Pay It Forward

Jared Dillian's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,779

I distinctly remember a phone call I made to a managing director at Prudential Securities when I was in business school--I had cold-called him, done an informational interview in his office, and now, I was following up to see if I could get a full-time job.

He said no.

It was a tough conversation. I was dying on the other end of the phone, as I felt the door slowly closing on a career on Wall Street. I had a few other opportunities, but I sure didn't want to lose this one.

But I have to give the guy credit. I cold-called him and flew to New York (from California) and showed up in his office downtown, overlooking Governors Island. We had a great conversation. But Prudential didn't have much of a future--it didn't really have anything to do with me.

When I was looking for a job on Wall Street, there were a lot of people who went out of their way to help (to varying degrees) and will be forever grateful. That is why I always try to reach down and try to pull up worthy candidates.

I remember being in the position where I felt like I was the most talented guy in the world, but coming from a non-target school, it was difficult for people to see that. All I needed was a break. I was lucky enough to get a break. But to a certain extent, I made my own breaks. I called that guy from Prudential, on someone's recommendation. I called a lot of people. In retrospect, I can't imagine I had anything interesting to say. I didn't know shit. But all I was trying to communicate was that I could hustle.

It's harder nowadays. It takes more than just hustle. But hustle helps.

Over the years, I've had many, many young guys (and some girls) reach out and ask for help. The only people I say no to are people who blatantly ask for a handout without demonstrating any value in return. If it's someone I like but don't feel particularly strongly about, I will make a few calls and set up some meetings and let them take it from there. If it's someone I really do feel strongly about, I will stop at nothing to get that person hired.

That happened with a summer intern one time. I remember getting in a very public shouting match with people from HR over a guy I had on my desk for the summer. I wanted to hire him. They didn't. I got my way.

I'm busier than ever these days. Honestly, I really don't have a lot of time to be playing for college kids. But I do it. Because someone did it for me, and it changed the course of my life. I hope I never get to a point where I am so old and rich and out of touch that I forget to do these things. Karmically speaking, it's probably why my life continues to get better and better.

Mod Note (Andy): This post is a reprint from the January 25th edition of Jared's Daily Dirtnap Newsletter. If you'd like to read more, WSO readers qualify for a $100 discount to his Daily Dirtnap daily market newsletter...just email [email protected] and mention "WSO Monkey Discount". You can follow Jared on twitter at @dailydirtnap..

Comments (13)

Best Response
Mar 14, 2016

Very nice article Jared, it feels really refreshing to see there are still people like you out there. You belong to a small minority in finance.

After hundreds - might have reached a thousand - applications and networking that didn't yield anything over the years, I decided to give up. Throw in the towel. Chasing a job and devoting so much energy into it really takes a toll in your personal life on many different ways. And a LOT of missed opportunities in the interim. Don't want to waste my 20s looking for that dream job. Guess that's me saying I'm changing chapter.

This may sound very anti-WSO but: for a lot of people, giving up the search for that high-roller, high-finance job might be a very sound choice. What we need to recognize is that there are plenty of opportunities out there, we just need to recognize them first and figure out the right toolkit to grab them. Guess that's what sets apart a businessperson/entrepreneur (call it what you want) to the average employee.

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

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Mar 16, 2016

Why are you on this site still ? Out of curiosity

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Mar 17, 2016

Out of habit mainly (like for most people visiting forums), but also there's some decent content here and there.

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

Mar 14, 2016

Nice post. Out of curiosity, what kind of value do you expect a college kid to demonstrate to you?

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Mar 14, 2016

Bought my way in and now all these Ivy League schmucks are sucking my knee caps.

Mar 14, 2016

Have you and the Prudential guy run into each other since? It would be a very interesting meet-up...

Mar 18, 2016

It would be interesting. Never saw him again.

Mar 15, 2016


Mar 16, 2016

A month ago I just got my first break into finance (coming from an engineering background) from someone like you. This person mentored me for a couple of weeks before sending me to the interviews in order for me to have a greater chance of being accepted. It was a lot of work involved but it paid off.

In return we can only do our best to not make people like you look bad for giving us a break...

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Mar 18, 2016

Jared, What do you think about the current situation of the Business School at the University of San Francisco? Despite having a ton of outstanding MBA programs already in the state, you think that USF would be rising through the ranks due to its central location in one of the most innovative business environments in the world. Does it have the potential to one day become the West Coast NYU? ( looking at how it is centrally located in the actual city) Also what made you take finance, when you could have easily landed a job in a well known tech company back then when coming out.

Mar 19, 2016

I hope that there is more people like you out there

Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny

Mar 20, 2016

Glad to hear there's still people like you in the world that will stand up to the inefficient/effective beurocicy that is HR.

Mar 24, 2016