MD Asked to Bring Him Olive Oil during Meeting

Dear Fellow Monkeys,

Just wanted advice on how to solve this issue. I've been tasked many personal/assistant matters like today, getting pulled to a meeting just to bring olive oil possibly for their lunch and I'm aware of what an analyst job might entail a lot of times. I've been doing a lot of those tasks including HR, IT, administrative assistant, and fully in charge of coordinating meetings for all partners on top of underwriting, working through transactions and syndication. Just wanted to hear from you guys if this is even worth speaking up. I'm at a boutique cre lender and currently the only analyst here.

Thanks for your insights.

Comments (41)

Mar 18, 2019

Keep complaining and next time you'll bring me the vinegar too.

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Mar 18, 2019

You should probably bring the oil unless you want him going in dry.

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Mar 18, 2019

A real hitter would have already had the olive oil waiting

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Mar 18, 2019

A real hitter would have a selection of infused oils to choose from

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Most Helpful
Mar 18, 2019

There's a reason you're not at Blackstone, and it's not because of your Tier 23 undergrad institution; your MD was testing you and, unsurprisingly, you failed miserably.

There is a ton of fraud in the olive oil industry and he wanted to make sure you're able to sniff out the real stuff from the fake. In short, are you a man of culture or are you just another derelict interloper importing yield curves from Chatham Financial? Well, you answered that question with this post. If you were worth your weight in salt you would have at least pulled up data from the North American Olive Oil Association and made a quick purchase at Oliviers & Co on Lex, but here we are instead.

Look, the lesson here is that you need to be more detail-oriented. Those kids who have history degrees from Harvard and still end up at BX, KRR and Carlyle aren't there only because their parents paid egregious sums of money so the crew coach could get them in the "side door". Rather, they've been trained from a young age to know the difference between Olio Taibi Nocellara del Belici and your run-of-the-mill Whole Foods 365 "Extra" Virgin Olive Oil. This isn't a trivial matter, so you'd be wise to do some research next time you're presented with such an opportunity.

Get it together, man.

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Mar 18, 2019

When the line between satire and plausibility gets blurred - tells me we're probably reaching a market top. Lolz.

How I passed all the CFA Program exams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DUdnYkojtk&t=37s

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Mar 19, 2019

this made my day

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Mar 22, 2019

This is an interesting response. However, is the MD choice at this institution such that they are not able to deduce a person's "culture" well before hiring? When do these "tests" end? I get the underlying process, but imo this has the air of superiority mixed with inferiority, that strange mix so often evolves into something toxic.

Mar 23, 2019

I think it's important to disginguise between certain things that may make the decision more clear:

How is the MD with you on a normal basis?

If they're truly mentoring you, giving you opportunity to learn and grow, and seem like they genuinely care about you as a person THEN ask you to run an errand infrequently then it's not so bad. It's very different to hear, "Hey.. do you mind getting me this? I totally forgot." Versus, "Hey Analyst you get me my olive oil now."

"Life is like a song, you are supposed to dance while the music is playing."

Mar 26, 2019

I ALMOST DIED LAUGHING IN CLASS

Mar 18, 2019

This is easily the top post of 2019 so far.

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Mar 19, 2019

Agreed, not even close.

Mar 18, 2019

Well I think you said it yourself... You're the only analyst there. That has its pros and cons for sure. Do you guys have an admin to do that stuff?

Although it may be true that the best value/use of your time Is to focus on underwriting or deal-related execution support, it is at their discretion how your time on the job gets spent-they are paying for your time.

If you truly find yourself in a place where they're not letting you work on deals (and so you're not learning) and you're just doing admin stuff then I think it would warrant an honest discussion. Otherwise, hang in there. No one is too good for any task.

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Mar 18, 2019

Are you the guy that had to get coffee for his MD during his internship last year?

Mar 19, 2019

C'mon, that's a VP task

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Mar 18, 2019

Not quite

Mar 18, 2019

.

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Mar 19, 2019

Either tell him to fuck himself and be prepared to walk or acquiesce to his exorbitant solicitations and be prepared to suck it up. I'm not sure there it another choice.

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Mar 19, 2019

As a serious non-joking reply....

Personally, I wouldn't be putting up with that bullshit. I'll come in early and stay late to work on a package, getting an application out or doing actually analytical/underwriting work done. But I'm not gonna be your admin or office bitch and fetch you coffee/lunch/olive oil or make sure your schedule is clear.

If shit like that keeps happening, it's not going to get any better. If you don't like it, then I'd get a year of experience under your belt and then start looking for other opportunities.

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Mar 19, 2019

Second this - start burning the midnight oil looking elsewhere before you get used to being someone's concubine

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Mar 19, 2019

couple random thoughts

  • you're not above admin duties, so check your ego (though it doesn't sound like you have one)
  • don't let people walk over you. if you fetch coffee, use that as an excuse to speak to your MD about something. "hey, I noticed in that meeting you needed the olive oil, blahblahblah happened, what was that meeting about?"
  • be assertive, if you feel you're not getting value add stuff, ask for it when you're delivering coffee or whatever. "hey, I noticed jack douchegriffin got staffed on XYZ deal, any reason I was overlooked?"
  • be busy "can you bring me coffee?" could be answered by "can it wait a little bit? I'm working on this thing but should be done in 15 minutes" it will make your MD get the sense that his bitch work is not priority number one
  • always treat yourself too. if you get him coffee, you better get something for yourself out of it
  • scheduling should be offloaded onto a secretary. if they have an admin, I'd pass that off, saying "hey, I'm working on XYZ project so I gave the scheduling assignment to Kathy if that's alright"
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Mar 19, 2019
thebrofessor:

- always treat yourself too. if you get him coffee, you better get something for yourself out of it

Gave you a SB for the post, but I'm picturing OP chugging expensive olive oil to prove a point and cracking up

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Mar 19, 2019

Jokes and Leveraged Sellout-esque trolling aside, this is good advice. There is some "paying your dues" in any entry-level position. That said, if it's excessive, start looking. And, always be fighting for your job. They hired you and are paying you to do finance things, not be the olive oil fetcher. I'm still morbidly curious to the backstory on this. Hot sauce, barbecue sauce, you know normal condiments I can understand. Olive oil? For what? We're having a 5 course Italian dinner with antipasti in the conference room?

How I passed all the CFA Program exams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DUdnYkojtk&t=37s

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Mar 19, 2019

Now go home and get your shinebox.

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Mar 19, 2019

That's some bullshit, and honestly why everyone at an entry level should avoid shitty uncultured small boutique like firms. At least at a bigger firm, you have HR by your side...

Anyways if you don't like it, and don't listen to the guy who said you're not above admin work, yes you fucking are, I would start looking for other opportunities. If not, do the errands while looking pissed, so they know you don't like it.

On your way our shove a dynamite up your MD's ass rhetorically. While I don't condone burning brides, if all your burning is a pile of deadweight wood masquerading as one, go one ahead.

Ty

Mar 19, 2019

Who hurt you?

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Mar 19, 2019
Pierre Ortiz:

That's some bullshit, and honestly why everyone at an entry level should avoid shitty uncultured small boutique like firms. At least at a bigger firm, you have HR by your side...

Anyways if you don't like it, and don't listen to the guy who said you're not above admin work, yes you fucking are, I would start looking for other opportunities. If not, do the errands while looking pissed, so they know you don't like it.

On your way our shove a dynamite up your MD's ass rhetorically. While I don't condone burning brides, if all your burning is a pile of deadweight wood masquerading as one, go one ahead.

hmm, curious. why is he above admin work? I'm not saying he should be the MDs bitch, but I am curious why he might be "above" a certain task, once in a while? what's your logic?

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Mar 19, 2019
thebrofessor:
Pierre Ortiz:

That's some bullshit, and honestly why everyone at an entry level should avoid shitty uncultured small boutique like firms. At least at a bigger firm, you have HR by your side...

Anyways if you don't like it, and don't listen to the guy who said you're not above admin work, yes you fucking are, I would start looking for other opportunities. If not, do the errands while looking pissed, so they know you don't like it.

On your way our shove a dynamite up your MD's ass rhetorically. While I don't condone burning brides, if all your burning is a pile of deadweight wood masquerading as one, go one ahead.

hmm, curious. why is he above admin work? I'm not saying he should be the MDs bitch, but I am curious why he might be "above" a certain task, once in a while? what's your logic?

Presumably because he had a job description he responded to when he applied for/was hired for the job, and it didn't involve "fetching things for MDs"?

And fetching olive oil isn't even admin work. It's an asshole power play on the part of his boss. I agree with Pierre Ortiz, if you stoop to doing it, don't bother looking pleased about it. This happened to me earlier in my career (coffee, no olive oil) and in all fairness to my VP, he pulled me aside later and thanked me, told me he knew it wasn't my job, but someone effed up ordering coffee and he just needed to fix it. If that is what ends up happening, then its water under the bridge and a one off thing. If not, it's a work environment this guy needs to bail on immediately. And make sure to throw his MD under the bus on the way out.

Mar 19, 2019
Pierre Ortiz:

At least at a bigger firm, you have HR by your side...

HR is on the side of the company, not you

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Mar 22, 2019

HR is on the EMPLOYER side, NOT the EMPLOYEE.

Mar 19, 2019

I probably would've went out of my way later on to buy him a personal bottle of Olive Oil to gift to him, just so that I could tell him to his face,

"There, now you never need to ask me for Olive Oil again, and I can spend my bandwidth on more cost effective stuff".

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Mar 19, 2019

Maybe 'Olive Oil' is a code name for a hooker. It worked for Popeye....

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Mar 21, 2019

I don't work in Real Estate but have had a similar experience. Worked at a startup Hedge Fund where as an Associate (Associate was the lowest rank here under Analyst similar to Equity Research) I was asked to do admin tasks.

It does suck but I think it's important to approach it from a rational view. My personal situation was that I had a good resume and chose to come to that firm because I felt that the Head of the firm had "it" and that learning from him would make me a far superior investor. The other assumption was that as the firm grew, I would no longer have to do those tasks as others would be hired and take that stuff over. Both of those assumptions played out and I believe that I am in a significantly better position than if I had not sucked it up and done it.

I will say it also helped that the founder was cognizant that it was a bunch of shit tasks that I was overpaid to do and when requesting it of me would ask nicely which is a good touch. But he also had that personality.

So those are the questions I would ask yourself. I would also ask yourself what % of your time is dedicated to such tasks. If it's 5% or less then does it really matter? At that level, it's not even taking away from your learning as you can tack on another 5% of your time from your personal life to move up the learning curve.

Basically I'd ask yourself whether this is primarily bothering you from an emotional perspective and then remove emotions from the equation and do a cost-benefit analysis as to your options and what the right move is for you. Focus on what you can change and not on what you can't.

As an aside, I also know a guy who used to work at a massive, brand-name hedge fund who would routinely be asked to get breakfast for the founder and not be compensated for it (this founder had probably a mid 9 figures net worth). This guy bitched about it for years after but my viewpoint was always that if that is the only task and it takes you 10 minutes a day then you should just adjust for that in your analysis. As in, they aren't paying you X but X minus that breakfast and you need to work not Y but Y plus that time. I understand that it's stupid and bs but I believe that adopting this mindset will allow you to cut through a lot of the bs in this industry and focus on what matters.

Mar 23, 2019

Maybe I'm not cut out for this industry but if I was ever asked to feed an executive on my own dime I would find a new job, and state that as my reason on the way out. You have to draw a line somewhere or you lose all dignity as a human being.

Mar 25, 2019

Agreed, I was on the same page as everyone here saying you arent above an occasional admin task but getting your boss lunch everyday and being left to the foot the bill is ridiculous. Have a bit some self respect.

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Mar 21, 2019

If all you are doing is getting olive oil I would leave and tell them it would be more cost effective to hire a waiter.

Mar 25, 2019

Regarding having to do 'admin' tasks outside of your normal job description, I think you have to be flexible, but they can go too far. In a bigger company it shouldn't be so bad (but always be prepared for it), but in a small company, it's inevitable that you'll have to do quite a bit of it. Usually due to the simple fact that there simply is nobody else in the firm to do it so tough luck on you.

If it's an occasional task here or there, refusing it might be seen as a sign that you're difficult to work with. Most people will do things at work that are not strictly part of their job descriptions and get along fine. If you're the one that suddenly says no when everyone else is pitching in, that might not go down well.

But I have seen admin and outside of job description tasks go too far:

1) I went to work at a very small REPE in a role that was described as an investment analyst position. Got there and almost everything I was doing was various corporate admin, even had to get very involved in the audit and various other tasks. Ultimately it turned out that >90% of what I spent my time on was not what was originally told to me and were just tasks that should have been done by a very low level accountant or secretary. Ultimately I found a new role and resigned because in a company this small, there was no chance of having the admin be done by someone else.

2) Another small company I worked at (boutique IB), brought on a recent graduate with a quantitative undergrad + masters from a very top institution (think Harvard/Cambridge). Initially they were meant to do financial analysis type work, but then one day the company's accountant quit and the CEO made this person (with no accounting background whatsoever) to start working on the accounts as an 'interim' solution. The poor kid had no choice but to comply, but as things didn't improve and they kept doing that work, this person ultimately resigned to do something else.

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Mar 26, 2019
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