OUT OF LEHMAN: I have got out of banking and I have no cash

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The last time I wrote an article for eFinancialCareers, I was thumping my chest on how the middle office was the new black. Within less than a fortnight of the article being published, I was shown the door at my middle office job.

At least this time it wasn't the whole firm going bankrupt (though it came perilously close to that!), it was just my unit going through budget cuts. Being laid off from two bulge bracket firms within a span of six months requires some talent, and boy, do I have that in plenty.

My boss was worried at how well I took the news. I didn't believe it then, but it looks like the whole Lehman episode has indeed made me stronger and significantly enhanced my threshold for disappointment. I decided I had given banking a fair shot. After Lehman came down, I took the first banking job I got, hoping it would give me a foot in the door. Sadly my foot only got jammed. It was time to move on. I had spent a good three years working towards a banking career that had lasted less than three months in both jobs put together. It was hard to stomach the disappointment, but I knew it wasn't personal.

After taking a short break, I joined a small internet start-up nurtured by my friends from business school. My idea was to work for a month, understand the nuts and bolts of the company, and then decide if I wanted to do this full time.

The catch? I wouldn't receive any salary. I would have an equity stake and will have to wait for the exit to see any money. The business is making cash profits, which is awesome, but like any start up all the cash generated is being ploughed back to grow the business. I enjoy working there, work hours are flexible, the work environment is collegial and the best part - I don't have to get up at 6am or send/receive mundane daily reports.

However, as much as I like the job and the people, I am finding it difficult to stay the course. My business school loans are piling up and I need the cash to keep myself going. Lehman's bankruptcy and the fact that my other position was on a contract position only, meant I received zero severance pay. Cash is king and I could definitely do with some of it in my life right now.

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