The Post-Holiday Let Down—Dealing with an After-Holiday Layoff

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The New Year is here and many a financial exec reading this may just be waiting and wondering if they will end up in the cuts announced for 2012. Morgan Stanley, for one, sent out a round of pink slips for New York City staffers right before the holidays. More cuts are expected in 2012.

There’s certainly never a good time for a layoff, but it does seem rather unpleasant to let it happen just after the holiday season. Most of those facing the chopping block probably do have some inkling of it. So, here are just a few ideas on how to deal with the anxiety preceding and following the bad news.

Get ahead of the game. The old cliché is worth repeating—the best defense is a good offense. Don’t wait to hear. Get started now on lining up interviews. Carefully pick through your contacts and ask around for positions in your space. Going to trusted friends and professional associates can be particularly helpful if there’s an unadvertised position opening up. But tread lightly! Given the economy, your “working” friend has probably been hit up more than a few times for job help. Assess your contacts, and try to rely on those who you trust and who trust you the most.

Expand your horizons. Job opportunities for finance professionals in Asia are on the rise. So, it just may be time to dust off the passport or apply for a new one. Work with a finance recruiter who specializes in your area of expertise and who has a long track record of placing professionals with well-recognized companies abroad.

According to executive recruiter Korn/Ferry International, professionals are much more willing to consider international job opportunities, particularly during a downturn, and China seems to be of particular interest for U.S. job candidates. Certainly, those with foreign language skills are always hot properties abroad. Additionally, those with bulge bracket experience or a senior management post at a global banking player are attractive to firms in Asia and elsewhere.

Here are some more steps to take if you think layoffs are coming:

  • Cutback on any unnecessary expenses and start building an emergency savings fund.
  • Widen your net… by expanding your network of contacts.
  • Add a new set of skills to make yourself more valuable.
  • In fact, do whatever you can to make yourself harder to replace by going above and beyond your normal responsibilities. Arrive earlier and leave later, volunteer to take on new assignments, etc.
  • Pay down credit card debt
  • If your job sector is under pressure, look to other sectors that could be hiring. 

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