Sh*t-tests: How do you deal with negative people who try to bring you down as you rise in life/career?

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.

My story:
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.

Comments (38)

Oct 13, 2018 - 10:11pm
  1. Don't blame

  2. Don't worry

Just do your thing. Don't overthink how others may hold you back (in the vague future). Focus on what will propel you forward. Hone in on your core competency and the specific steps to get there.

"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
Oct 14, 2018 - 7:26pm

family friend, turns out she did the same uni course as me, our friends became close, so naturally so did she. she's also incredibly intelligent, street smart and driven; so from a transactional point of view she's been good vibes and good ideas to bounce off during uni.

but nah she's a 4/10 at most, but she dresses super slutty at uni to compensate. I feel bad putting her down for looks she can't change yet here we are and I don't feel so bad anymore. After she got her absolute cuck of a boyfriend she had the fucking temerity to say 'i've never had sexual thoughts about you' in front of other people in our group like it was some kind of unsaid thing. I can, and have consistently, done better.

Oct 16, 2018 - 10:08am

This woman has too much real estate in your head. She clearly has mental issues and is insecure about you doing better than her. Probably because she likes you but isn't confident enough about herself to communicate it so wants to bring you down to her level. Delet immediately.

  • 3
Most Helpful
Oct 14, 2018 - 6:04pm

Two things:

  1. Stay content- just because someone thinks were are better things out there, stay content with what you want to do. If you like the big 4, think the pays good, like the people, then work there. At the end of the day, a place will always have a better reputation, have better pay, and have better people. Figure out what you need, then get that.

  2. There will always be nah-sayers- You could cure cancer, end world hunger, and give everyone one the planet $5, someone will always call you out for not giving $6.

Oct 14, 2018 - 7:13pm

Yeah agreed, I definitely deserved to cop the rejection no questions asked. I just wanted to convey more emotion but really I'm just most angry at myself because I let this person get to me. Like I feel REALLY stupid for being this nice and just taking the passive hate on the chin like it didnt matter

I actually lucked out during a MM/BB interview (MQG not sure what they'd be considered in America) because I was still butthurt about the process

Oct 15, 2018 - 1:00pm

Read the 48 Laws of Power and focus on Law 10: Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky.

"You can die from someone else's misery – emotional states are as infectious as disease. You
may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster.
The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you.
Associate with the happy and fortunate instead."

Oct 15, 2018 - 3:57pm

I'm sorry but you're the one to blame here.

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.
  • 1
Oct 15, 2018 - 4:29pm

Unfortunately you're partly to blame here - but that aside just cut this stuff out of your life. There isn't a person in the world that should have that level of emotional or mental impact on you other than your direct family MAYBE.

As you grow up and start your career you'll quickly start shutting down worthless relationships and really start to narrow in on what I call your 10 friend bucket. 10 people you could count on for anything at any time and they'd have your back. Nurture those 10, everything else is just an acquaintance.

Oct 15, 2018 - 9:50pm


Unfortunately you're partly to blame here - but that aside just cut this stuff out of your life. There isn't a person in the world that should have that level of emotional or mental impact on you other than your direct family MAYBE.

As you grow up and start your career you'll quickly start shutting down worthless relationships and really start to narrow in on what I call your 10 friend bucket. 10 people you could count on for anything at any time and they'd have your back. Nurture those 10, everything else is just an acquaintance.

My fellow trader. 10s a lot. I think of people I can call on to go help my parents with stuff if I'm not in town. Like drop everything, this is an emergency. I'd count 7.

10 though, lucky man.

Oct 15, 2018 - 5:31pm

Regardless of her shittiness, your reaction/feelings are a manifestation of your ego + age.

The component related to your age will go away as time goes on. The size of your ego will determine the trajectory of (and your happiness with) the rest of your life. Good luck with it homie.

Life's is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
  • 1
Oct 15, 2018 - 7:26pm

"It never ceases to amaze me, we all love ourselves more than other people. But care more about their opinion than our own" - Marcus Aurelius

I think- therefore I fuck
  • 3
Oct 15, 2018 - 9:43pm

Non-banker friends always used to shit on me for being a hardo or whatever, complained that I was never around, and so on. Boo hoo tough shit. Even my mom would always complain about my workload, say I need to leave banking, etc. I listened to what she had to say, but I understood that, to paraphrase Drake, "Mom, you wasn't with me shooting in the gym."

I started a new job that's more interesting, fast track, lets me do cool stuff and now my friends have a different take. They didn't have the vision, though, to see how you get from A->B. You need to own your choices because only you know what you really want and what you're experiencing firsthand. Kanye's mom wanted him to go to college. He saw another path. Granted, that one took a strange turn, but it was going good for a while there.

Oct 15, 2018 - 9:48pm

You sound like a pussy bro. Do what's best for you, seriously nobody gives a shit about you. Always remember that. Do what's best for you. I'd only keep contact with this girl, for her friends. I wouldn't spite her, I wouldn't talk down to her. I just wouldn't go out of my way to do anything for or with her. She's not on your team. That's fine, her call. Next person up. Find some new friends at work.

I've had tons of friends through grade school and college, very few are relevant today. Very few are on your team. As in want to see you regularly (relative), wish best for you, and you can count on. She's not.

Oct 15, 2018 - 10:04pm

Hot take - OP's post reeks of insecurity that I can't relate to. It was never a question for me what I wanted more - the approval of some people that don't see things the way I do? Or my dream? Live a life of authenticity and you will never second guess yourself when the haters hate and the doubters doubt.

I honestly question whether you're using this chick as a way to rationalize some other way that you sabotaged yourself and your return offer.

The bottom line is: if you know what it takes, do it.

"Do or do not - there is no try."


  • 5
Oct 16, 2018 - 9:50am

"Make sure you do whatever is that you gotta do, that's your job
And n----s gon' hate but that's no prob'
So hey fuck 'em don't need nothing from 'em
Some n----s talking but the shit they claiming don't mean nothing"

Wiz Khalifa

Oct 16, 2018 - 3:23pm


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.

I LOL'ed
We get the world we deserve.
  • 1
Oct 16, 2018 - 6:23pm

To expand on this, I think you're clearly the one being the victim by blaming her and refusing to take responsibility for your inability to control your emotions and by letting comments by her (b*tchy teasing) affect you to the degree that it has.

Go read "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck" or if you feel up to it some classic stoic literature and try not to be such a snowflake in the future.

This is tough love btw and not meant to insult you in any way.

We get the world we deserve.
  • 1
Oct 17, 2018 - 11:59am

v curious as well, pls advise.

to the OP, welcome to life. there are cancerous people everywhere. in your friend group, in your family, everywhere. as much as humanly possible, remove them from your life. this is harsh, because many of them will have been your closest friends, but if they don't want the best for you, and you're a good friend to them (major part), then you kick them out of your life.

if it's people that you interact with only occasionally, ghost them. mute them on facebook (I don't think you should even have FB, but it's a free country), don't follow them back on IG, and if they make an honest effort to hang out, give it a try. if they're still cancerous to your life, ghost them next time. if they confront you, be direct. be tactful, but be direct. maybe something like "you remember that party at so and so's house where you were talking with these 4 people? I know I wasn't in the circle, but I heard what you said about my job, and it really hurt. this may not be where I finish my career, and you don't have to like it, but I would hope if you have an issue, you'd bring it to my face rather than behind my back, I thought we were better friends than that." and then watch them sweat.

one of two things will happen: they'll either make excuses and go back to being a shitbag (in which case you continue to ghost them), or they apologize, tell you there's something going on int heir life, that they're happy for you but just insecure about their own problems, and you'll become better friends for it. it's truly a win-win.

tldr: kick em out of your life. if it comes to a confrontation (e.g. "why have you been ducking me?"), be tactful & direct, and you'll be better off either way. life's too short to have shitty people taking up your time.

Oct 18, 2018 - 9:15am

Unfortunately not, and any hot friends were already mutual friends; although she has been a good sponsor for me in the past for them and unfortunately i might cop a backlash on that too if she feels mouthy about us ahaha. As mentioned in previous comments she had good ideas and helpful insight regarding uni and law school. Im graduating though so it won't be so useful anymore.

Oct 18, 2018 - 1:19pm

In all seriousness, I've been where you are my guy. You have these people who have been your 'friends' for a long time but they're not exactly supportive or they're for you. They're more like people you've hung out with for a really long time. Repeat of what everyone has said, cut them out. Redirect the energy.

Not too high, not too low

  • 1
Oct 22, 2018 - 8:58am

OMG dude, I'll wait until the Blu-Ray comes out with your story. If I understanded it correctly some woman was talking behind your back about the reality of BIG4. Two things:

  • Since when women talk stuff to your face? Women are actresses of their environment, their biggest fear is not fitting in, they don't confront anybody.

  • Isn't that BIG4 reality applicable as well to law/IB/MC...?

Regarding your question, two things:

  • Evaluate their points if they come from someone you respect. It could be just their opinion, it could be that they don't understand your objectives or situation or it could be that you may actually be selling yourself short.

  • Ignore.

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