Tips for Unemployed Wall Street Bankers

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Many Wall Street employees are expected to be handed pink slips in the New Year after banks announced plans to cut more than 60,000 in 2012.

WNYC turned to Keith Mullin, CEO of the outplacing firm Mullin & Associates/Lincolnshire International, for advice on what Wall Street employees should do in the event they find themselves out of a job:

  • At first, do nothing. Collect your thoughts. Mullin said that employees who receive lay off notices should do nothing at first. “The first impulse of everyone on Wall Street is to go out right away and look for a job,” he said. “My first reaction and advice to all people is ‘Don’t.’” Mullin said it’s important to collect your thoughts and figure out what it is you want before in your next job before making that first call.
  • Analyze sacrifices. Be clear about direction. When starting a new job search, it’s important for individuals to analyze what sacrifices they are willing to make. Mullin suggested ranking what he calls the “five decision-tree points”: lifestyle, family, career aspirations, financial needs and geography. He said individuals should write a few sentences about each and then prioritize the top two on your list in the job search.
  • Be optimistic. Despite the recent surge in banking sector layoffs, Mullin said that many entering the job market should be more optimistic about the economy than in years past. That said, it’s not an exact science. “Will it happen in the time frame you think?” he asked. “That’s a difficult question sometimes.”  

Alastair Merrick, who was laid off as CFO of Churchill Financial in November after it was bought by the Carlyle Group, said the initial shock was hard to take, but he said he’s positive about his future job prospects.

“I was pessimistic when I knew I was getting laid off,” said Merrick. “But there do seem to be some CFO positions out there. It’s a matter finding them, making sure it’s the best fit for me.  I’m optimistic.”