Please help! Renegging on an offer and boss threatening to cancel me

I ended up continuing to recruit after accepting since they gave me an insanely quick deadline and got an offer back that's 2.5x what firm A offered. Firm A found out I was still applying to things because one of the companies I had applied to reached out to the head of trading (trading is such a small industry I've realized now) and he had no idea I was still applying. Firm A now wants an opportunity to match or beat firm B but kept saying how unprofessional I was, how questionable my ethics are, but how he wants to be my friend and we all make mistakes.

The team is incredibly smart, full of ambitious and brilliant people, and I loved everyone at Firm A, it's only business and if they didn't want me searching around when I knew that other firms were offering significantly more then they shouldn't have offered below market price for talent right? He's saying things like "Yeah if anyone else was in my seat I'd immediately reach out to all my friends and tell them not to hire you - our industry is a small one and I could end your career before it even starts", and hearing things like that just makes me not want to work here at all even if they could match comp. What do I do here? If he handed it differently then I would definitely still consider firm B but just hearing how he floats the idea of ruining some random new graduates career over something that's just a business decision that makes sense really jarred me. I'm just an incoming analyst and there are already hundreds who have applied to their summer analyst program why do they want me so bad. Please help.

Comments (32)

Feb 5, 2022 - 4:26pm
PWM Hopeful, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're reading the situation correctly - super, super manipulative/unprofessional behavior.

Should not go anywhere near this firm with a 10 foot pole. Just imagine what the next two years could look like working under him if he's willing to pull this shit on Day 1, when he's supposed to be on his best behavior.

Just had my trade dispute rejected by Schwab for a loss of 35k. This single issue alone should be a gigantic red flag to anyone who trades on their platform.

If they have a system error, and you do not video record your trading (they actually said this), they will not honour their fuck up. Switching everything away from them. Fuck this company.

  • 14
Feb 6, 2022 - 1:23pm
sheldonxp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not saying you're the one in the wrong, but I also don't think the initial situation was that ridiculous. A 3-week deadline is not really insanely quick, and I also don't think it's common practice to renege on offers. Sometimes, like in your situation, sure it makes sense. But generally I am of the opinion that reneging should be avoided if possible.

Feb 5, 2022 - 4:40pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah that's what I did, I accepted firm B and I want to cut ties with firm A but they're threatening to ruin my career before it even starts and they want an opportunity to match firm B. I don't want to work there after hearing the threats and know that my career is going to be heavily subdued if I work there - especially if they match the comp from firm B because I know no other Junior Talent will have an offer even close to that. He kept saying things like he's my friend and he's going to fight to get firm A to match but dude would a friend really question your ethics and professionalism multiple times before adding in the fact he had the opportunity to ruin my career? The guy is brilliant and the desk is talented - he was a great person to work for in the Summer but hearing all of this makes me scared to work on that desk. I only want the best for myself and he has to understand it isn't personal.

Most Helpful
Feb 5, 2022 - 4:48pm
Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ok here is what you do.

  1. Tell firm B you are super excited to start with them. Then reach out to whenever you interviewed with the most / who your new direct boss will be and explain to them what's going on. Say that your previous firm who lowballed you and pressured you into accepting an exploding offer is being difficult and then ask for their advice as to how best break ties with firm A. By asking for their advice you show that you value their opinion and you're also letting them know about firm A, so if firm A tries to trash talk you to them they already are aware of firm A's unscrupulous behavior.
  1. Go back to firm A and say you were not actively interviewing anywhere else, but this opportunity fell into your lap and a friend out you up for it. You didn't expect to get the offer and when they gave you such a generous comp package you had to accept.
  1. Let them know that you're poor and struggling and your family needs financial support. You just cannot turn down this offer. You said the actual firm B offer was insane, like 100k more than firm A so you don't even have to lie. Tell them it is literally 100k more and you cannot say no. You need this money to pay your debt and help your family and it's absolutely not personal.

I think the key points are to make your new team aware of the threats firm A has been making so they are aware in the event firm A trashes you and also to let firm A know your new offer is way above what they can pay you.

If for some crazy reason firm A matches over a 100k difference, let us know.

Feb 5, 2022 - 9:05pm
Reggie-Arnold, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah don't overthink it man. I know it's a stressful situation, but they are all empty threats. Once you go with Firm B, the director frankly has better things to do than reach out to his entire network just to talk trash about a 22 year old haha

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
Feb 5, 2022 - 10:30pm

Never understood people that take this stuff personally.  Was personally called one time by the head of HR (a person I'd never met or heard of before) who got loud at me for turning down their offer.  Strangest phone call I've ever had in a business setting.  If anyone reading this is one of those people that does this, you're a psychopath.

Feb 5, 2022 - 10:49pm
calvincoolridge, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP, unless Firm A Boss is Kenneth Griffin, there are very few people with enough power to "blackball" you from wall street.

People really overestimate these things.

I cannot tell you the number of times I've heard someone say to the effect of "he will never work on the street again" only for them to get a job at a competing firm.

I have heard several senior bankers threaten to "make sure" a junior banker never works in a certain vertical again.


Hell, I cannot even remember the name of someone who quits the firm 2 weeks later - let alone remember them enough to call my network and blackball them.  And very very very few people have enough influence to convince an entire career industry to not hire someone.

I would:

1. Accept firm B offer

2. Email firm A and say "Thank you for the opportunity, but for personal reasons this offer will no longer work.  I appreciated the process getting to know everyone.  Best of luck in the future."

Do not engage with this pathetic firm at all afterwards.  Do not answer their calls or emails.

3. Enjoy your 2.5x higher pay   

  • 10
Feb 6, 2022 - 11:53am
Addinator, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This sounds like frustration being taken out on you for a reason beyond you accepting another offer. Any hiring manager with half a brain knows that someone is going to leave for that much more compensation, especially if it's in a similar firm or even better situation. As a manager would I be frustrated? Absolutely I would - it sucks when someone accepts an offer, then resigns. But I get it and have enough empathy/perspective to not threaten someone starting their career. 

If you've handled it the way it sounds like - caring about Firm A, actually worrying about resigning and/or burning bridges -  you will be just fine. The horror stories you hear normally involved someone in your position being arrogant, ghosting the other firm, being truly duplicitous (i.e. getting Firm A to match, then getting a better offer from another, then again... you get the point) or something like that. 

Besides, more often than not the people who can actually do what Firm A guy threatened - they simply do it. They don't bother ranting and raving to you about how magnanimous they are by not doing it to you. 

Feb 6, 2022 - 11:06am
Patrick Basedman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

and also if that person does call everyone to make sure they don't hire this guy he would be asking for so many favours that would be called in later on. Don't see why they would actually do it.

Feb 8, 2022 - 9:42am
Pulisic69, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"OP, unless Firm A Boss is Kenneth Griffin, there are very few people with enough power to "blackball" you from wall street."

Also add Axelrod;  that one trader who had a fit and got fired on the spot.  

Feb 6, 2022 - 2:13pm
streetstreeter33, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Look man, from your comments it seems like you may be prone to hamster-wheeling and catastrophizing. Keep it simple and concise. Don't go over the top with your explanations and phone calls with Firm A or Firm B, sometimes that works to your disadvantage. Just be honest and straightforward and they won't have anything to work with, what you're doing is perfectly legal. I also wouldn't bring up his threats to your new employer like another commenter suggested, that would be spreading his threat for him and could freak out the HR at the new firm. If he's gonna be an immoral douchebag, let him do the work, rather than you indirectly doing it for him.

Don't play his game. He probably has a massive ego and wants to flex how powerful he is. In reality, star Traders really aren't power brokers and have piss poor relationship skills compared to the rainmakers in IB who actually rely on their relationships.  He just clicks trade buttons on the Bloomberg terminal all day and bosses around other autistic traders and code monkeys. Don't be scared of him and don't appease him. Just try to minimize the conflict and don't challenge his clearly fragile ego. Not worth it to fight him. But remember, even if he tried to "blackball" you elsewhere, it would likely reflect more poorly on him than it would on you. Just don't give him paragraphs of neurotic text similar to some of your comments here which he can use against you. Keep it simple and don't play his game.

Feb 6, 2022 - 7:26pm
wsomaster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agree with what has been said here.I was in a VERY similar situation and ended up staying at Firm A. They held it over me for years and it resulted in poor bonuses and pay bumps, although I had good to great performance reviews.

Side note: I left several years later and ended up at Firm B, and it was a great experience.

Feb 6, 2022 - 10:51pm
billackmanschauffeur, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In case you need another pile on. Don't do anything with firm A. They will drop you tomorrow morning and have your seat filled by lunch. 

Be dignified and cordial. And be short and clear. Put it behind you and rock with firm B. 

Feb 7, 2022 - 10:37am
bobzen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Any chance I could PM you to ask which companies you may be referring to? Just so I know which ones to stay away from in the future. I won't post anything openly

Feb 7, 2022 - 12:40pm
PEarbitrage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not saying do this but this is what I would do.

I would send him an email saying basically this.  "Looks like your desk is doing pretty shitty if the best you can offer is 2.5x less than another desk.  Improve your performance so you can offer more and I will reconsider."  He clearly has a sensitive ego.  

  • PM in HF - Other
Feb 8, 2022 - 12:53am

Fact of the matter is that people like this exist in trading and basically very few other fields. They do not for most part exist in banking but they exist in trading. Reality is hes a jerk, you did him dirty and so on. I would take his threats seriously since he's not kidding around but at the same time understand you already made up your mind and if you think "1 MD" can hold you back you may want to build thicker skin. Just tell him straight up, the other firm is a better fit and you wish him the best.

Expect hes going to bad mouth you, expect he may block you from future jobs. But wtf you care  he cant rule your life. Trading (small industry) and all has its allegiances many people on one end of the street wouldnt hire others on the other end and so on.

Feb 18, 2022 - 5:58am
fern.mccann, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Feb 27, 2022 - 4:08pm
WolfofWSO, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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