Having talked to many refugees from failing firms, I know that promises will have been broken, the wrong person let go, and the cost of your departure may be more than you than paying you to stay.
Few, if any, firms run their downsizing process well. In my own life I’ve seen someone sacked because a very senior manager confused a useful staffer with the useless guy sitting next to him. One of my former colleagues was not only sacked because she was “on the left hand side of the org chart”, but subsequently reprieved because she was in fact on the other side. We never saw the org chart, but I was definitely on the wrong side of it. You’ve got better stories and so have I, but I have to respect confidentiality.
Once you realise you’re affected by collateral damage, not analytical judgment of your worth as a person, you can focus on what is important to you. Remember that although finance is still a major global industry, the set of people you will interact with is drawn from a smaller set, and you may be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Although it is tempting to “leave your mark” when you leave, rarely does the satisfaction you get in the short term compensate for possible longer term consequences. If you really must settle scores before you are spat out of your firm then try being nicer than is expected of you. It feels better and hurts more.
If however you really want the sweetest of revenge, on someone who has bugged you every day for three years, then hand over your new card saying “if I can help at all”. This will mess with their mind far more than saying “you deserve to be fired, not me”, “good riddance you fat geek”, and/or whatever other insults you have been bottling up. An offer of help will look good to your peers, (essential in bad times), and it’s not completely impossible that they may actually be useful to you.
In the same vein, you should organise leaving drinks even though you may not feel like celebrating, and you suspect the turnout may be somewhat unpredictable. If you have a good team, then it’s worth setting a date a month or so from your ejection to meet for a meal. This ought to be the start of your process to find a new job.
As preparation for redundancy you should make sure your voicemail gives out your mobile number and that you have had personal business cards printed. I use Goodprint because they’re cheap and good. Choose a larger font for the phone and email. Don’t choose cards with a coloured back or glossy finish because they are hard to write on. Stick these cards on your phone and screen; if a headhunter like me calls you don’t want to miss out on a quick return to work.
Dominic Connor is a director of P&D Quant recruitment and has just published the 3rd Edition of “When it hits the fan, job hunting in interesting times”