“We were on a break!” — I’m between jobs

How do I say this? How about, “I’m unemployed.”

Last year, I joined AIG to be part of their Professional Practices team. Ensure quality work within the various audit teams, help evolve audit practices, etc. Seemed like a good gig where I used my knowledge and expertise. It was also a bump up in title and pay, with a future potential to move into Risk Management or another function in one or two years. I’d been wary of joining AIG for many years. Bad rep in the audit industry in NY due to turnover, and other stuff I won’t mention here.

As always, life likes to throw the occasional curveball every once in awhile. The first day I was there, I discovered most of the entire team was pretty disgruntled.  Five months after joining, the Chief Auditor was forced out, and new management came in to clean house. In October, the company began layoffs globally, including around 100 folks in Audit.

By December, our team had been gutted from 7 people down to only 4. We actually had one new coworker join in June, but she resigned in frustration within 4 months. I saw the writing on the wall, and started informally looking back in Nov/Dec 2015. By January, I was formally looking for a better opportunity before the music stopped. I am glad that I started looking that early, but it wasn’t good enough. After giving us busy work for weeks, our new senior management scheduled a fake meeting one fine day, and HR joined us.

So how do I feel about all this? I don’t know, to be honest. I’m still sorting out my feelings about the whole matter. I could say I should have avoided AIG and maybe I would have been right, but I  learned a lot and met people. I also got a chance to build new skills. I mentioned back in Dec 2014 that I had been interviewing for an internal JPMC transfer, and wondered for a long time whether I should waited it out longer. I learned last week that group was dismantled and consolidated in early 2015, and two layers of management  (including the hiring manager) were either pushed out or left the company. That means there was no future there either and I had been second-guessing myself for a long time and for nothing.

Could I have done anything differently during my time at AIG to save my job? I can say emphatically that I did everything that I could. While others worked quietly in their offices, I was out meeting with the audit teams every week Day 1. I was presenting to senior management all last year. I created new processes, and created new work products. When the new Senior Management came on, I was helping them with their various planning sessions and helping write or improve their existing presentations. I also helped develop and present on new audit practices and processes. Based on all this, I earned a strong performance rating.

So after all that, how did I still not survive? That’s what I struggle with. They couldn’t move me into another group and keep my skills? All those things I did, and it didn’t matter? I even applied for internal Audit spots, but internal sources told me afterwards Sr Management had external candidates ONLY in mind. In the end, it was just a numbers game and they had to dissolve our team and further cut the headcount no matter what. If they wanted to throw out the baby with the bathwater, so be it. I had also applied for internal transfers to other groups, but no one was truly hiring while they were also restructuring.

It’s been a few weeks, but I’m not completely over it. All that work for naught. When I think about it, it doesn’t sit well with me. Sometimes bad things happen because it’s simply out of your control. You have no control over what will happen, and that the simple truth. The only thing you can do is have contingency plans in place for when it happens.

As I mentioned, I’ve been interviewing on and off for a few months. I’m searching for the role that I like, with opportunities to further develop, in an organization that has a future. Same as I have always wanted.

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