GUEST COMMENT: Please don't take out your frustration on me

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They say that the first step in recovering from any addiction is admitting you have a problem. The same goes for the thousands of bankers addicted to the power and prestige of Investment Banking who are now out of the market and face a far less lucrative and influential future than the one they'd envisaged and had been promised.

As a recruitment consultant (or free counselling service), I am faced on an hourly basis with the frustration and anger of former bankers who would prefer to believe that the world hasn't changed.

I know that it's difficult to come to terms with. To borrow Tom Wolfe's phrase, banks sold the dream of becoming a Master of the Universe. If you achieved a job in corporate finance, the implication was clear: the bank got their pound of flesh in the early years, but you would be in a position to retire early after spending a short and rewarding career reshaping corporate strategy at the highest level.

For many of the people now calling me, banks' failure to deliver on this implied promise is a betrayal. So too is recruiters' inability to smooth the passage into a comparable position.

The unfortunate reality is this: right now, very few financial services companies are hiring. Not long ago, it might have been possible to move to the buyside. Now, however, most buyside firms are waiting to see how things pan out, and if they do have a compelling reason to hire they want someone with buyside experience, not a former investment banker.

Even the most senior bankers, hedge fund PM's and private equity partners don't know when this will end and the consensus is increasingly that it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

In the meantime, you will need to adapt. If you've always been a top performer and have always achieved what you set your mind to, accepting that you can no longer dictate the terms of your employment is hard. But if you can reach this acceptance, it will help.

Now is not the time to chase dying dreams, but to think creatively. You are intelligent people. Use that intelligence to reshape your future. Take the former Goldman Sachs banker who set up a company to train truck drivers: he didn't sit around berating recruitment companies for failing to find him a new job. Why should you?

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