EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

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 with respect to our position were well known. The number of chairs in your office, the number of windows, the potted plants, are all there to let others around us know our station in life.

Most of our members move from large companies to small companies. The reason is that large companies prefer to grow their own talent, so moving to another large company isn’t likely. It does happen more now than a few years ago, but it is still not common. Small companies by their nature tend to be more egalitarian in nature. And, since there are fewer folks at your level, the signals to others are simply not there.

None of this addresses our disappointment. I would suggest to you that this stems from wishful thinking on our part. If you consider the fact that you most likely didn’t quit voluntarily, there was a LOT wrong with your last job. And, because it was painful, you tend to push such thoughts out of your mind. You only want to remember the good parts. As you look ahead to the months and perhaps more months of job searching, the thought occurs that there must be some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There must be something out there that will make this incredible struggle all worthwhile. I only wish it were so.

While you may indeed find a job, finding one that is going to make fireworks go off isn’t likely to happen. First of all, there isn’t any such thing. As I have been heard to say: “There is a reason why they call it work. If it was too much fun, they would have to come up with another name for it.”

Smaller companies are interested in senior financial executives because they have a LOT of problems. Unlike their larger counterparts, they not only don’t have the tools and/or infrastructure to make it happen, they often don’t even know what you are talking about.

If you accept the idea that most jobs don’t last more than 5 years, one has to wonder how it would be worthwhile to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for a “perfect” job. I would suggest it isn’t. Jobs are brittle things. The situations where you can make a difference are where to focus your energies. Sure, things like money need to be factored into the equation, but keep in mind that no job is a “be all end all.”

If you happen to find a perfect job with a perfect company, and a perfect salary, count yourself lucky. It doesn’t happen for most people because they have set unrealistic goals for themselves.

I am not suggesting you settle for a horrible job with long hours and small dollars. I am only suggesting you need to be realistic.

As one of my friends was given to saying: “Happiness is a choice.”

Do your best to find an appropriate job that will satisfy your financial needs and then learn to be happy with it. It is the best prescription I can think of for a blissful life.

Regards, Matt

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