PJT Partners Viral Email Finally Hits the News!

https://nypost.com/2020/05/19/wall-st-bosses-expe…

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas…

RIP to the VP that sent this email (and junior team).
Worst thing you can do for a bank is cause enough drama that the Nypost calls asking for a response from public relations.

Also LOL'd at this quote:

"The post has gone viral across social media, especially among those who work in banking themselves. On the forum Wall Street Oasis, the shared post appears next to a list of the week's most popular topics – among them "Dealing with Loneliness", "How do you deal with the stress", and "The Examined Life – Rethinking Career & Life Goals Post COVID-19"."

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Comments (89)

May 21, 2020 - 1:05am

If this is an isolated incident for that VP the bank is going to be understanding. Most senior people have had dozens of moments in their career when pressure and sleep deprivation got the best of them and they acted like a dick.

OTOH if a round of VP cuts was already coming, and/or if the individual was already known for this, different ballgame for sure

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May 20, 2020 - 2:00pm

Yes, but that does'nt mean we should reveal their names. Imagine the shame they will get once they are found out. The analysts will probably be invited on Ellen and tell their sob story of how they felt receiving that email. Then, they will get some money. Win win for analysts.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
May 20, 2020 - 1:26pm

This is so sad. This is national news now so I fear for th jobs of everyone involved. I really hope they are ok and have not been fired. Their bonuses will get cut in half now as well and they will be forever embarrassed when sending emails all their lives. Please pray for them...

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
  • 1
May 20, 2020 - 1:39pm

Only ONE person that will be embarrassed to send emails, and its not the one that leaked it.

Array
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May 20, 2020 - 1:44pm

Oh, are you saying it is the VP that is under fire? I really hope he is able to keep his / her job during these times...it's tough out there. Expecting to see an AMA from him shortly. I will try to help him out where I can.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
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May 21, 2020 - 11:27pm

Well you probably vastly overestimated the % of black people working for PJT lmfao

Array
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May 22, 2020 - 1:14am

I knew I'd get shit fromt this but it's a joke pointing out an uncomfortable reality. Plz don't be offended?

Array
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May 20, 2020 - 10:14pm

@WallStreetOasis.com" time to soak up some thicc backlinks.

  • 2
May 21, 2020 - 9:31am

Was starting to think the backlash on the VP was too hard (NY Post etc a bit much). But then I saw that 2nd email where the VP is like "what's your game plan" and "we need to be 120% focused" and now I'm just like ok let him fry lol. Nobody should be paid $600k a year just to talk like a bad movie football coach.

May 21, 2020 - 3:25pm

We have all pulled all-nighters, live deal or not. Not sure that's the point. Not sure "fair" or "WFH" is the point, either.

If there's a team, if everyone is on board, if there's a discussion of "hey, please leave your phone on, if I call" or "this is due, keep an ear open for a ping" or "hey, I know it's rough but this must be done tonight" or "ok, let's hear everyone's game plan" "let me know when you're logging off" without condescending, abusive, threatening language involved, then it's part of the job.

I think what's at issue here is the tone of the e-mail.

(Question: did the staff know they were supposed to let the VP know when they logged off? Were they told to expect comment and leave a device on for the ping?)

May 21, 2020 - 2:52pm

I've changed my position on this. Originally thought this was an MD and was thinking it made sense if it was a live deal with an immediate deliverable for the following morning, but this is just some dickhead VP.

VP's ARE junior team members. They should be in the trenches in those scenarios, not pulling garbage like this.

May 22, 2020 - 4:49am

in what world within finance are VPs officers of the firm? there was that giant debate about Fabrice Tourre and whether he was a Goldman Sachs "Executive" since he was a VP at the firm. lmao there are more VPs at any bank than any other title class. Officers file special forms with the SEC and have compensation disclosures and whatnot. VPs are not officers. VPs are mid level at best but for the day to day if you're a VP3 and below you're still a junior trying to grind it out on process while also trying to build up some of your own client relationships/take some names from MDs etc. but you're not senior. and for sureee not an officer.

Most Helpful
May 21, 2020 - 2:58pm

I have some thoughts, if you'll indulge me.
For the commenting Jefferies CEO, who came to his position in an era of "the extreme", did he not behave similarly back in the day? What's he recognizing in himself? Maybe he forgot. I could be wrong, but unlikely he rose to his position being a relaxed, understanding sweetie pie. I often find that criticism with emotion is evidence of hypocrisy, although quite often it's unconscious. It's great if the CEO is coming from a place of "let's change this, let's not be abusive to colleagues, employees – let's not put undue physical and mental stress." I hope so.
As an older professional, mom, and woman, I do find the excessiveness to be a level of abuse. Yes, you learn a lot working a lot in a short period of time, which has value. And yes, bankers are highly compensated…recognizing that you're technically doing 2 full-time jobs that are highly skilled (yes, Excel and PPT as part of the bigger picture of project that needs analytical capacity is skilled – viewed in totality, what you're doing is the purview of a well-educated, motivated, intelligent professional, which is quite valuable and should be well-compensated). So yes, you're working long hours, working hard, being paid – but the mentality of condescension, control in a negative sense is not right. Too many people are struggling mentally and physically.

This VP is responding from lack. Lack of power, lack of confidence. This is FEAR-based. Don't need a psych degree to see it. You know when you meet someone operating from stress, worry, friction, fear. Doesn't excuse it, but perhaps explains it. Unless we are all missing some bigger picture of the scenario here (which is possible, too).

He's at fault, but so is his manager and his management. He is not operating in a vacuum. I'm sure this is not his first rodeo, as a VP, and while maybe he's effective, people know how he's behaving. Why has he been allowed to mistreat (yes, it's mistreatment) his colleagues this way? Asking people for dedication, and their game plan is fine. Restricting their basic movement, intimidation (yes, it's intimidation), guilting, implying they shouldn't care for their basic needs (sleep) is nonsensical.

Even in an extreme situation, an emergency situation...the tone can be one of team collaboration instead. Easily. And it will be respected - it's not like the junior teammates won't respect the deadline because it's not conveyed in a reasonable manner. In fact they'd probably be more likely to not go to bed simply to not let a VP who leads and garners RESPECT (rather than forces) down.

Maybe the true scope of the situation is missing and we are all passing judgment wrongly. Not to excuse his behavior, but what undue stress is being put on this VP as well? Let's hope it's a harbinger of more realistic treatment of professionals in this business. My best bosses "PULLED" me to accomplish tasks, with encouragement and belief in me (even if unspoken, I felt it), rather than PUSHING me with fear and threat. I did my best work when I was treated great, and I rebelled when treated like shit.

It's just so obvious.

May 21, 2020 - 3:13pm

I'm willing to wager that you work in ER based on how you bold some of your sentences

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May 21, 2020 - 3:34pm

Can we nominate you to be the "Mom" of WSO? Read a couple of your comments and they are great. Thanks Shaynepunim. Following you now :)

Go all the way

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May 21, 2020 - 5:53pm
Shaynepunim:

Yeah, I guess that's me ; )
My MDs always used to laugh how nice I was to the analysts, and how I "managed" the MDs. It was my survival technique.

Survival technique that seems to have paid off!! I'm always in awe of kick ass women in the workplace - like my boss!

Go all the way

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May 26, 2020 - 10:38am

People like this are what make banking more bearable for some analysts.

Dayman?
May 21, 2020 - 4:09pm

I think I disagree on the whole abusiveness/damaging/surviving thing you are going for. Sounds great to write it up that way, but it really is an over sensationalized angle. Typing keys on a computer and dealing with shitty personalities through email... Eye roll. If it ain't your thing, move on. No one is forcing you to stick around and no one guaranteed us some false nurturing/coddled path to top.

You could debate this all day long, but for me it comes down to understanding you personal thresholds, navigating personalities, and communicating in the workplace. Basic social bullshit. Looking at a petty leaked email/screenshot of a private convo through social media... My guess is that the maturity level and social IQ of this analyst is beyond negative. If it isn't, he/she probably had zero intention of gaining this much publicity and was shooting for an ounce of the "woe is me" attention from whoever they sent it to.

How many times did they screenshot and tell all of their friends when this VP gave em the green light to enjoy their weekend? Zero. Doesn't sell the banker narrative. I would run out of fingers and toes if I tried to count the number of times analysts around me glorified the one week they spent under the gun and forgot to mention the other 51 weeks of the year they spent half their days deciding on seamless orders and cutting out 5 mins after their senior headed home. The minute the going gets tough everyone talks about it and starts slinging social media memorializations to let ppl know "they bank." I see you...

Won't even get in to the we should be lucky to have jobs at the moment argument.

Lame story. It is catching wind because we are all bored. That same email has been sent a million times across banking, law, and consulting gigs. Live deal? yup. During trial? yup. Project deadline? yup.

Nothing new to see here.

May 21, 2020 - 5:49pm

Sure, all that, too. Glad for your opinion and comments. Honestly. And as I mentioned elsewhere, we don't know the details - I don't think it's wrong to keep people up all night on a live deal. Who knows what the junior people didn't do that had been discussed, and maybe they were at fault. This is not about me, so telling me to "move on" and that no one is forcing me blah blah blah isn't really relevant. Anyone should be allowed to work in the field without "if it ain't your thing." Treating people like shit is nobody's "thing". Colleagues are not punching bags.

Coddling forget about and nurturing eh, not really. Never happened to me or anyone else I've ever seen. This case in particular sounds like the VP was up all night, was exhausted, and fired off a pissy e-mail. It's a great story on NY Post level, and we are all having fun with it.

Regardless, and overall: Abusiveness is not acceptable. This industry has far more than law or medicine, which also requires junior professionals and trainees to be up all night. Requiring intensive, grueling work and long hours is not abusive. Abusiveness is duress, inducing fear, and mistreating people. We all know it when we see it, and constantly pretending it's fine because you personally can tolerate it is not going to move the needle forward.
Stand up to bullying ; )

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020 - 3:33pm

Moelis be like:
"What an unethical thing to do! We respect and stick to a healthy number of hours allocated to our junior bankers!"

nose begins to grow

May 21, 2020 - 4:16pm

I personally hate WSO piling on hate all at once. it's really hard to self regulate ones own actions in these situations because there's no checks in place- things usually trickle downward and this is about the only feedback mechanism because analysts or associates won't call out shit of their higher ups because they're scared. this vp is clearly under a lot of stress and pressure himself and hasn't figured out how to deal with it properly- seems he's used to again piling it downstream. this has less to do with the individual VP and more to do with banking culture in general.

do people find 0 ways to manage their stress or figure out how to deal with the harsh problems in their life outside of work? not typical in finance- we should bring back the corporate credit card for strippers and prostitutes. imagine the relief these people would have If they could get a blowjob before sending emails like this. post nut clarity is the most effective solution in situations like this.

  • VP in IB-M&A
May 21, 2020 - 8:09pm

One of the oldest adages in banking is "the sh*t rolls downhill". These types of situations, while harsh in retrospective, unfortunately do happen in heated live deal situations. I am not condoning the actions of the PJT VP (I despise these types of mid-level bankers) and do not know the details of this deal situation, but thought I would offer some perspective

I've been on both sides of the table. I was once an analyst who continued on in IBD and am now a VP. I can relate to my analysts and associates because I was once in their shoes. I always treat them well with professionalism and respect and will gladly get into the trenches with them to help progress a deliverable if the timeframe necessitates it. I'm not above scrubbing comps or other menial work if it will help the team meet a tight deadline

I dont know the details of this situation, but in general there is a lot of added pressure for a deal team VP (or Associate) because they are at the crux of everything. Being the analyst in this situation can suck and you're generally pulling the longest hours. But analysts are generally shielded from a lot of the sh*t that happens above at the senior banker/client level

For the VP/associate the "time under tension" surrounding a big meeting can last a while.
They need to oversee the preparation and completion of the materials in a timely manner, ensure the quality is on-point, all while managing the expectations of senior bankers and the client. They are also expected to present the book in a clear and intelligent manner and field questions from the client on any of the contents (including trying to explain analyst errors that slip through that the client asks about). There are many places to f-up and who do you think the MD will blame first?

Take the above and layer on an intense deal situation where you aren't getting enough from your analyst team. I always prefer to use the carrot, but sometimes you need to use the stick

May 22, 2020 - 12:11am

New York Post: * gasp * * outrage * * impossible! *

Dan Pena:

"The beauty of me is that I'm very rich."

May 25, 2020 - 12:06am

"If you don't believe you can fck all night, then you can't fck all night!"

"The beauty of me is that I'm very rich."

May 22, 2020 - 2:06pm

The point you are missing is that there is an entire universe of analysts who have no problem with the way that VP phrased the email. Unnecessarily juvenile.... Relaxxxx. Just because you need some dedicated side call and therapy session to hold your hand and let you down easy, doesn't mean everyone else does. Amazing how people can take simple emails/text messages so personally and twist them up in to someone being a bully/jerk. I am sensing these types of comments are just using the platform from this email exchange to launch off on unrelated tangents/agendas.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

May 22, 2020 - 10:47am

This is a communication issue (on both sides). From my end, as the "deal manager"/"execution manager" - this looks bad on the VP - more so that they can't manage their resources effectively than the tone, which ofc is a bit tone deaf.

This could have been avoided by both by (i) analyst noting to the VP that they were logging off and (ii) the VP communicating that comments were incoming that night.

A simple email by the analyst "Do you intend on sending turns tonight?" would suffice.

I've always been a "wake-up" early and workout/early in bed person for work purposes and this has been well communicated to people more junior and more senior than me. I've never really had flak with superiors when running on deals, about logging off/going to bed at say 10PM or 11PM because they can trust that I'll be up and ready to make turns to work product (usually IC papers). Good VPs/MDs realize that its actually an advantage for their execution, because they can have someone working in a live version almost 24/7.

Its usually a quick conversation:

"Are you planning on sending your comments tonight?"
"Yes"
"Sounds good, I'll be up at 3/4 to review/make changes"

  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 22, 2020 - 5:40pm

Well considering that leaking firm emails is probably explicitly forbidden in whatever code of conduct he had to sign I'm not surprised

May 26, 2020 - 10:37am

Very sad that investment banking is still in many ways a culture of fear at the lower levels. Obviously don't see it changing any time soon and am a believer that people going into the role should know what they signed up for, but sigh...

Dayman?
May 26, 2020 - 11:48am

I'm a little torn as I think we're sort of burning the VP at the stake without considering other possibilities. I left IB as an associate, but I was a 3rd year and less than a year off of a "guaranteed" VP promote according to my MD. Most of us, myself included, have an immediate reaction of "oh what an unreasonable dick" because we're assuming his team was not aware that they were pulling an all-nighter. In that case, I think we are all justified in roasting this guy.

Now let's consider if he had a conversation with his team earlier "hey this is going to be an all-nighter, I know it sucks, but please make sure you're available." I doubt that based on the email we saw and even if his team was aware I believe he still mishandled it. I had that happen to me once. I knew blasting the analyst wouldn't help us meet deadlines so I just kept pushing and had a private conversation with the analyst after we had completed the deck. Turns out I had been the one who didn't communicate clearly and it was just a simple misunderstanding. He and I never had an issue again.

Also remember, you are moving as fast as humanly possible in some of these situations, and communication with your team can slip. That's why we stressed the importance of over communicating to new analysts. The VP could also have been blasted out by the MD and it merely bled over to the rest of his team. While that again is not good leadership, even VP's can begin to unravel under pressure from higher ups...they're human too.

I say all this because, we cannot expect empathy from others if we are unable to show empathy ourselves. It's easy to react with a "crucify him, burn him with fire!" reaction, but I don't think that serves to improve the industry anymore than the original email.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Oct 5, 2021 - 8:26pm

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
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