Final Word on Tattoos, Long Hair, Being Short, Fat, Ugly, Etc. in Banking

Seems like every few weeks, we get a post asking about tattoos in banking. Then, we get another one on being short. And then one on being fat. And then one on how most MD's are tall.

Here's the deal kids once and for all. You will be judged on everything in this business by people who like to sum up others quickly and come to quick decisions whether it is by your weight, height, tattoos, or even the color choice of your tie. Unfortunately, that's just how it goes. End of story. I'm not saying it's right.

Does that mean you are doomed for having any of these characteristics? No, but you will have to work a little harder to prove yourself. For example, I've never met a short MD who wasn't a complete badasss at his job. I've met some tall ones that I couldn't tell you how they got there. Same goes for anything else. If you are a badass, you can have tattoos or long hair or whatever but make sure that you are awesome at your job first and ask yourself whether your aesthetic preferences are worth making your career a little tougher. No characteristic blocks you from a career in banking but some may make you work just a little harder to prove yourself.

Comments (16)

Most Helpful
1mo
DatesExcelModels, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good post. To add to the framework: the rarity of your characteristic is likely strongly correlated with the penalty incurred.

I've met some short bankers, I've never met one with an earring or a mullet for example. I've met very, very, very few with visible tattoos.

The job is hard enough to get, and hard enough to do. I'd think very hard about what you can control to make it easier if you're serious about a career in finance.

  • 6
1mo
HardestOfHardos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To be honest, I think ultimately physical characteristics don't mean shit. Seriously. When held independent from everything else, your physical appearance doesn't matter.

What matters is your character and personality. The problem lies with how there are clear correlations with physical traits. Short, ugly, tattooed… whatever… being "non-ideal" will always lead to insecurity, inferiority no matter how how minor.

The solution? Fucking get over yourself. If you know a physical attribute will hold you back, be a physical barrier - what can you do? You're fully tattooed to the brim? No one will accept you in banking. Move on and get another job.

At the same time, if you know you can "hide your tattoos" then do so and quit whining. Be confident, learn, and be the best employee on the floor. No one will give a fuck about your "non-ideal" physical attributes then

Funniest
1mo
Amicable Chungus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So in other words tattoos, long hair, being short, fat and/or ugly will hamper your career in banking. 

But a small dick is still allowed, IM BACK BOYS!!!

  • Teller in Non-profit
1mo
[Comment removed by mod team]
  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
1mo

True that, truth is I also have first impressions when I see those senior people for their lack of hair and saggy skin, just judgin na mean

  • Analyst 2 in IB - CB
1mo

This is a bit of a sidecar to the original post and is meant for those people who will read OP and comments above and decide to not do something they really want to do out of FEAR. 

Banks are so outdated - fuck your MD's values, fuck your MD's judgment, and fuck obeying just to increase your chance of being a good corporate servant/slave by 0.5% to get closer to being a tad higher up in the rat race. It's time we start changing the culture to how we want it because the world is ours.

Build your own road, if you want a tattoo, get the tattoo, it's not your MD's skin, they can go fuck themselves. You were picked for your job because you were judged to be a potential good banker, so execute on that and deliver results, and live your life outside of work how you want to. Don't let other people decide how you live your life. 

1mo
NoEquityResearch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I agree with most of your perspective. However, remember that all of your actions will get reactions from the rest of the world and you may have to live with a tougher situation and the consequences of those decisions.

This isn't just about tattoos or long hair or anything. It's the way the world has worked for thousands of years. People are shitty and make quick judgements. You can make tattoos a little more acceptable, but you are not going to change this basic framework of human beings. If you are ready for the consequences, 100% do what analyst 2 is saying.  But if you're not, then he's the dick telling you to jump a cliff because "other people shouldn't decide your life".

We all adapt to the world around us to some extent. Nothing wrong with that and you can find a good balance where you don't rub people the wrong way but still get to live your own life instead of having zero regard for how you may be perceived.

1mo
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You were picked for your job because you were judged to be a potential good banker, so execute on that and deliver results, and live your life outside of work how you want to. Don't let other people decide how you live your life. 

This is bad advice.  Really, really bad advice masquerading as body positivity or some shit.

"You were picked for your potential to be a good banker" is a nonsense statement.  What makes a good banker?  Excel ability?  Charisma?  There is no definition, and certainly at the lowest levels of banking your being picked far more on who you know, where you went to school, etc than on any real judgement of future ability.  If you want to make a blanket statement like "you are picked on your potential," then the only possible statement to make is that you're selected because you have many of the same traits as existing bankers, which is a sign of potentially being a "good banker."

Which means, explicitly, you are being hired based on your conformity to an existing ideal, and that ideal is decidedly not one which rewards people with mullets, or tattoos, or what have you.  @NoEquityResearch is probably on to something when he states that most senior bankers are tall, white, silver-haired, etc, because that is the traditional image of what an investment banker looks like.  Does that suck?  Sure.  But being short, since you cannot help it, won't harm you as much as active choices which break that mold.   As he also says, you have every right to make your own choices, but everyone else has the right to judge you for them.   You want to impulsively get a tattoo because you think it looks cool?  Great, have at it.  But I am 100% going to see that and think you're more likely to make an impulsive decision with my/your client's money, and that may be held against you.  Within reason, you have the right to do or say what you will.... but you do not have the right to be free of the consequences of those decisions.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - CB
1mo

Ozymandia

You were picked for your job because you were judged to be a potential good banker, so execute on that and deliver results, and live your life outside of work how you want to. Don't let other people decide how you live your life. 

As he also says, you have every right to make your own choices, but everyone else has the right to judge you for them.   You want to impulsively get a tattoo because you think it looks cool?  Great, have at it.  But I am 100% going to see that and think you're more likely to make an impulsive decision with my/your client's money, and that may be held against you.  Within reason, you have the right to do or say what you will.... but you do not have the right to be free of the consequences of those decisions.

Based on reply gonna assume you're 40+. Meh, one of my points is that it's sad that you boomers think I'm going to $GME your pension funds as your IP because I have a tattoo on my arm that I got when I was 17. Just chill out and have a Xanax - it's not that serious. 

1mo
Frieds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Or a good story behind them... I knew a guy who grew his hair long every year because he would do Locks of Love and discuss that in interviews because long hair was always something that stood out and earned him a lot of respect when interviewing. 

1mo
BrunelloPiana, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Appearances always matter in life, that is the reality. For better or worse people make judgements based on appearance. The best thing you can do is work with what you've got and present yourself in the best way possible (or, however you choose to present yourself). If you want tattoo's, that's great, get them. But some people will judge you and that is not exclusive to banking. Same applies for everything. Everything you do, wear, how you present yourself, etc. signals to other people in one way or another. So think about what you want to be signaling and understand any trade offs that your actions might have. Applies to career and life in general.

1mo
ironman32, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Everyone here needs to remember this happens in every industry, not just banking.

NFL- I'm sure there are guys out there who are doing everything right in terms of diet/training/preparation, but are just barely below the NFL level. Then you have guys in the NFL who are freaks of nature eating McDonalds (DK Metcalf is known to only eat candy yet is jacked) or not preparing as much, but are flat out studs and rely on their ability.

Politics- the single best thing to get you elected is if you're "likable". Not, you have the best tax policies, have a solid plan to reduce spending or waste or clean up government, just if you are likable. They say we'll never have a bald president because its basically an acting gig now. (I know people/have people in my family who are basically voting this way.)

Movies/music- think of all the terrible actors who are given roles just because of how they look, yet can't act their way out of a paper bag. Then you have people who are really good at acting who sometimes don't get a crack at it because of how they look. Even still, you have some actors who are really good looking but can't catch on, but then you have guys like Samuel L. Jackson who is literally in every movie (he's not ugly, but I'm sure you could trip over 1,000 Eris Elba dudes in hollywood). Or take music. if we cared about talent more than looks, Susan Boyle would be the highest selling singer of all time, and Britney Spears would be waiting tables. 

Bringing it all back, we make a lot of snap decisions mainly because we have too. I always say, we make ~99.9% of our daily decisions based on how things look (if you pick out fruit you go with the best looking one, see a stray dog you stay away from it, pick out a shirt in a store you look for the best one in the style you want). So how you look is a snap judgement. It's also probably close to the truth more than not. When you're doing banking,  you need discipline; how many people do you know who are 60 pounds overweight that you would describe as disciplined?

1mo
NoEquityResearch, what's your opinion? Comment below:
ironman32

Everyone here needs to remember this happens in every industry, not just banking.

Very true and while a poster above decries this "outdated" industry, I've read plenty of articles about ageism in tech as well as political intolerance for certain views. So, even sectors that are at the forefront of being more accepting have the exact same issues. Just different flavors. People will sum you up quick in tech, banking, or wherever. 

1mo
ironman32, what's your opinion? Comment below:

True. 

Gotta get over the factor sometimes that we don't line up everyone best to worst according to skill then the top 100 automatically get jobs. Banks are in the business of profit. So if you have great personal skills, can really connect with people and bring in deals, though your banking skills are medicore, you'd be better than someone who is opposite that. 

Again, its every industry. The tallest people don't automatically make it to the NBA, they just have a better chance. But also, NBA players have to have not only the ability, but can you travel and do it, deal with the media. Its not just show up make jump shots and go home.  

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
1mo

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