Surviving the Jungle

I had two calls with folks looking for work today. I want to help but I can't bring on more headcount and my team is lucky so far we did not have to make cuts. Don't lose hope. This shall pass.

My advice is if this becomes the Jungle (massive longer term unemployment) you need to do whatever it takes to survive. If that means doing as part of your job property management. Do it. I once had a neighbor complain about some homeless guys shit on one of our buildings and I went to clean it up (maggots and all). I was so grossed out that I developed a rosea rash for a couple weeks after.

I've been unemployed twice for over 6 months during my 15 year career. Including during the Great Recession. I've had my self worth tested. Martial problems. Near misses in jobs. But I've always found a way to add value and get paid enough to survive. Unemployment benefits dried up, but my checks from temp jobs and 1099 work kept me alive.

Finance is a highly discounted skill set when there is no capital. Yes, you can get paid if you manage to land or keep your job. Earning a salary is the easier way to make money. You get paid every two weeks. Do your job. Hide in the cubicle farm. Consider yourself lucky. But when you are a consultant doing freelance project work, that's the Wild West. The Jungle. That's where you are tested and paid for the value you bring.

Covid-19 Things happened very fast. Normal life is still fresh in our memories (3-4 weeks ago?).

If you are looking for something to do, my best advice is to go help businesses that have fewer finance people and help them survive. You might ultimately end up in a good place and more valued. You also could build valuable relationships fighting in the trenches with entrepreneurs, investors, and just normal people who don't have fancy educations but are decent good people and often times talented. Business people who were a month ago highly successful, now don't know what to do. Be resourceful.

Stay away from the criminal types, they will prey on desperate people. Say no if things get fishy.

Remember: Money touches everything.

Finance will turn its back on you when it serves its interests. "Capital can shut off like a faucet." Heard that before from they guy who raised money from big LPs in a major REPE (over 10 years ago for me). This is when you might go from the nice CBD office to working in someone's home office to keep a business alive (did that). Add value that way. I've been there. It wasn't the big money, but I survived. Looking back, it made me stronger. Go help others.

Comments (5)

Apr 8, 2020 - 2:12pm
Edifice, what's your opinion? Comment below:

+SB. Hopefully people bookmark this for future reading instead of starting "what do I do now?" threads.

“Doesn't really mean shit plebby boi. LMK when you're pulling thiccboi cheques.“ — @m_1
Most Helpful
Jun 30, 2020 - 10:46am
odog808, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's been a few months since writing this. It does feel like the uncertainty and layoffs has continued, and it still might be hard to find a job.

Instead of just waiting for the traditional employer to hire, think of a numerous small and medium sized businesses that could use your help right now. Seeking capital, pivoting, making due with less.

From finance (real estate investing/PE track to unemployed), I fell back to my accounting background when I got my job during the Great Recession. A struggling business might say they need an "accountant," but what they might not articulate in the job post is they need an accountant and more, a problem solver. I would apply for jobs like this (today). If it has a brick and mortar prescience I'd give a phone call and/or drop off a resume to cut through the application stack.

It wasn't the best job in terms of compensation but I was able to survive and got out of the typical CBD office life and into the Main Street world. It was an invaluable life and professional experience. Went from the San Francisco financial district to working in a residential area in a house turned into offices.

The company couldn't afford their CFO so he was laid off and on his way out I trained under him. At times it was a shitshow but I got paid to fight the fires and also do financial reporting on Quickbooks. Then it lead to helping to craft a capital raising plan, monitoring cash flow, dealing with unpaid vendors, leasing retail space (negotiating with the tenant's CFO), fighting the foreclosure process and later Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (not me, the company). I remember reading the various attorney memos, the back and forth, the bravado, the feeling all was lost, the counter arguments and feeling there was a chance. Going to federal bankruptcy court and seeing that process.

Yes, I eventually left for a better paying job when the economy improved. In the moment, it was a great experience and that experience and relationships still help me 10 years later.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
  • 5
Jul 9, 2020 - 11:10am
odog808, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The point is now more than even my experience during the Great Recession; how companies conduct business is changing. If you are willing to step into helping Main Street during this time, I feel you will encounter a gamut of experiences that will not only help you as an investor but also as a leader/visionary.

If you are a new grad, it's harder but also as a young person - intelligent, resourceful, and with experiences internships and school gives you - you may be taken under the wings of. If you have a finance background, targeting companies with 1 - 15 (or 50) employees that might not have a lot of finance "bench" you could be seen as a lower risk hire, even temporarily.

A couple things can help you get in the door. Print out your resume and cover letter and see if you can hand it to someone. The owner might be in that day. If you have an impressive background and particularly are from the area and they can appreciate (high school / college, extra curricular, internships) that will give you a leg up. If you are a user of the service or product and can show some kind of passion, even better. If there are areas you can be useful without a lot of hand holding, that would be great. From AP/AR, bank reconciliations, to receptionist to delivering PPE to locations, to social media content creation, anything and everything. If you earn their trust, you'll have a front row seat on a evolution of business that does not come often. A reinvention that is undergoing throughout.

If you could even be in the room when 40 year veterans of industry talk to their senior team about how things are the same and fundamentally different - that is amazing. When you are helping to implement safety protocols to keep customers and employees safe, that is rewarding.

Chances are if this is a non-finance company, they don't see people like us too often (maybe downtown, but not Main Street). Let Main Street borrow your talents and you might just like it. You can go back to Wall Street later on, but see how much of our economy (small and medium sized businesses) work. Think of this as a license to jump off and go unconventional. Might be the only way.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
  • 5
Jul 9, 2020 - 2:16pm
JonnyDrama, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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