March 25, 2009
Loyal fans and followers and randos who’ve stumbled onto my site by mistake, I will try and have another post up for you guys this weekend. Unfortunately, in addition to blogging and husband hunting, the Fashion Financier has a real job that involves number crunching, plagiarizing investment memos, traveling to glamorous destinations such as Tulsa, OK and yelling at the help (read: bankers and lawyers).
Stay tuned for thoughts on T-Geith/AIG/bonuses and more on my wacky analyst life. Maybe I’ll throw in another review of the new Real Housewives NYC just for the hell of it.
As I’ve said before, the analyst experience is incomplete without the supporting cast of follow analysts who are just as miserable in the other groups. Generally you spend late nights in the office bandying about, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together, grab Starfucks during much needed coffee breaks and go for happy hours. My encounters are no different except for the fact that the analysts I came across were, in fact, absolutely insane.
While the majority of my cohorts came from the ivies and other targets, it was always evident who went to [insert random non-target/state school]. During training, I sat next to a kid who attended a good university but not a target. The metaphorical “penis envy” saturated every word that came out of this kid’s mouth. Within the first five minutes, he quickly went on the offense to educate me as to why his school was not a target and how it was “just as good as those target-school kids and should be a target”. (Sorry, kid, nobody wants to recruit in the bumble fuck Midwest but thanks for playing! Back to the cornfields!) In any case, he proceeded to pelt me with questions about myself and continuously attempted to demonstrate his superior financial knowledge and abilities. I feigned a look of interest mixed with admiration but really, the ‘poser’ sign engraved on his forehead was pretty hard to see past. Although, I’m sure he secretly chuckled to himself when he realized that I was slowly but surely failing the training exams with our Mormon accounting instructor.
All pretentiousness aside, there was a certain manner in which these analysts acted. It always seemed as if they had a chip off their shoulder and were constantly trying to prove themselves. I always found it amusing to watch them try to insert themselves into conversations of kids who went to school together and the ultimate scowl on their faces when they were rebuffed. To speak candidly, the Ivies always managed to come together in one way or another:
Harvard and Wharton (not Penn, remember! There’s a difference!): They produced the most douchebags within a cube block (case in point: Michael Kors and Debt Debt). The Harvard kids always referred to the days of “H-Bomb” (really?), finals clubs and other oddities that could only come from Harvard. The Wharton kids spent most of their time trying to distance themselves from those pesky Arts and Sciences, and Sciences/Engineering/Nursing school kids.
The “preppy” ivies (Princeton, Dartmouth and waspy kids from Yale) generally stuck together. After all, they’ve been playing together since birth as their fathers were all managing directors at financial services firms across the Street. When dealing with these kids, it’s best not to even try talking to them as most of them were recruited together and were subsequently friends from being in the same eating club/fraternity/sorority/secret society. They often try to re-create the glory days from college and it’s a lot easier to hang out with them if you know what the hell they’re talking about (bickering? ‘tails? lawn parties?)
Brown/Cornell/Columbia kids were pretty scattered about. They were kind of boring though so I won’t really delve into the topic. However, the Raccoon came from one of the aforementioned schools. I’ll let you figure out which one.
While I’m sure there are some outliers to my observations above, I recall one incident in particular in which the Hillbilly, drunk from a company sponsored wine-tasting, accidentally outed Michael Kors to all his co-workers. The Raccoon and I had spent a few days debating whether or not Michael Kors was actually gay or just English. With the advent of metrosexuals and europeans running around Manhattan, one never knows. While Michael Kors played it cool, this accidental de-closeting provided unending bitterness towards the Hillbilly and ultimately resulted in a climactic confrontation some two months later.
While I stayed a silent observer of the happenings of my fellow analysts, I was not spared from the wrath of the extremely psychotic ones. Crazy Blonde Bitch sat in the same cube area but did not work in the same group. She, too, was one from one of those ‘good but not target’ schools and subsequently spent a year in Teach for America before transitioning to the Sell-Soul-for-Money route. She spent her time in a fairly small product group with a 2nd year analyst, 3rd year analyst, 2 VPs and in-decipherable-gendered managing director (I think it was a woman). Crazy Blonde Bitch had an affection for the word “fuck” and tried as much as possible to litter it into her every day rhetoric. I caught her on one particularly stressful night on my way out and apparently asked an extremely demoralizing and probing question:
Fashion Financier: “So, are you and 2nd-year analyst working on the same thing?”
Crazy Blonde Bitch: (shooting a death glare that almost made me pee myself) “Um, why the fuck do you care? Like, how is it any of your business? I’m not really sure how it concerns you.”
What a nutjob. It was only a matter of time before the bitch tried to cut me after hours. The exchange prompted a series of ridiculously overblown ‘conversations’/'discussions’ which occurred over my first year.
I swiveled back on my overpriced chair and began to collect my personal affects in my attempt to sneak out without getting more work to do. While walking downtown to my apartment, I received the following message from Crazy Blonde Bitch:
From: Crazy Blonde Bitch
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 9:29 PM
To: Fashion Financier
Hey [Incorrect Spelling of my Name],
You may not have even noticed it, but before when you asked 2nd-year analyst and I if we were working together I think I may have snapped back at you, and I would like to apologize for that. I still don’t understand why you would ask us about that as it both doesn’t really concern you and also as who is working on what project in a group is, as I know you know personally from our conversations, something people can be sensitive about, but I definitely let frustrations that weren’t related to the question affect the tone of my answer, which I should not have done. So I am sorry that my response was more harsh in tone than it should have been. Again, it may not have been a big deal to you but I wanted to say that it was my bad on that.
Have an awesome Thursday,
Crazy Blonde Bitch
1) I hate non-apology apologies.
2) I had to read that e-mail a few times to understand the point.
3) How do you spell a person’s name wrong when it’s on the e-mail?
4) Would it be wrong to say that I was happy when she got the axe?
March 5, 2009
I left the office that Friday evening after a few hours of unproductive modeling with a bunch of “first” experiences. The first time I ordered Seamless Web (burger, fries, and a shake). The first time I shouted expletives at my computer. And the first time I took the black car home. To be honest, I sat in my cube the last 30 minutes watching the time tick away until the digital clock turned to 9:00 PM. My first black car ride was delightful and lasted all of 15 minutes to my downtown apartment.
Keep in mind that this was 2007 right after the sub-prime mortgage mess. The credit markets were tight but it was still possible to get a deal done. I returned that Saturday morning just before noon to work on the model that I was clueless about. For the first hour or so, I spent my time contemplating what I would eat for lunch and planned on what I would have for dinner. It was obvious I’d be there for awhile as I tried to figure out the clusterfuck that is a debt sizing. While I stared at the pathetic spreadsheet I called a model, I was overcome with panic and started sweating like a whore in church. “Shit shit shit.” I was worried. Very worried in fact. I did not want to piss off Apathetic Associate. I did not want to become the shitty analyst in the group with whom no one wanted to work with. And lastly, I definitely did NOT want to end up in the infamous ‘bottom bucket’ of the bonus pool. Those were the analysts who couldn’t even get headhunters to take their calls, let alone get a job on the buyside. Moreover, they were the ones who were socially awkward, from third tier schools, and generally, the uglies. Let’s be honest, I wanted to do my two years and get the hell out so I could become this girl, minus the poor taste and attention-seeking-whore thing.
(Inner monologue: Whomever tells you that they went into banking for the “learning experience” is either a complete masochist or a huge liar. However, that was then and this is now. Although i’ve been hearing more nowadays that people go into banking because “if you can make it in a down market, you’ll be very well positioned to reap the rewards when the market returns”. This logic is circa 2003 and probably does not hold true anymore.)
I alt+tabbed back and forth between the model that I was using for guidance and the blank spreadsheet. By this time, I already saved up a version so I was at v4 even though no real changes had been made. I had already dutifully formatted all the text: bold the Revenue, Expenses, EBITDA and CFADS headers, indent line items, get rid of grid lines. It looked aesthetically pleasing but there were still no real numbers that made any sense on the page. I still had no idea what I was actually doing, what the numbers meant, and what we were trying to accomplish. I watched the sun slowly set through the office across the hall and I became livid with Apathetic Associate leaving me here on a Saturday afternoon/evening to build a model that I received no guidance on. Then, I heard the awkward pitter patter of footsteps down the hall. Smelly Homeless Kid.
“Hey!” He waved as he settled down in his cube. A Boston Red Sox hat was jammed tightly over his greasy hair as his fingers flew over the keys of his computer to log in. “What’cha working on?”
“Project California.” I answered SHK without removing my ipod earbuds, my eyes not moving from my screen. What the fuck could he possibly be doing here? “So, what are you working on?”
“Not much. Just came in to send out some e-mails. I’m also meeting with a buddy soon so I figure I’d grab some food while I waited.” It made sense. SHK was gaming the system again. And even more irritating, he was sitting 4 feet away from me while I attempted to come up with something, anything.
Naturally, as I quietly seethed in my cube and directed all my internal anger towards Apathetic Associate, I received the following e-mail:
From: Apathetic Associate
To: Fashion Financier(e)
Sent: Sat Oct 27 18:43:22 2007
Subject: Project California Model
Actually, don’t worry about it. I have to come in tomorrow to take care of a few things so I’ll put a debt sizing together. Thanks.