It’s been one month now. Here’s the count:
Resumes sent: 125
Networking conversations: 5
Conversations granted: 0
Interviews received: 0
So far, I am sticking to my initial plan. Begin with long-only investment management firms and work my way down the list fund by fund. Its a good exercise and I generally believe that I am doing the correct method.I’m about a third of the way down the funds list and hope to be finished with this stage by end of next week. It is slow but thorough. I’ve also reached out to people for networking conversations, mainly for value funds.
Outside of the fund list, I have improved my resume, written several cover letters, re-written several cover letters, improved my linked in, read a lot of articles about job searching (esp. for people over 40 and for those who were fired), and I signed up to the job listings on all the key job boards. Next week I re-gain access to Bloomberg for 60 days, so I will be able to view to their career listings. I also re-gained access to my grad school alumni job boards. I plan to make use of alumni directory as well. I understand Linkedin has an alumni board as well. I’ll try making use of this while trying not to get depressed a bit by seeing others profiles.
The above results are about what I forecasted. By the time I complete going through the list of long-only funds, I’ll probably be around 500 – 600 resumes. I expect one conversation at most from all these emails. I view this exercise as a bit more of a “psychological check-the-box” to know that I did it. Otherwise, the way my mind works, I would always believe that I missed something. I need to know there is nothing there so that I can broaden my search and know to focus more on developing my Plan B. This is going to be a hard search, anyway I slice it. Every time I check that box “terminated”, I feel a little stab wound in my chest. Plan B provides some psychological support — more to come when I’m ready to start discussing this more.
The unexpected negative outcome that I did not anticipate so far in my search is that people avoid me more than I anticipated they would. A couple people have blown me off entirely. In the background of one call I scheduled, I heard the portfolio manager ask the assistant “who is it” … she came back on the line and said he is “unavailable” and hung up before I could say anything. I followed up with an email and again received no response. That’s fine, I don’t want to invest a second of my time with a person with that little empathy anyway. As stated before, its hard not to have these type of situations hurt a little bit though. Little stabs. I better get used to it. From what I understand from a couple of my friends that have been long-term unemployed, this treatment will get much worst as the months slip away. The stabbing toothpick will grow into a sword.
On a positive note, I networked into a phone conversation with a successful portfolio manager at a nice value fund. Despite taking some time to finally pin down the conversation, he turned out to be a very nice person (I had forgotten such a person exists in the investing world). He covers some of the same companies I used to cover. I went through my theses on a couple names. He said that he’s been covering these companies for years and knows them well, however, he learned a few key things from listening to me. He also said I seemed like a unique thinker and that he’d mention me to a couple other value funds who could use someone like me. He also wants to stay in touch. He even followed up the convo with a thank you note to me. Who does that? What a good person. Lesson reminded of > give more than you take. Helped my moral. It was good to get some practice pitching longer-term investments. I made a couple errors but won’t next time.
Also had a great conversation with a former sell-side analyst who hit me on Linkedin. After a long, successful career as a research analyst at bulge-bracket banks, he was suddenly let go in June. I did not realize this. It was a candid conversation about where to look and how to look. His thinking, in many ways, parallels mine own. He ended up taking something a bit more entrepreneurial, I hope he does well. He offered help in a few ways and kept saying “I know the pain you are going through”. “Displaced Professionals Over 40 (“DPO40″)” is a very difficult group to get out of. Nobody gives a shit about this group of people besides a few vultures who offer their advise on job searching for a fee.
When unemployed like this, especially after getting fired, its a constant battle to keep my spirits up. The easiest way to do it is by keeping busy. I have a set schedule. Exercise first thing in the morning, read my newspapers, re-read a Buffett letter each day (beginning with partnership letters — its been a long time since I’ve read them), read 10 pages of Blake Masters Peter Theil class notes and then read 10 pages of a book. This reading takes about an hour. Then I focus on my search. This usually fills up the remainder of the day, with breaks to hang with my infant son and wife. I listed to CNBC or youtube interviews while working on my search — this at least makes me feel like I’m learning something while doing this mindless task.
Back to the keeping spirits up, its easy to fall into the trap of feeling left behind. I’m finding that its best to limit social interaction, as I wrote about before. Over a few beers with a friend, its easy to get negative worms working. As hard as I try, in this condition, its hard to block out the feeling of being left behind. Its unhealthy and unproductive. I think its better to watch a movie with my wife instead.
Ok, back to it.