Fired from PE firm for getting too drunk at company outing

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To give a bit of background, I recently landed an associate gig at a pretty respectable PE shop ($5 bill aum) in the Chicago area (after 2 years of banking). I started about a month ago after packing up and moving my whole life from California. Well needless to say we had a company outing and I got belligerent and embarrassingly drunk and basically tried to fight a coworker and said some unforgivable things. I was fired the next day and have officially hit rock bottom...I just moved to this new city, signed a lease and unsure what the next step is. Just venting a little and looking for some encouraging advice on next steps and how to approach this...thanks guys

Comments (52)

 
Aug 6, 2019 - 10:47am

You should probably take a hiatus from worrying about your job and focus on solving that drinking problem. I have seen this before and imagine that if it happened to you at a company outing of all places, it is probably not the first time it has occurred and burned bridges, whether that be with friends, coworkers, whomever.

I had a problem controlling my drinking right after college. I still enjoy it, but I give myself a hard and fast rule that I won't drink with coworkers, regardless of how close I may be with them. The risk is certainly not worth the reward; I mean, there really is no reward. Anyways, figured I'd digress and make this a bit more personal to hopefully be impactful on your thinking.

You can get over this. You don't have to list this employer down the road on your resume down the road, but you need to fill the time with something interesting. Maybe you need a reality check: go spend 6 months in the Dominican

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
 
Most Helpful
Aug 6, 2019 - 10:51am

You should probably take a hiatus from worrying about your job and focus on solving that drinking problem. I have seen this before and imagine that if it happened to you at a company outing of all places, it is probably not the first time it has occurred and burned bridges, whether that be with friends, coworkers, whomever.

I had a problem controlling my drinking right after college. I still enjoy it, but I give myself a hard and fast rule that I won't drink with coworkers, regardless of how close I may be with them. The risk is certainly not worth the reward; I mean, there really is no reward. Anyways, figured I'd digress and make this a bit more personal to hopefully be impactful on your thinking.

You can get over this. You don't have to list this employer down the road on your resume down the road, but you need to fill the time with something interesting. Maybe you need a reality check: go spend 6 months in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ghana, etc.. and volunteer. You think you hit rock bottom? Try going weeks without access to clean water. Hopefully that will make you think more holistically about what it means to be a good human being, which is certainly not as simplistically defined as earning 6 figures and working in "high finance".

After you have done something like this to broaden your perspective, I think anyone with the slightest interest in the human condition would give you a chance. They will probably see through / get to the bottom of what happened, but will understand that you took an active approach to change your life. Trust me, a lost year can buy back many if you spend it the right way; don't spiral.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
 
Aug 10, 2019 - 7:18pm

This is really excellent advice, all of it. I'd go only one step further. Do all these things Elite mentioned, (apologize, self-imposed exile, service-work, travel, addiction counseling, anger management, etc.) but throughout all that, adopt the attitude that you will never work in PE again. Really truly believe it. Now it certainly may turn out that you do make a return to the PE world, but that happenstance would be a minor miracle in this day and age. It will do actual wonders for your overall attitude to internalize this reality. Look broader. Your path may lead you back to PE, but don't be thirsty for it, or, worse, expecting it, because that entitled worldview will simply poison all that you do in the interim. You are not owed a job at all, let alone a job in one of the most competitive and difficult-to-break-into industries out there. It may be that over the course of your next steps, you find your passion somewhere entirely elsewhere from the world of finance, and distance from those who you'd feel might be "impressed" by your profession (a wholly awful reason to pursue a vocation in life), might free you to look to what you really want to do. I'd wager that you never wanted PE in the first place and this act of self-sabotage will look like divine intervention when you look back on your life to write your memoirs.

 
Funniest
Aug 6, 2019 - 3:37pm

First of all, finish your unsettled business with your ex-coworker. Your former employer will likely see this as a sign of persistence and integrity. By beating him up, it shows that you are a man of your word; doing it even though you're sober shows that you can stay focused to complete a difficult task. After beating him up, it wouldn't hurt to email HR and let them know of your martial superiority and broach the idea of being rehired to take his position. Any employer who doesn't look favorably on this, is probably not someone you want to work for anyways. Tuck your chin, keep your elbows down and your fists up, and best of luck.

 
Aug 9, 2019 - 9:05pm

Awesome career advice!

I hope you don't mind but I've shared this with a few informational interview candidates.

If there was ever some good advice for breaking into industry - this is it.

Persistence, perseverance, and focus.

Get 'er done.

(I've forwarded this advice to a couple dozen people already, really well done sir)

 
Aug 6, 2019 - 5:50pm

"To give a bit of background, I recently landed an associate gig at a pretty respectable PE shop ($5 bill aum) in the Chicago area (after 2 years of banking). I started about a month ago after packing up and moving my whole life from California. Well needless to say we had a company outing and I got belligerent and embarrassingly drunk and basically tried to fight a coworker and said some unforgivable things. I was fired the next day and have officially hit rock bottom...I just moved to this new city, signed a lease and unsure what the next step is. Just venting a little and looking for some encouraging advice on next steps and how to approach this...thanks guys"

That's tough man...

 
Aug 6, 2019 - 5:59pm

Sorry to hear you got the sack, mate - never pleasant to experience, regardless of the circumstances. That said, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror: you'd landed a very cushy job, had only just started, and on the first night out with your new colleagues you got aggressively drunk and attempted to fight a coworker. Not on.

First things first, determine whether you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Are you able to control your drinking once you start? Is this the first time you've turned fighty after a few?

Secondly, what lead to the confrontation in question? Was it a case where your coworkers were encouraging you to drink more and more (like an initiation of sorts), riling you up? Or was it entirely of your own doing? If it was the former, may well not be the right work environment for you and will at least give you something credible to say if a future interviewer brings anything up.

Sucks that you've moved your entire life for the role, but that's water under the bridge. If you got the role at what is seemingly a very reputably firm once, I'm sure you can get something comparable elsewhere again - go back on the application track and spam. Omit your most recent employer for obvious reasons.

I'd also suggest reaching out to your former coworkers (if you haven't already) and making some apologies. I highly doubt it will help you get your job back, but it's the gentlemanly thing to do - will prove you're not above your own pride and that you at least have some degree of self respect. Will also hopefully soften their opinion of you and make them less inclined to sabotage your future efforts to secure employment elsewhere.

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes" - Oscar Wilde
 
Aug 6, 2019 - 6:05pm

If you tried to fight a co-worker when you were drunk then solving that problem should probably take priority over anything else.

 
Aug 7, 2019 - 7:57am

Yeah that's tough, I think that might fly at an Investment.Bank but the PE world is far too small.

My advice, look for LMM buyout / growth equity shops that would have a need for someone of your skill set, get with headhunters and try to find a lateral opportunity. Obviously you can't use your previous spot as a reference but that can be explained away. It'll be a long road back to the top champ you'll have to go to business school, also depending on how severe of an incident this was, you might want to go to AA they could help you out if you don't think this is permanently controllable issue, at the least if someone questions you on it in the future (good chance that could happen given how small finance is) you can have a rock to stand on stating you got help and how it was a turning point in your career.

Bottom line it's a big mistake but you're not dead yet. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward.

 
Aug 8, 2019 - 7:06am

Maybe consider a volunteering role followed by business school and omit this firm from your resume? That could get you back on track to get a good job without having a huge "black eye" gap on your resume. That being said, it might be tough to break into PE in the short term, but you can recover.

 
Aug 8, 2019 - 8:57am

Travel the world for a year. Think NGOs or original experiences. It's quick to set up. Investment banks like it. On the top of it, it might be the best experience in your entire life. Not sure you will be willing to go back to IB or PE after that to be honest.

That being said, you should make sure the PE fund that fired you will not voluntarily spread the word. Apologize. Make it right. Tell them you are dealing with your drinking problem and personal issues. If asked, they will not lie, but at least they will not destroy your reputation. They obviously did not love firing you. Compassion is their weak spot, you lost your job, they know how hard it must be for you. Take advantage.

 
Aug 8, 2019 - 12:12pm

Am I the only one who is dying to hear what "unforgivable" things he said? I don't think I have ever heard unforgivable things being said. "I killed your parents!" maybe? I can also see why something like "I sold your kids to a sex slave lord" might turn the work environment a bit toxic...

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

 
Aug 8, 2019 - 12:26pm

QuiltEmerson:

Am I the only one who is dying to hear what "unforgivable" things he said? I don't think I have ever heard unforgivable things being said. "I killed your parents!" maybe? I can also see why something like "I sold your kids to a sex slave lord" might turn the work environment a bit toxic...

No. I'm not a gossip queen

EDIT: Actually not gonna lie, in the age of "World Star", it would be nice if someone floated a video of the incident.

 
Aug 12, 2019 - 7:49am

QuiltEmerson:

Am I the only one who is dying to hear what "unforgivable" things he said? I don't think I have ever heard unforgivable things being said. "I killed your parents!" maybe? I can also see why something like "I sold your kids to a sex slave lord" might turn the work environment a bit toxic...

I think it might be something like what Cartman did the Scott Tenorman.

 
Aug 8, 2019 - 1:28pm

Sounds like you're very immature in general. Although fighting is obviously never (rarely?) condoned in the workplace, an incident like this just shows why you aren't ready for a PE role. Not to preach from a PE superiority type of view, but whether you're a PE associate a banking associate or any other role that is no longer entry-level, you start to take on some more serious responsibility. You might have to manage people, you represent a firm, you're responsible for client happiness, closing deals etc. To not be able to control yourself in a relatively tame and straightforward setting shows that your EQ, maturity, and general decision-making skills have to be extremely low.

Perhaps you have a serious drinking problem and that would probably give you a clearer path for what you need to fix. If you don't, then I'd focus on cleaning your life up, first of all, accept the firing with grace, show contrition, and move on. Try to minimize the damage.

Bummer you might have to eat your lease for a year, but maybe you can find a way to get our of it. Maybe you can sublet it? Or just pay the lease break fee. At the end of the day if you go to the management office and say "Hey, I just lost my job, I have no money, need to get out of my lease, here' sthe best I can do, I'd imagine they rather get something out of you rather than nothing. Maybe you'll even get lucky and only have to pay a few months of rent. This should be a good first challenge of handling an adult level responsibility.

From here, In conjuction with finding a new job, figure out what you need to do to be better. If you are an alcoholic, seek help, check into rehab, etc. If not, you might need to see a therapist, take some time off, was the drinking/beligerance driven by something else. Are you too tightly wound from 2 years in banking? Have you taken time off recently? Maybe you just felt a lot of pressure from joining a Megafund? I'd make sure to get your mind right before just hopping back into a banking/PE role. Maybe move home for a little if that's an option, reassess what you want to do.

As much as this seems like an awful, rock bottom moment, it's better to learn earlier rather than later. You're probably 23/24, plently of life left to live. This one mistake won't make/break your career/happiness. Keep your help up, try and be more self-aware moving forward, and learn from your mistake.

Lastly, be thankful it didn't cause more harm. Imagine if instead you got drunk, tried to drive yourself home, and then crashed into another car.

 
Aug 8, 2019 - 3:53pm

Honestly, from getting very candid perspectives from people who grew up in the "old street", drinking and making alcohol-driven mistakes was not as looked down upon as it is now, particularly amongst the trading and public markets community. I feel as though these platforms give a voice and expectation of this antiquated reality as being the norm across all of "high finance". However, it isn't hard to tell that most of the partners amongst the largest private equity firms are NOT the type to be two drinks away from completely losing their composure and temperance. The level of EQ some people have entering this industry amazes me, but I agree with mrharveyspecter. If you are more than two years out and still acting like a spoiled frat boy, go sell used cars. Most likely one less impotent child working in an industry of gentlemen. I've always been of the mind that the hard truth is the best truth, so there it is OP. A 750 is a grown man's pacifier - spit it out. I really hope this is a troll at the end of the day, but best of luck.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
 
Aug 12, 2019 - 2:45pm

mrharveyspecter:
Perhaps you have a serious drinking problem and that would probably give you a clearer path for what you need to fix.

No "perhaps" here. Getting blacked out at a company event as a new hire and trying to fight a coworker is full evidence of a problem.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

 
Aug 8, 2019 - 8:00pm

Dude.
Just... oh holy fuck man,

OK, let's triage this bitch.

1) Is this the first time? A one time incident, or a repeat pattern?
Get help for your alcoholism.
Take all the time you need.

2) Get grounded.
When you hit a bottom like this you need to get back to your life anchors - be it family, religion, gym, ... whatever your anchors are, reconnect to those

3) Did you start renting and put down deposits on things in Chicago?

If not, go back to Cali, and access your network, so that you can get a new job (after you deal w/ your alcoholism that is).

If you are already locked in to Chicago, you'll need come up w/ a plausible excuse for running your next job search there.

Something like "I moved here for family/personal reasons, and am applying my West Coast banking experience to PE now, here in Chicago."

4) Don't think of going to b-school now.
B-school isn't a bandaid.

5) here's a resource that may help you, which is a piece written on how to bounce back career-wise in times of crisis

http://www.jonathanfields.com/ask-career-renegade-can-you-go-renegade-i…

 
Aug 9, 2019 - 11:06am

You should join AA, take it seriously, and stop drinking/drug use outright. Also, this sounds harsh, but be thankful this is all that happened to you. I have had friends go to jail/prison from getting in a car after drinking in similar fashion.

Try to come up with a solid backstory for the employment gap and do not put the PE firm on the resume.

 
Aug 9, 2019 - 11:58am

Are you looking for work in PE still? I can see if we have a VC role for you to help you get back on your feet. No judgement whatsoever. Life has gotten the best of all of us and it is good that you are aware of the problem now. Hopefully you can surround yourself with people who don't have these bad habits and can help you get better. Your health should be the main focus.

EDIT: Not sure who hated on this but theres nothing wrong with helping someone out in this type of position so they aren't stressing about rent etc and can get better

Array
 
Aug 9, 2019 - 12:16pm

Let's look at it from a different perspective. You could become the first monkey to make the transition IB -> PE -> UFC.

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

 
Aug 22, 2019 - 7:25pm

QuiltEmerson:

Let's look at it from a different perspective. You could become the first monkey to make the transition IB -> PE -> UFC.

While not quite IB -> PE, check out Jake Butler, an ex-Princeton Wrestler who worked at Thor Equities in NYC (what looks to be REPE, but could be wrong) before getting tired of the office life and moving to Singapore to compete in ONE Championship (a competitor to the UFC with an Asian Demographic focus).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_Butler

 
Aug 11, 2019 - 10:44pm

There are several problems here, but the three biggest ones are drinking, fighting and caree.

For the drinking, use this as an opportunity to just stop drinking completely. Stone-cold sober.

For fighting, that was idiotic. You need an outlet for that. Train a close-contact martial art like MMA, BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, Muay Thai or Boxing. People who train to fight don't see the need to fight. And if they find themselves in a fight, they're capable of quickly neutralizing it.

As for your career, it will not be easy but there is a way out. Few people have actually been in your shoes in the industry and have gone on to be incredibly successful. Ray Dalio was fired for slugging his boss after a few drinks. I know a guy who was axed for a crazy party lifestyle and went on to become one of the all-time greats. Not justifying what you did, I'm actually the exact opposite, but while it is obvious that you're due for some dark days please remember there is a way out to actually thrive out of this.

But you need to grow up first.

 
Aug 12, 2019 - 1:37pm

for all the talk of alcoholism...if this was a one time thing...then don't worry about it. anybody can get caught up drinking too much one night and then do stupid crazy stuff...can happen to anybody. its unfortunate...but life goes on. lesson learned

just google it...you're welcome
 
Aug 12, 2019 - 4:17pm

buylowsellhighthenbuymore:

To give a bit of background, I recently landed an associate gig at a pretty respectable PE shop ($5 bill aum) in the Chicago area (after 2 years of banking). I started about a month ago after packing up and moving my whole life from California. Well needless to say we had a company outing and I got belligerent and embarrassingly drunk and basically tried to fight a coworker and said some unforgivable things. I was fired the next day and have officially hit rock bottom...I just moved to this new city, signed a lease and unsure what the next step is. Just venting a little and looking for some encouraging advice on next steps and how to approach this...thanks guys

Never Happened.

Array

 
Aug 12, 2019 - 8:21pm

You should offer formal apologies to anyone you personally offended for obvious reasons, as well as to your boss for embarrassing him/her as a result of hiring you. Make sure you're too valuable to fire before you get wasted in front of coworkers.

I'm into, uh, well, murders and executions, mostly.
 
Aug 16, 2019 - 11:42am
just google it...you're welcome
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