Learn some manners

I don't post that often but was compelled to do some given the current cunt epidemic I'm seeing across the finance industry. For context, I worked across IB / PE / VC, and I've classified a*le behavior in a couple of categories:

1) Bad Karma cunts

  • If you ask a senior person for advice, time, referrals, coaching, don't forget to say thank you. I can't count the number of people who don't even show appreciation.
  • If they contact you 5 years down the line for a favor, don't ignore them. I probably helped place 30+ people in top funds and companies over the years. At least half didn't respond to a request for help / general questions. In one case, a person trashed me in a reference call to a company (because working at an aggressive competitor firm, where I placed them). I once asked for an intro to a friend of somebody I wrote an MBA reference to (and got in into HSW) - they declined ("I don't do intros"). There is an epidemic of ungrateful a*les.

2) Arrogant cunts

  • If you work at a top firm, and you talk to somebody at a 'lesser firm', don't talk down to them or act superior. I used to work for a pretty average IB, and lots of PE/VC guys really talked down at me ('forget about this industry, you're not qualified, your school sucks, etc.). Finance is a very small world. I've closed any business opportunity with those guys, who bombarded me with requests as soon as I joined a 'better firm' and I go out of my way to make sure they don't get business with us or any of my companies. The ONLY excuses for being arrogant is if the other person is, or if you're a truly self-made achiever and have fuck you money (working at Goldman doesn't mean you own Goldman, you're just another employee).
  • HR people can particularly be clueless when rejecting people. At least in 2 instances (consulting firm, and a big PE firm) HR was super dismissive and gave no feedback after at least 10 separate interviews. One at another firm made a (verbal) racist comment. I'll remember this forever. I really wish I could post that guy's name and destroy that racist fuck, but I hold those firms responsible for hiring such idiots.
  • Treat all of your colleagues with respect - unless they are disrespectful with you first (then it's fair play). I've seen people lose opportunities, and funding opportunities because of bad references. Nasty behavior can catch up with you in a bad way many years after the fact.

3) Emotionally clueless cunts

  • It's so common in a business setting to see those types trying to get as much info as possible, without giving anything or even asking what the other person needs. It's never a zero-sum game, we're not machines.
  • When colleagues leave firms (unless they're getting fired for bad reasons), go talk to them and wish them well. It is part of your own brand and the firm you represent. One of my prior employees was furious when I went to a competitor, proceeded to ghost me, and generally left a really bad taste in my mouth. Instead of making an ally and figuring out what went wrong and taking this as feedback.
  • If you don't answer my messages or some urgent request for months, then don't expect me to reply asap to your requests. You need to be good at maintaining relationships. 

I'm done for now. Partly ranting, but I hope this serves as a reminder that we're all human beings with dreams, aspirations and facing our own struggles in this world, and we're not machines. 

What have you experienced yourselves?

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Comments (25)

Nov 19, 2021 - 10:06pm
  • It's so common in a business setting to see those types trying to get as much info as possible, without giving anything or even asking what the other person needs. It's never a zero-sum game, we're not machines.

How can a junior employee implement this? I find myself often asking for help from more senior employees. How would I go about "giving back" ?


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  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
Nov 20, 2021 - 12:10am

Latch onto the good seniors who do what the poster mentioned, give less time and attention to the shitty seniors who do the opposite. It's a self fulfilling prophecy, those that do as the poster mentioned end up more successful anyways typically.

Nov 20, 2021 - 10:06am


  • If you ask a senior person for advice, time, referrals, coaching, don't forget to say thank you. I can't count the number of people who don't even show appreciation.

Also, a more nuanced pet peeve of mine.  Ask for a favor. Don't say "thanks in advance".... Let me do it and then you can thank me afterward like a normal human being who does not feel entitled to the favors of others.

Nov 20, 2021 - 3:00pm

the only thing i would change in what you said is that even successful bootstrapped entrepreneurs and the like don't deserve to be arrogant, arrogance is not a virtue in any and i mean any person no matter their accomplishments.

Nov 20, 2021 - 4:05pm

Great post - world would be a far better place if people followed this, but we all know some folks make finance their entire personality and that always leads to arrogance when they get a job at a bb/eb.

  • 1
Nov 20, 2021 - 7:13pm

All of the points are true, but I have seen the last one the most (likely due to not begin in the industry too long). Far too many people treat life as a zero-sum game, and will go wildly out of their way to spite someone. I know people who have done SA, recruited somewhere else (due to fit, hours, pay, etc) only to have people from their old firm excommunicate them from everything. This is finance where everyone plays musical chairs like fucking crazy. At the end of the day it is nothing personal. Live and let live.

Nov 22, 2021 - 3:04am

100% don't think people realize how small PE/VC/IB is. I have not been around very long and routinely run into people. One lender we borrowed from in 2019/2020 ended up joining a different platform and lending to us again in 2021...except this time he had a senior role.

Most Helpful
Nov 26, 2021 - 1:52pm

"Finance is a very small world. "

Not just finance. In any industry, the higher you get in the ranks, the smaller and smaller the pond becomes. And if you climb that career ladder by crapping on the people on the rungs under you? They'll remember that when they climb up to the same level as you or higher. But thankfully the flipside is also true. They'll remember the helping hand that reached down to them to help pull them up. And when it comes to doing business between the crapper and the helper, guess which one's going to have to explain to their higher ups about how the "slam dunk deal" fell through while the other gets to talk about how their harder deal managed to come to fruitiion?

  • 4
Nov 26, 2021 - 4:03pm

Glad someone posted this. Hopefully someone will reflect on it and change their mind, or set good habits if on a newer path. 

Rarely is it zero sum and even more rare for someone to stay in a single place for their whole career (so if you're inclined to assign value to people strictly on employer - be careful). 

We truly don't know what other people are going through 100% of the time, even if you're close. So, being good or a positive influence or responding with a thanks or no thanks or some basic feedback even, human decency and compassion goes further than the effort it takes to be kind. 

Hope everyone's having a good holiday! Thanks for the fun threads.

Nov 27, 2021 - 3:08am

I've always wondered if those who trash their direct reports/people who work under them get their karma over the long run. Does that really happen?

Don't take me wrong, I want it to happen. I think bad people deserve bad long-term prospects, but not sure if that's true majority of times. 

Nov 27, 2021 - 5:27am

The really clever ones don't need to trash - they find ways to either be neutral ('great guy' and nothing else) indirectly point to flaws ('Great guy, I guess he could need coaching on xxx") or get somebody else to do the trashing (oh you should speak to XXX, they worked closely together). Direct trashing is just dumb and there is 0 upside in trashing somebody. 

Some bad karma I've seen:

- Giving bad references to a potential employer (happens a lot, I did twice, not really out of vengeance but more to save some trouble to the employer in question)

- Blocking somebody's deal (Of course they retaliate eventually so you have to weight pros and cons here)

- Investment bank losing an IPO because MD used to be a douchebag to a friend of mine.

- I also ended up being the boss of somebody who used to be a cunt to me. That person will never make partner as long as I'm in the organisation. Just a matter of time until they leave.

Bad karma: It doesn't always come back to your face, although the world is increasingly interconnected so I think it's going to happen more and more. Many industries have 'people reviews' - at least in VC, every investor gets rated by informal founder groups. But the real damage is the absence of good karma. The more senior you get, the more it's about your reputation and you need it to work for you.

Dec 3, 2021 - 3:41pm

Can't be too explicit because it would be so obvious for that person to spot it - but it was basically telling me that people not "like me" are a better fit in this firm. VERY EXPLICITLY.

It was verbal so of course, I have no evidence. I would have been arrested if I had punched him (which I considered for 15 secs). My career would have been over if I had sued such a big firm publicly, which is really how people in the industry get away with sexual harassment and discrimination. I thought of 'outing' that person now that I'm much more senior, but then again, risk of getting sued myself because no evidence...

Dec 4, 2021 - 3:51am

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