How to be a good employee

Jared Dillian's picture
Jared Dillian - Certified Professional
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,732

I've been writing for this site on and off since 2012, and while I don't work in the banking business per se, I work in a related field, and I've been lucky enough to have employed five great analysts over the years. So at age 43, and having been an employer many times over, I have a few insights as to what makes a good employee. I think WSO puts a bit too much emphasis on how to get a job, and maybe not enough on how to perform well in a job once you have it. So here we go.

Let me give you a few bullet points on my perspective as the employer, and what I'm looking for in a new analyst.

I'm busy. I am constantly putting out fires, and I need someone to make my life easier, rather than harder. That means:

  1. The money is less important than you think. I'm always willing to pay a little more to work with good people.
  • I don't have time to train you, most days. You have to train yourself.
  • I need you to make very few errors. Errors take up my time.
  • Time is the most precious resource. Making a mistake that eats up a huge amount of my time is really the worst thing you can do
  1. If you can get yourself to the point where you can actually take some responsibility and manage stuff yourself, even better.
  2. How you represent the firm is important. On the phone, with clients, or even if you're running around in bars at night.
  3. Don't look like a slob. Also, extra points for paying attention to your appearance.
  4. If I can't put you in front of people, you aren't much use to me.
  5. If you remember things that I might be forgetting, and actually anticipate my needs, you will become a much more valued employee.
  6. I don't really want to know about your personal life. Not only will I not ask, but you shouldn't tell me.
  7. Maturity beyond your years is a huge asset. It's discouraging to think that you're working with little kids.
  8. You might be the best banker/trader/whatever in the world, but if I have to spend 100 hours to get you there, it doesn't make economic sense.
  9. My personal life is way more complicated than yours. Kids, sports, pets, house, family, grades, college, wife, in-laws, etc.
  10. Make me look good, and I'll hook you up. 90% of bankers will go way out of their way to help someone who helped them.

This should give you some tips for dealing with someone who is a little older, who is a managing director. If I think back, I was probably a bit more high-maintenance than I should have been.

As for getting noticed, it's not hard to distinguish yourself. Don't feel like you have to flap your arms and jump around to get attention. Your contributions are valued. If you do want to have a discussion of what a good job you are doing, best to do it in a very subtle way.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I'd love to see some input in the comments.

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Comments (24)

May 15, 2017

Point 7 is a hug bugbear of mine. If I ate a steak pie every time some intern or junior thought I was their own personal therapist I would be one fat motherfucker.

    • 7
May 15, 2017
  1. Don't Facebook or text your friends during work hours when you should be doing your job (distractions).

You'd be amazed at how many people I have seen lose their jobs, get bad marked on performance reviews just for this.

I get #7 too often, it's annoying and I am NOT their THERAPIST. If your life is miserable, don't bring it to work. I could care less. I want to know how to be good at the job and know who not to piss off.

All good points, nonetheless.

    • 2
    • 2
May 16, 2017
<span itemprop=name>AZConq</span>:
  1. Don't Facebook or text your friends during work hours when you should be doing your job (distractions).

You'd be amazed at how many people I have seen lose their jobs, get bad marked on performance reviews just for this.

I get #7 too often, it's annoying and I am NOT their THERAPIST. If your life is miserable, don't bring it to work. I could care less. I want to know how to be good at the job and know who not to piss off.

All good points, nonetheless.

I estimate that this will be a very unpopular post from 9 AM EDT to 5PM CDT, but somewhat popular at all other hours.

(Look at the time; I gotta get back to work)

    • 1
May 15, 2017

basically, how to be a standout beta-male.
which is utterly depressing, depending on your perspective.

    • 16
May 15, 2017

Most kids nowadays would suck dick for the honor of being viewed as a beta male by a banker.

    • 2
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May 17, 2017
    • 1
May 16, 2017

Truth

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May 15, 2017
Jared Dillian:

I don't really want to know about your personal life. Not only will I not ask, but you shouldn't tell me.

Jared Dillian:

My personal life is way more complicated than yours. Kids, sports, pets, house, family, grades, college, wife, in-laws, etc.

lol

    • 12
Best Response
May 15, 2017

I strongly believe this is the biggest wedge between millenials and the old guard. Senior people give orders with no regard or respect for juniors' time, and essentially dismiss any possible thing that person can be doing (wedding, graduation, kids, doctor) and doesn't want to hear it. But God forbid the junior person dare encroach on a second of a senior banker's personal time! They have complex, important things to do like a (wedding, graduation, kids, doctor)! This mentality is outdated and is both the easiest and hardest fix to make banking more tolerable for analysts and associates to want to stay on with the organization.

    • 17
May 17, 2017

Rule #12: Pretend like hypocrisy is nonexistent

In other words, eat shit with a smile... #DoubleStandards

    • 2
May 17, 2017

My point exactly. The people who always bitch about "oh, I don't want to hear about your personal life" are always the same people who constantly tell you about theirs. OP doesn't really not care about others personal lives, he just would rather you not talk about yours so that he can talk about his more often.

    • 5
May 15, 2017

Thank you for the very enlightening post

May 16, 2017

This so true specifically these points below. The problem with many new analysts is the lack of self initiative. They should be trying to solve problems themselves first before asking questions, spending their own time learning, and please review your own work first.

"I don't have time to train you, most days. You have to train yourself.
I need you to make very few errors. Errors take up my time.
Time is the most precious resource. Making a mistake that eats up a huge amount of my time is really the worst thing you can do
If you can get yourself to the point where you can actually take some responsibility and manage stuff yourself, even better."

May 17, 2017

Yeah, yeah, I get it, you're a BSD, I don't talk to you unless you talk to me, I must do whatever it takes to make you happy and if I'll be good you will let me finish your desert, thanks. I'll PCA all of the above: "Don't be an ahole."

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

May 20, 2017

I have learnt that this is best done by two things:

1) as an employee; "never complain, if you don't like something, do something to correct it."
2) Always remember you are there to make your managers job easier not harder

May 20, 2017

Unfortunately you'll have to deal with us.
You can keep moaning about the low quality of the juniors all you want, it won't get any better.

If there is one thing that makes me proud of my generation, is giving a hard time to mid-career assholes giving fake advice.

    • 5
May 20, 2017

If a recent graduate can do everything in the original post at his entry-level salary and with a smile, what is the point of holding on to employees like OP?

    • 1
May 21, 2017

The best employees just do their job and mingle with upper management. The boss always knows who works and who doesn't.

May 22, 2017

This is a great post two points that stuck out to me are:
Regarding point 12- Don't Facebook or text your friends during work hours when you should be doing your job (distractions). Facebook or other social media sites should NEVER be part of your day on company time.
Now I really like this:
"As for getting noticed, it's not hard to distinguish yourself. Don't feel like you have to flap your arms and jump around to get attention. Your contributions are valued. If you do want to have a discussion of what a good job you are doing, best to do it in a very subtle way."
I'm glad to hear an employer reiterating what I've always believed about getting noticed in the workplace.

May 22, 2017

Hey pmordasov, the following topics might be helpful:

  • Investment Banking Analyst: 15 Things I Wish I Knew you want to be in 2-5 years time. Figure out where past analysts have gone and how. You can jump after ... 1 year, 2 yrs, or later- but realize it might get tougher later on. You will need to teach yourself how to ... I was writing an email to a fellow monkey who is about to start as an inves
  • From College Drop Out to Corporate Banking no personal or family connection to Florida- just on the pursuit to become a Financial Analyst. Phone ... calls from TWO different recruiters. One from a Financial Analyst position I applied to on my own in ... foreclosed on and I was told I would need to sup
  • Investment Banking Hours- What to Expect? better), and just random things that come up throughout the day." How to Handle the Hours Some will ... Investment banking analysts face long hours. While those hours vary, it typically comes out to about 80 hours ... build a 16-tab model with 11 different scenarios and 8 sensitivity tables to run statistics on how many ...
  • I hate the living sh*t out of my job as a current salesman. I hate sales with a burning passion. I need out. Please help. do a lot of small talk on sports and other topics to get the ball going. We take clients out to ... right away. Although I'm thinking about applying to just law school ASAP because I want to get out ... this. I really miss being in college and just talking to my peers in an analytical and intellectually ...
  • updated help needed within next few hours for crafting next WSO success story y to show the big guns that I am quite knowledgable and skillfull and possess the overall know how of ... thanks to a special assigment which I took on solely and completed it. I can say with ease that I have ... are in a problem to find the right person from within FO and are starting to invite people for ...
  • Unbelievable! Detailed WSO Success Story: How I Broke into Equity Research immediate feedback to what I was doing because the analyst was willing to help me out and saw that I was ... came in at 7 and nearly 3 hours after my shift to ask if I could shadow them, help out on projects, use ... calculate this), and I hope I can pass on the love. And so, I want to describe how
  • UG Recruiting Part I: How a resume becomes an interview a multi-part series on how the whole process works to help the prospective monkeys better navigate the process, ... hopefully with a higher degree of success. Lets start with the first time a bank sees resumes. HR takes each ... offers. So of the 75 resumes, 1-3 will actually get a FT offer. To give yourself the best shot, it helps ...
  • More suggestions...

Calling relevant professionals! @Augustin-Hisse @dgc12345 @parkerspider

I hope those threads give you a bit more insight.

    • 1
May 22, 2017
May 22, 2017