Passive aggressive work place?

Hey guys:

Long story short... currently in a passive aggressive work environment, and it's impacting me personally. For a variety of reasons, can't leave this place in the short/medium term ( financially related reasons).

How can I make the experience easier for myself? Any tips on not being bogged down and angry?

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (28)

Feb 27, 2020 - 10:49pm

Start opening up and being more direct, others will follow suit

Money can purchase freedom, if you have the guts to buy it

  • 1
Feb 28, 2020 - 3:18pm

100%. Passive aggressive is particularly toxic. Aggressive happens all the time because business is aggressive by nature and all it takes is small failures of oversight for things to get too aggressive. In other words, aggressive can happen by accident.

Passive aggressive cultures don't happen by accident. It comes from insecure leadership at the top that surround themselves with sycophants instead of top performers. Since the sycophant middle managers were not chosen for their talents, they same insecure toxic culture carries to their level and they make the same kind of defensive decisions in terms of who to promote, what values to focus on, etc etc.

OP: sounds like you already know you need to get out long term. Short term, just keep your head down. Don't talk to others about it because there's nothing an office like that hates more than someone who questions the orthodoxy. Do your work and don't invest extra time in trying to grow there, and instead invest that time into finding the next role and/or developing your skills as needed to get the next role.

Feb 28, 2020 - 2:09am

Don't feed into the pettiness if you haven't already.

If you have a problem with somebody pull them aside one on one and kindly call them out on their bullshit.

People will respect you for it.

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"
Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Feb 28, 2020 - 11:33am

Don't feed into the pettiness if you haven't already.

If you have a problem with somebody pull them aside one on one and kindly call them out on their bullshit.

People will respect you for it.

Some terrible advice on this forum. OP, everyday there seem to be questions raised on this forum asking for advice in certain situations. Honestly, being genuinely considerate to people and staying focused on work is your best bet in every situation. If that doesn't work out, unfortunately there's not much you can do, but fortunately you know at least it isn't a place you want to even stay. This isn't easy to do, but it's better and safer than you trying to play games with them.

Feb 28, 2020 - 10:10am

When I put on my Ferragamo suit in the morning I imagine it being the verbal bullet proof fleckvest that is.

Sorry man - can't help other than to remind that Finance is really sometimes cut throat. Just treat people with dignity and respect, and remember when something unfair is tossed your side, that everyone has different stakeholders and not to take things personally.

Feb 28, 2020 - 10:55am

You will find a lot of passive aggressive - and outright aggressive - people in finance. At a certain level, you simply need to get used to it and understand how to deal with passive aggressive people. Sometimes it's building a relationship with them - sometimes it's firing back (although rarely and, i'll tell you, never do it up the chain) and others it's simply doing your work and then leaving the office to do something else. Treat your work as a job, and go from there.

If you don't already - find other hobbies. Make other friends. Don't make finance and your career the centerpiece of your life - especially if you have a work environment you don't enjoy.

The last thing you should absolutely do is start mapping out your plan - what about this is building your resume, are there any people you can learn from or build relationships with, etc. Putting things in perspective helps and, in most cases, there is some takeaway that will benefit you.

Feb 28, 2020 - 12:12pm

Best bet is to keep your head down and be impervious to the bullshit (even if you're faking it).

Sometimes this behavior is seeking a reaction. Don't give'em the satisfaction. Slowly but surely people will begin to view the passive-aggressive/aggressive individual in a dimmer light.

Not saying to keel over and die here. Wittiness goes a long way. Respond in a non-confrontational manner. Make the person sound and seem immature and idiotic without actually saying anything.

This is an art. It requires a lot of practice and control. I worked with a kid who had it down pat. It was amazing. He worked with ALL of the awful MD's that no one else wanted to work with. I had the privilege of observing how he handled it which did wonders. Look out for someone a bit more senior than you who seems to be coping well and copy them.

Feb 28, 2020 - 2:13pm

Modern corporate America is highly feminized, so almost every major corporate office environment is going to be an extremely passive aggressive one.

If you want to get away from "passive aggressive" behavior find a workplace where people are more active aggressive.

  • 1
Feb 28, 2020 - 4:38pm

If you want to get away from "passive aggressive" behavior find a workplace where people are more active aggressive.

Yeah this is the louder at times healthier version. Its like the loud Italian family that you know who is really loud and yells at each other, but the food is great and everyone gets along at the end of the day.

In a corporate setting, this enables accountability in projects as well as a united team to accomplish the mission of the company. Active (passionate) arguments strengthen people and teams if done in a healthy manner.

"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

  • 1
Feb 28, 2020 - 7:16pm

u can always leave to a better shop bro, always. start recruiting

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

Feb 29, 2020 - 3:06am

That kind of culture won't change - people are right, start recruiting. Understand you have financial reasons for not leaving but you need to find a place where you wont be driven in fear/anxiety by beta passive aggressive behavior. This isn't a culture which will change overnight and definitely won't change with you.

Depending on your relationship with your associate or VP, MAYBE bring it up but that is something you'll have to read into yourself and make sure its politically non-detrimental. Otherwise look for an immediate start lateral position and gtfo. That environment is not conducive to learning or getting better as a banker

  • 2
Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

August 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (36) $363
  • Associates (211) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (121) $152
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (28) $146
  • Intern/Summer Associate (102) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (450) $132
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (359) $82