So the first thing I set out to do was to get another certification to my name. The examination was called the NYSE Series 14 Exam, which qualifies someone to be a Compliance Officer at a Securities firm. It's not an exam many people take, so there aren't a lot of study materials available.
I spent a good month preparing for this exam. I figured it would be a good way to segue into another area of the industry. I was what they call a "Floor Official" at the Exchange, which charges you with responsibility for trade compliance through consultation with Specialist firms and brokers from other Brokerage firms. I had hoped to make a transition to Compliance in-house at Merrill, but time ran out, obviously.
Well this was another instance of mistaken suppositions. I passed the exam on the first try, and thought that I'd be good to go. I was wrong. The first obstacle I hit was the one that vexes nearly every person who is seeking employment: The Experience Catch-22. No one is hiring anyone without three to five years' experience; can't get the experience if you don't have the job. Round and round.
I had my severance pay, but I know that was finite. I had three years' salary saved in addition to that. I thought I had prepared well.