HELP: Sticky Situation with Boss

Hey guys,

I know this sounds a little weird but I'm in a really tough spot at work and could use some advice.

I'm a second year analyst at an EB in NYC, and have just recently started working in person again. The office wants to keep most of us at home for COVID reasons, so it's currently just me, my VP, and my MD.

The trouble started 2 weeks ago when my MD came back to the office during lunch with Arby's sandwiches for the three of us. It was a pretty basic sandwich (ham and cheddar I think) so I didn't want to be rude and say no. However, it tasted horrible and I did not enjoy it. My boss kept asking me if I liked it, and I wanted to be polite and said something along the lines of "It was absolutely delicious. I had no idea Arby's was so good." My MD is a pretty serious guy, and I wanted to stay on his good side. In hindsight, I sold it a little too hard.

It turns out my MD is a massive Arby's fan, and has been brining in these smelly sandwiches every few days for us to "enjoy." I can't stand the taste of them and the smell is horrible. My boss has used this as a bonding moment between us and has started calling him and I "the Arby's boys."

My stomach hurts, my breath smells from these sandwiches, and I seriously think I'm putting in weight. How do I get out of this situation without making my MD hate me? It's honestly brought us closer, and I'm hoping to stay on as an Associate and don't want to strain our relationship.

Thanks for any help.

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Comments (131)

Most Helpful
Feb 28, 2021 - 10:07pm

I say you keep choking down the sandwiches. Maybe change the rest of your diet to anticipate having to eat one for lunch every day as far as the weight loss. Getting to associate is worth the bad breath and stomach aches. Don't want to ruin the relationship. 

Mar 1, 2021 - 8:27pm

The only thing grosser than Arby's is destroying your career because you couldn't stomach eating a shitty sandwich. Also you probably doxxed yourself by posting on this website, congrats.

1.9 BILLION PEOPLE ARE FOOD INSECURE AROUND THE WORLD. Keep things in perspective - you're one of the luckiest individuals on the planet. Eat the damn sandwich. 

Feb 28, 2021 - 10:09pm

Haha... oh man is this seriously a problem for you? Ask him to bring something different, or go yourself and get something. Or go get something from another place and say you want to mix it up a little.

But if you were a real associate you'd use this opportunity to hit on him and move up the ladder.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Feb 28, 2021 - 10:22pm

Thanks for the quick reply. I've honestly always struggled with my confidence and have been a people pleaser for as long as I can remember. I'm going to try to work up the strength to tell him I don't like Arby's and suggest something like Potbelly, or Chick-Fil-A. I really want to become an Associate though because I didn't land a MF gig.

Feb 28, 2021 - 11:15pm

Thomas Pynchon

Every day we stray further from god

Actually the battle/war has already been won (in 33AD). We are just playing it out until the end. 

"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

  • 5
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Feb 28, 2021 - 10:51pm

Certainly a good guy no doubt. However, bringing in Arby's without talking to me first is a little presumptuous and makes me feel like a child waiting for his mommy to breastfeed him. Lol, as you can probably tell I'm a little socially awkward so this is a serious problem for me but I'll try to see the wholesome side to it.

Feb 28, 2021 - 11:06pm

Certainly a good guy no doubt. However, bringing in Arby's without talking to me first is a little presumptuous and makes me feel like a child waiting for his mommy to breastfeed him. Lol, as you can probably tell I'm a little socially awkward so this is a serious problem for me but I'll try to see the wholesome side to it.

My friend, if there's one career path where it makes sense to eagerly suckle at the tit of a higher up with good political capital, it's banking. People who are barely passable at their jobs are able to climb the corporate ladder by leveraging these types of relationships correctly. You've got an MD trying to form a bond here, suck up your personal discomfort and find away to make the man feel like his mentorship is welcomed and if anything actively sought out. I get being socially awkward, believe me, I've been told I'm probably somewhere on the spectrum myself. But this is a massive opportunity both personally and professionally.

Is this MD from the Midwest or South by chance? Because if he is, the gift of a bringing a coworker food should be seen almost as much of an indication of his approval of you as offering a his daughter's hand in marriage. A slight exaggeration? Perhaps. But still, I'd learn to like Arby's. Just my opinion.

Array

  • 9
Feb 28, 2021 - 10:29pm

Did you go to a target? Only reason I ask is my buddy at an EB had a similar predicament. Apparently they stick the non-targets with the more eccentric MDs. Long story short but apparently his MD called dibs on one of the stalls in the office, and was none to pleased when my buddy (again, non-target lol) was caught using his throne. 

I definitely would recommend a move to bulge. Lots more freedom and less potting with MDs, per se. Best of luck in the meantime, so long as you are not bottom bucket should have pretty good exit ops.

Cheers.

Feb 28, 2021 - 10:32pm

I honestly would have no problem telling the MD I didn't like it. You have to connect in different ways and put out in your work for the MD to show favor for you. I absolutely would not eat something I didn't want to. Maybe you could check out the Arby's menu for something different. 

"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

  • 3
Feb 28, 2021 - 10:34pm

Ok there is a very simple solution. Unless you are completely neurotic, there is something that Arby's has that you can eat. Like they have simple breaded club chicken sandwiches which are actually pretty good. Their plain roast beef is decent and it's definitely edible. Literally just do your research and find something that both looks like it is halfway decent and can't be messed up in a bad way like ham and cheese can be. Like I said I suggest either a chicken club or plain roast beef with no cheese. Ask for a side like curly fries or jalapeno poppers to mask the pain if you still don't like the sandwich, they're actually really good (I promise I don't work for Arby's). I can assure you your MD will take no offense to you asking for a different item off the menu, he'll just be happy you're still ordering from Arby's and I agree, it's safer to not risk anything and preserve the relationship. Not saying it's likely the relationship would be damaged if you were honest with him, but it's too risky compared to the above solution. Getting to eat lunch with your MD and VP every day (or at least on a regular basis) is a good thing provided they aren't totally dickwads and you actually use the time to develop legitimate friendships. Alternatively, you could ask him to get the Meat Mountain instead, I'm sure your taste buds and body will love it (disclaimer: please don't actually do this)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Feb 28, 2021 - 10:36pm

I really appreciate you taking the time to write this. It's been bothering me so much and I feel nervous to go into the office. I will give the menu another look and find something that works for me.

Mar 1, 2021 - 2:26pm

On top of this maybe go one time outside of work and try something you think you might like better. If it's more bearable than the ham sandwich tell your MD you tried the loaded Italian or whatever sandwich and ask for that instead. As stupid as it sounds, him seeing that he put you onto Arby's enough to eat it on your own could pull you guys closer. Maybe it even leads to a friendly debate about the best sandwich.

At the end of the day, even MD's are people too (debatably). Coming clean now shows you were just saying you liked it disingenuously to please him when he was trying to be human. Even the boss wants to be viewed as a friend in some situations and doing this shows him you only view him as an authoritarian figure and not a person. I could have completely missed the target, and maybe I'm letting my Sopranos binge rub off. But Tony (the boss) goes through this same internal struggle realizing people only view him as a boss and only suck up to him rather than a person/friend. 

Feb 28, 2021 - 10:41pm

You should feel lucky. 1st year analyst at an MM. I started last fall and made the mistake of eating a stinky Big Beef sandy for lunch during my first week. Ever since then my whole desk calls me "Meat Stick" and my VP keeps leaving ground beef in my desk drawer

Feb 28, 2021 - 10:54pm

Similar thing happened to me when I started. Recently made associate at BB. When I first started, I thought I was going to rip a silent fart which would be no big deal because mine do not normally smell. However, it came out pretty loud and a few people on my desk heard. This event spread like wildfire around the office. To this day, they still sometimes call me "sharty." I really hate it, but I do not want to stand up for myself (mild confidence issues), so I just laugh it off even though I do not like it. 

Feb 28, 2021 - 10:49pm

If you know what's good for you, you will eat those ham & cheeses until your veins fill up with grease. If you ruin what you got going here you can kiss your sweet little life goodbye and say hello to Fortune1000 CF

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Feb 28, 2021 - 11:05pm

Trust me man, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Making it to Associate like I did at an EB (think EVR/LAZ/PJT) gives you much more admiration from not only your peers but your bosses as well. I had a couple UMM exits but the comp wasn't up to par so I elected to come back and have recently been accepted to a top 5 MBA program. Please stick it out and continuing pleasing your boss, because you never know how helpful he may be down the road (mine got me my interview at HBS). Good luck.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 28, 2021 - 11:36pm

What program? I'm starting at Wharton in the fall. Coming out of a top tier target UG (non-ivy, but think UChicago/NYU) I was thinking about doing the BB to EB to MBA track but I actually got fast tracked for a promotion during my entry level BB gig so I stuck it out. Hard to say no to that level of money and respect at such a young age, am I right?

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 1, 2021 - 12:00am

Agreed, and much respect. I don't want to say too much and give away my personal life, but hedge fund aspirations (think citadel/point72), masters in finance are required at times. This is where the real money and often times the EB experience is best suited for making real money. Congrats on Wharton and good luck. Hope this helps

  • Prospect in RE - Comm
Feb 28, 2021 - 11:16pm

Hi there Analyst 2,

I found myself in a similar predicament not too long ago.  I used to work in CRE at an EB, and I quit because my boss loved going out for frozen yogurt Fridays.  I'm horribly lactose intolerant, but was shooting for that associate position.  I'd immediately leave the 16 Handles location by our office in a hurried panic, hoping I'd make it to my fifth floor restroom in my apartment 10 blocks away before it was too late.  I seldom did.  Not only did I ruin three pairs of JoS. A. Bank slacks, I developed a horrid case of IBS which my doctor says will plague me for the rest of my life.  Take it from me, that janky sandwich is not worth the associate.  Either opt for the salad or accept the inevitable.  I spent two months' salary on new suits but my bowels suffered far more than my pockets.

All the best.

Feb 28, 2021 - 11:32pm

Wells Fargo analyst here - I wish this was my sticky situation. Over the last few months we started picking blueberries for some coworker bonding initiative, and I never have time to shower afterwards before I get to the office. I smell like horse manure, and my boss won't stop sniffing me all day. He'll walk by my desk and try to get close enough to sneak a whiff of me, just fast enough so that he hopes I don't notice. A couple weeks ago in the beginning of the month he walked over to my desk, hands dripping in blueberries, and wiped it on my face. 

He insists that it's completely normal - I can't help but feel like it's absolutely insane. I would take the Arby's, it sounds like you have a huge leg up on your other coworkers outside the office in terms of establishing that relationship.

Funniest
Feb 28, 2021 - 11:39pm

I think there's a pretty simple solution to this. Find out which Arby's location your boss orders from. You're going to need to find the manager of the franchise and offer him whatever amount of money it takes for him to blacklist your bosses number (I recommend starting at $100 and slowly offering more from there). Once you get him on board it should be smooth sailing. The manager should relay the information to his employees and soon your boss will not be able to get a hand on those stinky sandwiches. The only factor that could ruin this plan is the MD's love for Arby's. If he really loves those meats for some reason he will 100% find another location. I know better than most, Arby's can be an addictive drug. From here you have a few options, but only one that I think will really work: you're going to have to contaminate one of these "Arby's Boys" sessions. I suggest absolutely destroying the sandwiches with some raw chicken, or something along those lines. Just enough to induce food poisoning but without seriously injuring anyone. Now this next part is really going to test your commitment to the cause - you need to go down with the ship to avoid suspicion. Once the Arby's boys are yakking in the bathroom stalls from their lunch I promise your MD will be open to other suggestions. Hope this helps. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 1, 2021 - 12:15am

I feel like most of these comments are sarcastic (which is fine you all have the right to free speech). I don't mind. But I would appreciate some serious responses as I have always been a little tepid, and struggle to interact socially with my peers.

Side note: can't believe how much attention this post is getting. Starting to get a little worried this will get back to my boss lol.

Mar 1, 2021 - 12:57am

It's really not a complex solution. Your boss clearly likes you if he's willing to initiate you into the arbys boys. As such, very simply 1) order something else 2) tell him you are watching your weight and can't eat that shit 3) just straight up say you aren't a true arbys boy. Though I wouldn't recommend taking it that far

Mar 1, 2021 - 10:31am

Honestly I understand what you mean and I can understand why you might want to speak up for yourself and work on those social skills...but this is a weird situation where I would consider just sucking it up and remaining in the Arbys Boys. I'm not saying if you confess to not liking Arbys you're gonna get fired or anything and nobody will fault you for honesty, but I do think there are 100% tangible career benefits to frequently eating lunch with your MD (even if its Arbys). You just need to find a better order I don't love Arbys but they do have some fairly inoffensive sandwiches as others have mentioned.

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Mar 1, 2021 - 10:53pm

Lmao bro this is such an easy situation to finesse. There will be at least one sandwich on the menu that you'll like. One up your boss and be the one to bring in arbys first one day. Tell him you wanted to surprise him and switch it up with some new items (maybe bring one ham and cheese just in case). Make some comments how this is your new favorite thing at arbys, and there you go. He'll be happy youre still eating arbys. 

Mar 1, 2021 - 1:15am

Tell him it turns out you're sensitive to gluten and lactose intolerant. Done. 

  • 1
Mar 1, 2021 - 11:03am

This is incredible. Had an almost identical experience with a MD that literally ate hot dogs every day for lunch. Hot dogs are one of the few foods I won't eat. I eventually just had to suck it up and douse them in hot sauce. But he took a liking to me and was responsible for my accelerated progression from junior analyst to senior associate. Whenever we'd travel to clients he'd always make it a point to find some exotic meat place. We had rattlesnake, bison, alligator, emu. Just wild. Turned into an incredible mentorship relationship though. Actually had dinner with him and his wife a few times, once I left the firm. He insisted I eat some insane steak and gravy combo then too.

The Arby Boys sounds like the best career advancement opportunity you'll ever have. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 1, 2021 - 2:32pm

Marsh Boy is a troll. No one with that name works there. I personally don't want to know the name of the Arby's boys.

Mar 1, 2021 - 2:45pm

honestly, brown-nosing has propelled the careers of so many VP's & even a few MD's in banking. Do not offend your boss. Worst-case, go to Arby's with him and select a slightly more appetizing sandwhich. 

As for your stomach, start taking probiotics right around each meal? 

You do NOT want to offend your MD.

Mar 1, 2021 - 3:27pm

Just say you're trying out a strict diet where you can't eat out as much anymore if you don't have the balls to tell him you don't like the smelly sandwiches. I wouldn't have even hesitated to turn that atrocity down, doesn't matter who it is/where he's at on the totem pole. He'd probably respect you more if you had even a shred of confidence. Say it to his face but don't be an asshole/ungrateful. You won't get dicked for not liking roadkill for lunch.

Mar 1, 2021 - 3:32pm

Anonymous Monkey

Hey guys,

I know this sounds a little weird but I'm in a really tough spot at work and could use some advice.

I'm a second year analyst at an EB in NYC, and have just recently started working in person again. The office wants to keep most of us at home for COVID reasons, so it's currently just me, my VP, and my MD.

The trouble started 2 weeks ago when my MD came back to the office during lunch with Arby's sandwiches for the three of us. It was a pretty basic sandwich (ham and cheddar I think) so I didn't want to be rude and say no. However, it tasted horrible and I did not enjoy it. My boss kept asking me if I liked it, and I wanted to be polite and said something along the lines of "It was absolutely delicious. I had no idea Arby's was so good." My MD is a pretty serious guy, and I wanted to stay on his good side. In hindsight, I sold it a little too hard.

It turns out my MD is a massive Arby's fan, and has been brining in these smelly sandwiches every few days for us to "enjoy." I can't stand the taste of them and the smell is horrible. My boss has used this as a bonding moment between us and has started calling him and I "the Arby's boys."

My stomach hurts, my breath smells from these sandwiches, and I seriously think I'm putting in weight. How do I get out of this situation without making my MD hate me? It's honestly brought us closer, and I'm hoping to stay on as an Associate and don't want to strain our relationship.

Thanks for any help.

Easy situation, want a good career or great one? Workout, smile and eat and quit complaining about nothing.

SafariJoe, wins again!
  • 1
Mar 1, 2021 - 3:39pm

That is so brutal! You got to use some of these guys' advice.

btw: I went to a target school before landing a gig at a BB (think JP/UBS/MS). I then went to a top 5 business school (think HBS/Wharton), and then I leveraged my connections to land at a MF  (think Bain, KKR, BS).

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 1, 2021 - 3:55pm

Hey bud,

It's actually "BX" for Blackstone not "BS". You're clearly some troll who went to a non target. Have fun working at a MM bank squid.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 1, 2021 - 10:21pm

Have fun working at AN MM bank. Pls fix thx.

Mar 28, 2021 - 1:29am

Hahaha you wrote this almost like you read people describing how other people plug their backgrounds on this website and used it as a template lmao. WSO just doesn't miss

Dayman?
Mar 1, 2021 - 4:23pm

Think of your MD like Darth Plagueis, and you are Darth Sidious. He is the master, you are the apprentice. He teaches you the ways of the Arby, and you use your newfound power to overthrow him. You become the Arby Lord of the banking industry and find a new apprentice you can gift the knowledge of the ham and cheese to.

Mar 1, 2021 - 5:22pm

You need to start bringing in breakfast. Something like IHOP. Come up with a clever name for your new breakfast crew, like the Tri-Hop. The key here is to bring in so much breakfast food that no one is hungry for lunch. Boom - problem solved, no more Arby's. 

Editing - I thought there were three of you eating Arby's. Upon closer inspection, looks like the "Arby's boys" may only be two people. In this case, your breakfast crew can be Bi-Hop. 

Mar 28, 2021 - 1:17pm

Same

"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

Mar 1, 2021 - 7:17pm

"These sandwiches have started to wreck my stomach - I don't know how you guys do it. I'm not sure what it is, but for the sake of my asshole and everyone else in here I can't do it anymore."

Use hyperboles and embarrass yourself just enough. If you can make the other junior members with you laugh, the MD will laugh too; if they laugh, you've won.

  • 2
Mar 28, 2021 - 1:26am

The fact that this is your only comment on WSO kind of makes me think this could be real.

Dayman?
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 1, 2021 - 10:24pm

Hey, this is your MD. Buddy get the fuck off of WSO and get back to Excel.

You don't like Arby's. Do you think you'll like unemployment? No? Then shut the fuck up and shove those sandwiches up both ends and let me watch.

Mar 2, 2021 - 1:04pm

Start bagging your own lunch everyday, or just politely tell him that you are trying out a new diet so going vegetarian for a few months.  But the right thing to do really is to be frank with him that you don't enjoy it but appreciate his generosity.  If he is a good manager, he won't be offended.  But if he does get offended and that prevents you from moving up, you probably don't want to be working for him anyways. 

Mar 2, 2021 - 9:08pm

What if he's just messing with you to see how much sack you've got?

What if right now you're failing this test because you aren't standing up for yourself?

  • 1
Mar 3, 2021 - 10:26am

There is only one solution and it requires your full commitment. You have to go out yourself and buy Arby's for the boys every single day. You have to keep buying ham and cheese sandwiches and shoving Arby's down their throats until he is literally begging you to stop. You have to make the ultimate power move and out-Arby's your boss. He will hate to have to put a stop to something he started and was so beloved to him. But, it's the only way to put a stop to his madness and save your relationship with him. By the way, have you talked to your other coworker? How does he feel about the Arby's boys. Perhaps he feels the same way as you do.

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Mar 4, 2021 - 12:41pm

You missed PE recruiting and at this point you are stuck, you are in this job for the long haul and your MD has your career by the proverbial balls. I think your only option is to one up him and hope for a promotion. Unfortunately this is going to involve you ordering the Arby's Meat Mountain and finishing it before him. Best of luck. 

Mar 4, 2021 - 1:22pm

Are you kidding me. Grow a pair of balls and tell him you want to seat something else. Pretty sure Arby's has other things for you to eat as well!

Array
  • 1
Mar 5, 2021 - 9:13pm

"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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