EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I have at this point in my chairmanship of The FENG listened to a fairly significant number of 90-second announcements.

I try to listen patiently and assess how best to help and make suggestions for improvements in the delivery of this vital communication.

The time frame presents a formidable challenge even for the most gifted of speakers, and how best to use this “white space” is the subject of much long winded and contradictory debate. (Clearly a paradox in and of itself.) What I would like to understand more than anything else is the essence of who and what you are, but that rarely happens.

Most of the members of The FENG are living through the part of our lives we call middle age. I guess that’s because we have our children on the one side and our parents on the other, and we are caught in the middle.

At various times, and especially during a job search, thoughts of “could have, would have and should have been” buzz through our brains and occupy our thoughts for days on end. And, rightly so.

Although most days we are properly focused on that next call, or on that letter we have to write, unless you bring yourself back to your own personal basics, exactly what you are seeking cannot be clear.

The story goes that a football coach was watching his team embarrass themselves out on the field. The first quarter fumbles, and incomplete passes were followed by a 2nd quarter of much the same nonsense.

The locker room at half time was filled with tension. The team knew they were in for a tongue lashing and were braced to receive it. And so, the coach began commenting as only a coach can do about the first half. After an initial volley he told them that he was going to see if he could explain what they needed to do in the 2nd half by bringing them back to the basics of the game. Pulling that familiar object from behind his back he said “This is a football.”

The “football” is what you really do best. And just like this team, sometimes we have to start with the basics if we are going to decide what exactly it is that we are looking for. What is the driving force in your career? What is it you rank as your best skill? Which skills do you most enjoy practicing?

There are lots of reasons why members of our august body have enjoyed high salaries during their career. For some of us it is the knowledge of arcane issues. For others it is their organizational skills. It varies by person, and that is exactly the point. What is it that enables you to command a high salary? That skill, however defined, needs to be the focus of your search.

It is sort of like your own personal mission statement. And, like a good mission statement, it will help you identify the good, the bad and the ugly as you go about your day to day activities.

If you understand those things about yourself that define who you are, and if you can express them clearly to yourself and to others, it will help you drive to your next goal more effectively. And, with this focus, you can write an effective 90-second announcement and an effective summary for your resume.

If you don’t know your most valuable talents, one suggestion is to ask those with whom you have had the pleasure of working. Yes, believe it or not, they may know the reasons why you have been so “over paid.”

Funny, but us financial folks tend to be so “nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel” that we don’t usually know.

It is just possible that the “man in the mirror” may actually be someone better than you thought. And, all you have to do is ask to find out.

Regards, Matt

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