What could I have done differently?

Hold onto your hats as this may be a bit of a long one... feel like the past year has been an absolute death knell to my mental health, but not for the traditional reasons. I'll expand upon why. Sorry in advance for the vent

I can't give too much detail in the interest of preserving my anonymity, but I am a first-year analyst in a S&T rotational program, soon wrapping up my first rotation. When I first joined the team, there was a first-year analyst who was wrapping up his first year, myself, and a few seniors. This first-year analyst was loved by the team, and by all accounts was seen as quite competent, responsible, etc. 

During my first month on the job, the first-year analyst and I overlapped, and he was tasked with showing me the ropes. As someone with no real prior finance experience, learning the mechanics of my product was quite difficult, not to mention balancing that with the administrative demands expected of a first-year analyst. I suppose that is true with most if not all first-year analysts, but for whatever reason, the incumbent analyst seemed quite displeased with the rate at which I acclimated to the rigors of our desk. Maybe he expected me to come in with a more solid base understanding; maybe he expected me to acclimate more quickly. I don't know what it was, but his tone with me very rapidly changed into constant passive aggression. Given that most of this "mentorship" (which a lot of the time was him just saying "figure it out" or "I'm busy, let's talk later") was done in front of our superiors, their attitude toward me quickly chilled as well, as clearly if the analyst was talking to me like that, it must be something I am doing wrong, right?

Let me take a step back. In the first month when we overlapped, I don't claim to be completely innocent in all of this. I was so overwhelmed at the start that I didn't even know how to learn properly, so there was plenty of information he had to repeat (i.e., there were things he told me early on, that I couldn't understand as I had no context around them) which I know is a deadly sin for a first-year analyst. Additionally, my general knowledge about finance was weaker than they probably expected, given that I had not interned in a finance role and honestly kind of coasted through finance classes in college (despite getting decent grades). So I was not a rockstar from the start by any means, but I did work hard and spent a lot of time reflecting on what was going on, trying to ask questions, etc.

But I digress. As he was departing the team, he essentially told me that he "didn't feel comfortable" telling my boss that I was ready to take on the role. I'm sure that he was not too complimentary to my boss, as for the next 4-5 months it felt like a complete uphill climb to get any semblance of a benefit of the doubt from my team. Even when I had acclimated pretty well, and had a good idea of what was going on, my team still viewed me as incompetent based on my first impression. I would spend a ton of free time trying to learn more about my product, taking notes, diligently reviewing transactions, etc. to try to get a leg up and learn. Months later, when I spoke with that analyst about what he did with his down time when the desk wasn't busy, he just said "I'd relax" and laughed me off in front of the superiors. Mind you this is the same analyst the desk has repeatedly described as "hard working" and a "grinder". 

I've gotten to a place now where I think my team now finally recognizes that I'm with it, but despite this, they are choosing to hire another incoming 2nd-year analyst with no related experience over keeping me on the team. I'm not all that shocked based on the first impression that I got, and how shitty the team was to me for a while - first impressions can feel impossible to break, and can be a vicious cycle - but it still is so painful to my ego to be viewed as incompetent enough to hire someone completely unrelated and unknown to retrain and stay on, rather than keep me on as a known commodity (when I have voiced I love the product and would love to stay on). Compound this by the fact that there have been a couple key associate / VP level departures, leaving just me to handle all the administrative work that previous analysts shared with associate / VP, and it's extra painful. I feel like there is something just inherently wrong with me - it may be a communication thing, maybe I am not as intelligent as I thought I was, maybe I smell bad, I don't know. But it just feels like this is a clear indicator the success I wanted out of my career will never come to fruition. I just feel incompetent and like a failure. 

As it happens, I have a couple other external opportunities in the works, and given the fact that the team is thinning out a bit with some recent departures, if I were to leave the more senior folks would now be tasked with admin stuff that they haven't handled in ages. Despite how much I felt constantly disrespected, lacked mentorship, etc., I still would feel bad leaving the senior guys to handle the hole that I would leave if I were to leave before my replacement joins... what is wrong with me?

Comments (12)

Jun 30, 2022 - 12:20am
The EBITA addback, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Leave. Don't look back. You've reflected and now know what to do and what not to do when you're new.

Take what you've learned and make your exit. There is no reason to stay where you don't feel respected.

I've had analysts that started slowly and I respected their efforts to improve. You deserve to work someplace without the mob mentality.

Someone there should have used their emotional intelligence and helped you out more and made you feel welcome and seen the bigger picture. We were all first year analysts at some point. 

Like the unadjusted- only with a little bit extra.
  • 4
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  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Jun 30, 2022 - 7:42am

For what it's worth, at this point I wouldn't say I am openly disrespected / viewed as a total liability the way I once was. I would say we now have more of the relationship I'd been seeking all year, though that only came to be in the past 1.5 months or so.

That said, they would rather take a brand new second-year analyst, with the implied intention of bringing them on full-time, and re-teach them all the nuances of the role, rather than bring me on given I've acclimated. Actions speak louder than words.

This outside opportunity seems like a good one and I might be inclined to take it if it materializes in the next couple weeks. My boss had told me he needs me to stay through the end of my rotation given we will be short staffed. Leaving would really put them in a rough position as I have a lot of knowledge around the administrative portions of this role. But I don't know how inclined I feel to do them a favor and stay. 

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jun 30, 2022 - 1:00am

Echo the guy above. However, imo, some tips for you in your new role:

  • Set the expectation right. If you honestly have zero idea about what they say, tell them. I know it's hard, but it's necessary. That way they don't spend all their time trying to explain a concept to you just for you to not even understand their description. At my workplace, I basically also have to teach this one guy about the job. Goddamn he always nods, but when asked he says stupid apeshit. Makes me so mad. Just say bro I have zero fucking idea.
  • Make your efforts known to team members. Idk what's the best way, but when you keep sounding like you're stupid, people will think you spend zero efforts trying to improve. Again, about the guy I mention above. Makes zero effort to get the team to know his efforts to learn. Makes me so mad just thinking about how I waste my 2 hours trying to explain to him the model when he doesn't even know what the hell alpha is.

So sorry you have to go through this and good luck my guy!

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Jun 30, 2022 - 8:02am

Thanks for the input. Can you please elaborate on your 2nd point? I do agree that I probably was a little too prideful coming in and struggled to admit I didn't understand very basic things.

A good example of the dynamic was early on, my boss asked me to figure out a fairly complex problem. When I asked the analyst for help, he said "you'll figure it out". I spent a good bit trying to figure it out, and was fairly confident in my answer when I finally spoke to my boss. But he could tell I was not 100% confident, and he got very annoyed and said "only tell me something when you are 100% sure." This sentiment stayed in my head for a while, as every time he would ask me something, even if I was 99% sure I would say something like "let me check" or "I'm not sure" which he would then get exasperated with me about because he felt I didn't know what was going on, wasn't with it, etc. 

  • VP in S&T - Equities
Jun 30, 2022 - 9:46am

I went through a similar rotational program as an analyst at Citi and didn't return to my first year desk (they hired a second year who stayed on). My experience wasn't as awful as yours yet I can count on one hand the number of times I interacted with my team after I rotated. I used to think that was on me, but looking back that's just the nature of these rotational programs. If it's not a fit, I wouldn't think too much of it and would 100% go chase the next opportunity without feeling like you owe your current desk anything

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  • VP in S&T - Equities
Jun 30, 2022 - 10:27am

The Citi rotational program was structured so that people rotate after the first year and it was very rare to stay on the same desk for both years. The frustrating part was that it was obvious that I wouldn't be given an associate offer for that desk and I was definitely hurt by that. Felt that I had put in the work so was disappointing to see and although my experience on the desk was fine (mid-bucket analyst that got along well with everyone except one VP), they were looking for someone better. I remember being hung up on that for a few months into my 2nd year rotation. Now 5+ years later, I almost never think about my time on that desk and when I do, it's viewed in the context of a learning experience more than anything. I was lucky to have found a much better fit for my next rotation and I hope you'll be able to do the same

Jun 30, 2022 - 8:56pm
Adamavicius, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fuck them.

These banks are losing talent and quality people at a huge pace because these workplaces and environments are stuck in the 80s.

If I was in my 20s now, I would never work for a bank. Do something else. If you didn't fit, probably means that there is something right with you and wrong with the place.

Jun 30, 2022 - 10:05pm
biscuitsandgravery, what's your opinion? Comment below:

if its not a fit, its not a fit...no skin off your nose mate. if you are as good as you believe, you will find a good desk eventually. trust me as someone who didnt convert their top 3 BB intern, went into a small bank for FT and lateralled back to a BB barely a year later 

Jul 1, 2022 - 1:13am
IcedxTaro, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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