Monday, February 6, 2017

Getting A Job - older age, experienced candidates edition

I take a lot of pride in our file and rank folk that fight the good fight in finance and that have proven themselves. I hurt to see veterans getting booted and replaced with 24-year old paper boys with Harvard degrees for whom a bad day is a day fighting laryngitis.

If the trend of "Juniorization" of Wall Street continues, it can prove damaging to the institutions that allow it. Experienced workers (with more than 6 years of experience in the industry) are routinely let go and replaced with young talent because the "millennials are the greatest generation" and Ivy League schools churn too many of them. Meanwhile, older workers sit idly unable to get a job. How can they get a job when the HR firewall is a 25-year old genius. Millennial wisdom: If you're not on Snapchap, you don't exist. How many Instagram followers does a 40-year old suppose to have to "make the cut" ? "We look for evidence of your social media influence." an HR Director told a colleague of mine. You know, we need someone that's hungry and driven. We're looking for a data whiz, who "lives and breathes" data algorithms. My colleague: But...I got references ! Sorry, if those references are over 5 years old, they're out-of-date. Tough luck ! A Resume with over 10 years of work history gets dinged automatically.

From the "Juniorization of Wall Street" on Efinancialcareers we find who does that systematically:
"On Wall Street at least, the answer appears to be Goldman Sachs, closely followed by Deutsche Bank and Barclays." Goldman Sachs has 30% entry level (Analysts, 0-3 years) workers and ONLY 6% workers with 20 years or more.
Please note this is happening in other industries as well, outside of banking in NYC.

If Goldman Sachs keeps sucking the millenial tit, a number of things can happen:

-firms like Goldman will fall behind the sophistication to execute deals or trades, because the ability to execute is non-existent in newbies (aka excel monkeys).

-all other things being equal, older, more experienced workers produce higher quality product. Since most of the production at Goldman is entry level worker generated, it will have more mistakes and redundancy.

New York is a pretty straight forward place. Imagine what happens in Silicon Valley.  How many workers over the age of 50 does Facebook have, other than janitors, servicemen, and shuttle drivers ?

So what is an older and experienced worker to do in an environment where millennials are given preference in the workforce ?

(If you are an entry level or recent grad, read my Guide to Getting A Job -college edition)

1. First, set the record straight with your former employer. Were you forced to resign ? You may have a lawsuit going. Get a good lawyer, If you were replaced with a younger worker, document it, if you are over 40 years of age, you may have an age discrimination and wrongful discharge case. Is your U4 record clean ? You may also have a defamation lawsuit going.

2. Most people don't sue even if they were wronged for fear of ruining their name for future employment.

3. When looking for a new job, look the chicken shit HR millenial in the eye and tell her "Excuse me, Ms./Mr you got flushed cheeks ! What's happening ? Are you feeling well ? Should we call an ambulance for you ?

Real #3 now. Never go through HR. As an experienced hire or lateral, you should never go through HR. Your best bet is someone already working there and them pushing your Resume. HR resume piles are for deletion only.

4. A good idea is to have the Resume tailored for the position. If applying for an entry level (0-3 years) your Resume should not show more than three years of experience. If you have 10 years of experience, cut the last 7 out. They mean nothing. You get no extra points from the HR bums.

5. It's been said that getting a job is a lot like dating. It is a numbers game. There's no escaping that.

Is Wall Street faltering its bravest and brightest soldiers ?

6. As an experienced hire, its time to pull out your rolodex. Also, get going and go to industry conferences. Got hobbies ? Do those and network ! Network your way to your next job.

" The only place I can't network is in a cemetery, and it's my own funeral."-Max Cantor

7. It is my opinion that one should act and show his age. For all of human history except the recent years, experience was revered and acknowledged, and was an advantage. Act your age! Interview pro tip: make that interview all about yourself. I realize this goes against every advice given elsewhere. I just think my cuff links look better on me than on that millenial ass puss.

8. Millennial-led and founded companies are millenial-biased. I was recently talking with a product manager at a prominent gaming company in the San Francisco Bay area, and I asked how many people over the age of 50 were working there. She said there were two of them. 30 and under ? 14 people. Enough said !

9. Some of my readers have written me saying they transitioned well into entrepreneurship. Others into consulting. However, the overwhelming majority talk about the difficulties of getting a job in the 40s. It gets even harder for someone 50+.

10. Life is not fair. As an experienced folk you need a fail-safe mechanism. What is that ?  Keep reading my blog and you'll find out.


  1. Max, can you write about being a player at age 50 ? How can I tough it out if I'm divorced and spinning a few plates -My heart doesn't know its age !

  2. Max, how can I break a losing streak ?


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