Am I a shitty analyst or just a snowflake?

Gonna put myself out on a limb here… 
 

I started about 2.5 months ago on a structured finance desk and all in I'd say I enjoy the product. I'm at a BB where we've been incredibly busy. Unfortunately due to sheer volume I haven't had much of a chance to breathe and truly digest and understand my product, as I'm far more focused on nailing down the administrative aspects of my job. That said whether it's about my product or just the process involved in bringing my product to market I've been learning every single day and could see a future in this space.

I'm in every day at least 30 min before anyone else on my desk and I always leave after the last of them is gone. I have yet to miss a major deadline and I believe I've done everything I can to convey I'm a hard worker. I ask lots of questions and am eager to learn, and freely admit when I make mistakes. 
 

All that said, I can have pretty bad social anxiety at times and often times my mind runs faster than my mouth. I feel that this drives me to come across as absent-minded or unintelligent. I'm not immune to mistakes, and do think that I could be more diligent at times. 
 

When I first joined the desk, the analyst at the time was a pretty good one, but I think my anxiety and shyness (at first) came across as standoffish or that I didn't care. This built resentment from the analyst towards me, until it came to a head where he confronted me about asking more questions or taking more notes. It wasn't until I showed him just how many notes I'd been taking, and explained to him that I understand I can come across that way and it wasn't my intention to do so, that he was able to understand me a bit better and we made headway on building a good relationship.

The problem is to that point he had clearly been irritated with me and I think that rubbed off on the way my teammates, particularly the MD on my team, viewed me. The director and VP on my team mostly are patient with me and I feel generally view me as solid despite this, but I feel the MD has it in his mind that I am a shitty analyst and it often feels there's little I can do to change his perception of me.

I mentioned before all the good I feel I do and progress I feel I've made, but I think his view of me has been irreparably tainted to the point that he seems to expect failure from me. I feel he magnifies my failures and is incredibly impatient when I don't understand something right away. This has created a kind of feedback loop where I'm more apprehensive about approaching him or speaking out of turn, or generally unsure of myself when interacting with him for fear of saying something incorrect, even though I generally feel I understand my duties and at least the high level of my product. He's never yelled at me or anything like that, but he on a daily basis is stern or otherwise unhappy with me for even the more trivial, inconsequential errors (even if it's just how I answer the phone).

I'd really like to change his view of me but I'm unsure of the best approach. I'm a pretty ambitious guy and it's important to me to carve out a good career for myself like it is for many on this forum. There have been days when I think I'm crushing it where he's rattled me for even the smallest misstep where I know he would've shrugged it off with another team member. Part of me wants to explain my side of things and hope we can "start over" but another part of me doesn't want to be that vulnerable with him.

It also doesn't help that I'm frustrated I don't understand my product as well as I'd like to, although it's a fairly complicated one that likely will come more with time. 
 

It's also very plausible I'm being a complete pussy as I tend to overthink these things. The weird thing is that I'm also incredibly social with all my friends and they never believe me when I say that I have social issues at work. It's something about the professional environment that cages me up and turns me into a shell of myself.

Just curious if anyone has ever felt like this before, struggles with SA and what you've done to fix it / be a more well received member of the workplace. 

Comments (14)

Most Helpful
Nov 8, 2021 - 9:57pm

I've had (and still do) social anxiety so I can relate. Long-winded answer but here's my take:

I understand your rationale for what you want to seemingly reconcile with this analyst, and in fact, encourage you to do so. There a couple ways to go about this - you can start being more outgoing at the work environment and initiate more small talk. This can range from asking him for advice (which opens you to being more vulnerable, and if reciprocated, can compel him to sympathize for you more), to talking to him about any common ground outside of work. I'm all for making friends but also, it's important to be cognizant and be able to draw a clear line between your professional and personal life. Ask him if he wants to go for drinks after work, this is a very classic way to engage in a 1-on-1 setting with someone. Maybe in one version, there might've been a simple misunderstanding and you guys end up laughing it off after clearing things up. There is a small chance that this guy may not have an issue with you and you're just overanalyzing (ever heard of RBF? Guys inadvertently express it too).

Now let me give you the flip side to this.

Lets assume though, however, you're right and he in fact does have a problem with you. You should, in my opinion, be able to stand your ground and assert yourself, no matter who you're dealing with and what I mean by assert is not in the sense of being an obnoxious "alpha male", but someone who's respectful and will not easily bend to some asshole's demands. I don't care if the person you're dealing with is your boss, Lebron James, or whoever your idol is, do not let anyone step all over you - you need to love yourself and have some self respect. When you said "I think I'm crushing it where he's rattled me for even the smallest misstep where I know he would've shrugged it off with another team member", assuming true, this is clearly a targeted response. Perhaps he changes this attitude after you clear things up with him, perhaps he doesn't. If he's still like this after you made genuine attempts to "make up" with him, then he's the problem, not you, and you need to accept that. Don't second guess yourself when you did everything you could, you can't please everyone. If it were me, I would confront and call him out at this point and make it clear "hey, what you're doing is NOT okay". 

Work rapport & camaraderie is good and office politics will certainly play a role differently to varying extents, but I've rarely heard of instances of "hey, this guy is good at what he does, but because he's not social, let's fire him". It sounds like you're an honest, hard-working guy, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Be open to feedback, but don't completely collapse, take someone at face value and let him push you around. 

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"
  • 11
Nov 9, 2021 - 1:04am

This is a really good answer, sovling my concerns. One of my boss, a par, just asked me to do some personal favors beyond my responsibility and I refused, he seems to be very unhappy with it. I don't think he is respecting me, nor my time. But I felt bad and was questioning myself is the industry just be like this and I should change myself. Once he asked me to send his personal stuff to his home just because he does not want to come over to office. I did, but I feel really bad about this. I am not a personal assistant. I am not sure how I should deal with this situation.

Nov 9, 2021 - 9:05am

I obviously don't know the full extent of the dynamics, culture, and expectations in your office so I'll just say this - it's a judgment call at the end of the day and you should do whatever you feel is the best decision you can make at the time. You're going to fuck up often, but that's how you gain experience and learn. If anything they ask you to do makes you feel uncomfortable, then don't do it. I'll give you 2 personal, real examples I went through:

1. My bosses on the trading desk had me "fetch" coffee & breakfast often. Did I feel disrespected or belittled though? Nah, (in fact, they gave me their card and said "oh yeah, get whatever you want"), it probably took 5 minutes out of my day, and they were much busier than I was, so it made sense to take one for the team. It's Wall Street, there probably is an unofficial pecking order and some light "hazing" where the new guys are expected (again, not required) to carry out some of these tasks. Bending a knee sometimes though, will go a long way and show you're a team player, it's just a matter of to which extent - probably not at the expense of your dignity.  

2. Another boss asked me to do a historical data scrape on "open interest" on various contracts, then a lot of specific post analysis on various timeframes. I spent the entire day meticulously pulling data, crunching the numbers, then post a neat little presentation, only for him to respond "what? I asked you to get volume, not open interest. This [your work] is all garbage". This probably does look like someone who's out of line, but I just knew that this was just one of those "he was having a really bad day, so I'm just going to let it go and not say anything". I was right and I don't think it happened gain. If it became a regular thing then most likely, younger me probably would've continued being miserable, let it affect me adversely, and probably not done anything. Current, more experienced me would ask for a sit down, explain there has been constant miscommunication, and boss needs to change his attitude or at least treat me better. If he doesn't acknowledge it and I know it's going to be a major impedance in my day to day, then I'm probably looking to get out. "Judge a man not by how he treats his equals but by how he treats his inferiors."

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"
  • 8
Nov 8, 2021 - 11:14pm

Lets hit the highlights

  • There are dicks on EVERY desk.
  • You have not learned enough to properly "defend" yourself..yet.
  • You are overthinking this.
  • You are not here to win approval.  You are there to make money.
  • LEARN to be social.  Yes, learn.  Many of us have.
  • This sounds like your first gig.  BREATHE 
  • Unless you are structuring very complex products, do not overthink.
  • Learn to be the buoy and absorb the pressure to rise higher.
  • YOU WILL FUCK SOMETHING UP THAT WILL COST THE DESK MONEY.  Repeat that again and understand it.
  • Focus on the positives as well. Do not always be the glass half empty guy.
  • Most important.  Find your game.  Not theirs.  Be who you are.

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

  • 5
Nov 8, 2021 - 11:36pm

D.O.U.G.

Lets hit the highlights

  • Most important.  Find your game.  Not theirs.  Be who you are.

+1 SB for everything except the last bullet which actually contradicts a bunch of your other bullets....what if who you are is a not very social person who overthinks things and doesn't handle pressure well??

I would say the opposite for the last bullet. When it comes to things that are holding you back, change who you are.

Nov 9, 2021 - 9:35am

Fair point, sir.

It was meant more as be true to yourself as a person.  Not meant to not fit in at work.  Hope the OP took it as such.

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Nov 9, 2021 - 11:32am

The point was taken D.O.U.G.

Funnily enough when I made this post I thought to myself it would be great to see D.O.U.G respond to this.

Thanks for your continued mentorship on this platform. 

Nov 9, 2021 - 2:25pm

I recently had somebody from a different department flame me during a period of time when I was just ramping up, 2.5 months after being hired in my current associate role.  This person went as far as to escalate to my manager my supposed failings.  Literally 3 different people including my manager stood up for me and backed me up, but had this not happened I would have been in much the same anxious situation as you.

The reality is, you can be a good junior and not have rapport with your seniors.  From what you say, it sounds like you are in fact a good junior and have run into the inevitable politics of the corporate world.  People's impression of you is unfortunately more important in any corporation but especially banking than is your intention.  Unfortunately being nervous can be interpreted as aloof.  This happened to me once when I had a very brief 30 minute meeting with an MD for a deliverable and I was scared of dealing with him.  You will become more comfortable with these things over time but you will also have the opportunity to work on things you know are growth areas, to ask for constructive criticism on things you may not notice about yourself, and to continue striving and learning as well as to amend impressions through continued positive results.

Nov 9, 2021 - 5:51pm

This is what happens when banks hire STEM code and math monkeys from ghettos like MIT and Stanford instead of philosophy/econ/business kids from Yale and Oxbridge.

Nov 11, 2021 - 3:47am

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