Senior Team Members: Navigating Reductions and Embracing Reset and Reflection

Jun 27, 2023

The recent wave of corporate downsizing has spared no one, including senior team members who were once considered immune to such workforce reductions. In fact, these experienced individuals may be even more vulnerable in times of restructuring. As sentiment analysis of social media posts suggests, they are responding to this upheaval by prioritizing personal reset and reflection. Many are planning to utilize their severance packages to indulge in travel and leisure, seeking solace and rejuvenation. 


Let’s explore the challenges faced by senior team members during these uncertain times and how they are choosing to spend their time and severance.


Seniority Does Not Guarantee Immunity: Traditionally, senior team members were often seen as more secure in their positions due to their experience and expertise. However, recent economic downturns and organizational shifts have shattered this illusion. Companies striving to adapt to changing market conditions often restructure their teams, including senior roles. This unexpected vulnerability has forced senior team members to face the reality of downsizing and the uncertainty it brings. “Goldman Sachs is reportedly slashing 125 managing directors in the firm’s latest round of job cuts.”[1]


Spending Time and Dollars on Reset and Reflection: The sentiment analysis of social media posts reveals an intriguing trend among senior team members impacted by reductions. Instead of immediately plunging into a job search, many are choosing to utilize their severance packages to embark on a journey of personal growth and exploration. This newfound freedom allows them to invest time and resources into resetting their lives and reflecting on their career paths.


Traveling for Perspective: One of the most popular ways senior team members are spending their severance is by indulging in travel. By immersing themselves in new cultures, landscapes, and experiences, they aim to gain fresh perspectives and broaden their horizons. Traveling provides an opportunity to break free from the constraints of their previous roles and offers a chance to reconnect with themselves on a deeper level.


Leisure and Hobbies: Another common theme among senior team members is their desire to reconnect with neglected hobbies and interests. Some are taking up activities such as painting, writing, or playing musical instruments. Engaging in creative pursuits allows them to channel their energy into something fulfilling and rewarding. It also provides an avenue for self-expression and personal growth outside of their professional identities.


Investing in Personal Development: Severance packages are often viewed as a lifeline during transitional periods. Many senior team members are using this financial cushion to invest in personal development. They are enrolling in courses, workshops, or retreats to acquire new skills or enhance existing ones. By honing their abilities, they aim to remain competitive in the job market or even explore alternative career paths.


Entrepreneurial Ventures: Some senior team members, inspired by their newfound freedom and reflection, are venturing into entrepreneurship. They are using their severance packages as seed money to start their own businesses or invest in promising ventures. This entrepreneurial spirit allows them to create their own destiny and pursue their passions on their own terms. Employment numbers are up, but so are unemployment numbers. “One key reason for the divergence is that, according to the household survey, the number of self-employed people fell by 369,000 from April to May. Self-employed workers are counted in the survey of households but not in the survey of businesses. Drew Matus, chief economist at MetLife Investment Management, cautioned that the higher unemployment rate for May could signal weakness ahead. It suggests that companies are becoming more cautious about hiring.”[2]


The notion that senior team members are immune to workforce reductions has been shattered by recent downsizing trends. Inflation will continue to disrupt our economy, in particular the financial services industry, and reductions-in-force will likely continue throughout this year. The sector is “rife with hidden leverage and liquidity mismatches,” which “has been a source of large losses for banks.”[3] In this market, experienced professionals face the same uncertainties as their junior counterparts, if not more. However, sentiment analysis of social media posts suggests that they are responding to these challenges by embracing personal reset and reflection. Travel, leisure, personal development, and entrepreneurial pursuits are some of the ways senior team members are utilizing their time and severance to invest in themselves. By taking these steps, they not only seek rejuvenation but also equip themselves with new perspectives and skills for the next chapter of their professional lives.




  1. Forbes. “Goldman Sachs is reportedly slashing 125 managing directors in the firm’s latest round of job cuts.”, 26 June, 2023,
  2. Associated Press. “US Hiring Jumped Last Month. So Did Unemployment. Here’s What That Says About the Economy.” AP News, 3 June 2023,
  3. Fortune. “Banks face their worst losses since the 2008 crisis if inflation cannot be tamed, says the world’s brain trust of central bankers.”, 26 June, 2023,

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David McInnis

President & Founding Partner

David has two decades of global recruitment experience and is Founding Partner of Willard Powell. Prior to founding Willard Powell, David worked with Leathwaite International, a global executive search firm. Before his employment with Leathwaite, David worked for Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Securities) supporting the firm’s Investment Banking & Capital Markets Technology group. David is a graduate of Lasell College in Newton, MA, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Management Information Systems. David also serves as a Trustee on Lasell’s Board.