How to deal with that associate??

Hello everyone,

I am currently intern in a small boutique and I have some issue with an associate. I would like to have your opinion about his behavior and if you can tell me if it's pretty normal in the industry or not. If it's not normal, how can I deal with that guy?

The team seems happy with my work but every day I have a tight feeling in the stomach, I am really stress right now, normally I can manage the pressure but for me it's kind of too much at the moment.

I like what I am doing, I've learning a lot so far. I want to work in M&A for few years before to start my own business. M&A is for me, the best way to learn how to work fast, hard and efficiently.

Some facts / examples:

(In reality there are many more)

Micro Managing

1) Every 30 minutes he is asking me ''what are you doing right now? When are you going to be done? Can you work faster?'' And if told him that I am going to be done in one hour but in fact i am done in 90 minutes he is going to tell me ''why did you tell me you'll be done in 1 hour? Why are you lying?''

Anger

2) Once, he was checking my work in live (I was doing some valuation on excel) and he get fucking angry because I was not using the short cut he told me something like ''what the fuck is wrong with you? why are you not using the short cut? We have a lot of work, don't waste time, understand?''

Mixed Messages

3) During the first day of my internship, the phone rang after 7 PM, then he told me ''reply, reply, quick, quick quick!!'' So I replied. The following day, the phone rang again after 7 PM, I answered and after the call he told me ''Why you answered the phone? This is not your job, we have other shit to do ok?''

That Graph...

4) Last week, the MD asked me to add a graph on a pitch, I had 5 minutes to do the job before he was leaving for his meeting. He told me to do something very fast and without the company template in order to be in time. Once I get back to my desk, the associate questioned me about what I was doing:

Him: ''what are you doing for the MD?''

Me: ''a graph for xxxx, he is leaving for his meeting in 10 minutes''

Him: ''what graph?''

Me: ''a graph about xxxx for xxx company''

Him: ''you can to use our company template for the graph, understand?''

Me: ''he told me to do something very fast, he is leaving now''

Him: ''you should always use the template, otherwise your work is shit, now tell me where you put your file, so I can check your work in live''

Me: ''I just started, I did not save anything right now, I need to do something very fast, please let me finish my work...''

Then, he was still asking me question about that graph!! Finally, I was late...

VP vs The Associate

5) A VP asked me to do a memorandum and he gave me some specific instructions for the template. Few hours laters, that associate asked me what I was doing (he was not involved in that deal at all), he asked me where did I save the file and then he checked my work.

Him: ''seriously, why are you not using the template?!''

Me: ''because xx (the VP) told me to do like this''

Him: ''No, you always need to use the template, understand?!!''

Him: ''what why that slide is like that xxxxxx?''

Me: ''because the VP told me to do like that''

Then that associate went to see the VP and started to blame him for not using the company template.

MD vs The Associate

6) Today, I made a mistake. I was done with a pitch. Then, the associate asked me how many pages I had. I said ''X'' but when he checked, it was ''X+1''

Him: ''why you told me that it was N?!''

(I was looking for the file at that time to see and fix my mistake by adding another slide ''comments'')

Him ''look at me when I am talking to you, what are you not looking at me?!''

(I looked at him like 2 seconds but they came back to my computer to open the file)

At that time, I saw the MD got up and came back to our desks. Then the MD said to the associate: ''Calm down! What are you doing? We are not working like that, ok?''

More Anger...

7) When he is talking to me, he is always angry (I also see that he was also talking like that to the secretary)

Thank you guys!

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Comments (45)

Best Response
Nov 15, 2017

its obvious that you go complain to HR and the MD who told him to calm down. and then talk to him 1 on 1 and tell him you're only human. if all else fails, get your best buds and mug him on the last day of the internship.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Nov 16, 2017

This is wrong. You're an intern. You can't complain.

Unfortunately, there are these people in finance.

You just need to take it and be super professional. Your only hope is that other people will notice how hard you're trying and what a dick he is. You can also try to ask other people if you can help them on their projects... that way you get exposure to other people besides him and form relationships away from him.

Sounds like a total bastard.

Nov 15, 2017

Delete - never mind

Nov 15, 2017

deleted

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Nov 15, 2017

work on your grammars too

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Nov 15, 2017

LMAO HAHAHAHAHAHA

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Nov 15, 2017

ooo burn

Nov 15, 2017

not offended even found it funny hahahah

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Nov 16, 2017
ostrich:

Work on your grammar* too. It's obvious he's French and English is his second language you Viet Cong tunnel rat.

Rippeddddddd

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Nov 20, 2017

The tunnel rats were the American/ANZ soldiers who were fighting the Vietcong, dude

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Nov 20, 2017

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Nov 21, 2017

Holy shit that made me spit up some coffee. Not one for the offensive remark, but it was fucking hilarious nonetheless.

Nov 15, 2017

i had to deal with something similar...try not to let it get to you. Be a rock, and try to not get flustered under pressure...just think of it like a test of your calm under pressure..

Most likely, that associate will not last and they will leave or get fired.

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Nov 15, 2017

Seems that this guy is pushing it a bit too much so do not take everything personally. The best solution is probably to speak to him 1 to 1 at some points but in the meantime here are some advices:
- Underpromise, over deliver. This is basic. If you are not 100% sure to be done within an hour just tell him that you will be done in 1h30 / 2h. If you finish your tasks earlier than this it will look good.
- Try to ask him for some advices as he seems to be really focused on shortcuts / company template / etc. And definitely use this company template. Not much to loose but you are also not risking getting him pissed off.
- Take some Excel courses on the side if your hours allow it (Wall Street Prep excel crash course is actually golden) so that you get quicker on Excel, this will always serve you going forward especially if you want to work in M&A
- Overall, you need to learn from your mistakes. Now you know that this guy is super focused on being efficient / following a certain methodology. Make sure to use this going forward for him to be happy
- Try to get staffed on projects with other people. This way you will make sure that the real problem is his behaviour, not yours. If other people complain the same way you are (i) either in the wrong firm or (ii) doing a poor job and you need to fix that
- Take some initiatives to show him good will. This can go a long way. I had similar experiences in my team (I work in a Bulge Bracket) and once you have proven yourself your life becomes way easier.

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Nov 15, 2017

No, that's not normal behavior in the industry or otherwise. Arguably not a ton that you can do as an intern, especially at a boutique, but at least it's just an internship. I'd suggest that you find a couple minutes to talk to him to let him know that you're working hard to improve, that you're trying your best and that you would appreciate it if he could be a bit more understanding. Not a comfortable conversation to have, and not saying I would've been bold enough to bring it up, but it's probably the right thing to do.

Hopefully he realizes that he's being unreasonable and unnecessarily abrasive and gets nicer either because he feels bad or respects you for bringing it up. Alternatively, it's entirely possible that this behavior continues

For what it's worth, most people in banking aren't like this and people like him tend not to survive for long. On the bright side, this is just an internship (i.e. not that long) and you'll undoubtedly walk out with much thicker skin. I realize it's easier said than done, but try not to let it bother you. Just do the best you can and focus on getting a full-time offer somewhere better.

Nov 15, 2017

I don't know....it sounds very similiar to my old shop. I'd say that the worst part of banking is not even the hours. It's the fact that there are a lot of people like this associate. Maybe not at every place, but too many people have terrible associate stories on WSO for this not to be normal behavior in a lot of places.

Nov 15, 2017

Real sorry you have to deal with this individual. Maybe it's just the group I've worked in, but I've never had an associate/VP like this, and I'd like to think that this is not representative of the industry broadly. You will not last very long if you're abrasive and combative. Not only is it poor for morale, but it also hampers productivity when you are hovering over an analyst/intern

Some of it could be perspective. Sometimes the issue could have less to do with you and more to do with his specific situation. Perhaps he is under a ton of stress from his superiors, and he is taking it out on you. Perhaps he isn't leadership quality. Perhaps still he is going through life problems, or worse, has bipolar personality disorder or thereabouts. Speaking to the associate 1 on 1 may be of some help, at least in terms of effective communication. At first blush he seems quite strange in my view.

Truthfully, this is quite the untenable situation, but I wouldn't let it get you down. The one thing working in banking will teach you is intestinal fortitude and will make you thick skinned (along with the usual attention to detail, endurance, and presentability qualities that are sold for an analyst position). Life is far too short to worry about what some individual is doing or saying. Letting things bounce off, not taking them personally, and pushing through with a positive attitude is half the battle, and will allow you to maintain your sanity as you move forward

There are assholes in every wake of life., with banking being no exception. The upside to your experience is that you'll find your future banking forays to be quite a degree more pleasant :).

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Nov 15, 2017

Don't worry. He won't last long. Picking fights with the VP and getting disciplined by an MD? Sheesh.

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 21, 2017
My Name is Jeff:

Don't worry. He won't last long. Picking fights with the VP and getting disciplined by an MD? Sheesh.

Probably this. Guys like this tend not to last long. Start looking for a better company.

Also, feel free to fuck with the guy any way you can think of. Just don't get caught.

Life is not fair, and now you are unfair too :D

Nov 15, 2017

Such is life in french M&A

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Nov 15, 2017

Idk about you guys but no associate is going to treat me like that lol... flat out. I get that you're just an intern though. Having respect for yourself goes a long way.

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Nov 25, 2017

Thank you guys for your help!

Nov 16, 2017

Imagine if he never give you feedback and then fire you at the end for not getting up to speed. That is something I would do to fire my associates.

Nov 16, 2017

Save his frantic emails and speak to HR. This guy clearly has emotional issues.

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Nov 16, 2017

Frankly, I'd ask him point blank what the f his gd problem is. Or just ignore his stupid questions/comments until he punches you or sth. What a moron.

Nov 16, 2017

This just leaves me with questions.

How much do you care about working there?

If you get a return offer do you think this is going to stop?

If this person made associate they obviously have someone who liked them enough to hire them in the first place. There is no guarantee that HR or your group leads are impartial. In fact, they might not care at all.

That MD you saw pull them aside? He probably delegated the hiring to a VP in the first place, there is a good chance he couldn't care less who his associates are. Worst case scenario, you end up complaining to someone who likes this associate. If you were at a larger firm I would see things different.

If I were you I would settle for finding some passive aggressive way to annoy them just for laughs while I look for a new job.

Nov 25, 2017

1) I don't really want to work here. Moreover, it's a small company, they usually don't hire interns.

2) I don't think so

3) Yes and then that associate stopped to be an asshole for few hours

Nov 19, 2017

Very common scenario. Do not try to "deal with him", in the sense of retaliation. Thing is, the Associate's behavior has nothing to do with you personally. His ass is clearly on fire because he's probably scared out of his wits to get slammed by the VP and/or MD for your mistakes. Most likely a 1st year promote who's hasn't adapted to having "leadership" responsibilities piled on his roster.

Bitching to the management about his behavior will accomplish two things: One, it's going to make you look like a wimp. If you can't handle a petty Associate as an intern, how will you handle sadistic pressures of megalomaniac MDs when you're a full-time Analyst?

Two, it will make things worse between the two of you and it might burn bridges with the guy. As the wisdom goes, "Don't spit in the well - you may need to drink from it one day"... You may not want to work for this company again, but who knows where this guy will be in 5-10 years?

Your best bet is to ask him to grab a beer with you, or whatever, and talk over your problems & concerns. In my experience, if you have an issue with a co-worker the optimal route is to settle it this way. In a neutral setting. You should NEVER involve the management on presumed personal mistreatment. It's unprofessional and ends up backfiring. Bring them only serious issues that have the potential to compromise the team, project, or the company. It's all part of the learning. Bonne chance.

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Nov 19, 2017

+1 SB. Well spoken. Inter-personal communications, in fact, is something many people do not understand quite well.

No job, employment opportunities will be "smooth" sailing. Identifying key points that can be worked out between coworkers (team wise) will make the work flow better.

Nov 20, 2017

Tell him your dad runs Fixed Income and you'll turn him into a career-switcher faster than he can say EBITDA

Nov 20, 2017

That guy is a piece of shit. That said, you are only an intern. Put your head down, grind it out, and hope to get a return offer. When/if you're full-time, you can address this.

Nov 20, 2017

Got to love all the advices on the grammars...

Nov 20, 2017

OP,

You're in a fake bubble. Just weather the storm, and fake it till you make it. It could get worse at a new place in a new internship, etc. Just weather how many more weeks you have, and be nothing but diplomatic and presidential.

All these people in that industry are fake. Just be the fakest.

Nov 20, 2017

@French_Farmer", I really hate to be that guy, but most of these are not results of the associate being an asshole, but they're just results of you needing to improve. Hopefully some helpful criticism can serve you well.

  1. You need to manage expectations better. If you know an assignment will take you 15 minutes to complete, tell the associate you'll have it done in 20. By promising the assignment in an hour and then taking 90 minutes, you're telling the associate that you cannot manage time. This is a red flag for analysts.
  2. The associate taught you something and you not only disregarded it, but you disregarded it in front of him. Don't do this. Take the time to learn the shortcut and save yourself some time.
  3. I'm not sure what you mean by this.
  4. I'm taking a guess here, but I assume the associate doesn't trust your work. The reason he's riding you is because you've demonstrated in the past that you cannot perform error-free work and therefore wants you to stick to templates. I apologize if I assumed incorrectly, but if my experience in IB is anything like yours, this is probably the case.
  5. This one puts you in a tough bind. I think what you did was correct (the most senior banker's choice of format always wins), but again, I the associate is probably on your case because he knows if you make an error, he will be the one the VP yells at. Try to go back and see how often you're making errors and work on that.
  6. Ya, the associate should have handled this better and came across like a massive asshole, but normal people don't get this mad after just one mistake. Again, I might be assuming incorrectly, but I'd venture to guess that this page count mistake was just the latest in a long series of mistakes, which is what angered the associate. He's probably tired of getting yelled at for your mistakes.
  7. If I've assumed incorrectly in my previous bullet points, feel free to ignore my post, but if you're anything like the SAs I mentored (I left IB after two years as an analyst, so I never was an associate), you're probably making careless mistakes on a regular basis and are getting upset when the associate tries to help you. This creates a situation where the associate gets yelled at my his VP because your work is error-ridden and where the associate has to constantly check your work (i.e. he wastes a lot of time that he could be spending at home). I hope my reply isn't too harsh, but this is what I'm getting from reading your post. Good luck.
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Nov 21, 2017

OP, associate is probably a douche but no use focusing on what you can't control. Make an effort to be more efficient and try not to make any mistakes. If he gives you commands that are inconsistent with what he said before just roll with the punches. It's just an internship and you need to get through it

And on your last day, when no one is looking... take a dump on his desk

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Nov 21, 2017

Fuck that guy. He is an insecure prick. I judge people by the way they treat people below them and this guys is obviously a piece of shit. As other have mentioned, the best would be to just suck it up and grind it out till he end of the internship.

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Nov 22, 2017

(Please excuse all typos and grammatical mistakes b/c this is informal writing)

I'm not in finance now, but you are going to get an asshole boss sooner or later, so it's better you got one on an internship. So, now you have a new skill you can add to this internship experience- how to deal with a difficult boss /coworker and still come out smelling like roses. You're an intern, so you have no leverage and you have minimal value added.

Many posters gave great advice, but just ignoring it or eating it, or people telling you its only temporary is just not a palatable solution or helpful in the least bit when you're in the thick of it. Working with others mitigates the effects of idiosyncratic critiques and can save the reputation of your performance, but if it's really you and not your boss then this move will cement your reputation as an incompetent intern, so just be sure you're sure.

Kill hate with love. Marcus Aurelius's stoicism is golden in this type of situation. I use it all the time in really bad situations. Write out a little 10 point bullet list of your boss's worst offense and say them out loud: "He will do all of them today and every day and he will look to cause you pain and misery. He enjoys being an asshole and he especially enjoys stressing you out. Today you will not let him win."

Your boss is not a bad person, but probably has issues or deficiencies or is under the gun in other areas of his life, and an intern is a perfect stress ball- no offense. If you say something like this right before you go into the office and right before you come back from lunch it changes the psychological framework of his abusiveness. It's no longer a shock, it doesn't disrupt your rhythm or take you out of your zone. Now it's expected, and you have a calculated counter for it. Once you've taken away their power, you will begin to enjoy dealing with unpleasant people, having unpleasant conversations etc.

I'm sure a part of the satisfaction for him is that you obviously don't like it and can't really handle it, and he knows an intern better not say jack shit, except "Yes Mr. Miagi!"
I know the stoicism thing sounds like some flim-flammy Dr. Phil BS, but trust me, this is Jedi level shit that turns assholes that terrorize into roaches that you don't step on out of empathy. The stoic's counter is a bona fide leadership and salesmanship skill that you will use again and again in M & A and definitely as an entrepreneur.

FYI be careful with under promise and over deliver. If you begin to give deadlines that are too far off he will still equate that to incompetence. Better to find a way to maximize efficiency without losing accuracy.

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Nov 22, 2017

My dear,
I have 23 years of experience. I referred a guy I know outside work. somehow after he joined work, his behaviour was exactly same as you described. I was a Director, well respected in industry and in my firm. From experience, immature people with intense inferiority complex show this behaviour. You and me are not showing this behaviour because we are confident, caring, smart and hard working. Keep doing the great job you are doing. Let the harsh words,looks or body language don't discourage you. HR defined harassement as any thing that
prevents you to do your job in optimum level. If this " monster" is doing this, be bold and bring it up with HR.

BTW I did not tolerated the behaviour from the collegue. I brough it up with notice of my manager and he is no longer with the firm.
Take care

Nov 22, 2017

Wow I thought I was bad as an associate. This guy doesn't sound real. Complain to HR. Make sure they have it on file in case something really bad happens with this guy. What he's doing is abusive. This isn't normal behavior by any means. If you don't have a formal HR department then speak to the general counsel or whoever handles recruiting and FINRA registration and such. Back before 2010 or so this wasn't unusual behavior from associates but nowadays they can't get away with stuff like this. Banking has gotten VERY soft and it's frankly ridiculous but it is what it is and he can't behave like this towards you so you have ways to fix it. If you need more advice let me know and am happy to help. I had an issue like this with an analyst who thought I was being too aggressive and as a result I was on the receiving end of a complaint, but it was mainly bc the analyst was a lazy POS. In your case, as long as you're being intellectually honest and working hard or at least at a satisfactory level then this treatment is unreasonable and unnecessary on the associate's part. I am sure he has issues with others as well if he's like this.

Nov 24, 2017

You are an intern, suck it up and wait till you finish your internship. If you wanna join this firm then suck it up until you get an offer and after sometime as an analyst speak with this Associate, if he keeps this behavior then speak with the MD about it.

Dec 2, 2017

Take it outside. All "personal" problems should be handled externally, away from the professional space. Coffee break or a drink will do it.

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Nov 15, 2017

Hello ostrich,

Thank you for visiting WSO.

I have had to remove your post quoted below as it violated our WSO User Guidelines as inflammatory.

"Work on your grammar* too. It's obvious he's French and English is his second language you Viet Cong tunnel rat."

Thank you for your time and cooperation.

Sincerely,

@flying_snow"
WSO Moderator

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Nov 25, 2017
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Nov 26, 2017
Nov 27, 2017