How to deal with egotistical team?

Hey all, AN1 at a BB (ignore title). 10 or so months in and this stuff is really starting to bother me. Most of the juniors on my team are egotistical and enjoy feeling like they are in control of my life.

I know that’s what I signed up for - but for example last week I told an associate I was going to grab coffee with an old friend and he gave me an ad-hoc task that needed to go out “immediately” 5 min before I was supposed to meet my friend.

Breaking point was today when a VP asked me to send him materials for a pitch that I had sent him 3 days prior… I forwarded him the email again and he said that I shouldn’t have done that and that it was rude.

Is this a common experience or just me?

 

Probably the hardest part about banking.

Dealing with the absolute douchebag personalities in it. Think about transferring internally or applying to leave and just bide your time.

At least you’re in a BB so you have exit opportunities.

 
Most Helpful

I am a mentor and a VP on the buyside and I have seen multiple mentees (both WSO and elsewhere) complain of similar experiences.

In any highly competitive industry you will always find a large number of people who are willing to trade your well-being for their own gain. 

The unhelpful advice here is to suck it up or leave.

But I understand you where you are coming from and I have personally dealt with a character like your VP + your associate as my boss. So let me offer my 2 cents on how to navigate the situation.

(1) RE: VP - he's covering his ass - nobody wants to admit they're not on top of their emails (if you can't properly check your emails, can you be trusted to close a multi-million dollar deal?). In a situation like this, you wanted to be a bit diplomatic - eg. "I believe I forwarded the pitch to your mailbox 3 days ago, apologies if it got lost in the traffic. Here it is again for your convenience". Give them plausible deniability for their mistake. If you don't do this, the neurotic/paranoid type has a chance of getting annoyed/see you as someone who's out to get them.

(2) RE: associate - this is actually your mistake. IB is super competitive with long hours and you are expected to give up a bit of your personal life to progress in the career. You should not have scheduled the coffee during the work week in the first place. If it is over the weekend, then the diplomatic response would be "Received. May I ask when you will be available to review my work, so I can make sure to be on standby?" and whatever time they say will be the deadline. Eg. If they say Monday morning, go enjoy your coffee and come back to finish the work. If they say in an hour, move your friend get the job done and then bug them to review it - this act sends a professional signal that if you're gonna take my weekend, then it must be for a good reason and you must be willing to do the same.

Big picture - you want to come across as a pleasant - not someone people should see as an office enemy, but also not someone they can push around. 

Long-term - it will help you immensely to befriend/develop connection with a figure more senior than those your work with. If they try to screw you over, this senior will be able to protect you.

Example: My boss (Director) tried to paint me as incompetent in order to fire me. Fortunately I made a good impression on a few MDs who trust their judgement of my character over my boss's recommendation. Several years later, I work for one of those MDs now and my old boss was fired.

Feel free to message me if you'd like further 1 on 1 help.

 

Thanks for the lengthy response. I normally wouldn’t have scheduled coffee but my friend was only in town for long and available at certain times. I let my associate know well before and he said it was fine - but last minute seemed to have come up with work. Just seemed very disruptive and meaningful.

I’m exiting soon so happy that I won’t have to deal with this team.

 

"It's fine" should always be interpreted as you can go if there's nothing else going on. You're still expected to take one for the team.

In the future, you can minimize the chance of something being asked of you last minute if (1) you blocked out your calendar busy/OOO for a half hour or an hour of (2) make it a lunch or a dinner instead (but grab a sandwich to go instead of a sit down restaurant) (3) Ask how urgent it is. 

Generally, it is never good optics to peace out when everyone is trying to put out a fire. Finance just has frequent fires to put out.

I don't have the context about why your associate says "immediately" - but typically "immediately" means I need you or I'm not going to be able to meet my own deadline. If your associate is the type that always says "immediately" - then your reply can be "can it wait 15 minutes? Just need to sort something real quick so I can focus" - is a perfectly acceptable excuse (even if you're gone for half an hour). 

 

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