TRANCHED: Life after CDOs, Week 2

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I have been reliably informed this week that networking is the key to life, the universe and everything.

My transition guru offered me this eye-opening revelation. It seems that headhunters and recruitment consultants may offer a comfort blanket to those of us who have recently been handed our freedom, but when all is said and done it's our own contacts that are more likely to hold the key to our next existence.

I suppose that headhunters have always offered some semblance of comfort. When the market was buzzing, their calls with offers of gainful employment elsewhere offered a feeling of freedom - that if you so choose, you could free yourself from one position in favour of the next. Now I guess reality for the headhunters must have been turned on its head: with thousands of CVs flooding in from bankers let go all over the City, and no place to put them, comfort must be in short supply.

As if to vindicate this theory, my calls to headhunters have so far elicited advice like, "Take the summer off and come back in September" - and that was from those who even bothered to return my calls - news so bleak for a Monday that I wandered around stunned for some time before finally accepting that it might be time to embrace the cult of Networking.

Now, I have a confession to make. I am British, and being British, networking scares me. To me, it is one of those American business school concepts that don't sit naturally, like thinking outside the box or running things up flag poles and seeing who salutes. It is not that I don't understand what is required, it's just that the idea that friends and acquaintances should suddenly be assigned a value in terms of their usefulness to my future career aspirations leaves me feeling cold.

I am, however, a realist and explained this British reserve to my transition guru. After he had allowed himself the time to regurgitate the management platitudes that seem to be so popular with members of his industry, he finally offered some methods that I could put into practice.

I have therefore decided to take his advice and get in touch with old colleagues plus other contacts and suggest meeting for drinks or lunch. I am hoping that a few relaxed beers will be enough to disguise the smell of neediness that those outside of the market tend to exude on these occasions. I will keep you informed on how things progress.

In order to prepare myself for this new reality, I took the coward's way out and decided that rather than start immediately I could justify a long weekend away in the countryside to recharge my batteries in preparation for the next push. The problem with this theory is that it gave me time to think: the weeks are beginning to slip by and I am not a step closer to that elusive new job. Next week I am going to pound the City streets and get myself in front of people - it's time I made the distinction between redundancy and holiday.

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