industry if you prefer. It can also be true that you just don’t see much local opportunity in your industry and that you don’t want to move.) The battle cry of “industry experience required” is a disheartening one to see in a job posting. It was amusing to say the least that at the beginning of the Internet bubble they were looking for Chief Financial Officers with 10 years of Internet experience who had successfully taken one of these little puppies public. (Yes, you can’t make this [ Read more… ]

Dinosaurs can’t dance

From our daily member newsletter on March 17, 2019

Several years ago I got a note from one of our members of long standing complaining about the value of the leads in our newsletter. It was a well written message that cited chapter and verse about his experiences and I read it with great interest. Consistent with the experience of most of our members, this particular individual had been between jobs 3 times since joining The FENG, including the current search which wasn’t over yet. (As you know, you are never actually working, you are just between searches.) Although very careful in selecting positions to answer (qualified members only), he has on several occasions almost immediately gotten a response to one of his resumes telling him the job was [ Read more… ]

A point in time

From our daily member newsletter on February 24, 2019

One of the very lovely things we do in our family is spend several days each summer at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. And, if luck is on my side, we get to be there on the 4th of July when the excitement is palpable. What is unusual about this museum is that it is a living museum. Most of the ships in their exhibits are in working order, not able to actually put to sea, but they do have sails on their yards. The sail handling demonstrations are very real. You can even participate if you have a mind to do so. (I always do.) As a sailor, it is easy to put yourself back in the [ Read more… ]

Maintaining the consistency of multiple databases

From our daily member newsletter on February 18, 2019

I’m not sure if all of you are aware of it, but The FENG is driven off of the ONE database we maintain of your directory listings. Our RSVP system and The FENG Forum all derive their usefulness from being driven off this primary source of information and never have to be synchronized. Here at world headquarters, we have many sneaky ways of keeping your directory listings current. For example, every message you write to me or to one of our administrative staffers is checked against your directory listing. That is why I preach frequently about your having an outgoing signature. It allows me to ensure that you will remain properly connected to your fellow members. We also have a [ Read more… ]

Buggy whip manufacturing

From our daily member newsletter on February 14, 2019

For those members who are looking for a job just like the one they had, it may be time to take a good hard look around and see if this is a practical problem. Like the buggy whip manufacturers of old, some jobs and some industries are just not coming back. If you are in one of the hard struck areas of expertise or industries, what practical game plans are there? Not an easy question, but if it was easy, I wouldn’t be addressing it as tonight’s editorial. First, I have to ask you to believe that you must have acquired some transferable and applicable knowledge during your long career. The problem in evaluating your own information is that you [ 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… ]

Looking for a job in secret

From our daily member newsletter on January 27, 2019

While many things in this electronic world we live in are a lot easier, keeping your job search a secret isn’t one of them. My wife reminded me recently of the hours I used to spend at my typewriter during the 1980’s responding to job ads. Yes, there was a time after candles were replaced with light bulbs, but before the typewriter was replaced by the computer. And, I guess I should also mention that the Internet hadn’t been invented yet. (Al Gore hadn’t completed his work.) If you thought looking for a job was difficult, looking for one in secret is even harder. Some organizations frown severely on individuals looking for another job. Not that they go out of [ Read more… ]

Stone soup and job leads

From our daily member newsletter on January 20, 2019

For those of you not familiar with the story of stone soup, I would encourage you to go to: http://www.extremelinux.info/stonesoup/stonesoup.html (Is the Internet great, or what?) It’s not a long story, but it explains in easy to understand terms how you can turn nothing into something, and that is what I am about to suggest we do. At one time, our evening newsletter ran anywhere from 120 pages down to (on bad nights) around 50 pages. Ah yes, those were the halcyon days of job leads. And, back in those good old days, we only had about 20,000 members on distribution for our newsletter. We now have over 38,000. Since 1996, we have registered a little over 11,000 Friends of [ Read more… ]

Weather is very local

From our daily member newsletter on January 2, 2019

Ever the wise sailor, I always check the weather forecast before going sailing for the day. When out on vacation, the weather forecasts I listen to and study frequently cover a much broader area than I am planning to need for a particular day. I like knowing what the weather is going to be in a big circle around me. While on dry land an incorrect forecast may only cause you not to take your umbrella, out on the water it can mean the difference between life and death. However, as the expression goes, your results may vary. No matter how good the weather forecasters have gotten in recent years, they are still often VERY wrong. As we look out [ Read more… ]

Time, tides & job search

From our daily member newsletter on December 13, 2018

As an avid sailor these many years, I have found a certain comfort in the predictability of the tide. For example, at one time we had our sailboat in a harbor that prevented us from leaving or entering at dead low tide. An inconvenience to be sure, but one that was manageable given published tide tables. As an accountant, the monthly cycle of accounting reports always presented to me a similar kind of predictability. I couldn’t be out of the office at certain times of the month or certain times of the year, and I knew it. Deadlines in and of themselves provide guidance. What can wait? What needs to be rushed? The setting of priorities is something we understand [ Read more… ]

Learning the basics

From our daily member newsletter on November 6, 2018

When I first got into sailing as a young man (I was in my 30’s), my father-in-law suggested we take a class – what a concept! Sailing is actually pretty simple. First, you can’t sail directly into the wind (I wonder why?). Next, never spit into the wind. And finally, if you feel yourself getting seasick, get yourself over to the lee rail. (Okay, this one takes a little explaining. The lee rail is on the opposite side of the boat from where the wind is coming from, so it is sort of a corollary of the second rule.) I suppose I should add that if you are just off the wind, the sails are all pulled in tight, hence [ Read more… ]

Any port in a storm

From our daily member newsletter on November 5, 2018

One of our members wrote to me a few years ago seeking some career advice. It seems his firm is restructuring and his job is being eliminated. That said, he has some “work opportunities” that are available to him, (some at his current firm) but all of which are a little off task to his primary skill areas. Not that he can’t do them, it is more a question of how this will affect his career and whether or not he should just take a severance package and look for a “real” job. I don’t think it will come as a shock to any of you if I mention that there is no one right answer to finding a way [ Read more… ]

A visualization of the ideal candidate

From our daily member newsletter on October 28, 2018

The classic cruel joke of job search is that the client is looking for someone just like you, but much younger. Of course, no one can use these exact words out of fear of getting sued for age discrimination, which we all know is illegal. Setting illogically low levels of experience and/or declining to consider anyone with “too many” years of experience is how companies and search firms try to skirt around the issue. The choice we have is to react negatively to this approach, or to put our thinking caps on in advance and detect a hidden customer objection. Trust me, a frontal assault to this kind of thinking will never work anyway. We may be old as the [ Read more… ]

Passive job searching

From our daily member newsletter on October 24, 2018

I once got a note from one of our members listing several websites with job listings. The question was which ones to sign up for given that some of them had fees associated with them. I will now talk out of both sides of my mouth, so pay attention. Here in The FENG evening newsletter, we make every effort to ensure that the recruiters who post with us contact us as soon as they get a position description by making it free for them to have access to our vast audience. From our members’ perspective, I call it my “first bite of the apple” program. One of our Administrative Assistants reviews every newsletter after it is published and writes to [ Read more… ]

What’s the big rush?

From our daily member newsletter on October 9, 2018

As I hope all of you know, I have a consulting practice called The Financial Executives Consulting Group, LLC. (As time permits, please visit our website: www.TheFECG.com to see what we do.) Bruce Lynn is my business partner. We both also devote significant amounts of time on a volunteer basis to run The FENG. Many of our assignments come from employed members of The FENG who, unlike much of the rest of the world, are more open to hiring individuals who are well experienced. (As you know, the rest of the world calls these same folks “over qualified.”) Our assignments always have a two day deadline. One of our members wrote in once suggesting that this sounded a little harsh. [ Read more… ]

That was so 15 minutes ago

From our daily member newsletter on October 4, 2018

It is at all times important to remember that Americans live in the present and the future. If you want to sound like an old person all you have to do is spout phrases like “I remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon.” Or, “I remember when we did spreadsheets with pencils and calculators.” To be honest, no one cares. While it may be amusing to discuss with other old folks like yours truly, you have to be mindful of the fact that talking about the past isn’t going to get you anywhere with the younger generation, some of whom just might be the kinds of people you want to work for. Living in the present and thinking about [ Read more… ]

Counterintuitive ideas

From our daily member newsletter on September 24, 2018

There are a lot of counterintuitive ideas out in the world. (It is sometimes called “out of the box thinking.”) What may not be fully recognized is that The FENG, our little circle of friends, is based on quite a few radical ideas, and amazingly they all work. The earliest premise of our organization was that sharing job leads was a good idea. Not well accepted at the time, but for most of our members today it is so ingrained in our makeup that when someone claims not to understand why we do it, we have almost forgotten what the explanations are. (How could anyone not understand the wisdom of it all?) Our resume review committee headed up by Jim [ Read more… ]

Using your imagination

From our daily member newsletter on September 11, 2018

I have often joked that I am known for “in the box thinking.” Thinking outside of the box, whatever that means, isn’t easy. As financial folks we just aren’t built that way. Still, being boring and unimaginative doesn’t have to become a way of life. And, although this may sound counterintuitive, it is possible to develop a methodical method of “thinking outside of the box.” (Have you ever thought about who owns the box, or why THEY aren’t happy with the box? No, this never seems to come up.) The truth is that every member of The FENG is well educated. And, we got that way by “learning how to learn.” That is what a formal education is actually all [ Read more… ]

Two hours for lunch

From our daily member newsletter on September 5, 2018

One of the little jokes I used to tell back at the office was how hard it was to get anything done, what with an hour coffee break in the morning, two hours for lunch, another hour coffee break in the afternoon, combined with leaving early, there just isn’t much time to get things done. In much the same way, the “good” weeks of the year for networking can be made to disappear. As we begin this first work week after Labor Day, we are now into the golden networking period of Labor Day to Thanksgiving (which like summer), is a very short “season” since it is less than 52 weeks. Of course, much of the “urban legend” you hear [ Read more… ]

Sharing of job leads

From our daily member newsletter on August 28, 2018

The newsletters the past few weeks have been a little thin, so I thought I would take this opportunity to remind all of you of our mutual commitment to share job leads, even those in which we are an active participants. Yes, I know it is counter-intuitive to share leads in which you are an active participant, but it is one of our many PROVEN techniques for improving your very own “deal flow.” Inviting competition from your fellow members is one of our core values, only because it works. Even a job lead where you are one of the 20 candidates submitted by a search firm to his/her client, you only have a 1 in 20 shot. I can assure [ 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… ]

Rejected out of hand

From our daily member newsletter on August 1, 2018

If there is one thing that is certain about us financial types, it is that we always know the answer. Ask us a question and it isn’t long before we are well into the “primarily due to’s and partially offset by’s.” Yet, this major strength of ours and important skill set is an impediment to success at job search. Our perception of the world, much like other human beings, is colored by our experiences, and in our world job change typically hasn’t happened as frequently as it has for many other categories of workers. When I was in my mid 40’s, an art director friend of mine told me that he had already worked at 25 different advertising agencies, some [ Read more… ]

Wooden ships and iron men

From our daily member newsletter on July 19, 2018

Ah, the great age of sail! For many hundreds of years, men built great numbers of wooden sailing vessels for commercial purposes and for the making of war. The truth, as hinted at by the saying above is that there was very little that was actually romantic or desirable about a life at sea. Much of the poetry and writing about life on these vessels was written safely on land. The building of a large sailing vessel was quite a project in days before computer aided design and no power tools. That said the processes involved in ship construction were well known and changed very little over this period of time. A shipwright from any country or from any of [ Read more… ]

Do all new jobs disappoint?

From our daily member newsletter on July 11, 2018

One of the comments I have heard from time to time is that the new job that someone just found isn’t as exciting as the one they lost. It seems at times that most of our members find themselves in a downward spiral as they change jobs. The companies are smaller and often the pay packages are as well. While I have no empirical evidence that all of this is true, it probably is. There are a variety of reasons why new jobs tend to disappoint. The most important reason is within us. As an old job is coming to an end, we know all about it. If it was with a large corporation in particular, the shades of meaning [ Read more… ]

Is procrastination beneficial?

From our daily member newsletter on May 30, 2018

As it has been said, never put off until tomorrow that which you can do today. Of all the things one can buy with money, time is not one of them. For those who “walk among us” who are thinking that the time is not far off when they might have to look for another job, I would suggest that the time is now. If you are relatively secure and fat and happy in your current job, this is not the time to call 100 recruiters and send out your resume unsolicited to the Fortune 500. It is, however, a time for preparation. As we know in The FENG, or at least I hope we know, ALL JOBS ARE TEMPORARY. [ 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… ]

The problem with falling overboard

From our daily member newsletter on April 12, 2018

As the sailing season begins here in Connecticut my thoughts more and more turn to sailing stories and how they might apply to job search and the management of your career. (Of course, I think about and read sailing stories all the time, but I digress.) One of the great perils of sailing is falling overboard. I have 3 rules when sailing: 1. Don’t fall overboard 2. Don’t fall overboard 3. Don’t fall overboard To ensure that this doesn’t happens, especially when sailing at night, I always wear a lifejacket when underway and at night I always clip on. I also clip on when the wind pipes up. No exceptions. These are also the rules for the crew at night. [ Read more… ]

Are you ready to retire?

From our daily member newsletter on April 8, 2018

I don’t know about you, but at the age of 71, I still have more than a few miles left on my odometer. The thought of retirement is still something far off into the future. I imagine I will get to that point in my thinking someday, but it isn’t now. When members call me for advice, I always ask them how old they are. Lucky thing I’m not working for a corporation or I would probably get sued. That said, the reason I ask someone’s age is not to discriminate against them, but rather to give them better strategies. When I was in my youth in the 1960’s I suppose we thought the “old folks” didn’t know much about [ Read more… ]

Corporate thinking – a gentle version

From our daily member newsletter on March 13, 2018

It continues to be my observation of our members that for the most part we tend to move from large companies to small. Part of the reason is that we have no choice. Large companies generally speaking don’t hire senior executives from the outside. They try to grow their own. In any case, that leaves many of us from large corporations carrying the “burden” of perhaps several decades of experience in the ways of large corporations. I say burden because we only know what we know. Although the many tools we have learned in large corporations have their applicability, it is often difficult to know how to apply them in a smaller environment. A 5-year strategic plan, for example, simply [ Read more… ]

Square pegs for round holes

From our daily member newsletter on March 7, 2018

As someone who always suggested to his children that a pair of scissors would be a good tool for putting together jigsaw puzzles, perhaps I am not the right person to be constantly preaching about “qualified members only.” Still, having the SPECIFIC experience for a particular job posting is, generally speaking, the best situation for any job applicant. The reason is that you can’t easily talk to a job posting. When reviewing resumes against a position description, about 50% goes to location, 25% goes to industry background, and the remaining amount is a subjective judgment of your technical skills. So, what’s a person to do if they are the puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit anywhere? Well, I would suggest [ Read more… ]

Transferrable skills

From our daily member newsletter on October 2, 2017

There is no greater truth about our profession than the one about our having transferrable skills. Like lawyers and marketing folks, us financial types come to the world with talents that can be applied in a variety of situations. (Sort of sounds like the introduction to Superman, doesn’t it?) Generally we believe this hook line and sinker. The problem is getting the rest of the world to suspend their disbelief and listen. That said, if we have built a career that spans decades rather than years or months, there are things we know that are rather specialized. And, if we want to find a job that we will enjoy (that old quality of life issue again), it will tend to [ Read more… ]

An over reliance on job leads

From our daily member newsletter on May 9, 2017

Part of the lecture I deliver to new members who call me is that The FENG is a networking group, not a job listing service. I then add that they shouldn’t allow the fact that we are publishing about hundreds of pages of job leads each month confuse them about our true purpose. In the beginning (when God created heaven and earth), it was my closely held belief that the existence of our job sharing would ensure that most of the good news announcements would indicate that the lucky person got the job from a posting in our evening newsletter. Alas, it has not been so. Sure, over the years I have seen some improvement in this statistic. And, I [ Read more… ]

Asking for specifics

From our daily member newsletter on May 4, 2017

One of the worst things that anyone networking can do is to ask if you know of any jobs for them. I can assure you that the most likely answer will be something to the effect that two weeks ago they came across something that was right for you, but they can’t remember who it was they heard it from. The analogy I would draw for you comes from my experience at a small staffing company back in the early 90’s before the Internet. (Yes, there was a time before instant communication!) This little company was ahead of their time I suppose. They placed senior executives of all types in temporary and permanent jobs. Their key leg up, or so [ Read more… ]

The hidden job market

From our daily member newsletter on March 30, 2017

For those of you who I have not convinced about the value of networking, I thought I would share my own thoughts about something I have observed about the world and why I think it is so. I would welcome differing opinions from our members and/or your own observations. Please send them to Leads@TheFENG.org and Leslie will publish them under our “Notes from Members” column. During my various job campaigns since I started working in 1971 I always noticed a decided lack of published job leads in either Fairfield County Connecticut, where I live, or in New York City, a place to which I was willing to commute. (Please note that my career began well before the Internet, and that [ Read more… ]

The excuse you can’t cure

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2017

If you really need to get someone you are interviewing off the phone or out of your office, there is no better approach than to use what I call “The excuse you can’t cure.” In the annals of job search, there is no better tool. No one gets mad. No one screams. No one hits you. (This is especially important.) The beauty of “The excuse you can’t cure.” is that the victim doesn’t feel a thing. In fact, he/she usually accepts the problem as his or her own, not yours. This tool plays itself out with comments such as “If only you had a CPA.” Well, if you don’t have one, you certainly aren’t going to get one by tomorrow. [ Read more… ]

When I grow up

From our daily member newsletter on November 15, 2007

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t actually decided what I want to be when I grow up. Hey, I’m only 61 and there is still plenty of time! Colonel Sanders didn’t start until he was in his 60’s!   There are, of course, lots of things I have decided I am not going to be. For example, I have definitely decided against a career as a test pilot. Too dangerous, and besides, I am afraid of heights.   Still, within the world as we know it, there are lots of things I am capable of doing. I think the key is not to be bound by old concepts.   As I listen to 90-second announcements at our meetings [ Read more… ]

Starting A Consulting Company-Emotional Intelligence & Walt Disney

From our daily member newsletter on November 13, 2007

From Jerry Mills, Founder & CEO of B2B CFO®, Jerry writes:   Matt Bud was kind enough to publish an article I wrote named Emotional Intelligence, on October 18, 2007. I want to thank the dozens of FENG members that wrote emails regarding the article. The emails came from as far away as Germany. Many of the comments were similar to the following:   “Thank you so much for forwarding your article on emotional intelligence. It came at a time when I needed it the most and am very grateful for the reminder. Normally I can overcome the negative and get back to the positive, but I was having a harder time with it this week. The frustration of job [ Read more… ]

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