EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Reads and follows directions

From our daily member newsletter on February 13, 2019

If asked, I would be the first person to suggest that posted job leads are not where you need to focus your energies. That said, anytime you do respond to one, it pays to take a few minutes and actually read the posting and see what the requirements are. No, I am not talking about the job requirements themselves. After the first few sections you know whether or not the job is “you.” Still, you might want to give it a hard read with respect to must haves if for no other reason than to ensure you are sending the right resume if you have several versions. And, if it is “spot on” your background, it may even pay to [ Read more… ]

The Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus

From our daily member newsletter on February 12, 2019

I hope that none of you still believe in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. In much the same vein, I hope that all of you are smart enough to know that there is no job board with an exclusive list of job leads. And, anyone trying to sell you job leads should be viewed with suspicion. If you think my comments about the value of job boards available to you for a fee are harsh, my thinking about the free boards isn’t much better. While there may be job leads available on some board that you haven’t seen elsewhere, the real question to ask yourself and to ask your friends is do any of you know anyone who has [ 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… ]

A gasoline rag tune up

From our daily member newsletter on February 10, 2019

Many years ago I had to buy my son a car to get to school. So, we went down to the local used car lot and I spotted a Ford Escort. It was kind of cute. If memory serves, it was black and it was a stick shift. Having grown up poor, I wasn’t new to buying a used car. I opened up the hood and the engine was spotless. I was kind of surprised given the number of miles on the car and when I asked about it, the dealer told me he had steam cleaned the engine. Among the many things he told me he fixed was that he had replaced the windshield. Hard to sell a car [ Read more… ]

Successive approximations

From our daily member newsletter on February 7, 2019

In the accounting mindset, there is only one answer. The books either balance or they don’t balance. I guess this is what I have always found so satisfying about our craft. Ah, the symmetry of it all! Artists as well as other creative types on the other hand seem to have a problem with this concept. For them, there are lots of possible answers to each and every question, some of which contradict the others. How untidy, don’t you agree? As we move away from our core skill of certainty into the world of marketing our backgrounds, it is hard to make the conceptual break. Not only is there not one right resume, there is no right 90-second announcement and [ Read more… ]

Coming in second

From our daily member newsletter on February 6, 2019

It can be very frustrating to be told that you were number two. It gives you the feeling that if you had only done something different, presented something in a different way, (worn matching socks) the job might have been yours. If it happens to you more than once, it kind of makes you feel like you are “always the bridesmaid, and never the bride.” But, do you really know if you truly were number two? Perhaps you were number three or four. You just really don’t know, and frankly, IT DOESN’T MATTER. As I have often been heard to say “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Being the first choice is the only thing that wins the [ Read more… ]

Do the “experts” know anything?

From our daily member newsletter on February 5, 2019

I have observed over my life that most of the people identified as experts are wrong a very high percentage of the time. In much the same way that a clock that has stopped is right twice a day, some acknowledged experts are identified by the media as genius only because they inadvertently made a correct guess at just the right time. Sometimes they have even been right despite themselves, but that never gets discussed. In addition, I hope you have also observed that the same talking heads who were wrong also have an explanation as to why they were wrong. It is all very amusing. Overcoming unconscious age bias is extremely difficult. Overcoming blatant age discrimination is even harder. [ Read more… ]

Little white lies

From our daily member newsletter on February 4, 2019

Sad to say, a lie is a lie is a lie. Some would also argue that the withholding of important information is also a lie. I believe this to be the truth and you probably do too. One would have to wonder then why those of us of the accounting profession who pride ourselves on “no surprises” and never telling a lie, feel the need not to show college graduation dates, and if we are really old, some of our first jobs. I would have to ask those who do these things if they would ever hire someone they thought was hiding something about their background. I tend to think not. If you are telling a little white lie or [ Read more… ]

Taking job specifications seriously

From our daily member newsletter on February 3, 2019

I just don’t think that I will ever see in my lifetime a job specification that calls for a minimum of 30 years of work experience. If you ever see one, I do hope you will send it my way so I can frame it. For those of us who are “well experienced,” it can be a difficult decision applying for a job that only calls for 8-10 years of experience. As in the age old question of “How many men does it take to turn in a light bulb?”, at what point can someone early in their career be considered for a job as a Chief Financial Officer or Controller. And if this is all the company feels is [ 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… ]

Selling what’s in the wagon

From our daily member newsletter on January 29, 2019

As the length of time grows since your last “assignment,” the battle cry that is heard more frequently is the need to reinvent yourself. I’m not exactly sure how one can REALLY do that. As my Grandmother used to say: “I am who I am.” The question I would pose to you is, are you sure you have looked at everything in the wagon to be sure you are selling everything that’s there? Clearly, the economic principle of highest and best use applies to your career just as it does to those things that we call consumer products. If you are a Manufacturing CFO, a job in a manufacturing environment theoretically is going to produce the best results for you [ 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… ]

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… ]

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… ]

Any excuse will do

From our daily member newsletter on January 23, 2019

Since about 90% of our membership is male, I hope no one will be offended if I let you all in on a little secret – most men don’t have a lot of friends. I am not altogether certain why that is, but it really doesn’t matter because making new friends is actually a lot easier than most people think. If you think about all of the folks that you have gotten close to over the years, I am sure you will find some common elements in their characteristics versus yours. Sometimes it is a “birds of a feather flock together” thing and sometimes it is more like “opposites attract.” The point is no one really knows why couples fall [ 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… ]

I’ve got you covered

From our daily member newsletter on January 21, 2019

I am fast coming to the conclusion that most people don’t understand the purpose of a cover letter. Either that or I am greatly confused. My little window on the world is The FECG, the consulting practice that I share with Bruce Lynn. With any luck, a few times a month, alumni members of The FENG engage our services to find them a full time, part time or interim person. (Please visit our website: www.TheFECG.com if you want to learn more about us.) Since the only folks we consider for our assignments are members of The FENG, I get an “up close and personal” view of what “outsiders” are most likely receiving from our membership. I hope you won’t mind [ 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… ]

Cheap tricks that don’t work

From our daily member newsletter on January 17, 2019

In today’s job market, everyone is trying to create a little edge for themselves so they can beat the competition. I know that none of you are actually the source of these ideas. However, there are a lot of “so called” career counselors out there who try to create perceived value by introducing you to what I call “cheap tricks” that in my opinion just don’t work. My assumption is that if you weren’t so stressed by this whole job search thing, you would agree that these approaches are just not smart. For our very well experienced senior level audience, the primary one appears to be leaving off your early work history. The theory is that by doing so, you [ 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 difficulty of being a friend

From our daily member newsletter on January 15, 2019

I often refer to The FENG as a circle of friends. In a very real sense, the power of The FENG is our interconnectedness, and if that isn’t friendship I don’t know what is. Were it not a true fact that we have reduced 6 degrees of separation down to less than 3, networking within our little family wouldn’t be as much fun as it is. (I hate false facts, don’t you?) Anyway, I don’t know how many of you remember “The Millionaire,” (I think it was on in the early 1960’s) but it was about a guy who was hired by someone very rich to give away checks for $1 million. You would think that would be easy, but [ Read more… ]

Running the high hurdles

From our daily member newsletter on January 14, 2019

Between reviewing new member applications and going over candidates for assignments with The FECG, I spend a lot of time reviewing resumes. What continues to amaze and astound me is how difficult most folks make determining the key elements of their background. Basic stuff, like where they have worked and for how long, where they got their degrees, what industries they have worked in, and from time to time, even where they live – all require reading between the lines. Unlike most resume reviewers, I wasn’t born yesterday. (I also am not as old as the hills, but I have been around the block a few times.) Having “wasted” my life reading The Wall Street Journal and earlier in my [ Read more… ]

The great white elephant sale

From our daily member newsletter on January 13, 2019

As everyone I hope knows, a white elephant is something that appears to be useful, but actually has no real value. It takes up a lot of space and basically eats you out of house and home. Anyone with a garage or attic knows the kinds of things folks tend to hang onto, because all human beings hang onto this stuff. Your old Apple IIe (which still works), your IBM XT (which also still works – it replaced the Apple IIe), your turntable (even though the needle is shot and you threw away all of your records), etc., etc., etc. Oh, I forgot the workshop with its coffee cans full of left over parts and “spares.” Why is it we [ 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… ]

Horns of a dilemma

From our daily member newsletter on January 9, 2019

In the things that we do to communicate our background to others, we are at all times challenged by the need to generalize while at the same time being very specific. It is in all honesty, no easy task. And, it is easier said than done. If for example, you are trying to change industries, your 90-second announcement and your resume need to be “generalized,” by which I mean all of the industry specific language needs to be removed and put in terms that will sound familiar to others. Anyone from the advertising business knows the difference between agency income and commissionable billings. “Commissionable billings” is sort of a list price for media, but advertising agencies actually pay net. The [ Read more… ]

Handling customer objections

From our daily member newsletter on January 8, 2019

The sale of big ticket items through personal selling is never easy. When you buy a tube of toothpaste, a pack of chewing gum, or a box of #2 pencils, hopefully you don’t spend a lot of time either thinking about it, or fussing over the details. But, when it comes to buying something like a car, a boat or a house, the devil is in the details. Each of us at this point in our careers is a big ticket item. For any application of our talents, we are just as likely to have too many “buy points” as not enough. Lots of “objections” are raised during an interview process these days. Some of them are serious objections, other [ 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 rose by any other name

From our daily member newsletter on January 3, 2019

Back in 1991 after I had been out of work for only a few weeks I sent out a mailing and somehow managed to get an interview with a guy who looked and talked like Frank Perdue. After we shook hands, he offered me his business card and asked for mine. I told him I didn’t have one. He then asked me if I had a name. I said yes. He asked me if I had an address. I said yes. He asked me if I had a phone number. I said yes. Well, he said, you should have a business card. Fortunately for me, he moved on with the interview. But, lesson learned. I went out the next day [ 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… ]

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… ]

Saturday Night Live!

From our daily member newsletter on December 20, 2018

I have been known to get seriously silly at times. (I know this will come as a great shock to all of you.) Back in the old days when I was able to stay up late, Saturday Night Live had an ongoing skit about an individual named Pat. Over the course of the seasons or season it was on (as I indicated, it was a long time ago), all of the skits revolved around figuring out if Pat was a male or a female. Some of them were actually pretty funny. (Keep in mind that it was late at night and I do get slaphappy when I am tired.) Anyway, the issue for tonight is labeling yourself properly. As you [ Read more… ]

Building your inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on December 19, 2018

If you are actually sitting at your computer with not much to do the next several days, may I suggest you try increasing your inner circle of friends? The most valuable feature on our website is Member Directory Search: http://thefeng.org/membersonly/memberSearch.php All you have to do is follow the link above and sign-in to use it. Think of it as LinkedIn on turbo. The reason I say this is that some huge percentage of the folks on LinkedIn, and that includes members of The FENG, do NOT have complete directory listings. On The FENG website EVERYONE has a complete directory listing because our professional staff sees to it. Not only are listings for all new members created by our professional staff, [ Read more… ]

If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me

From our daily member newsletter on December 18, 2018

Several years ago, a very old friend of mine called my attention to this song by Jimmy Buffet. I’m not sure why it is, but many people never call anyone. In the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is life, they are also always wondering why no one calls them. When I was in college, my grandmother once said to me that if I wrote to her she would write me back, but I had to write first. At the moment she said it, I thought it was a little strange, but without the feedback that your letters are being received it IS kind of pointless to keep writing. Everyone has to take their turn. I’m glad [ Read more… ]

Catch me if you can

From our daily member newsletter on December 17, 2018

In 2002, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks starred in a movie about Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. The basic story is that over the course of several years, Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks tracks down Frank Abagnale played by Leonardo DiCaprio. I often feel like Carl Hanratty, only in my case, I am trying to track down members of The FENG. As Chairman of The FENG, I often feel that I could easily become a detective at this point in my life given the skills I have acquired. I can’t believe how frequently during the day I get mystery [ 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… ]

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… ]

Keeping it personal

From our daily member newsletter on December 12, 2018

I am always mildly amused at this time of year by most of the holiday cards and holiday emails I receive. My personal favorite in the mass emailing category was one I received a few years ago that was addressed to me not by name but began instead “My Dearest Friend.” No, I am not kidding. It really did begin this way. It may as well have been addressed to “My Dearest Friend, or Current Occupant.” Other silly approaches to sending out the same email message to lots of people are things such as “blind” distributions where your copy in the To: box has “None.” Just as bad are the ones that you can tell have been sent to lots [ 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… ]

Building to a sale

From our daily member newsletter on December 10, 2018

When you meet someone for the first time, the natural inclination and the appropriate one is to make small talk. In an interviewing situation for example it is normal to either talk about the weather or the traffic getting to your appointment. They are easy topics and unlike politics where you never know where someone stands, they are safe topics. How we introduce ourselves to others also has a logical pattern. In the case of job search, we have that very useful tool we call the elevator speech or the 90-second announcement. It is a way of getting ourselves into a conversation with another human being. By its nature, it shouldn’t have too many details and it should be mercifully [ Read more… ]

Putting your best foot forward

From our daily member newsletter on December 9, 2018

The development of a resume can be a long and involved process. There are so many ideas that others have to share with you, and each person with whom you speak has their own perspective about what is right and what is wrong. Your resume is also in part an historical document charged with chronicling your career from formal education through most recent work assignment. Some of the nonsense, misapplied these days, centers on the idea that only the most recent 10 years are of interest to the reader. True, but that doesn’t mean leave it off all together. The formatting and shaping of a resume is so much easier today than it was back in 1991 when I faced [ Read more… ]

The failure to communicate

From our daily member newsletter on December 6, 2018

The story I hear more often than not is how perfect someone was for a particular posting and their amazement that they didn’t get a call. Of course, there are a lot of possible reasons why someone doesn’t get a response. It could be they applied too late. It could be that there were requirements for the job that only became obvious once responses rolled in. Criteria that didn’t seem attainable are suddenly appearing on so many of the credentials of candidates received that those without it aren’t even considered. My only concern tonight is to address the possibility that you don’t communicate your areas of expertise in an easily absorbed manner. Let’s put ourselves on the other side of [ 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… ]

Living in an iPhone and Twitter world

From our daily member newsletter on December 3, 2018

Many of the inventions of the modern world are either the best things or the worst things to ever happen to us. It is a true fact (as opposed to a false fact) that we are now able to do a lot more communicating with each other than ever before. Personally, I stand amazed that I send out our newsletter to over 38,000 members every night. Had Al Gore not invented the Internet, our newsletter and perhaps The FENG itself would simply not be possible. While we all accept the power of these new communication tools, I fear that many of us have not come to terms with the burden they place on us. Please know I am not talking [ Read more… ]

On being a society of friends

From our daily member newsletter on December 2, 2018

The FENG is a society of friends. In order to become a member of our august body you need to find a sponsor, someone who will hopefully watch over you. I suppose, it is often only after a few days or weeks of membership that you can fully appreciate the value of this act of friendship. There are many things we do in our little society that builds on this initial act of friendship. Each week I publish a directory of new members. I hope that each of you takes the time to review this listing for folks you know, and folks you might want to know, AND that you take the time to write or call at least a [ Read more… ]

Talking on the phone

From our daily member newsletter on November 29, 2018

Most of us in the financial community find talking on the telephone to be one of the more challenging things we do. I believe the primary reason is that most of our work is accomplished in written form. When we do present our work to the boss or to our peers, it is usually done face to face and to a very large degree, we set the agenda. In other words, we know the topics and the typical questions that are going to be asked and we are prepared for them. It is for this reason that working the phone can be difficult for us. (Actually, it is probably difficult for everyone!) If you think about the communications aspects of [ 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… ]

In the box thinking

From our daily member newsletter on November 26, 2018

I know that all of us take great pride in being “out of the box” thinkers, but there are situations that taking an innovative approach is the same as shooting yourself in the foot. One of those situations is in being innovative with the standard resume format. The traditional resume begins with your contact information: name, address (including email address) and your phone numbers. A summary, much like your 90-second announcement should follow. Next is your work history in reverse chronological order with a short definition of what each company’s business is all about, your titles and the years you held them and for your more recent jobs going back say 15 years, some accomplishments. You end with your educational [ 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… ]

From Black Friday to New Year’s Eve

From our daily member newsletter on November 20, 2018

I know many of you will find it hard to believe, but we are now in a golden period for networking, networking and MORE networking. So, I hope you will please have at it. A lot of people believe that holiday times and especially the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve are the worst times for networking, but they’re dead wrong. During this time between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, let’s start with the idea that it’s PARTY TIME! Even though the stock market is falling (and rising), companies will have planned holiday gatherings. It’s hard not to! While they may not be the elaborate events we all remember from our early days of employment during other [ Read more… ]

The Hotel California

From our daily member newsletter on November 19, 2018

As you may remember from the song of this same name, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. I know they thought of it first and popularized it, but it is very much like your membership in The FENG. The only difference is you can check out, but I hope you won’t. If you take a moment to look around the room at other job search related networking meetings and chat it up with the members of that group, one of our unique features will become a little more obvious. In The FENG members are expected to always be members. Their involvement may change. Sometimes it becomes greater. Sometimes it becomes less. But, the security [ Read more… ]

The illusion of trust

From our daily member newsletter on November 18, 2018

It is always difficult to explain why you trust someone. In our daily encounters out in the world we come across all kinds of folks. Most of the individuals we do business with on a daily basis don’t have to be our friends, and the nature of the exchanges we have with them don’t even require that we trust them. As an example: purchasing gas. As long as we can bring ourselves to trust the gas station attendant not to pour the gas into the back seat of our car, there isn’t really much at risk. And, since we probably put this exchange on our credit card, there is no possibility that the value received isn’t the amount we paid. [ Read more… ]

The wind in your sails-not

From our daily member newsletter on November 15, 2018

A long time ago I read a book by Dodge Morgan. Those non-sailors among us will probably not recognize his name, but in his 50’s, Dodge decided to sail solo around the world on a sloop especially designed for him. (I also bought the video of his voyage and heard him speak about his trip, but we won’t get into that.) The area around the equator is referred to by sailors as the doldrums. Ships making passages around the world could be assured of spending an inordinate amount of time trying to cross this part of the ocean. This is in contrast to the southern ocean where the wind blows almost non-stop all year around because there are no land [ Read more… ]

Weather forecasting

From our daily member newsletter on November 14, 2018

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… ]

Reinventing yourself

From our daily member newsletter on November 13, 2018

Much as I hate using cliché phrases as the one above, I don’t really know if there is a better one to describe the process of self-examination that is required when faced with looking for another “work opportunity.” (I call them work opportunities instead of jobs, because they don’t generally last long enough these days to be dignified with that “job” label.) Of course, I should preface my comments with the very obvious fact that changing industries or professions in any job market is very difficult. There are plenty of folks who are “local candidates,” or from the “required” industry. Competing against them in any sense isn’t an even contest, but competing rarely is as much fun as folks make [ Read more… ]

The beginning of time itself

From our daily member newsletter on November 12, 2018

I know you will all find this hard to believe, but there was a time when The FENG only had 20 members. In May of 1995, I was invited by Ed Devlin, the then Chairman, to join what was at that time The Fairfield County Financial Executives Networking Group. (Ed had recently taken over from Don Gonsalves who started the group in 1991.) Being a bit of a computer expert, especially compared to Ed, I volunteered to act as social chair and take in resumes, adding them to what we now know as our membership directory. Believe it or not, we actually discussed job leads at meetings as there was no evening newsletter. Some of our founding members such as [ Read more… ]

Picking a restaurant

From our daily member newsletter on November 11, 2018

People who know that my wife and I are into sailing often ask us what we most enjoy making for dinner when we are on the boat. My standard response is reservations. The hard part is, of course, picking the restaurant. Are we in the mood for Mexican food, Pizza, French, Italian, or Chinese? Fortunately for us, although you can’t always tell by the name of the restaurant what they serve, all restaurants have enough common sense to stake out their areas of expertise when being listed in the telephone book, or in the many local brochures available at our favorite harbors. No restaurant would consider keeping their area of expertise a secret. It just wouldn’t be good for business. [ Read more… ]

Watching each other’s back

From our daily member newsletter on November 8, 2018

I don’t know if you have noticed, but all of the job leads from The FECG include a sentence that says “You may forward this to other members of The FENG if you are aware of their background and/or interest in this kind of opportunity.” I wish all the job leads in our newsletter had this sentence. If only our eyes weren’t so bad, and the job leads for our particular areas of expertise so few and far between, I suppose all members could be expected to read the newsletter for themselves and catch all the opportunities that were a fit for them. However, we really do need other members watching out for us. Yes, all of us are responsible [ Read more… ]

Politeness & proper manners

From our daily member newsletter on November 7, 2018

I am not going to suggest to you that the world of The FENG is a perfect place. That said, I hope that someday we will be recognized as one of the organizations that “started it all.” We all know that common courtesy is very rare in today’s world, which makes you wonder why they call it common courtesy. Perhaps they should call it rare courtesy, or come up with another name for it entirely. It is so very easy to give in to the existing pattern of discourtesy and start acting that way ourselves. In the environment of job search, it is rare that the submission of your resume generates an acknowledgement. Hitting reply doesn’t sound like it is [ 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… ]

An advertising over promise

From our daily member newsletter on November 4, 2018

For almost a decade I was Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency. In addition to learning how to deal with a wild and crazy bunch of folks, I learned a lot not only about the advertising business, but also about advertising in general. One of the facts that I learned was that a good advertising campaign could get customers to try the product. (We were a very creative shop!) In some cases, we were so good at what we did that we almost put some of our clients out of business. Sounds odd, but oh so true. Promising 10 and delivering 5 is about one of the worst things you can do. In the context of job search, I [ Read more… ]

The FENG’s complaint department

From our daily member newsletter on November 1, 2018

I don’t know if all of you know it, but I started my career in retailing at B. Altman & Company, one of the old line “Carriage Trade” retailers in New York City, and an interesting place to be sure. To be successful in this retailing segment you had to treat your customers’ right. All merchandise was returnable, and to the amazement of this Internal Auditor at the time, was accepted for full credit even when sometimes it hadn’t been purchased in the store. It is this “the customer is always right” attitude that I try to apply in The FENG to our many audiences. If there is something we are “doing” to one another or to some group outside [ Read more… ]

Walter Mitty and other matters

From our daily member newsletter on October 31, 2018

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. For example, I am doing something very different in my second career. I hope that no one will read this editorial and think I am trying to discourage anyone. Hopes and dreams, however, have to be measured against the economic reality of your value to a potential employer. I don’t [ Read more… ]

I know this will come as a surprise

From our daily member newsletter on October 30, 2018

From time to time I give a presentation to the Westport Chapter about how to use our website, and in particular how to use our not so new Member Directory Search feature. Based on the great interest of those attending, apparently there are quite a few members who haven’t taken the time to explore our rather remarkable website. For those of you who are totally asleep at the switch, our website is located at www.TheFENG.org. It is very difficult to sign in and get your password – NOT. All you have to do is enter your email address for the newsletter in the white box in the upper right hand corner of your screen and your password in the next [ Read more… ]

Abbreviations

From our daily member newsletter on October 29, 2018

I guess the desire to shorten just about everything is part of human nature. I once worked with a guy named Harry and the boss insisted on calling him Har. I suppose he could have called him H, but maybe that was TOO short. When I was in college, everyone was talking about the ATGSB. For those of you who don’t know, this stood for the Aptitude Test for Graduate Study in Business. Like slang expressions, folks use abbreviations to set themselves apart from others. If you don’t know what it means, you are probably not part of the “in crowd,” or at least MY in crowd. With this as an introduction, I’m not sure if I can articulate everything [ 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… ]

The official change of seasons

From our daily member newsletter on October 25, 2018

As the days of fall begin to arrive in the Northeast and the trees begin to change colors, it is all very beautiful. (Today it was outstanding!) However, I know that inevitably the week will come when I will finish decommissioning the boat for the season. (That was this week. I pulled the sails off the boat on Tuesday with help from Bruce Lynn. Today I finished most of my winterizing because a storm is forecast for the weekend.) For those of you who are long standing members of The FENG, you know that in the Bud household, or at least in my mind, the year is divided into only two seasons: summer when I can go sailing, and winter [ 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… ]

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… ]

The great white elephant sale

From our daily member newsletter on October 22, 2018

One of the core values of The FENG is our willingness to share job leads with each other. For some reason people seem to overvalue job leads. There are lots of things that are wrong with published job leads. For one thing, it is a fair fight. I much prefer networking where there is often no competition. That said, job leads have value, if not in actually getting a job, in making new friends. A job lead is considered a valuable gift. If you would like to hear about job leads that are out in the market, can you honestly tell me that you are sharing all of the leads you hear about? If you aren’t, why not? Keep in [ Read more… ]

The importance of labels

From our daily member newsletter on October 21, 2018

For those of us who read the newspaper from time to time, one can’t help but notice that just about everyone who is mentioned in any story is given a label. The label selected is usually something very simple such as “a 46 year old truck driver from Illinois.” In this case it is someone’s career. We have learned in short order that this is an older working class individual from the Midwest. In other cases the label selected is one that identifies the individual’s relationship with someone else in the story such as “a close advisor to Mr. Smith.” Labels help us focus our thinking. I think most of us would agree that what particular people say and do [ Read more… ]

Putting your own mask on first

From our daily member newsletter on October 18, 2018

For those of you who have had the pleasure of earning frequent flier miles, I can understand that you may no longer be paying strict attention to the very helpful discussion that precedes take off. Personally, I don’t think that anyone who doesn’t know how to work the seat belt should really be let out alone to wander the earth, but that’s just me. (How does that clip and lever work anyway?) And, who can say they appreciate the crew mentioning that you will soon be arriving at your “final” destination. That said you can always acquire insight even from something as mundane as a legally mandatory drill as takes place preflight. I call your attention to the instructions you [ Read more… ]

What do you do exactly? And, who are you?

From our daily member newsletter on October 17, 2018

The process of self-assessment is never easy. It is sort of like taking out your own appendix, but without anesthetic. As senior financial folks, it is often the case that we don’t have to engage ourselves in the game of “What is it we do? And, who are we?” until very late in our careers. Unlike the denizens of other professions, we tend to stay at jobs a long time and until we hit middle age, many of us have never known a day out of work. As many of you may be aware, I was Chief Financial Officer of an advertising agency for almost a decade. While I could take a few moments to wax eloquent about the difficulty [ Read more… ]

Crawling out from under their rocks

From our daily member newsletter on October 16, 2018

Every once in a while I get a note from one of our members about folks who are promising to find him/her a job by waving their magic wand. I can almost see these so called miracle workers crawling out from under the rocks they call home. You would think that exposure to sunlight would kill them, but like cockroaches, nothing seems to permanently destroy them. Personally, I find it reprehensible that there are organizations in the world who try to sell lifejackets to people who are drowning, especially when the lifejackets don’t even work. If you don’t believe me that (almost) all of them are a bunch of thieves, I would invite you to Google the names of their [ Read more… ]

The ingratitude of superiors

From our daily member newsletter on October 15, 2018

As a group I think you will agree that most financial folks tend to be modest. I am not sure, but I think there was a required course on the dangers of bragging back in college, because it is like pulling teeth to get most members to provide an honest assessment of what they did. There were always others at the meetings. It’s as if in our minds our guiding hand and considerable abilities to quantify and analyze the thinking of others, (sometimes publicly, sometimes privately), doesn’t have a direct impact on the results of the company compared to the work of others on the executive team, like those individuals in sales. Is it any wonder that with our sometimes [ Read more… ]

Change – The only constant

From our daily member newsletter on October 14, 2018

I’m not sure why human beings resist change. It is truly the only constant in our world. For almost 6 years I worked for The Thomson Corporation, a company that was really into change. I used to joke that we reorganized every week even when it wasn’t really necessary, just to keep in practice. Is all change healthy? Probably not. But resisting change is somewhat like spitting into the wind. (And as an avid sailor I am well qualified to explain the unhappy results of doing that!) Getting unstuck on the way to your next success requires thinking about your career in new and different ways and that is what tonight’s editorial is all about – envisioning change in terms [ Read more… ]

Geese and golden eggs

From our daily member newsletter on October 11, 2018

Since we have many new members each year AND many members who may be active again from time to time, I thought it might be a good idea if I wrote about our “qualified members only” approach to responding to job leads and why it works for you. First, let’s understand that posted jobs are only a small portion of the total job market. Most estimates place job leads from search firms and corporations at about 15% of all jobs that are filled. The rest of the jobs are filled by networking. Given the state of the economy right now, my sense is that search firms who are still operating and finding assignments are easily overwhelmed by the volume of [ Read more… ]

Handling customer objections

From our daily member newsletter on October 10, 2018

Anyone involved in personal selling will tell you that one of the more difficult tasks faced by any salesperson is handling customer objections. The easiest customer objections to handle are the ones the customer tells you about. Innocent sounding questions like “What colors does it come in?” can be answered by asking “What color would you like?” If the customer wants red and you don’t have it, you at least know the problem you are facing and can develop strategies to solve it. The worst customer objections to handle are the ones they don’t tell you about. You can see you aren’t making a sale, but you don’t know why. It is a big problem. Of course, the product we [ 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… ]

Creating an inner circle of friends

From our daily member newsletter on October 8, 2018

It is a sad fact of life that no one ever has enough friends. Men in particular (and our membership is 90% men) seem to have a difficult time making friends. The whole “guy thing” sort of works against us, I suppose. Men are supposed to be strong and never need help from anyone. Remember when we didn’t ask for directions at the gas station, even when we were hopelessly lost? It’s a good thing most of us are technically competent and can work those wonderful GPS units. It is great not being dependent on other people, don’t you think? What I would like to suggest to all of you is that you set a numerical goal for yourself. See [ 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 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… ]

Working your contacts

From our daily member newsletter on October 3, 2018

I would be the first one to agree that finding ways to keep in touch with your business contacts during a job search is more art than science. That said the old saw “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. At the end of my two year job search which began in 1991, I had about 1,400 index cards with the names of those I had contacted for one reason or another. I also had these names in a database of some kind as I recall, but nothing as sophisticated as is possible today with contact software management software. The reason I had all of those names on index cards was so I could carry them with me. (Hard [ Read more… ]

Paint me a pretty picture

From our daily member newsletter on October 3, 2018

Personally, I am not a big fan of art museums. Sure, there are particular “objects of art” that I find to be of interest, but I guess I find the walking around part a little tiring. For amusement during these art museum tours I try to overhear what the tour guides are saying. The at length descriptions of what was in the artist’s mind never fail to bring a smile to my face. I often wonder how they know. Is it possible the artist was thinking one thing, but told his supporters something else? Is it possible that he wasn’t thinking anything at all, but just started painting and worked backwards into his logic once it was done? I know [ Read more… ]

Your many product benefits

From our daily member newsletter on October 1, 2018

One of the biggest problems you face as a senior financial executive is that you have too many product benefits. In a very real sense, you are too good to be true. For those of you who have been hearing you are “over qualified,” let me suggest to you that you are. After over 20 years of work experience, how could you not be over qualified in some sense? That said, being “over qualified” is a good thing. You just have to learn how to sell it. Let me first deal with the words “over qualified” and explain why they are used. The purpose of using these words after an interview, whether by phone or in person, is to create [ Read more… ]

All dressed up with no place to go

From our daily member newsletter on September 30, 2018

On the way down to Washington, DC a few years ago to speak at the chapter meeting, I had the distinct opportunity and pleasure to sit with one of our esteemed Co-Chairs of The FENG, Bruce Lynn for several hours. Most people don’t know this about Bruce, but among his many talents is running well thought out surveys of our members. The answers to most of his survey questions weren’t too alarming or surprising. However, one stood out. Almost 75% of our members haven’t been to a chapter meeting in the past 6 months. I could lecture all of you about the hard work our chapter chairs put into finding speakers and finding meeting space, not to mention all the [ 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… ]

Lucy, you got some splaining to do

From our daily member newsletter on September 25, 2018

Down sized, right sized, laid off, fired, reduction in force. I think you have to agree that the world has developed a very colorful vocabulary to describe those things that have caused many of our members to be active in their respective job searches. If one of us went in for an interview and was wearing a cast on one arm, I don’t think that we would hesitate much to explain how it happened. Furthermore, I am pretty sure that we would provide an explanation without any prompting. It is just such an obvious thing that it cries out for commentary. And, as long as it didn’t happen in any embarrassing manner, such as sheer clumsiness, I don’t think that [ 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… ]

The care and feeding of those who help

From our daily member newsletter on September 23, 2018

After “I love you,” “thank you” is probably the next thing no one hears enough. The subject, I am going to discuss tonight could also be called common courtesy, or common courtesies. I know that everyone who is active in their search is very busy, but so are those who are sharing their valuable business connections. If you haven’t fully noticed, I never miss an opportunity to thank those who provide editorial material AND I always encourage those members who are in the mood to “pile on” by adding their own thanks and comments for someone taking the time to share a big idea with us. It takes time to write, and your thank you notes encourage them to write [ Read more… ]

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma

From our daily member newsletter on September 20, 2018

I can see from the resumes that cross my desk, that more than a few of our members don’t take to heart some of the editorial material presented in this newsletter, or are taking advice from lightweights in matters related to job search. I hope this will stop! (For our loyal readers and followers, please ignore my previous harsh comment. It is all the “other” members I am speaking to tonight.) More and more I am seeing resumes with early work histories left off and/or year ranges left off jobs early in your careers. Friends, I have a fertile imagination. Were you in prison for some period of time so that if you provided the years there would be gaps? [ Read more… ]

Dumber than dirt

From our daily member newsletter on September 19, 2018

There is a lot of poor thinking going on out in the world about how to be considered for jobs that are a step or two back in your career. The thinking seems to be that you have to dumb down your resume. I agree. I just don’t agree that deleting work history from earlier in your career or leaving off dates is the suggested approach. The constant challenge for most members of this august body is that we are over qualified (or should I say well qualified) for most jobs. After 20+ years of work experience, how could you not be? The approach to appearing “dumber than dirt” or “as dumb as a box of rocks” isn’t to make [ Read more… ]

Best supporting actor

From our daily member newsletter on September 18, 2018

I once wrote an editorial I called: Your resume stands alone If I must say so myself, it was one of my better missives. It highlighted the simple fact that unless your resume sings your praises properly, you honestly don’t stand a chance. A resume needs to be complete, as in no missing jobs or obvious skipped time spans, especially at the beginning of your career. The companies you have worked for need to be defined in one simple line or two, and your job titles need to sort of jump off the page. Career progression speaks miles about you, especially early in your career. If the resume is so darn important, you might ask, what is the role of [ Read more… ]

The benefit of the doubt

From our daily member newsletter on September 17, 2018

The FENG is a networking organization. I hope none of you are fooled by the volume of job leads we publish. The actual purpose of our little circle of friends is to be helpful to one another as often as possible in this struggle we all face to earn a living. In my role as Chairman, I am always searching for ways for you to think about the many folks who might contact you from time to time with no further verification of their credentials than that they are part of our extended family. When you are the “giver,” it is hard not to be a little suspicious of those contacting you. After all, they are asking for access to [ Read more… ]

After all we have meant to each other

From our daily member newsletter on September 16, 2018

A few times a week I get a note from one of our members asking me to stop the newsletter. Although sometimes I do get an explanation of sorts, most times I don’t. All I get is the subject: Unsubscribe. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I am a little offended that someone who has been receiving our free newsletter, usually for several years, can’t take the time to dash off a few lines of thanks and an explanation. Have they decided to retire? Are they no longer working in Finance? Inquiring minds want to know. I won’t even get into the notes that ask me to stop because they are starting a new job on Monday. You would think [ Read more… ]

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