EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

One of the more interesting ideas floating around these days is giving up. I can’t say I am an expert on this topic, other than to say that I have heard about it at length from others. Not that they have actually bought into the idea; just that they were talking about it.

As you all know, I am a sailing buff. As such I indulge myself in good sailing stories from time to time. Some of the most memorable have been the ones about those who have had to abandon ship. Although the sailors rule is to “always step up into a lifeboat,” there often comes a time when you have to grab your “abandon ship bag” and do just that. If the mother ship hasn’t disappeared below the waves, you might hang around for a piece of time and see what else you can salvage, but at some point, you have to sail or drift off to meet your fate. Let me be clear, no one does this voluntarily because they would like to have an adventure.

For those members who have been thrown into lifeboats not of their own making, I don’t care what you threw into your “abandon ship bag,” it most likely isn’t enough. In 1991 and 1992 when I was out of work I had originally believed I was in good shape to ride out the crisis. I was almost wrong. Help came just in time in the form of a job offer from a new friend with whom I had been networking. (See, networking worked even back in ancient history!) It wasn’t a grand job, but it was certainly better than “a sharp stick in the eye.”

The point is, for those of you who are kicking yourself around the block for one reason or another, or who are contemplating giving up, PLEASE DON’T.

Life has a way of playing tricks on you, some good, and some bad. The problem is that you often don’t know which one it is until well after the event.

I won’t develop at length the details of the various adventures of those adrift on the vast oceans of the world because the space I allot to my evening editorial simply wouldn’t permit it. But, one consistent behavior of those who survived was their unwillingness to give up.

As I have been heard to say from time to time, if it was easy they could have given it to anyone to handle. They asked me to take care of it because they figured it was impossible.

If you think finding a job is difficult, consider where I was in January of 1997 trying to build a national organization of Chief Financial Officers, Controllers and Treasurers from a small band of 50 people meeting every two weeks in Westport, Connecticut. If it is possible to build a 40,000+ member organization from this small base that actively shares job leads, networking contacts and more things that one can mention without taking a second deep breath, you need to ask yourself if there is ANYTHING that IS truly impossible. (I suppose putting a man on the Sun would fall into this category.)

Just as organizations are built by ordinary people who, thank goodness, weren’t told that it couldn’t be done, you will be able to rebuild your career in the months and years to come as well. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but you WILL.

Dogged persistence, never giving up, sticking with it, being positive and staying the course are the only things you need to do. (Besides, giving up is over rated anyway.)

Regards, Matt

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