Biggest professional regret?

In light of the "Piper Jaffray: Sweatier Than Ever in 2018" thread (link), I was inspired to share the biggest professional regret of my career so far, however early in my career that it may be.

Asked to stay an extra month

I actually had to miss senior week since unlike many other banks, analyst training at Piper begins in early June and not right after July 4. From the first day of training to when I finished 3+ years later, I never took more than a week of work "off". On every single one of my once per year, one-week long vacations, I worked a significant amount and never had the ability to truly decompress. I also remember missing things like not going home for Thanksgiving one year because there was just too much work to do.

Near the end of my analyst stint at Piper I was convinced to stay an extra month due to heavy junior turnover in my group as it was unlucky timing with some unplanned early departures as well as people's end dates happening to coincide with one another. It was not my preference to stay that extra month at all - I wanted to have more time off for myself, but I chose to stay because: 1) I really liked my group and wanted to help them out and 2) part of the deal was I would receive a pay bump for that month in addition to a one month pro-rated bonus. I went out of my way to help my old group / firm out when I could've left them out to dry understaffed and with only a single experienced junior team member.

No bonus...

Like an idiot, I did not get the above deal in writing. Getting everything in writing is advice I've seen countless times before, but I never imagined that would be a problem for me as I was receiving the higher base pay and my group had always done right by its juniors during bonus season.

Fast forward to full-year bonuses being paid out and lo and behold, I did not receive the promised pro-rated bonus. After numerous back and forths and being ghosted for nearly a month, I was finally able to track down an answer. The feedback was that I was paid everything I was owed and that if I hadn't worked as an analyst at Piper, that I wouldn't have gotten the job offers that I did and I should be grateful for that alone - that I got absolutely the max amount for my year and that I should be happy with that - that maybe we did agree on the stub but I should've gotten it in writing - that even if they wanted to change it, that it's too late and there was nothing to do now.

Regret

Now at the end of the day, the money is irrelevant. The amount I was shorted is easily less than 10k post-tax and I'm fortunate enough to be in a situation where my life won't change because I am out that money. What I am bitter about and will probably regret forever is that by staying an extra month, I had only two weeks before starting my new job. I pushed my start date back as far as I could and there was no way to extend that further since my new group was being swamped and couldn't afford to have me start any later. Who knows when I'll have another opportunity to have an extended time off in the future - I definitely won't be in my mid-20s.

In those two short weeks, I had to pack all my belongings, drive cross-country, and move into a new city, including buying and assembling furniture, getting a new driver's license, registering my car, buying countless household supplies, etc. - all things that add up and significantly cut into the only time I truly had off since I graduated. That is time I will never get back, time I could've used to visit friends I hadn't seen in years, actually travel a bit, or just time I could've used on myself to relax. Hell, I could've pushed my start date earlier to help my new firm given how busy they were and still have had an entire month to myself.

Get everything you negotiate in writing

I wish I had either said no or not blindly trusted Piper, thinking that my loyalty would be rewarded, or at least recognized. At the end of the day, I guess the healthy thing to do is to chalk this up as a learning experience that the world of business and finance is cutthroat, and that you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, get everything you negotiate in writing, even when you think it won't be necessary. Whether it's to prevent somebody from "forgetting" or actually forgetting, I'll never make that mistake again.

What's your biggest professional regret?

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Comments (71)

Most Helpful
Sep 14, 2018

One more thing: To summarize, loyalty to the firm is overrated.

    • 55
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Sep 19, 2018

Great Thread: Keystrokes
Great Comment: additional Keystrokes
Having the best comment on a thread you made: Priceless

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Funny

Oct 1, 2018
NuclearPenguins:

One more thing: To summarize, loyalty to the firm is overrated.

Yeah this is 100% true. When I was negotiating an offer the interviewer told me "X you have no experience, who would take you? You are in no position to negotiate on the pay"

Fast forward a few years when you want to leave "How can you leave? We groomed you and now you just want to hop on to greener pastures??? Where is the loyalty."

Logic???

    • 1
Sep 17, 2018
NuclearPenguins:

In light of the "Piper Jaffray: Sweatier Than Ever in 2018" thread (link), I was inspired to share the biggest professional regret of my career so far, however early in my career that it may be.

I actually had to miss senior week since unlike many other banks, analyst training begins in early June and not right after July 4. From the first day of training to when I finished 3+ years later, I never took more than a week of work "off". On every single one of my once per year, one-week long vacations, I worked a significant amount and never had the ability to truly decompress. I also remember missing things like not going home for Thanksgiving one year because there was just too much work to do.

Near the end of my analyst stint I was convinced to stay an extra month due to heavy junior turnover in my group as it was unlucky timing with some unplanned early departures as well as people's end dates happening to coincide with one another. It was not my preference to stay that extra month at all - I wanted to have more time off for myself, but I chose to stay because 1) I really liked my group and wanted to help them out and 2) part of the deal was I would receive a pay bump for that month in addition to a one month pro-rated bonus. I went out of my way to help my old group / firm out when I could've left them out to dry understaffed and with only a single experienced junior team member.

Like an idiot, I did not get the above deal in writing. Getting everything in writing is advice I've seen countless times before, but I never imagined that would be a problem for me as I was receiving the higher base pay and my group had always done right by its juniors during bonus season.

Fast forward to full-year bonuses being paid out and lo and behold, I did not receive the promised pro-rated bonus. After numerous back and forths and being ghosted for nearly a month, I was finally able to track down an answer. The feedback was that I was paid everything I was owed and that if I hadn't worked as an analyst there, that I wouldn't have gotten the job offers that I did and I should be grateful for that alone - that I got absolutely the max amount for my year and that I should be happy with that - that maybe we did agree on the stub but I should've gotten it in writing - that even if they wanted to change it, that it's too late and there was nothing to do now.

Now at the end of the day, the money is irrelevant. The amount I was shorted is easily less than 10k post-tax and I'm fortunate enough to be in a situation where my life won't change because I am out that money. What I am bitter about and will probably regret forever is that by staying an extra month, I had only two weeks before starting my new job. I pushed my start date back as far as I could and there was no way to extend that further since my new group was being swamped and couldn't afford to have me start any later. Who knows when I'll have another opportunity to have an extended time off in the future - I definitely won't be in my mid-20s.

In those two short weeks, I had to pack all my belongings, drive cross-country, and move into a new city, including buying and assembling furniture, getting a new driver's license, registering my car, buying countless household supplies, etc. - all things that add up and significantly cut into the only time I truly had off since I graduated. That is time I will never get back, time I could've used to visit friends I hadn't seen in years, actually travel a bit, or just time I could've used on myself to relax. Hell, I could've pushed my start date earlier to help my new firm given how busy they were and still have had an entire month to myself.

I wish I had either said no or not blindly trusted the firm, thinking that my loyalty would be rewarded, or at least recognized. At the end of the day, I guess the healthy thing to do is to chalk this up as a learning experience that the world of business and finance is cutthroat, and that you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, get everything you negotiate in writing, even when you think it won't be necessary. Whether it's to prevent somebody from "forgetting" or actually forgetting, I'll never make that mistake again.

What's your biggest professional regret?

This hits home. Old MD of mine promised $X in bonus despite the off-cycle timing of my departure. I didn't get it in writing and sure enough, didn't receive any of it.

    • 5
Sep 18, 2018

How's your relationship w/ your old group / firm now?

Sep 17, 2018

Mine is definitely leaving a company after a short period of time. I didn't even stay a year, but another opportunity came up that I was more interested in. I feel as if I let down the people I was working with at the time, as they spent a lot of time teaching me different things, and then I just left for another job.

Sep 17, 2018
topjobstopcities:

Mine is definitely leaving a company after a short period of time. I didn't even stay a year, but another opportunity came up that I was more interested in. I feel as if I let down the people I was working with at the time, as they spent a lot of time teaching me different things, and then I just left for another job.

You definitely made the right decision. I was like you, had an offer but turned it down thinking "well these guys spent time training me, maybe I should hang around longer". Fast forward 6 months, I got caught interviewing and was threatened with dismissal. Your ex-bosses could have acted the same way or even worse. If I could go back in time I would fuck them and leave without giving a second thought. Now these guys treat it as if it is a privilege for me to be there.

Fuck loyalty.

Sep 18, 2018

Yeah, you see stories like mine and there are just too many cases where loyalty doesn't pay off.

Sep 19, 2018

in the same situation here. I feel bad for wanting to leave after such a short while. How did it work out for you at the end ?

Sep 21, 2018

How exactly did you get "caught interviewing"?

Sep 24, 2018

Happens all the time. Banker from the place you're interviewing calls a friend at your current firm, totally out of the blue, "just to catch up" and - surprise - your name comes up. People think they're being subtle but the person taking the call always and immediately knows what's going on.
That or you head to your fourth "doctor's appointment" in a week, wearing your suit jacket, in August.

Sep 17, 2018

Turning down a top tier bulge bracket offer where I was asked to take a year back to stay at a lower tier, public middle market bank with high turnover and accepting a guaranteed promotion the following cycle. Now recruiting again with low probability of securing same caliber option in future. Idiot...

    • 3
Sep 18, 2018

Are you recruiting to stay in banking now? Or trying for buy side as well?

Sep 21, 2018

Nope - pretty much stuck in banking. I'm at the senior associate (A4) level. Stuck around to get my VP promotion next cycle and chill lifestyle and now absolutely hate myself for it. Even if I do 100 more deals at my MM, recruiting upstream will always be an uphill battle because of prestige / brand factor in the business. Something I thought would go away, but doesn't really ever in Finance.

    • 1
Sep 22, 2018

Rough my dude...its not all about the money huh?

Sep 24, 2018

Damn, looking at your old posts it seems like you have a super chill gig for being in banking which many people would take. Just not stimulating enough, want more pay, or what?

Sep 17, 2018

No Ragrets. That's my credo right there.

Sep 18, 2018
FellowTraveler:

No Ragrets. That's my credo right there.

not one? not even one little letter

Sep 18, 2018

...

    • 22
Funniest
Sep 18, 2018

erudite - adj. (1) having or showing great knowledge or learning.

If there's a word you're going to misuse, the only worse choice I could think of would be diction.

    • 20
Sep 18, 2018

Ah, I realize this now. I meant to say elitist. In any case, the gist of my point is there.

    • 1
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Sep 18, 2018

Not pursuing banking while I was in b-school. I went for jobs in a very specific field of finance and got burned. Banking at a top BB or EB provide amazing compensation, great exit opportunities, and transferable skillset. But there was so much banking hate at my school that I drank the Kool-Aid and went to FAANG. YUGE mistake.

    • 3
Sep 21, 2018

banking hate

b-school

?

Sep 22, 2018

It's probably Berkeley or Stanford

Sep 18, 2018

Starting my career in institutional equity sales. I loved it pre-2008, but it was almost impossible to transfer out of. Unfortunately, the role doesn't have the greatest exit opps.

    • 1
Sep 18, 2018

I see you did though, eventually?

Sep 19, 2018
Fugue:

I see you did though, eventually?

It wasn't easy brother. I essentially took a massive pay-cut and worked at some of the worst places in the world to order to transfer into CRE. It's tough seeing former colleagues prosper, but you just have to soldier on.

Sep 26, 2018
Kurtis Blow:
Fugue:

I see you did though, eventually?

It wasn't easy brother. I essentially took a massive pay-cut and worked at some of the worst places in the world to order to transfer into CRE. It's tough seeing former colleagues prosper, but you just have to soldier on.

Am in the exact same situation. What's more I don't even think my current job would be my final stop. So probably have to jump soon again.

Would you mind sharing more about how you went about it? Seems like you have an interesting story.

Sep 22, 2018

Following the money and then got burned... same thing happened to me and trying to exit as well.

Sep 18, 2018

Going into finance.

    • 4
Sep 20, 2018

I second that!

Sep 21, 2018

Whys that?

Sep 24, 2018

I went into it for the wrong reasons (preftige, money etc.) only to find out that finance doesn't interest me in the slightest.

    • 1
Sep 18, 2018

Fuck that group you used to work for with a rusty nail.

Oct 4, 2018

Dude, I know. They begged me to stay too, particularly the VP who I used to have a lot of respect for. She hard sold me so many times when I talked to her about having reservations about staying, and then didn't seem to care that much that they screwed me. Fucking ridiculous.

Sep 18, 2018

Starting a power battle w/ someone with a bit more juice than I thought.

    • 2
Sep 19, 2018

I left O&G to pursue a more generalized role, albeit still working on a lot of O&G transactions. Realized my mistake after about 3 years and jumped back in. My regret stems from all the industry knowledge I could have retained and grown during that period and been in a better position to take advantage of the current market.

    • 1
Sep 19, 2018

Buying a Rolex Submariner over an IWC Portugieser

    • 7
Sep 19, 2018

Hahaha. I can definitely relate to this one. But hey, there's always room to add IWC Portugieser to your collection!

Sep 19, 2018

Not starting recruiting early enough. Nobody at my school knew much about finance, and as a result there was no sense that you need to be searching for jobs and internships the moment you walk through the door, which you do.

    • 3
Sep 19, 2018

Playing hardball negotiating with a certain company.

As soon as they said sorry, we'll move on. I was like fuck, what did I do?

Sep 20, 2018

If you have your number and you know what's rational, why settle for less?

Asking for 30% above market to try and anchor or something is one strategy, but not backing down and reading the reaction is another story.

Sep 20, 2018
high hopes:

If you have your number and you know what's rational, why settle for less?

Asking for 30% above market to try and anchor or something is one strategy, but not backing down and reading the reaction is another story.

25% is fine, too. For a top place, also.

Sep 20, 2018

Staying in the military as a reservist while working full-time as a Trader.

    • 1
Sep 24, 2018

How was drill during that? Were they understanding? I have 4 years of IRR left and my worst nightmare is I get recalled as things just start falling into place.

Oct 5, 2018

My company was understanding most of the time, but I know most BB banks could care less if you are a reservist or not, they expect you to be there, and when you take time off for drill, you often times get reamed for it.

Oct 4, 2018

Do you regret being a reservist period or just that you happened to do it while working FT?

Oct 5, 2018

Regret it period hahaha

Sep 20, 2018

Not buying more stocks in 2008.

    • 3
Sep 20, 2018

being a professional

Sep 20, 2018

Complying with my Risk Managers.

Sep 21, 2018

I second that... also complying with Audit...

Sep 21, 2018

Had a super day with Goldman FIG. Was overall just lazy and didn't prepare at all. Bombed the technicals.

Array
    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Getting married.

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

I know its personal, but care to elaborate further?

Sep 21, 2018

1.) Moving to Africa to join a 'wealth management startup' that was going to revolutionize the African asset management industry through its one-of-a-kind fintech innovation lab. Turned out to be just another brokerage shop... #scam
2.) Talking myself out of applying to a sweeeet super-competitive PE position, only to my mediocre co-analyst get the role
3.) Choosing strategy consulting over IB

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

From someone working in transaction diligence and longing to work more on the "vision" and "bigger picture" - what is it you didn't/don't enjoy about strategy consulting?

Sep 21, 2018

Why do you regret choosing strategy consulting over IB? Are you at MBB?

Sep 21, 2018

Had an opportunity to hook up with a very, very attractive intern at the first company I worked for. Didn't do it because I wanted to stay with the firm. Ended up leaving the firm 6 months later for greener pastures anyways. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

Taking merit money from a lower caliber undergrad target over an HYPS. It clicked why it was lower caliber once I was on campus and I left after only a year. But it sucked coming in as a transfer, and my social or professional network isn't what it could have been. It just messes up your entire social and academic rhythm to come in as a transfer. Always bank the prestige, kids.

    • 1
    • 3
Sep 22, 2018

Mine would be not getting into finance earlier. It wasn't until undergrad that I decided what I wanted to do. So after being in luxury retail, I landed an internship at a boutique firm moved to NY and no one in the summer received an offer for the following cycle. So now having to bust my butt to break into the finance world I am realizing is one of the hardest things to do.

Sep 22, 2018

Choosing BB accounting/product control over an S&T sales role at a small company because I didn't like the culture/vibe at the small shop.
I still think it would not have been a fit long term but I should have picked the FO job and changed later. I'm finding it really difficult to move out of BO now.

Sep 23, 2018

Working in banking at all. After busting my ass as an A-to-A, I burned out and realized how little I got from my experience in banking. I have two-three pretty large announced deals under my belt, but I didn't learn many new skills and was absolutely miserable. A couple weeks into my decompressing, I also realized the physical and emotional toll the hours, stress and general bullshit took on me. I can see my old, true self, reemerging now, but I suppressed myself and my desires, passions, and general happiness and wellbeing for years. Sure, I was doing it for "something" and good money, but in retrospect, it wasn't worth it at all. I'm looking at different options now (consulting, law school, some interesting buyside stuff I turned down to become an associate), and banking just isn't giving me that much of a leg up. The other candidates I'm running into have interesting life experiences and did something they were passionate about, and I have a commoditized and limited set of experiences and have not had a personal life since college. Life is too fucking short to give up that much.

    • 3
Sep 29, 2018

Wow - this is super helpful. Currently deciding between an associate position at a BB or a startup - and people in banking have told me the same thing...

Sep 25, 2018

Easy - Not being 6'2"

    • 1
Sep 26, 2018

Taking an FoF offer over IB ...

Sep 26, 2018
Sep 26, 2018
Sep 26, 2018
Sep 27, 2018