Advice for working in a group full of Italians from Statin Island / New Jersey?

Hey guys, I recently lateraled to a legacy group that was acquired by and now sits within an UMM bank on Wall Street (Think Piper Jaffray's acquisition of Sandler O'Neil but smaller). My group is the only banking group in NYC associated with our firm, that I know of, who is officed in Brooklyn instead of the parent company location in Midtown (Think 1251 Ave of Americas, 745 7th Ave, etc.)

I really like my coworkers and I think the VP/MDs definitely are trying to be nice with me and mentor me, but it's a SUPER Italian firm and I'm having some culture shock as a Chinese national.  

For example; they're always "Bustin' ya balls kid". I'll ask my MD where the bathroom is and he'll tell me there isn't one. Then break out into a loud howling cackle followed by "I'M JUST BUSTIN YA BALLS KID AHAHAH". Often times when this happens one or more MDs will begin slapping one another on the back and start howling things like "AH LOOGADA (Italian for look at the) POOR KIDS FACE" 

Another aspect I am having trouble with is that they don't use typical finance slang. The other day when we were discussing transaction fees my MD shouted at me "Make sure Brian knows we need at least tree' pounds ah' da gabagool offa' dis one" I later found out that a pound is a percent and gabagool is money. Tree is three, but I already knew that. 

Possibly the toughest part about it is they're always borrowing money from me but get really upset when I ask for it back. "Hey Ching-Chong, Ima get me a slice at the pizza-dia on Broadway, lend me some gabagool, I spent it all watching PPVs of Sinatra in Vegas" but then when I say "Um, excuse me Tony, don't you still owe me 50 gabagools from last week?" it's always "OHHHH! Marone! Fogeddaboudit I'm just breakin ya balls kid!" then he'll pat me on the head and not pay me back the gabagool he owes

Even more is the way they all dress. Loud, pink country club polos with chest hair hanging out of their unbuttoned collar, and all-gold watches from Canal Street. I'm making good gabagool over here, I just feel like I don't fit in. 

Anyone ever been in a similar scenario where you've had to adjust to culture shock? Any advice?  

Comments (32)

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Jun 27, 2022 - 4:18pm

I'm from Italy and this is hilarious lmaoooo

Jun 27, 2022 - 4:43pm
BigKahunaBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Relax kid, they're just bustin' ya balls. Don't take it so seriously, otherwise you'll never become an MD (Made Director).

...and the Truth shall set you free
  • 18
Jun 27, 2022 - 4:50pm
TimesNewMoney, what's your opinion? Comment below:

When they introduce you do they refer to you as "A friend of mine" or "A friend of ours"? 

If you're still a friend of mine it means you're not slated for a VP promotion. 

  • 8
Jun 27, 2022 - 5:20pm
Friedmaneconomics, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That sounds like an awesome group lol just chin up and shoot the shit back to them, that's how you gain respect in those types of circles. Biggest thing is not showing weakness and definitely stop lending them money if they're not paying you back. Feel free to PM for further advice

Jun 27, 2022 - 5:31pm
Hida Kisada, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You are in Chinese and are in Staten Island? And you are asking how to fit in?

the answer is ALWAYS Wu Tang my friend. 

Jun 27, 2022 - 5:32pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just when you think you've seen it all on WSO you find out you haven't.

Array

  • 4
Jun 28, 2022 - 11:09am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's kind of sad how American corporate culture is that of uniform soulless drones. We have lost any sense of individuality by becoming too PC and sensitive. I can imagine so many people reporting OP's coworkers at a regular bank for a variety of reasons forcing everyone to be like robots.

Array

  • 3
Jun 28, 2022 - 10:06am
Frieds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nothing earns respect like finding out where the MD lives and leaving him a horse head on his pillow.

  • 2
Jun 28, 2022 - 4:26pm
Sterb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

heard the summer analysts are useless too...

seanmatt

  • 7
Jun 29, 2022 - 10:07pm
BBA18, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Associate 2 in IB-M&A

"OHHHH! Marone! Fogeddaboudit I'm just breakin ya balls kid!" then he'll pat me on the head and not pay me back the gabagool he owes

Even more is the way they all dress. Loud, pink country club polos with chest hair hanging out of their unbuttoned collar, and all-gold watches from Canal Street. I'm making good gabagool over here, I just feel like I don't fit in. 

Anyone ever been in a similar scenario where you've had to adjust to culture shock? Any advice?

Good first cut at mocking the Italians.  A couple-tree comments/questions below: 

1) pg 1 - pls fix spelling to "Madone"

2) Head down to Milano's and pick me up a nice mortadell & muzzarell sub...and get Paulie some fresh peppers and braushute 

3) Global comment / clarifying question: what am I, an asshole?!?

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done

  • 1
Jun 30, 2022 - 1:16pm
ardeliajozwiak, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I use monitoring software to track time spent on work and other activities.

Track your time effectively with WorkTime! https://www.worktime.com/increase-employee-productivity-worktime
Jul 2, 2022 - 5:33pm
Prisoners_Dilemma, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm from Staten Island, this sounds completely accurate. There's got to be at least one Vinny, one Tony, and one Ant.

Jul 13, 2022 - 1:19am
Risk Weighted Ass, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Tempore fugiat et quisquam ducimus repellendus eum voluptas. Qui temporibus totam molestiae.

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