I Made A Move, Did I Just Make A Mistake?

Are you at the wrong new firm or is it just growing pains of adjustment to a new workplace? Here are some ideas to help you determine what's next for you.

Today’s blog is going to be a little bit more difficult to write. Why? It’s because of my experience with candidates that have made a mistake by their selection of a new firm being greatly limited. I know it happens. However, what I want to share are thoughts that if you make a wrong choice, you can go back and rely on these ideas to move forward.  Our industry, both public finance and bond counsel, can be forgiving if you have chosen the wrong new firm to go to. Provided you make the change quickly.

Wrong New Firm Or Simply Adjusting?

The first thing you must do is ask yourself a question: did you really choose the wrong new firm or are you just not adapting as quickly as you had hoped?  Many people will have high hopes and expectations that their current deal flow is going to move with them. To their surprise, clients that they had worked with and thought they were “controlling” decided to stay with their past firm.  This is probably the number one concern I hear expressed after someone makes a move.  At this point in the transition, I try to share that the new firm never counts on anything. They are hopeful, but they are hiring you for what you can do for them in the future (not necessarily as much as you can bring in immediately through the door).  Our industry has a way of playing tricks with all of us.  Deals that were supposed to be sold can be delayed due to market conditions or whatever the case may be.  This does not mean you made a wrong decision. It only means that you are going to have to work harder to get your revenues where you thought they would be.

A Key Element To Career Insurance: Financial Independence

One thing I always share is that if you are getting a signing bonus of any significance, do not spend the money before six months has elapsed at a minimum.  How come? If you decide you did make a mistake in the selection of your new firm, you are most likely obligated to return that money. If you have spent it already, it’s going to be much harder for you to rectify the wrong decision, and you may be forced to stay at the wrong new firm strictly because of financial reasons.  If you do get lucky enough to find a new firm, they may buy out that signing bonus. However, you will be obligated to your new firm, and again this can become a vicious cycle.  It is better for you to remain in complete control and know that if a bad choice was made you can pay the bonus back and move on.  Thus, having more choice firms to go to without having to negotiate with some other bank or law firm paying back your bonus.

How Do You Know It Is The Wrong New Firm? 

How do you know if you really made a bad choice of a new firm?  The main reason should be that your new business (not the business you were expecting to move) is not coming your way because of either credit committee issues, platform issues, management issues, etc.  The key is you are looking for a pattern of why you are not getting the business.  If you can see a clear pattern for that, then a decision to move may be the right answer.  However, never reconsider a new position for at least the first six to 12 months unless something is drastically wrong (i.e., a complete misrepresentation by your new firm).  I can say in the ten years that I have been recruiting public finance professionals, I have never seen this happen.  I have seen attorneys move to the issuer side as they did not want to originate anymore.  I have seen bankers leave after the first year as they decided that the firm was not going to support their business they wanted to develop in the future.  Both these situations are rare and both firm management understood their reasons. You can detect truly if it is the wrong new firm you chose, or if it is simply an adjustment phase in a matter of time. 

In conclusion, if you have made a wrong decision and you need an objective opinion, please reach out to me.  My goal is to help as many people as possible in our cottage industry to have the career they want, whether I work with you in securing a new position for you or not.


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.