Deep in the throes of wintertime, I tend to listen to my iPod on shuffle mode more often. Maybe it’s because my Beats by Dre headphones double as cozy earmuffs. Maybe it’s because my eardrums are liable to spontaneously collapse if I am subjected to a minute more of Christmas music. Maybe it’s because my taste in music is so terrible I can’t fully appreciate the lyrical genius of Beauty and the Beat. Regardless, beyond the immortal Michael Jackson (RIP), trusty ol’ shuffle usually pumps out some inspiring, introspective tunes – and they often relate to my thoughts about Wall Street.
You see, when you’re a young banker, the lines between your
worklife and lifework can get blurry. And in these tough times, it’s especially difficult for those outside the Wall Street bubble to really understand what our lives are like. For some, life is more easily expressed through song, so I put together this shuffle-inspired playlist to help your mom better understand the nature of your work.
Maybe you won’t walk 500 miles, but you will walk 50 blocks downtown, because it’s 8 a.m., there’s no room left in the black car, and the pitch starts in 10 minutes. And don’t you fucking forget to flip the books, last time there was an extra comma in the footnote on page 87.
Click! Clack! That’s the sound of the analysts working on the comp sets. You’re going home one of these days, going home to see your woman, whom you love so dear, but meanwhile – you got to work right here. For those analysts who have passed the 1-year mark, replace ‘woman’ (she broke up with you months ago) with ‘bed’.
Clowns to the left of you, jokers to the right – there you are, stuck in the middle. As an associate, you’re asked to be everything from an analyst to a near-MD – sometimes simultaneously. (What? Carry the pitchbooks and explain the syndication strategy while calculating returns on the 12C?)
Perhaps you’ve got MBA loans lingering. Maybe you’ve got a family (your deal team doesn’t count). Either way, you’re balls deep in this career path and probably past the point of no return. You’re not a number crunching monkey any longer, but you have few client relationships of your own. But guess what? If I am your MD, the pressure pushing down on me, is pushing down on you (what you asked for).
All of the bad feelings have disappeared – here is the rainbow you’ve been praying for. Is there anything more to say? Side note: I wrangled between this one and Make it Rain for quite a long time. You could talk me into either option.
And so, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, net-net, at a high level, all the investment bankers sing together (as ducks in a row)…
We are The Street, we keep on grinding
We are the ones who get bailed out
So let’s keep levering
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own comp
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me.
Which songs aptly describe the bankers at your firm? Embed your ideas or add your playlists in the comments section below!
Aaron Burr is a retired investment banking analyst and currently works as an associate at a fund. He is a shufflin' fool – let him know if you find other lyrical parallels in the comments section or at [email protected]