How can newly joined AN1s best protect themselves from Layoffs & Recession?

First, I definitely want to acknowledge that what current mid-level to analyst level (some apparently with just 1 year tenure) are going through, across banks, is extremely unfortunate- as a first year, I have very clearly recognized the value-add and dedication my teammates have put in. This post is 100% without the intention of detracting from the current situation, but in thinking more proactively.

that said, I'm at a firm that hasn't formally rolled out layoffs, but I suspect (and have heard whisperings) that it soon will. While I don't suspect recently joined first years to be on the chopping block, I know that grace period will cease as time on the desk continues… 

So I ask: what are things that first years should start considering / being aware of now, given that performance reviews are YOE? Obviously, doing good work is always recommended, but even then making mid/top-mid solid performance is seemingly not enough (per GS layoff thread). We're entering a recessionary period, so ensuring conservation of our current jobs will be a theme to consider onwards.

How should we go about consideration of internal politics? Are layoff victims 100% identified by senior members? Or done jointly by HR? What really differentiates those who are let go vs are able to stay, sans marginal performance difference? Separately, is it recommended we revisit/tend to our networks now for downside protection, in case we are let go down the line?

Just some thoughts I have been thinking recently, any feedback is welcome. hopefully this can be helpful to many 

Comments (14)

Most Helpful
SPYShorts, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am a firm proponent of the idea that quality work, over time, trumps office politics. That said, when it comes to avoiding layoffs, I'd suggest finding a senior mentor (SVP+) who knows your name, and then investing deeply in the relationship. At cut time, having one person in the room who loves you is more important than an entire floor of people who like you. That, plus good, consistent, responsive work is the best protection you can have. 

Even then, there's still always going to be an element of luck and randomness to the process, so don't beat yourself up if things don't go your way. Few people have perfectly linear careers, and most people would say they were grateful for it eventually.   

  • Associate 3 in IB - Cov

Unironically this.

If it comes down to two analysts...both equal performers....but one is gay/ will keep the diversity analyst.

Akephalos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Would second the idea of SPY.

The person you choose as a mentor not only has your back, but can also guide you / offer some assistance through rough(er) times. Further, I'd try to connect with people across the floor, so your face becomes recognisable (and hopefully your good attitude / work product too). You don't need to kiss everyone's butt but simple things can go a long way.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm

People say that, but what's an example of guiding in rougher times? Does he literally tell you "try to add this in when speaking to x important person", "watch out for x usually analyst get caught in that".

Seems it's all general non specific advice and what are your thoughts on their opinions being non biased and completely honest as they also work at the same firm. Are mentors completely honest with you or is it more just do x or y and they're never 100% trusting/open because you are in a work environment and you take what they say but have your own reservations. Seems counter intuitive for them to be very genuine with you when you both work at the same firm, politics, peoples own goals etc all get in the way. Say they're honest on something controversial and you use it to screw them when you're in a bad spot. 

Akephalos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fair points. Just how I experienced it:The degree of involvement varies by the type of relationship you 2 have. I've seen people holding hands tight over their protégées and guiding them extremely close, while others were more passive (not fully but you get your bloody nose every now and then). They can help you massively in reflecting upon it, or how to approach certain situations on the way forward, or even share what's going through others people mind, which is then up to you, if and what you make out of it.Practical example, one of my directors is a very straight forward guy, focussed on results and not shy to get loud. He was always holding back / being rather reserved towards me, till I found out, he thinks I'm taking too many dances at once and not producing enough results. I just tried taking tasks by him specific, finishing them and thinking what else would be needed and added it, without him asking me. After few times, he came forward and commented positively on it. It is nice, as you gain some more weight within your team (still feather weight compared to them though)For other times, heavy politics in a former firm, he basically offered his thoughts on the situation and what he would do. What I do in the end, is up to me and my choice, but I at least have some opinion from a person I respect.

Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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