Is Fear Of The Unknown Crushing Your Public Finance Career?

It's time to face the unknown in furthering your public finance careers.

Complacency can prevent you from making the next exciting and right move in your career.  Too many good bankers, bond counsels and those with public finance careers remain at their old firm for one reason. That one reason being they will not leave their old firm behind, even if it is not living up to their new expectations.  This is a growing trend, which does not make sense to me. Over the last couple of months, I have been receiving calls from many people who are unhappy due to sudden changes afoot; whether it’s the virus (which is making them rethink their current situation) or the reality that their firm is not giving them the resources and support that they had in the past. Sometimes people call me to complain, want help, extricate themselves from their current situation, but at the end of the day they get indecisive. Why? Fear of the unknown.

Into The Unknown: Don’t Fear Furthering Your Public Finance Careers

For some reason, mankind is typically fearful of the unknown. However, if you do not examine and conquer that fear (or at least push it aside to let intelligence over emotion prevail), we would be back in the dark ages. It is the challenge of the unknown that makes us great. We cannot take the next step on the ladder if we keep one foot firmly on the current rung. It is impossible to get ahead with both feet remaining in place. Let us examine this fear of the unknown. No one should venture ahead if they think they are not going to be bettering themselves, either fiscally or emotionally. If the two of these do not appear to be better with the unknown, then stay with the known for your public finance careers.  But if these factors can in theory be better, then you owe it to yourself to explore the unknown further. 

How To Explore The Unknown: Next Steps For Public Finance Careers & More

#1: Answer The Call

When finding a new position, the first step is to take the call from a recruiter who can introduce you to new ideas.  If the recruiter knows the field (i.e. public finance careers, bond counsels, etc.), they should be able to determine the realistic likelihood of a new firm being interested in your candidacy.  They should be aware of any voids that the firm may be looking to fill.  Remember most jobs are not advertised, and in some circumstances, they are not planned for until the right person comes along.  That is where a good recruiter shines – creating opportunities where they did not exist before.

#2: Trust & Timing

The next step after the initial call with the recruiter is to truly open up and trust that the recruiter only has your best interest at heart.  Here is where you need to develop the trust level.  By being open and forthright with your recruiter, they will in turn be able to identify which firm can be that next right fit for you (if any).  Many times, I share that my prospective candidate should sit where they are in their public finance careers and continue to develop their book and clients.  Knowing that the recruiter is looking out for you, you both can move forward at the right pace and determine if the grass is indeed greener on the other side.  Let’s assume it is for the sake of this blog.

#3: Interview Process

The next step in the process is to actually take the interview. How you take the interview is a crucial point. You do not want to go into the first interview with the thought, “Is this where I want to move to?” With that thought you are crippling your own power of assessment. Instead you want to go into that first meeting with a single thought, “Do I want to know more about this situation?” You do not have enough information on either the first, second, or maybe the third interview to determine if the unknown is better than the known for your public finance careers. The goal that needs to be determined is if the unknown of the new firm far exceeds your current situation (the known). 

More Tips For Furthering Public Finance Careers & More

Moving to the unknown must be a consistent step forward. At any step in the interview process you, as the candidate, have the right to stop the process. However, to stop the process before the first interview does not make sense when I receive calls that are reflecting the candidate’s frustration about their current situation. Usually when I get a call something has changed at their current firm to warrant it. Not to act on that initial feeling is a result of indecisiveness, one that can be solved by taking that first meeting to further public finance careers. Firms know that many times people will interview and stop the process, and they are OK with that. Also, as a recruiter, never feel like you are wasting our time if you stop the process after the first interview. We are here to help you transition from the known to the better known, and we will guide you through the process wherever it ends up.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email me at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn

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 level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.