It's funny how not working changes your relationships with people. Despite the fact that I am financially sound, at least for the medium term, reactions of even close friends seem to have subtly altered.
I'm not sure if it's the way I'm acting or whether I'm simply becoming sensitive as part of some post-redundancy rejection complex, but there definitely seems to be a difference.
Take yesterday, for example. I played 18 holes of golf with one of my best friends. He works in banking and a normal round of golf would have contained at least a passing discussion of the way the markets seem to be heading. Yesterday, despite all that has happened, there was not a single mention of anything business related.
There could be any number of reasons for this missing discussion: he may have had a bad week at work and just simply not have wanted to think about the office on a sunny Sunday afternoon. However, it seemed to me as we hacked our way around the course that we were both ignoring the elephant in the room. I can't help feeling that my lack of job may have changed how I view myself, which may in turn have changed the reaction of others to me. It's as if somehow I have started giving off an odour of vulnerability, and as a result people feel they need to tiptoe around certain subjects for fear they may hurt my already sensitive feelings.
I have just re-read what I have written so far, and I can't help thinking that I might be losing it slightly. Twelve weeks out of work and from the lines above it sounds like it might not be long before I am sitting on a bench on Shepherds Bush green drinking two-litre bottles of industrial strength cider and talking to myself.
This deep analysis may even seem to have stepped outside the remit for this blog. However, I think these feelings of self doubt and vulnerability are probably common to the growing numbers of fellow job seekers and so need to be discussed.
If we cast our minds back 12 months ago, many of us now filing in and out of headhunters' offices were successful, well paid, driven investment bankers. The comedown from those greed-fuelled highs is hard to take and some of the swagger may have been lost as we sit at home watching the markets continue to suffer the aggressive battering of the credit tsunami.
How do we inject some positivity into this scenario? It is time to focus on the plus sides to being at home at this time. The discussions I have had with those still in the game suggest that those of us on the outside, whatever the long-term implications, are missing out on some depressing times within the investment banking community. Watching hordes of colleagues getting axed and continually looking over your shoulder expecting the axe to fall on you must have psychological ramifications of its own. At least being at home we get to enjoy the odd day in the sun, or go to our offspring's sports day, while others sit in stuffy offices trying to look busy.
From my own personal point of view I have virtually resigned myself to the fact that contracting is going to be my way back into the City. I have weighed up the pros and cons and have decided that I am going to adopt a disciplined strategy of contracting while simultaneously maintaining an active search for a position that will further my career.
It's time to get back in the game and regain at least an element of swagger.