Hi WSO, long time stalker, first time poster.
As you level up in your life and career, have you ever gotten any shit-tests from anyone and how do you learn to take them under your stride as you continuously climb the corporate ladder/accumulate more things you want in life?
I'm asking on a forum because I'm not sure where else to go for this life advice and, being a community of investment bankers/aspiring investment bankers/ambitious finance dudes I have no doubt you would have experienced this sort of thing in your lives too.
Last year I did a management consulting intern at one of the big4 accounting firms. Where I am, everyone wants to get into this particular big4 because its reputation for having the best 'culture' (ie least amount of weird dudes) and no one gets an internship unless you are extroverted/incredibly charismatic/6ft/white/love sport/natural leader etc. idk maybe just a Sydney thing.
Anyway, I was the only one in my group of friends and periphery that got into this firm, so naturally I got a few shit-tests along the way. In particular however, during the time i was working there, there was this one friend that wouldn't stop passively telling me how bad it was to work at a big 4 (crap pay, bad hours, it's not law/IB/MC etc) despite the fact she'd never worked there before. I mean, everyone that's ever wanted to work in a reputable company at the top of the industry knows these things, but what hurts is that she wouldn't say it to my face (like for example she would say it really loud to our friends so I would hear), and would literally only shut up only when I admitted 'yeah the hours are shit, yeah the pay's not as good' as if she wanted to hear it from me multiple times. She also kept telling me she 'knows a guy in audit(?) at the same firm who tells her how he hates her job there'.
It also hurts because this friend was (not any more) really close to me and i genuinely cared what she thought of my decisions - like i would tell her things about my dating/sex life that no one else would know. Because it looked like she was beating me down for my life choices, my confidence during this internship and in life in general sunk to rock bottom because it felt like i was making some terrible life choice.
This was a major factor (there was also a super toxic 'throw you under the bus' intern but that's another story) which really brought down my ability to confidently communicate during the internship, and eventually negatively affected my performance and resulted in a 'non-offer', despite the fact I was the hardest worker, I got along with everyone, and was generally the least stupid intern there (my grad buddy and manager coach told me this lmao)
She later admitted after a talk a month ago that she deliberately did these things and she was 'sorry and didn't know how it affected me'. Well thanks b***h I didn't get an offer at a job i actually liked because of you. She's really good at playing the victim like that. She's not dumb either, but holy jesus does she have to be SO INSECURE.
Since then I used the big4 internship to springboard me to a clerkship at a top-tier law firm and have a graduate offer lined up a better place.
But now I'm worried that as I climb the ladder there will always be people like that just trying to shut me down, including my closest friends. Has anyone had similar experiences and if so, do you have any life advice? I'm really ambitious both in my life and career so don't want to ever get let down like this ever again, but at the same time don't want to be a lonely dude.
tl;dr got beaten down by jealous close friend for having better career options, lost my graduate offer because of it, now very bitter please help
EDIT: too many comments to respond to but I just want to say thank you all for this advice - silver bananas 4 every1. Yes i 100% agree i deserved the rejection and i'm super frustrated because i know i could've done better. My well-meaning peers (parents, friends) taught me to avoid these situations by just quitting ("if it's so unhealthy why are you working there?") but I feel I really needed to hear 'the other side' i.e. these knowledge bombs about not being such a snowflake, to start pushing back and ruthlessly cutting haters out of my life, no matter how close. I hope this thread helps others too.