Friendzoned by Your Job

dan_yo23's picture
dan_yo23 - Certified Professional
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,826

I've been paying close attention recently to what the people who advance quickly in their career have in common, and what the people who are stuck in the same role for years have in common.
One insight I had was that the people who are stuck in the same role for years and decades are no different than guys who get friendzoned by a girl.

Committing to the Friendzone Forever

Every guy, no matter how confident, wealthy, attractive, successful, or smooth, has been rejected by a girl. The biggest difference is that the real studs don't let themselves get friendzoned. They stop wasting time on the girl and start looking for a different one. They know to cut their losses and not be pathetic. In business, those are the guys who, when they are finally eligible for a promotion, stop at nothing to find that promotion. They don't stay in the same role for years, dreaming about getting promoted in-place. They move on and look anywhere and everywhere for that next role.

The "friendzoned" employee thinks that loyalty will eventually get him that promotion. That someday the company will wake up and realize the manager of their dreams was there the whole time, waiting for years as a loyal analyst. They resent "that douche Chad" who came in, got the sweet signing bonus, got some quick experience and moved on to a director role somewhere else. No, they've been loyal through thick and thin, and eventually the company will reward them.

Looks vs. Brains

Guys forever stuck in the friendzone seem to think that if they are nice and smart and spend enough time, that hot girl they've been crushing on will eventually fall for them. They are constantly upset when the girl goes for the good-looking, smooth talking guy. They think girls are shallow for basing everything on looks. In the business world, we see guys who are good at their job but have no sense of dressing professionally and no skill at public speaking and managing. In relationships almost everything is up to your confidence and how interesting you are, but none of that matters if you don't pass a certain level of grooming and presentability. In business, you might be amazing at your job, but if you aren't someone who "looks the part" and can make a good representation of your team in front of senior management, you are not getting promoted.

And sure, just as there are ugly/unconfident girls who go for the unconfident/unkempt guys, there will be some company that promotes an experienced buffoon. But if you want to bag the real 10, you have to look the part.

Constant Bitching and Complaining

We've all seen those impassioned posts on social media where someone talks about their woes of being forever alone, of being that shoulder to cry on, and of always getting ignored and friendzoned. How they are a nice guy and apparently "nice guys finish last". How do you spot a guy in the friendzone? He'll tell you. The "nice guys" are, interestingly enough, the most vehement and vocal about how shallow they think women are.

In business, you can tell very quickly who the disgruntled, 20-year senior analyst is. They like to make it known how experienced they are, and how this company doesn't value experience and is always promoting a select group of high-potential employees. Just as guys don't realize that their constant bitching about the friendzone makes them toxic to women, employees seem to have no clue that their complaining about the company only removes their last, tiny chances of getting promoted.

What are your thoughts, monkeys? Any other correlations between friendzoned guys and friendzoned employees? Or about how Chad always gets the ladies and also lands that sweet new job?

Mod Note (Andy): top 50 posts of 2017, this one ranks #37 (based on # of silver bananas)

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Comments (32)

Nov 14, 2017

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Nov 14, 2017

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Nov 15, 2017

I agree - the people who sit and wait seem to expect promotions to be given in their favor because they believe they have been loyal to the company. Or think they outright deserve it because they've been in the desk/department the longest or the most senior.

No matter how you look or dress if you put in the effort to understand the requirements to be the 'manager' and demonstrate why you deserve the promotion is the difference between the ones who make the cut and don't. The friendzoner will be quiet and bitch about, hoping one day someone on the top of the food chain will sprinkle fairy dust so they can grow some wings and fly up the corporate ladder. Whereas, Chad will be the one networking, upskilling during spare time, or drafting that forward vision/plan which benefits the company.

As someone once told me 'dress for the job you want, not the job you have'.

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Nov 17, 2017

Think it's about time we boot this guy, no? @WallStreetOasis.com

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Nov 14, 2017
Roy-Ray:

If you hang around for too long, people don't think you're trustworthy, they think you don't have legs.
That's the difference b/w a Horse and a Donkey. Be a Horse, don't be a Donkey.

Last I checked, both animals have legs. Time to redo kindergarten and crayon time. Hey man, do you want that Capri Sun?

"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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Nov 14, 2017
Roy-Ray:

That's how a slow individual thinks. It's not what on the outside, but what's inside that matters.

Also, I am not your man.

I called you man, not my man. Stop dreaming.

"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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Nov 14, 2017
Roy-Ray:

Don't call me anything.

Hey, anything!

oops

"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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Nov 17, 2017
Isaiah_53_5:
Roy-Ray:

Don't call me anything.

Hey, anything!

oops

Who is this weirdo Roy-Ray?

Nov 14, 2017

I think that this is an interesting concept, but it may not be applicable to all fields of finance. I can definitely see how this could be related to roles such as IBD or Sales where employees are valued based on how well they can obtain/maintain relationships, and a Chad who is smooth with girls will also likely have good social skills. Being able to hold a conversation talk persuasively is a great skill to have, no doubt.

That being said, I don't see how this would be related to back office/quant work or even trading for that matter. There are specific performance metrics for those roles and it is pretty black and white as far as the value you add to the company.

It may sound a bit snowflakey, but I don't think that there is reasonably one personality type that is destined to succeed over others. Different roles require different people, and a lack of career progression could be more of a bad fit in regard to the employee with the actual position rather than just being "freind zoned" by your job.

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Nov 14, 2017

I actually wrote this from the perspective of corporate finance, which is considered back office. It is definitely not black and white. One my coworkers has been a senior financial analyst for 15 years and is disgruntled about not being a manager.. But at the same time he is shit at public speaking and really just needs to admit that his hair loss has won and that it is time to go bald. At the same time, our boss is 10 years younger than him and is a Director.. Smart guy, well dressed, good at public speaking, clean cut. Fits the mold. The two of them started at the company at the same time. I feel like I've seen it a ton- the people who sit and wait for promotions move much slower than those who forge their own career

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Nov 14, 2017

It's not a perfect comparison, but I'd argue it's still loosely true. The technical/soft skill axes receive different weights than for bankers, but quants get grouped into managers and non-managers like everyone else.

Most 20-year individual contributors haven't consciously chosen that life. There's one in my group, and he acts exactly as described in the OP. Frickin insufferable.

Nov 16, 2017
cloutape:

I think that this is an interesting concept, but it may not be applicable to all fields of finance. I can definitely see how this could be related to roles such as IBD or Sales where employees are valued based on how well they can obtain/maintain relationships, and a Chad who is smooth with girls will also likely have good social skills. Being able to hold a conversation talk persuasively is a great skill to have, no doubt.

That being said, I don't see how this would be related to back office/quant work or even trading for that matter. There are specific performance metrics for those roles and it is pretty black and white as far as the value you add to the company.

It may sound a bit snowflakey, but I don't think that there is reasonably one personality type that is destined to succeed over others. Different roles require different people, and a lack of career progression could be more of a bad fit in regard to the employee with the actual position rather than just being "freind zoned" by your job.

Don't agree with this sentiment, back office is still cliquey and likeability/social skills beats hard work/knowledge when it comes to promotions.

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Nov 14, 2017

Indeed. I think aside from careers with well laid out progressions and tracks (e.g., Accounting, Banking, Law, PE and Consulting) it becomes a bit hazy as to your upward progression. At f500 companies, what I've seen is that if you're generally decent at your job, you are very likely to keep your job at that position for as you want to be there, subject to downsizing or the corp dev team selling off your division ;P

I think most folks don't have the drive to get up to mid management and beyond and are perfectly content with a senior financial analyst role in terminus. The others that you mentioned above are either not that good aptitude wise (they really don't have the talent or disposition for a management role), or perhaps aren't applying themselves correctly.

The thing I always found strange is why some stay at the same company for a decade when it appears the event horizon is not going to happen in terms of a promotion. Jumping ship and taking a bit of risk could have easily broken the plateau in their cases, all else being equal. Interesting discussion as always :)

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Nov 14, 2017

I'd like to chime in with the story of Dom Barton, McKinsey CEO for those of you who don't know him. Guy failed 2 times before being promoted to Partner. The difference? He took a closer look at himself, corrected all that he was doing wrong, refined his consulting qualities, and gave it another shot. Most people don't bother to do that. If you can't do that, then don't complain about not being promoted.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

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Nov 15, 2017

Spot on. Too many people blame others for their own mistakes / faults. It's rampant in this no responsibility culture.

Nov 15, 2017

OP, great post. I'm a huge fan of analogies and metaphors, and I think this hits the nail on the head. Nicely done

Just goes to show how everything in life is connected. The dichotomy people make between their work life and their personal life is an illusion. The same fundamental principles almost always apply

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Nov 15, 2017

Great post - 100% agree yet not immediately obvious.

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Nov 15, 2017

Excellent post !!

Nov 15, 2017

Great post. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you're also implying, you have to be "cool" and charismatic to keep moving up. Is there a way to learn that coolness and charisma?

Nov 15, 2017

much of it is in some form of the following

  1. Be Attractive
  2. Don't be Unattractive

This is being facetious, though I imagine it couldn't hurt :)

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Nov 16, 2017
alpha_q:

much of it is in some form of the following

  1. Be Attractive
  2. Don't be Unattractive

This is being facetious, though I imagine it couldn't hurt :)

The number 1 rule of everything in life! haha

Best Response
Nov 16, 2017

I don't think you have to be Brad Pitt to keep climbing the ladder. I think it's just basic stuff. Take a look at people in senior roles. There are always exceptions, but generally you will see a few things:
1) They are not grossly out of shape. Sure, you will often see a pot belly, or a typical well-fed "rich guy stomach", but you will rarely see executives who are obese (huge in the face, legs, arms, fingers, etc)
2) They wear clothes that fit. No baggy, wrinkly shirt. No pants that are too short or too long.
3) They know basic grooming. They brush their teeth, brush their hair, they smell neutral or good, they wear clean, un-faded clothing.
4) They know what to do with their hair (head and facial). Rarely in executive leadership will you see a haircut that makes you think "Do they actually think the look ok in that?!". Sometimes you have to let the baldness win and cut it all off, or cut it short and end the poor excuse for a comb-over.

Again, there are always exceptions where you see some buffoon in senior leadership. But what I mentioned above are simple things anyone can do, no matter how attractive you are. It's not about being attractive, its about being self-aware. Notice in my post above, I never said that the "friendzoned" guy is ugly.. Ugly guys get the girl all the time.

Charisma is tougher. Some people are born with it, most of us have to learn it. It's all about confidence, which can be built and grown. Building confidence in one area spills over to other areas.. Toastmasters is a great example of something that can help build confidence and charisma

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Nov 16, 2017

Thank you! That all makes a lot of sense.

Nov 17, 2017

This post reminded me once again of just how weirdly similar one's career and love life are.

For example, the similarities between getting a job and getting into a relationship with a woman are uncanny.

Nov 17, 2017
Entrepreneur Hero:

For example, the similarities between getting a job and getting into a relationship with a woman are uncanny.

You shave your entire body before job interviews too?

"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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Nov 17, 2017

Yep, to prep for that drug test

Nov 17, 2017
dan_yo23:

Yep, to prep for that drug test

Yes, its always a tough decision to cut the rat-tail to get rid of evidence of illicit drug use. Sacrifices must be made.

"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

Nov 17, 2017

Depends on the job.

Nov 17, 2017

I agree, in part.

Look, it's always helpful to have confidence, be able to take advantage of opportunities, be able to talk to people, build relationships, etc. Which is too bad for some people, because many jobs, when distilled down to their essence, don't really require any of this. And the personality types/brain functionality that makes for a good math PhD might not make for a very personable or relatable person. However, having those things will always help your chances in life.

Like others said, it will depend on the job too. If you are a math PhD, you're going to be in demand and likely always employed unless you're a truly horrible person to be around. Even then you might still be. If you're good at something, that's really what maters in the end. The soft skills just make it easier. Solution? Try to develop both.

Conversely, there are a lot of smart people doing very interesting jobs and making a lot of money that are nowhere near the "top" of an organization. One might argue Lloyd Blankfein is at least a standard deviation less intelligent than the average person on the exotic derivatives pricing desk...but will any of them ever run GS? Probably not. The only ones that might will also have people skills, soft skills, or at least a "fully developed" mind. There will always be a division of labor according to what sort of skills you have, what you're naturally talented in and what you've taken the trouble to learn beyond that. But, that means you can stack the deck in your favor a bit by learning skills on both sides of the spectrum.

And, of course, if you don't feel like doing that, there's no shame in making a lot of money with a hard skillset while having only entry-level people skills. Plenty of people make lots of money doing just that. But, what you don't want to be is someone with no skills, of any kind. In that case you will truly not amount to much.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

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Dec 25, 2017

Don't really agree with this. I feel like in Asia, loyalty is expected. And most people get promoted from within. Especially if you work for a major family conglomerate, they expect the next CEO to get an exposure to various parts of the business. There are times where they would hire a CEO (for a short period) to do restructuring but not really for the long term.

I do see that this can be applicable if you are still not a Director level as yet. But once you are there, trying to change the job every other year is not advised. In Japan, people tend to work for a single employer for a long period of time that they would nickname them (like for me if I worked in SMBC, then I will become SMBC-san).

Working long term with an employer also provides benefits as in that Asian companies don't really fire during the short term crisis to their long term employees. As a result, in Asia, esp Japan, people want to be long term employees rather than contractors (part time consultants).

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Dec 25, 2017
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