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"I was close to becoming a VP in M&A. Now banks will only hire me as a junior associate"

Six months ago, I lost my job as a senior associate in the technology M&A team of a European bank in New York. I'm still looking for a new job.

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There are still very few openings in M&A. It's a tough market, and it's very difficult to find jobs. When I do, I'm finding that banks will only hire me for jobs far below my previous rank. 

I wasn't a low performer. When I was let go, I was about to be promoted to junior vice president. I was axed for political reasons after my boss was cut.  However, the only jobs that I've been offered recently are as a junior associate, three years below my previous level. This means a cut in my salary of $50k+. It also means that I'm expected to go back through the associate years. Banking jobs are effectively 10 years of PowerPointing. I was six years into that. Now I'm being expected to go back to year three. Being set back a year might be reasonable, but being set back three years feels like abuse. I know these banks simply want to hire me to squeeze me in a market they think is going to recover while paying me as little as possible; they have no interest in my career. 

I'm not the only one. When I speak to other people who are out of the market, they're experiencing the same thing. It's like we're Quasimodo or something. Recruiters tell me that they won't put me forward for jobs because banks aren't interested in hiring people who were let go, even if it wasn't our fault. One recruiter told me that I've been out of the market for so long that I now have a "career gap." When I do get interviews, I'm treated badly: interviewers have deliberately humiliated me by belittling me and asking questions they know I'll be unable to answer. 

It's counterproductive. Even if I get a job offer, I'm not going to stay at a bank that hires me at a cut-price, for a job I was doing three years ago and treats me like crap. I've been in the industry long enough to know that things change. Watch how you treat me. You'll want me back soon.

Jack Barnes is a pseudonym

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AUTHORJack Barnes Insider Comment
  • Mi
    MissyB
    23 June 2024

    6 months is not that long to be feeling depressed about your prospects in this market. 6 months is NOT a career gap. I will start being concerned after 12-18 months. Hang in there, I am sure you will find something that fit your level as the job market starts to improve. Meanwhile, you have free time, make most of it and use it to plan your exit in banking 6-10 years from now. You won't get this free time ever again.

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