Bosses who hate you/surviving wall street


I have thus far in the last 2 jobs been placed with bosses/teammates who hated me.

Situation 1

In less than 3 months, I was sat down with HR. In less than 6 months, I was given an improvement plan. My previous roles have always given me better than average ratings, and these ratings have come from different bosses in different departments who didn't even see eye to eye. In fact, one of my previous bosses begged me to stay in his team. This boss who tried to kick me out has never talked to me, only sends me emails on work and all my mistakes via email (which I later realise was used to show that I wasn't performing) and which I regretted not replying her in email because some of the 'mistakes' she pointed out were not mine but hers. The improvement plan was basically to make zero mistakes, which is laughable because she does at least 40% of the mistakes she accuses me of. I also later found out she went around asking different teams for any of the mistakes I've done, and reports them to the MD. The MD talked about it during my performance review and I was angry because long story short, the other team had a conflicting interest within their own team and does it mean I have done something wrong if I follow the latest instructions from that team when the person who complaint about me to the boss gave the first instruction? I actually went to someone else who attended the meeting and asked her if there was indeed a conflict of instructions, and she said yes. Unfortunately, she won't stand up for me in front of the boss or the MD, which is understandable, but shows that I wasn't wrong. The only wrong I did in this situation is because I finished my work fast and was the first to reply. I'll admit that I have made mistakes, but so has she (and often too).

There was also many other instances which she used against me. I printed out every email that would back me up and went to HR, but no prize for guessing whose side HR stood by and I was given a couple of months to look for something else. I suspect she needed to get rid of my headcount and/or blame the mistakes on me because her project was failing. She left shortly after herself, anyway.

Situation 2

I rushed into a new role because I needed to get something else, which I regretted tremendously. When I was interviewing for this position, I had no prior experience and was upfront about it during my interview. They hired me as an analyst level 1 with a downgrade in payment (even compared to when the last associate was hired 3 years ago with no job experience, internships included!)

The first day of the job, I found out that the associate in that team (she is 3 levels above me) is leaving unexpectedly. Prior to that, another associate director (4 levels above me) was let go due to headcount issues. Basically, as an analyst level 1 with zero experience, I suddenly found 90% of the work from both these associate and associate director pushed to me. During the handover process, the associate did not hand her work over properly, and I found out that there were a lot of things that were missing or that she actually taught me wrongly. I worked extremely long hours (working past midnight every day and up till 5am occasionally, coming back on weekends) to try and bridge the gap but obviously, after less than 3 months, I am still not an expert in this. I do check my work (come in at 7am easily to check them a second round!), but sometimes, I don't even know what to check for. I believe this will improve with time.

Both my manager and supervisor have been extremely nasty to me about this. I was/am screamed at, scolded and often told that I am slow and that previously, the associate and associate director could do these work faster which I found very unfair.

1. I was upfront about having no experience prior to joining, trust me when I say I did not even exaggerate a notch
2. Even when the previous associate was hired with no experience (and at a higher pay), she had the backup of the associate director who *had* experience
3. I have been in this team with less number of months then anyone else's number of years and they are expecting me to be an expert with the legal docs and modeling (this is a structured product team, and the modeling and legal work is very different compared to what I was previously familiar with. It is also a lot harder to find information on how to do my work in any of these sites, compared to say... M&A modeling as there are more resources for the latter out there)
4. They are paying me below benchmark level compared to the associate who was hired 3 years ago (even after discounting for inflation) but expecting me to do x2 people's work

I am constantly being micromanaged that I will be questioned even when I open a file. I am constantly being scolded to read the legal documents and to understand the modeling expect, which I am trying to. When I ask questions, people get frustrated and push me to other people. I did something wrongly due to being taught wrongly from the associate who left (she specifically gave me wrong instructions), and my boss was unhappy. He made me recount the step to step mistakes I did in front of everyone in the department (and the surrounding departments) while screaming at me in the top of his lungs. I couldn't take it after days and weeks of humiliation that I stupidly, lost my temper and argued back today :(

The other supervisor seems to have it against me as well. Forget not willing to teach me, she is now criticising my personal life as well. For example, I have this habit of touching my face when I am thinking, and she has a complaint about it to everyone else for - get this - touching my face, that a kind associate from another team actually came to tell me not to do it in front of her because it pisses her off. She sits next to me, it's a habitual tick, sometimes I don't even notice myself doing it. I don't actually do it in meetings or during more formal occasions. This is just an example, there are many more. Another one would be her criticising that I take away food from 'shops that have no quality and [she] refuses to eat it'. Uhh.. okay, I'll eat it myself then? Wasn't it even bought for her? She is extremely careless, and whenever I do smaller mistakes, I get screamed at. Whereas when she does any mistakes, I will help her change them or tell her nicely.

I am tired of this cycle. What can I do to get out of this, or how do I cope? Should I stay or start looking for something else? I don't want to look like a job hopper because I stayed in job 1 for a year and am only in my 3rd month in job 2. So far, I am actually beginning to enjoy the complexity of the product I'm doing and actually won't mind staying in this industry and sector. But if I stay, how long should I stay for and how do I ensure that I survive in such a team?

TLDR: Been unlucky in 2 jobs so far. How do you survive with a team that's out to get you?

p.s: Sorry for the grammar errors, this was written in frustration at an extremely quick speed at 1.30am on a Friday night. I am still trying to fix my model and haven't had dinner. A very big thank you to anyone who has read all that!

Comments (6)

Nov 24, 2017

You have to manage expectations. If you're being overburdened with work above and beyond your job description, you must communicate this to management or HR. I don't mean an extra 1hr or 2hrs at night, but 200% or 300% of your role, as it seems is the case with you.

If your current manager doesn't see it, you must find a way to approach someone else without stepping on toes.

I've encountered this situation before and it is delicate but doable.

My sister also ran into this situation. She was hired into a role that demanded about 4 people's work. She was struggling and complained they needed to hire more people to fill the role. She talked to some executives (after about 1 year of back and forth), and finally more people were added to help. She managed the people well, accomplished the goals of the group and since was promoted.

But, in the beginning, she did not have the capacity to do all the work and it was extremely frustrating for her.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Best Response
Nov 24, 2017

This is something that you will develop in due course, but managing up/pushing back is definitely a skill that will be invaluable as you move forward in your career.

From what you've described, it appears that you got shafted a bit in terms of luck, and were a bit unfortunate with folks on your team leaving at a rather inopportune time. The seniors on the team are likely frustrated because they are used to having the since departed individuals having a background and being able to work through things quicker without meaningful direction. In your defense, they should realize that you are new, and as such will have some ramp up period where you learn the rules of the road for the role.

Things will certainly get better in due time, and I would not recommend jumping ship this early by any means (probably stick it out for another 6-9 months and then re-evaluate.) The best approach for you is to clearly define expectations when it comes to certain deliverables. Underpromising and overdelivering will help you deliver some equity with the group progressively (determining that a task will take you 2 days but you say 3 to give yourself some cushion, which leaves them satisfied when you end up finishing it in 1.5). I would also clearly communicate to them that you feel that you're at capacity given the recent departures within the firm, which has adversely affected your efficiency and ability to do things quickly.

Finally, with respect to the mistakes, are you aware of whether you are making the same mistakes repeatedly? I don't think you are by any means but sometimes folks can get frustrated if this ends up being the case. This has an easy fix as a good practice is really just to print your work and take your time in reviewing, documenting the nature of your mistake so as to remember not to make the mistake again. I'm a bit concerned though that they don't seem receptive to answering questions. When I joined my group a few years ago, I was relying heavily on the analysts above me and the associates to keep me above water the first 6-9 months. Being receptive makes the situation rather untenable.

Keep your head up in all respects :). Doing mighty fine work, taking ownership of it, and having the confidence to say that your work product is excellent will build respect naturally no matter how terrible or nasty your manager(s) can be. Whenever you feel like it's getting to an intolerable point, just remind yourself that at the end of the day, nothing is personal and to separate the critique of your work product from the critique of yourself the person. This will allow you to be more loose at work, and maintain your sense of self. Best of luck :)

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Nov 24, 2017

in what industry and country is this in?

Nov 25, 2017

Your mistake was going to HR without speaking to an employment lawyer first. HR can help you, but only if your interests and those of your company align.

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Nov 25, 2017

@Isaih_53_5 ,@alpha_q" Thank you for the advice. I'll admit that I am not good at managing upper management. My manager talked to me after the incident and he did mention that I should have asked for more time if I needed it. I was a bit confused because when he was screaming at me to quickly complete my work, I was at that point in time also telling him I needed more time? So I told him fine, then I would like slightly more time the next round if it wasn't clear from my previous time, to which he replied that I couldn't anymore because it would be my second time doing it.

I don't think I even have time to do the mistake twice because I have only done the deal once on my own. I also don't have anyone to rely on, because the two people who I can ask for help is the boss and the supervisor who apparently hates me and have something bad to say about everything about me (read above where she's complaint about my habit, the food I eat, etc. Did I also mention that when I first joined, she told me that "I actually didn't want you hired, but the guys wanted to hire you").

@C.R.E. Shervin Most banks put it under capital markets, but I have seen banks put it under structured products in corporate finance. It's based in an Asian country, and this group is very niche. My bank structures it a bit differently as well, so we do the deal all the way from sourcing for our own investors to closing the deal, and monitoring it till the end of the cycle.

Before joining the group, I asked my manager if there were any materials that I could read out there to broaden my knowledge or understand what they do better. He mentions that what we do is very unique so there are very few materials I'll be able to get information from. While we are based in Asia, our investors tend to be from Europe as well.

@surferdude867 I'm beginning to think so too. After situation 1, I have been reading a lot of books on how to survive and keep my job, and realise that I should have went to a lawyer for advice first. However, coming from an Asian country, these things are not as common and it did not occur to me or the people I consulted. Couple that with the fact that human rights, employee rights, etc are not as strong in the region, I'm not sure if it would have made as different an outcome than say, in the US.

Guys, don't get me wrong. I am grateful that I managed to find a new job so quickly after the first job didn't work out. Thus far, I am really enjoying the product and I actually like what I do. But I think my team expects too much out of me for someone of my level and like mentioned, they are throwing me two senior people's work (one of the associate director who was let off due to headcount issues, and one of an associate who left unexpectedly, and both who are at least 3 levels above me in terms of rank and years of experience). How can they hire an analyst level 1 and expect her to perform 2 senior people's role without any guidance within 3 months, then constantly reprimand me for 'not performing up to standard'. I was told that I accepted the job below standard market rate salary (even an analyst level 1 in back and middle office earns more than me and for much better hours too?!!), but at that time I needed to look for a job quickly and took it up without further arguing for a pay rise. It is very disheartening being in this position, but I suppose it was a series of mistakes. But to be honest, I currently pay for all cost of living on my own, and do not have family financial support. If I were to go out of a job, I stand to incur huge debt.

Before coming in this role, I told myself that I will suck it up for the next 2 years because the transition from this role to perhaps an Asset Management/hedge fund is somewhat relevant especially if they were to invest in this product. The skill sets I will learn from here can and will make me a specialist in this area, which, as mentioned above, is very niche. If I can be an expert in this in this region before the product becomes a 'hot commodity', I can leverage on that skill set and be a subject matter expert whose skills will be highly sought after. I'm not saying it's an easy transition, but it is doable. My MD who hired me in also told me the same thing, and he told me that my next job transition should be to a buy side, and not to a sale side (if I'm honest, I wanted to join DCM and my MD knows of it). I just don't know if I can last that long - both in terms of mentally, and whether my boss might one day be so fed up with me that he will just fire me before that day comes.

Nov 25, 2017