No excuses for ketchup

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It came to my attention that my last entry was nearly one month ago. For someone who is in transition, an excuse could be made that I have been too busy to find time to write. But I have always made the time to do things that are important, and for someone who always things on his mind, I cannot make those excuses.

This opportunity was made available in part because I am between jobs and I have the opportunity to use these entries to my benefit. Frankly, I have not been diligent in keeping up with my obligations. This has been especially discouraging because I was paid at one time to write for a living. That ends now. 

And I can no longer use the World Cup as an excuse, either! More later. I will not catch you up in one fell swoop. But where should I begin? Let’s do it the easy way!  ... Where did I leave off  last month?

The long wait is over
I had applied for a job as a collateral auditor. After a phone interview led to a meeting with the hiring manager, I was told a decision would be made in 30 to 75 days. My last entry was made shortly before the 45-day mark. At Day 48, I discovered I was no longer a candidate, even though the company never contacted me. I understand that reasons not to inform candidates that they are no longer being considered, but this to me is an unacceptable practice. I don’t think it is the right way to treat people especially if you have a product or service the candidate may eventually use.
I called the hiring manager to find out how the search was going. He said that he hired a candidate with more experience. Now during the interview phase, the hiring manager said he had no doubt I could do the work. He also mentioned that he outsources some of the work. I made the suggestion that he could hire me on a contract basis and that he would have control of the end product. He said he would think about it, but he was in good shape for now.
The big day passes
The conference that I attended early last month involved many not-for-profit organizations. I was able to talk to a significant number of people about my idea to emphasize single audit and other compliance work as a niche in my own practice. Everyone I talked to – from CFOs and other practitioners to attorneys and controllers – said this work was needed and few people do it well. The consensus, however, was to market it along as one of the services I can provide. I was able to meet up with colleagues I had not seen in a year, and developed new contacts. The result was potential collaborations with other practitioners to perform the compliance portion of single audits.
Two valuable lessons
One lesson that has been reinforced these last couple of months: Talk is cheap. Or put another way: If potential could be booked, we could all retire within five years! From possible collaborations to prospective clients who make the initial contact but never return your calls. A related lesson: There is only so much follow-up one can make. People have my card and I have made the effort. It is time to move on – for now.
21 years in the making
On Nov. 19, 1989, my sporting life changed forever. That was the day the visiting U.S. national soccer team defied the odds to beat Trinidad & Tobago to qualify for its first World Cup in 40 years, and I was converted from more than just a casual “futbol” fan. I am glad that 2010 World Cup in South Africa will likely lead to more converts. To me, the biggest surprise was its treatment by ESPN as a top-flight event. None of the coverage was relegated to its secondary channels; the network used first-class play-by-play teams and it sent its top studio hosts and reporters to cover the festivities. The treatment paid off in the highest TV ratings ever for the sport.
The tournament lived up to its billing except for the final (more yellow and red cards could have easily been awarded). I thought the U.S. national team should have gone farther, but it couldn’t find a way to keep the ball out of its net in the first 10 minutes (except for the Algeria match – thanks to the crossbar).
Up for sale
Finally, I was told earlier this week that my boyhood home has been put on the market. My mother has chosen to downsize. My parents occupied the house in 1961, when I was 14 months old. It served as the first home for my two sisters, the last home for my father and played host to more significant events that I can remember. I moved out in the 1980s but to me it was always “home.” I have dialed the same family phone number for nearly 50 years, but soon those 10 digits will become a thing of the past.

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