VP Forbids Me to WFH

I think this is extremely toxic behavior from my VP, but feel free to chime in:

Asked VP if I could WFH for 3 days, and told her the EA said no record would be made if I chose to WFH for the rest of 2021. I think VP somehow interpreted as I asked for the EA's permission first, not VP's. That was because VP told me EA would be a creep and watch if everyone's in the office. Lol I sit next to those two EAs. Both are nice people and I highly doubt if they do that.

VP started blasting me on why I was asking this, why I didn't think more of how people from other groups would see us (me: they are working remotely themselves, so how could they see me sitting in the office???), other people would say "hey that guy didn't come to the office ! Shitty team ! ", and why for god's sake didn't I just ask for a 3-day vacation? Why on earth would I ask that WFH thing? 

4 analysts and 1 associate on my team are on vacation. VP herself just took a full week of vacation, and likely won't come to the office on Thursday and Friday. I got dumped a ton of work that was supposed to be other people's. 

For the last 2 weeks, there had only been 3 people in the office: me, another analyst, and executive assistant. I asked the EA and she said nah nobody cares.

My group (the VP) almost never lets people WFH. VP can either come in or not nobody knows what she is doing every day or when she is going to show up. She typically show up between 11 and 11:30am and leaves before 5, fwiw.

MD doesn't care about this since he doesn't come to the office at all, and VP handles all housekeeping. 

In her messages sent just now, VP told me the max amount of time I could WFH is 1 day, and it's not on a per-week basis. She also said "I like your passion and your attitude, however, you still have a lot of things to learn. You need to improve."

On what exactly? Office dynamics definitely don't play a role here because hey, ONLY 3 people are working in the office right now and one of them is an EA who doesn't give a damn. 

Is this common? I'm top analyst in my team and MD said he wanted me to go A2A. VP is a rich kid with family connections. I'm 26 and she is 29. 

Comments (92)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 28, 2021 - 3:12am

OP here. I think VP somehow interpreted my asking the EA as seeking the EA's permission first before asking VP...why would I do that...that's just common sense. 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 28, 2021 - 3:32am

Gents, be careful of joining teams where your direct manager is a woman

Edit: I'll request that individuals who have participated in women's leadership or diversity programs please not vote on this comment, thank you for your cooperation as we attempt to get an accurate view on sentiment

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Dec 28, 2021 - 7:50pm

Dipping from a gig because of this.  Just impossible to communicate w/, winds up being pissy frequently because she reads into nothing, is incapable of communicating straight forwardly, also isn't good at any part of the job and have no idea how she got the job - 7 at best.  

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 29, 2021 - 3:44am

So true. Noticed anecdotally that Asian female managers are an even more intense version of everything you described

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 28, 2021 - 8:12pm

Some of the best managers I have had have been women. That said, it's so sad and weird that this experience is so common. A much higher percentage of women seem to be very culture damaging from my experience as well. I wonder if this is because women that do IB often are a more strange group and they sociopaths self-select or if once in the role women feel they need to "play hardball" to get respect. I feel like all the great female managers leave the industry/ exit as analysts or associates.

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Dec 29, 2021 - 6:46pm

100%. Biggest mistake of my career. I work under an extremely submissive (but also abusive to subordinates) and workaholic VP. She's constantly reading into everything, very emotional, and is just generally extremely difficult to communicate with.

I like the rest of the team, but she's my direct supervisor, and I actively avoid working with her as much as possible, because she's abusive, sets unnecessary fake deadlines, and constantly refers to me and the rest of the team as 'overpaid'. Started the recruiting process for other gigs and hope to jump ship by Summer.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 30, 2021 - 10:52pm

That sucks man. Rough situation because you're basically locked into a role for around 2 years so you're forced to deal with that toxicity for that time period. Avoid joining teams with female managers if at all possible - just not worth the risk

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jan 7, 2022 - 9:22pm

I am a girl (although junior level) and women boss always horrific. Women are also worse to other women (especially younger women)

Controversial
  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Dec 28, 2021 - 6:19am

Ladies, beware when you are assigned a male subordinate. He'll probably be as whiny, entitled, and insecure as the males on this forum

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Dec 28, 2021 - 5:24pm

Intern in PE - LBOs

Ladies, beware when you are assigned a male subordinate. He'll probably be as whiny, entitled, and insecure as the males on this forum

Ladies, stick to Consulting. IB is a man's job and most of yall can't even relationship manage with your mothers and roommates in the most casual of situations.

  • Research Associate in AM - Equities
Dec 28, 2021 - 6:11pm

Good try -- yeah, not joining a team where a woman is your direct higher up. Otherwise you end up with idiotic backwards logic like what you just posted 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 29, 2021 - 1:46pm

the only people who dislike female managers more than male subordinates are female subordinates lol

they deal with the same shit but with even more cattiness 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 28, 2021 - 9:40am

Really? Appreciate the input.

My VP is insecure as someone who cannot spell out EBITDA and WILL give me a very hard time if one day she shows up in the office but I don't. She will likely give me a teach-in on how immature I am and why what I'm doing is incorrect behavior. She did this to another analyst once when that analyst decided to WFH for 1 day straight. There are other things that tell me VP is tripping. 

I need to GTFO ASAP.  

Dec 28, 2021 - 10:09am

Your VP just sounds like an a-hole on a power trip. If the firm allows for WFH, which it sounds like it does, then it's not up to her to decide for you especially when she isn't even adhering to her own "rule". When people are giant dick bags like your VP I typically like to push their buttons a bit just to watch them lose their shit, if it were me I would WFH for 3 days and watch them go bananas. By no means am I saying you should intentionally f**k with her by doing this, this is just me but if you do just remember to keep your cool and don't react emotionally when she flips out.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 28, 2021 - 10:10am

Are there other VP's in the group? How long have you been at your firm?

This is something as a first year, I think I might just take it because you don't want to rock the boat and if you have to work with the person it's not worth having them have an issue with you. If a second year though, don't ask, state what you will do.

"I will be working from home the next several days due to personal reasons" 

If she has a problem with that, talk to your staffer and explain you would like to not work with her going forward because she is unreasonable. From my experience, toxic people in an organization are usually known as toxic people and more often than not are actually really bad at their job. This VP for example, is clearly showing an ability to make analysts more stressed out and ineffectively manage which makes me believe others know she is weak at her role and her insecurity is likely what is driving her bizarre behavior. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 28, 2021 - 6:57pm

Appreciate the input. 
The thing is this VP is my staffer. Only 1 VP in the group now after another VP left a couple of months ago. 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 28, 2021 - 8:03pm

Then you genuinely are in a not great spot-she has leverage and the bank has to keep her and not piss her off. You need to play nice and either accept the abuse the person dishes or get out of there. Be honest with yourself on whether the person actually sucks or you can live to deal with the bullshit. 
 

Unsure your situation, or the type of bank, but working for someone abusive can really f*ck you up. It will lower your confidence, make you learn less, make your personal life suffer, and more, it's really bad-news. Start planning a leaving strategy if she's really that bad. With one person having that much control over your life, you are setting yourself up for misery. 

Dec 28, 2021 - 10:29am

VP sounds awful and sounds like generally a toxic place to work.

That said, there are ways to ask questions while still maintaining a basic level of maturity and professionalism. Why you would mention the EA at all (It doesn't even seem like you realize it but in bringing it up you are challenging your VP and basically accusing them of lying while simultaneously asking for a favor) is beyond me.

Think you should get out of your group ASAP but you do have a lot to learn, particularly if your goal is to be in a client facing role.  

Array
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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 28, 2021 - 7:08pm

OP here. You are right. I shouldn't have mentioned the EA. It was somewhat intentional because I kinda wanted to say "hey why did you lie". Still, I need to be more politically savvy. 

The thing is I have almost 0 respect for the VP whatsoever. The only reason she is here is because of her family connections. She literally has 0 finance or industry knowledge. She also keeps people from doing modeling work (we are coverage, other coverage groups typically handle the modeling), and that's probably because she cannot model herself. 
In one group dinner, our MD (small team) said to us verbatim that he is not good at leading teams. I wonder why. 

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
Dec 28, 2021 - 10:32am

Respond to her last email and ask to schedule a time to sit down and go through specifics of where you need to improve, maybe cc your md too, will make you appear proactive and throw her for a loop if she's just being an ass

Dec 28, 2021 - 10:38am

Don't do this. Horrible advice. MDs don't read half the ish that's sent to them. They'll think you're underperforming. 

Will also give another chance to VP to belittle you for no reason, potentially in front of MD.  

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Dec 28, 2021 - 10:38am

Lateral out of there... even firms that are 100% in the office will let you WFH a few dead days like this. If your MD asks why, tell them

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 28, 2021 - 11:32am

Solution is simple. Leave RIGHT NOW. No none of this ask the staffer, try to neogtiate, talk through things, etc etc. Most reasonable places have a at MINIMUM 2 days WFH forever now. Regardless of holidays. 

Dec 28, 2021 - 12:36pm

None of the following is defending the situation as IMO I don't see any downside to anyone doing WFH based on how well I've seen Analysts work and develop throughout the pandemic.  But of course my opinion isn't relevant here as I don't work in your group.

I guess I'm a bit confused by your OP.  Does your firm and/or group have a policy on WFH, either explicit or implicit?  I know a lot of firms are trying to get their Analysts in the office because of the concern (whether founded or not) of Analyst development, so they are at least trying to encourage if not mandate Analyst office presence.  Is that the case for your firm?  Or have they come out and said they "highly recommend" you come in (i.e. "we mandate it but can't say so explicitly because that would expose us legally")?

Second, the vacation thing doesn't matter.  Taking a vacation uses vacation time, so it's not really comparable to WFH.  Are the other Analysts in your group WFH at all or are they also not allowed to do so?

Third, what does your MD think of the situation?  He clearly seems to not care, but there's a difference between not caring what people do because it doesn't impact him, and caring if you're going against the firm / group policy.

Fourth, what have your group heads communicated about WFH?

I'm leaning towards you going to your MD and explaining that you'd like some clarification on the WFH policy as it isn't clear, you're concerned about the increase in cases so you're uncomfortable being in the office full time (though you like coming in once in a while to see everyone), and you're committed to continuing to do your work well but this is a big issue for you.  However I can't actually recommend that without understanding your situation better, because obviously some of the above unclear issues would impact whether you do that and how you approach it.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 28, 2021 - 9:14pm

Hi, thank you for your genuine concern. 

1. There is no clear guidance on WFH.

The group head sits in a different city and I've only spoken with him once face to face. 

2. Other analysts/associates are on vacation. I'm the only capable analyst left to do any work and I have been doing a LOT since ~12/15. There is one other analyst but he frequently shuns from work, comes in late and leaves earlier than others. His behavior has been reported to my MD and another group's MD actually badmouthed about this analyst in front of the group head. Might be a reason why VP is mad? However, literally ONLY 3 people are sitting in the office right now. 

3. Although there is no clear guidance on WFH, >80% of the office is always empty.

So where are they? They are working from home. One other group's 2 MDs usually don't give a damn about this.

4. I've spoken with my MD regarding occasional WFH or 1-2 days per week.

His response was "I don't do housekeeping stuff. Talk to VP. If she says yes then yes."

Classic, no?

Dec 28, 2021 - 10:50pm

Based on the info you've provided it sounds like you're SOL.  It doesn't matter if other groups are in or out, it just matters what your group's policy is if the firm doesn't have a uniform policy across all groups.  And if this is the only MD you work under, and he's deferred it all to the VP, then it sounds like you gotta do what the VP says.  My recommendation would be to sit your VP down and tell them you're not comfortable coming in 5 days a week due to COVID concerns, and that it's a major issue for you given your health is important, but you also understand the importance of being with the group so 1-2 days a week in the office you're okay with.  If that doesn't work, go to your MD and say the same thing, and stress that this is a high priority for you, and if that goes nowhere then lateral.

You'll probably have to lateral, though.

Dec 28, 2021 - 4:14pm

If what your VP is saying contradicts what the firm / your group head is saying, bring it up with the MD "to get clarification" on the policy. This will bring it to the attention of your MD that the VP is being toxic, if they like you and want you to go A2A they'll likely raise it with the VP to ensure it doesn't continue. The VP sounds petty and unreasonable, so you should also see if you can avoid working with them in future. 

If the above isn't a runner, look at lateralling. 

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Dec 28, 2021 - 6:18pm

"I have been exposed to COVID and will need to WFH through the end of the week while I await my test results. I'd do not want to risk spreading it in the office. See you in the new year!"

EZ

  • Analyst 2 in PE - LBOs
Dec 28, 2021 - 6:59pm

Title: "Re: WFH Clarifications"

Body:

Dear MD,

Was wondering if we had an official WFH policy. I've been in the office almost every day but was wondering the flexibility around 1) when exposed to someone with Covid, 2) general flexibility on WFH (especially when deal team is not in either)

Was hoping to WFH 1-3 days a week. Would this be an issue (so long as it's communicated with the deal team) or do you have any guidelines for the juniors generally?

Thanks,

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 28, 2021 - 9:08pm

OP here. 100% real. As another poster has pointed out, I could've been more politically savvy i.e., not mentioning the EA. That is my fault. 

Dec 29, 2021 - 12:18am

Dear VP, I have a temperature and NYC guidance is not to attend the office. As a result, I will be WFH for the next few days.

If she has a problem reach out to HR, and I guarantee you HR will be on your side. Then every time VP gives you a problem, you can make a complaint to the staffer VP is giving you a problem 

Array
Dec 29, 2021 - 1:34pm

I would lateral out and give no 2 weeks notice and cite this as the reason you do not need to. My last job tried to force everyone back into the office for no reason after we had been home for the year due to COVID. So i talked to my manager about it and she could not give me a real reason i needed to be in person. So once i secured a offer a week later I sent a email mid day and said " effective immediately this is my resignation no work will be completed after i return from lunch, due to the firm ending WFH after promising we would be allowed to WFH permanently i believe the firm has forfeited the need for any 2 weeks notice , thanks."

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 29, 2021 - 9:01pm

The thought has definitely crossed my mind...it's not like the team stops working when I leave. 

I do have a little bit respect left for my MD because I appreciate him giving me the opportunity to get into banking. 

On a cumulative scale, respect for the following people are roughly like this:

MD: 45/100.

VP: 2/100. 2 for the VP title. 

Associate: 10/100. It was 0 but she recently had a surgery and I feel bad for her.

Analyst A: 50/100. A was in med school and worked really hard. Very stubborn and likes to take credit sometimes but I know that's just insecurity.

Analyst B: 15/100. Likes to bullshit all day long. I love his lecture on why Obama is going to initiate the next nuclear war. Lecture given in 2021. 

Analyst C: 5/100. He is a nice dude. 

Analyst D: 25/100. Slightly more capable than B and C. 

Cumulative respect score: 152/700 = 21.7%.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 29, 2021 - 2:29pm

Make sure to cite her as a reason for leaving in your exit interview. No - she cannot hurt your career despite what some paranoid schizophrenics may say. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 29, 2021 - 9:04pm

I probably won't mention this though. I will just let VP continue to poison MD's team. 

I think the VP's family knows the MD on a personal level. We had one other VP (let's call this person A) who left ~ 6 months ago. I grabbed food with this A a couple of months ago and A agreed VP is a bit too close to MD from what A has seen. 

VP's dad is high up in government. Think FDA/SEC/The Fed. 

Dec 29, 2021 - 10:23pm

That's the problem with many people in this industry. It's filled with pussies. Have her be accountable. Make sure HR knows what's going on, have her behavior be documented. You never know who you might help in the future. This VP already doesn't like you, doesn't care about you at all. 

Array
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