Does The Changed Culture Of The Firm Make You Feel Alone?

Is the culture of the firm you are currently at changing? Has it been changing for a while? What should you do if the work environment isn't what you signed up for?

Humankind has been and always will be a social animal; however, what about in a work environment?  When you first interviewed for your current position, you would not have gone over there unless you felt a true connection.  It’s not the platform that you went over there for but for the culture. What does culture mean?  It means the people connection.  Let’s explore the interesting dynamic of the culture of the firm in depth.

When Interviewing…

When you are interviewing, one of the areas most high on any candidate’s list is the culture of the firm.  Once you determine that the platform will meet your financial needs, you then have to decide if this is a place where you can see yourself really fitting in.  You ask to meet as many people as possible at the levels that are of interest to you.  If you are going in at the managing director level, you want to meet more than just the hiring manager, which in most cases should be the head of public finance.  However, you also want to meet the traders and underwriters that you will be working closely with.  Additionally, you want to meet the members of your team that you will be interacting with daily.  It’s only after you meet these folks should you feel qualified to decide if this is the firm you want to move to. 

Starting Day, Culture Change

I never have any of the candidates that we are working with making any sort of decision until they have met the people they will be working closely with. This always entails a personal visit to the company’s headquarters.  All of this changed with the pandemic.  Firms were hiring individuals without face-to-face interaction, but this article is not about that.  This is pre-covid when these visits were always occurring.  So, you make the move, and everything is going exactly as you expected; but as life does, things start to change.  Maybe the manager that you really liked has moved on for whatever reason.  The new manager and you do not feel as close.  Maybe senior management is not as active as they were with your group as it was when you first moved to the firm.  There could be a myriad of reasons for these changes, but the fact is they are there.  The culture of the firm has changed, what do you do?

The Potential Reasons For The Culture Of The Firm To Change…

If you are like most people, you ride it out and hope that the things that were once there will return; but, as months turn into years, you realize it’s not going to be. You adapt to the new style.  You long for the personal interaction that was once there.  You want that analytical support that was there before they centralized and took your personal support away.  Maybe it was all to save money, or maybe the senior management felt as though you were so efficient you did not need the daily help to foster your deal progress.  After all, you have been doing it on your own for so long now, why should they give you back that additional support?  What happened to the culture of the firm? You start to wonder if is this industry-specific, so you ask other colleagues if they are feeling the same.  The answers will vary.  Some firms are getting closer to their employees’ post-covid and others are staying the course.  I can assure you there are firms that are growing because they are fostering a culture that others want.

What Do You Do Now?

What does all this come down to?  Is the culture of the firm worth a look to make a move?  The answer: it’s time to look elsewhere and recapture the “love” you once felt.  That is exactly what’s happening in the marketplace now.  There are great candidates like yourself reaching out to us daily now to “kick the tires.”  Many of you have been at the same firm for a long time and this is a difficult thing to admit to yourself, but it is time to move on. You’re not alone in your feelings. If you are feeling that way and you want to explore new opportunities where your presence once again will be valued, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation. 


You don’t need a resume to chat with us! 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. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. 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.