If you’ve found yourself part of the recent round of City layoffs, or suspect you’re about to be made redundant, take heart.
Although the initial shock can be difficult to deal with, it’s not that bad. From personal experience, life moves on and other opportunities exist, even in the middle of what seems to be an insurmountable downturn in the financial services sector.
Even if you don’t find another job in banking, other opportunities will develop. My friends that have left banking, voluntarily or involuntarily, have found new callings in consulting, corporate strategy or even setting up their own businesses. Take heart from the fact that you’re likely to be pretty smart and versatile, with a very good educational record, which will work to your advantage. If not, you wouldn’t have got that job in the notoriously selective City in the first place.
In order to retain your sanity and peace of mind after you’ve been laid off, there are four things that you need to do as soon as possible. The following list is meant to be broad and non-prescriptive – fit it to your own personality and requirements, but try your best to follow each piece of advice:
This one’s very important. Drink, do yoga, take up ultimate fighting, spend all day in the spa, do whatever you need to in order to chill out. You'll feel angry, scared, worried about the future, etc. Get it out of your system before you can even contemplate anything else.
Are your finances ok? Can you live off what you’ve saved for at least 12 months? Anecdotally, this is how long my friends are taking to find new jobs. If not, start to think of a contingency like freelance work so that you can balance your books. Recognise that this in turn will mean you take longer to find a new job, since you’ll be splitting your time between earning and job hunting. Plan accordingly, accepting that you may well have to make sacrifices in your personal life or to your current lifestyle.
Armed with a clear, de-stressed mind and a realistic assessment of your options, you’ll be ready to make a plan. Don't dwell on any resentments and anger you might feel at how your previous role ended up. By doing so you risk falling into a paralysis trap.
Instead, list the things you need to do to get back into the job market on a full-time and proactive basis. For example, think about fully rewriting or updating your CV, refreshing old networking contacts, even getting your suits taken in or let out so you look and feel great for your next meeting or interview. These are probably things you’ve let slip whilst you’ve been in work, so the sooner you tackle them the sooner you can properly begin your job hunt. If you're lucky, you're already in ongoing interview process(es) for other roles.
Focus on them – they are low-lying fruit because finding a vacancy and getting to the recruitment stage is half the battle.