Change In Your Firm Spurs On Concerns: The Most Important Question To Ask

Changes happen at your current firm that do not make you happy anymore. Should you change firms? Do you know when to make a change in firms? Here are some tips if you find yourself in a scenario like this.

I would like to discuss what I think is the most important question you need to ask yourself if you are at all contemplating a move to another firm due to a changed circumstance. Before I share the question, let me set a scene. This week a scenario played out numerous times where I would get a call from either a public finance banker or a public finance attorney, and they shared that something has happened at their current firm. It could be that bonuses were lower than expected, shake up with senior management, a proposed merger, etc. It was something that has potentially upset the applecart. Questions start swirling like where to go next, when to make a change, what’s a worthwhile reason to leave and not, etc. 

What Spurred On The Call

These calls have one thing in common: prior to the “shake up,” all the employees were happy with their current situation. There was no reason for them to have reached out to me. All of them were on a great trajectory for their career. However, something has happened, and the results of which we will not necessarily know or feel immediately. As I was having these calls (there were three of them in one week with the same tone), the question they kept asking is, “Where do you go?” Since I am a relationship recruiter and not a transactional one, my first response is, “Slow down, nothing has happened yet nor may it.” But then I asked the key question in this scenario: When to make a change – is it now or later?

When To Make A Change Vs. Where To Go

It’s not, “Where will you go?” It should be, “When will you go?” The when was the issue since where can always be determined for great professionals in our field. The timing is what they really need to focus on. When to make a change in your firm is most important. When do you say enough is enough? When do you say that I am feeling that my current position is not right for me eventually? Or when do I determine that the merger is going to have a result, which is not going to be in line with what I want to accomplish? All these scenarios that are posed need to be delved into. The knee jerk reaction of picking up the phone, calling a recruiter (even one that you have known for years), and saying, “I am ready to look around,” may not be the right answer now.

Analysis & Timing For When To Make A Change

By answering the “when” question, you will be more focused on the day-to-day analysis of the new position that is being presented to you because of the “shake up.” Hopefully the disruption will be a positive one. One that can propel you to your next level within your current firm. Now is the time to take a breather, ignore the knee jerk response, and wait it out until you truly see the writing on the wall. Finding out when to make a change in firms can take time. If you get to that point when you want to move quickly (because it is likely that if you are seeing it, others in your firm are seeing it also), then you may find yourself competing for similar positions with your old colleagues. This is a place you do not want to find yourself in unless you are looking at making a move all together. In summary, time will determine when it’s the proper moment. Time to look in earnest, not just kick the tires. The when will be naturally flushed out. Until then, be alert and watch for further clues. See if the keys to the new kingdom are there or not. If not, then you should start to look in earnest.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.