When I talk to people in the financial sector, I understand the meaning of the current turmoil being a crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes. The experience of redundancy is unlike that any of us are likely to have come across before. With banking institutions disappearing at a rate of knots, others laying off staff in their thousands and many of the remainder uninterested in hiring, the impression of alternative options rapidly closing down throughout the world can only compound the sense of shock for those who have suddenly lost their jobs.
I’ve seen plenty of advice to bankers along the lines of: polish up your CV and interviewing skills, tap into your network and be prepared to move. There may be a place for these tried and tested career tactics. But I wonder whether it is adequate to the moment to rely wholly on this approach. When people suffer a shocking loss, they typically go through experiences such as denial, anger and depression before they feel able to accept the situation and engage with it constructively. The slightly frenetic character of well-intentioned advice on job search skills seems to me to risk encouraging people into activities which – for some of them, at least – may be counter-productive.