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Welcome to Part 2 of my 3 Part series about how you can learn from my mistakes and not allow your ego to sabotage your job search.

Last week, I discussed in Part 1 how I sabotaged my job search by allowing my ego to muddle my thinking about who I was and what I was capable of.

Part 2 below discusses my ego’s negative impact on my networking.  Finally, Part 3 will conclude with how I hurt myself in interviews.

Please learn!

Part 2: Sabotaging my Networking

Where I was:

  • Felt superior to others since I was a high earner for many years
  • Felt angry at Credit Suisse for laying me off
  • Felt feelings of superiority turning to tangible feelings of insecurity (probably there my whole life but buried)

In Person Networking

I had so many opportunities to attend formal events related to finance or even outside of finance.  Many were offered by law firms or rating agencies for free or sponsored by universities or private entities for a nominal price ($10-20).

I even had informal networking events like parties, religious events, kid’s school events.  The excuse of nowhere to go was bull.

The problem was I needed to look professional

However, since I was feeling depressed, insecure and just plain tired, hanging at home all day, I:

  • Started to put on weight so my suites did not fit comfortably-who wants to wear tight clothes
  • Stopped shaving on a regular basis-I now need to shave? What a pain
  • Even stopped daily showers-no comment

Beyond having to look professional, I had to deal with: what do I say about what I do for a living; why am I not working; what am I looking to do?

How was I supposed to feel when others talked about summering on beaches and taking the kids to Disneyword when my savings was dropping like a rock with my $12,000 monthly mortgage payment?

The entire networking event, which I had not even attended yet, was playing out in my mind, spinning out of control.

Internet Networking

Well least I didn’t have to shave or shower-Hey is my computer’s camera shut off?  However, using LinkedIn to network just seemed to be a waste of time.

I felt:

  • Embarrassed about connecting with people I hadn’t spoken with in a long time
  • Confused about what to say or how to go about finding people
  • Naked since I didn’t have that many first connections-should have connected more when I was working (should have done a lot of things differently in my past)

I just felt overwhelmed with how to start.  How the mighty have fallen.

Turning myself around

I started calling family and friends, asking what I should do next.  The almost universal answer was face your fears and kick yourself in the butt.

I took some of my advice in Part 1 last week about meditating and doing yoga.

I saw a therapist (will never admit that in public) who helped me put my life in perspective.  I remember on the subway to my first visit, I had a panic attack.  Only losers go to therapists, right? Wrong.

I learned:

  • My embarrassment, hesitation, and feelings of frustration were simply internal states of my being
  • I might never be the fancy banker I was; however, I still had plenty of skills to offer an employer
  • My family would not love me if I made less money (ex-wife still had a vested interest, but that’s a story for another blog)

I forced myself to go to my first networking event and said I was “consulting”.  Guess what-many of the people in the room were consulting also (sounds like a Forrest Gump line).  I started feeling better.

People at the event had some great advice for me about contacting my alumni offices at Penn and Columbia.  They told me to check out Chamber of Commerce events.

I came out of this one event feeling more connected, still depressed, but more connected.

I started to use LinkedIn and connect with my alumni and ask for conversations to give me some guidance.  I quickly learned that many alumni ignored me, but some were really willing to help.

What surprised me most was some former good friends did nothing while others, almost strangers, were incredible.

The bottom line was: I was starting to dig out.

Please stay tuned for Part 3 next week.

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