Fed up AF with my PM

How would you survive this situation?

Small team, PM was a very successful but now he is managing mostly part of his money. He is away most of the time, gives zero feedback, you have to chase him to get his attention on the few Zoom calls you get with him, while you speak he barely listens. Your communication is you sending him emails without any answers; you don't even know if he reads them or what he thinks.

I find that outrageous and just started looking elsewhere, but I know it will take time. I know my work isn't bad but it's destabilizing anyway (every time I have the feeling of doing bad work I just look at all what I sent over the past year to my PM. I was right on most of my ideas, contrary to the direction the fund has taken).

Anyway, working with someone that doesn't give attention, respect, and consideration to his colleagues kills me deeply inside. My colleagues accepted it in a very servile manner, so I don't even share my thoughts with them. I thought many times to resign and start my search 24/7, but I resisted this idea since it will just overcomplicate my job search. I don't want to explain this situation in future interviews, as I don't want to look like someone blaming others or complaining; I just wanna put this past me asap.

Did it happen to anybody? How would you deal with this situation?

Comments (22)

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
2mo

I know the comment is ironic but believe me I couldn't bear such a situation even if they were paying me tons of money - it's not really my scope as I'm still quite early in my career. Surely it would help making things less heavy, but I don't wanna end up feeling shit in life just because I'm well paid

Most Helpful
  • Associate 2 in S&T - Other
2mo

Okay, I was in this exact situation and this is what you do.

  1.  First, know that searching for a job is a fulltime job that requires a lot of effort and won't be easy. It'll be a 1 year timeline on average.
  2. Know that you need to find a balance between your job, finding a new job, and your life. Don't automatically quit on your day job mentally unless the situation is dire
  3. What you got are other analysts who might be feeling the same as you, but never show it due to the image of professionalism. Sure some may be comfortable with their job, but most people are supportive of making their time at the firm more fun/collaborative. Realize that all you've got is each other, so might as well make the best of it by bringing down barriers between the team.
  4. Start with either an analyst you are close to or someone junior, starting collaborating and sharing ideas. Aka improve each other. However, you need to do it in a way that doesn't seem like you are going behind the PM's back.
  5. You've probably worked really hard to find this seat. I'd advise you to give your PM the benefit of the doubt to see if he can change. Starting approaching him with ideas you'd like to run (or some joint analysis by the analysts that he can't force to ignore). See if he starts changing his behavior. ( This is a bold statement I just made because it is very hard to change people)
  6. If this doesn't work, you may be tempted to increase your job search efforts or outright talk to your PM's boss about your concerns if possible. If not, then there is always the option of talking directly to the PM in a non-confrontational manner, which is dependent on your assessment of the PM's character.
  7. Keep your eye open on opps, network, and try to leave if nothing else works.

For me, I had to go from steps 4 - 7 because I was getting really bored, lost faith in the PM's ability to make money, and found another opportunity came up.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
2mo

Thank you for that - I learnt how especially important the balance between job, life, job search is and I have become much careful in allocating enough space to everything.

One of my colleagues himself defined "outrageous" the behavior of my PM so I know how he feels.

Long story short my PM was a top HF manager now running his shop with mostly his own money so nobody is above him and can decide to shut down the fund whenever he intends to - that's why the feeling that he doesn't even need me leaves me little wiggle room toi be outspoken with him (or at least that's how I feel).

Your suggestions are deeply valuable - I had underestimated how having good interactions with my colleagues is keeping my motivation alive and mood afloat.

  • Intern in ER
2mo

I want to add on to this by asking what do people think of the adage: 'If u think that everyone around you is the problem, maybe YOU are the problem'. Like in this case, OP has a problem with his boss/ work environment but no one else has. I've had similar issues in the past but i never know how to critically evaluate my situation because my family just throws this adage at me

  • Associate 3 in PE - Growth
2mo

Everyone is culpable for their actions but I've found (former HF guy here) that a lot of PMs are self-absorbed jerks (honestly more so than private markets). IDK what it is, and maybe it's more of fast-money thing, but a lot of the guys on my prior platform were like that. Analysts on the other hand worked together, shared ideas, etc - I consider it to be a surprisingly collegial environment.

So all that said, I tend to think that analysts are much more likely to be screwed over by a PM, as was my experience. You can do good work, have peers and even other PMs that recognize your quality but if you don't click with your PM then it doesn't matter. It's their own fiefdom and you're just an indentured servant. You just hope they're somewhat decent and comp you decently well. 

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
2mo

You're right in the fact that self analysis is essential. I'm used to take responsibility in full, although this time the problem has gone too far to be attributable to me.

I definitely learnt that I'm not a fit in my current spot and how important fit is for small teams.

  • Associate 3 in PE - Growth
2mo

I was in a very similar situation and ended up going to a different PM before eventually going back to private markets.

Do you have direct access to your book? If so then make sure you start logging your ideas and tracking whether they get into the book/their performance. If you're consistently picking winners that are getting into the book then you should get paid for those at year-end and you should bring that to your comp discussion. If you do then great, your PM just really sucks at communicating (like a lot do). If you don't and your ideas are still making your team money then you now have real datapoints that you work for an asshole. You can take that and go to his boss who probably won't care since he's the one that's making money (assuming he is) and/or you can market your track record elsewhere. Not the best economic time for moving but good talent is always in short supply.

Either way, hope it works out. The reality of being an analyst is that unless you're with a good PM who actually looks out for his people/communicates reasonably well, you're at a significant disadvantage in any sort of internal mediation/process. You're not the moneymaker so you don't really matter. So if you can find a way where you and the team wins then fantastic, otherwise look out for yourself because you're probably the only one doing that

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
2mo

Don't have a book unfortunately as fund and team are small. I can tell that my ideas are being put on (when they are) with a delay impacting negatively the perf.

I underestimated the importance of team dynamics when joining (communication, personalities, etc.) and I hope it won't be detrimental to my chances to move to another seat (still early in my career). Not a good time given where markets are, tough as managing an intense job that is giving me low to zero satisfaction is mentally heavy, but determined as I understood that if I like the job even in such an environment it means I found what I deeply enjoy.

2mo

Having a book is the easiest path to being paid somewhere you perform and enjoy. That said like this situation sometimes its better to not have a direct book cause you are more of a blank slate and can now focus on team/culture/etc versus most headhunters/employers thinking you are a certain style (aka your PM).

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
2mo

This is incredibly common and I bet a dozen or so readers of this post think you may work at their firm.

Point being it's not unlikely you leave this firm to go elsewhere because your PM is aloof and disengaged only to go work for another PM who is aloof and disengaged.

So then the decision becomes:

1- Figure out a way to be successful while working for people that are varying degrees of aloof and disengaged. Side note: if you can figure that out, you are incredibly valuable to the PM and firm. The issue you're having is almost entirely driven by incentives. You're incentivized to swing so you can make real money and get rich and credentialed to make even more money. And he's already done all that. His incentive is to stay rich and keep the firm running. He just wants to be in the happy middle, where he doesn't need to close down. Every year the firm is afloat even if marginally underperforming he makes another $25-75m+ and stays alive for a blowout S&P year where even if he underperforms he still makes like $75-150m+. He also has tons of dough and probably wants to do fun stuff instead of fucking around in a stale office with a bunch of people he views as inferior to him. That's just the structural make up of a single manager find where the founder is already pretty rich and isn't a one in a billion Kobe-like personality.

2- Go to a Pod or something similar that is just too vicious and eat what you kill for a PM that is trying to coast. That obviously comes with its own issues, between the volatility and also PMs that just aren't very good but from the outside in they looked very credible.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
2mo

Maybe I'm seeing it in a too dramatic way, but for me the issue is feeling that my career could be fucked because of this situation.

Surely money is important, but all I want now is to be in a team of people committed, motivated, and that try hard to make it. Ofc best if the team is successful so I don't have to spend half my time thinking about looking for another job. But the learning experience is crucial to me at this point.

Looking at the big picture I'm happy about how broad my knowledge has become and how flexible and independent I've been all this time. I've seen from the ground up how to launch and manage a fund, how to trade credit and equity and talked to mgmt of crappy Asian small cap tech stocks to oil majors in US. That's an incredible experience to me and I'm proactive in self learning - maybe I can't see how I can resell myself successfully as 1) I have a broad coverage, but don't go too deep, so I'm less skilled on picking up an accounting fraud (to exaggerate) 2) I'm sector agnostic in a period where I just see opening for sector specialists 3) we don't have a narrow strategy and sometimes it's difficult to sell the fact that you trade quarters, catalysts, and more long term stuff when most of the funds I saw are less "creative" 4) I don't have my book to say "hey, I'm not an idiot, I do have ideas and they do work sometimes".

2mo
Ehmerica, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you aren't getting adequate communication you're being set up for failure - even though it is likely unintentional. Bring it up with the PM asap that you need more time to make sure the rights things are getting handled at the right time. If he has a whatever attitude bring it up to anyone higher. Remember, it is never too early to start looking for a new job.

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
  • 1
2mo

Already some really good advice on here but to add a few things.

1) No reason at all to quit right now you will be forced some kind of garden leave already. Much easier to hone your skills and thoughts for the next gig while in the trenches and have all the tools Infront of you.

2) Keep being a professional, seems you doing a very good job of that already but keep at it so limiting discussing your issues to any coworkers probably right call going forward. Very likely the people who plan to stay anyways want to help you exit if anything versus find a way to survive.

3) Truly seems mentally you are already checked out from this role, so I would lean to not give the PM anymore chances. No point to keep beating yourself up for the culture staying the same, just focus on the next steps in your career.

In general said this will take 6months-1 year and now you have an idea of the culture/environment you seek. During that time if you want to work on improving yourself no one is going to dislike it. I know many people this has happened to and just part of the this industry and way it goes.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
2mo

Thank you for the advice - checking out was the most difficult part as I didn't want to affect my professionalism by being disengaged while I had to mentally walk out of a situation I find, as repeated in other comments, outrageous.

But the name of the game is not to take things personally, so working on next steps now.

  • Works at 137 Ventures
2mo

Hey does your fund happen to be this fund I have in mind that starts with S? Used to be 2 PMs but now single PM.

  • PM in HF - Other
2mo

Was stuck in similar situation.

Ended up finding another place to work and had a clear path to PM at new firm.

Move.

2mo
hominem, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
2mo

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