EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

One of the less well recognized phobias in this world is the fear of accepting help from others.

Perhaps it is primarily a guy thing and it explains why we never used to ask for directions at the gas station, but when it comes to job search it is another one of the many things that “get in the way” of very capable individuals finding work opportunities. (I don’t know if anything lasts long enough these days that we can dignify them with the word jobs.)

With the new reality in the world we need to be more and more attuned to our own personal information networks for opportunities that fit our background, and that means reaching out to others and in a very real sense “asking for help.” Very simply, because we should all plan on having to do this more frequently than we would like, we need to always have our eye on the ball and our ear to the ground, not to mention keeping our nose to the grindstone. (I do enjoy sticking in trite phrases from time to time.)

It is sort of a misconception that networking, and that is what The FENG is all about, is a process of asking for favors. The truth is that in any conversation there can be a fairly even exchange of ideas if you can just move yourself down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs a little bit and not focus on your own stress.

One of the ideas I have long promoted to ease the fear of accepting help is the idea that the favors you may receive during your job search can be repaid to anyone you subsequently meet. There is no need to repay favors to the exact person who provided them to you.

It is a simple concept and one to which I have always subscribed.

It is in fact difficult to pay back favors to specific individuals. The reason is not all that different from the problem we all face in applying our skills to job postings we see. The truth is most of them don’t fit.

If you apply this logic, the very idea that you may have a solution to someone else’s specific needs who was kind enough to help you highlights the problem.

So to help you abandon the concern you may have in accepting favors I would suggest that you apply yourself to my simple philosophy: For every favor you receive during your job search you are obligated to repay 2 favors to anyone and everyone who comes your way. (If you want, you can even repay 3 or more favors if it suits you.)

I should also add that there is no time limit on when you repay all these favors. You may even take the rest of your life if you like to finish the process. (And, let me wish all of you a very long life!)

Regards, Matt

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