May 30, 2009
The Holiday party was already in full swing by the time we arrived. Things were a bit more ‘subdued’ this year, natch, which meant that the event space in question was at some ‘swanky’ boutique hotel in Midtown West versus a more standard venue of the Rainbow Room or one of the ‘hip’ clubs downtown. Evil Associate, standing in her midget glory, stood in the middle of the crowd flipping her signature chemically-straightened-and-shined hair while speaking to one particularly slimy MD. (Sidenote: I’ve seen this MD get slapped at a club once for trying to grope a girl). The MD’s eyes were glazed over as the liquid courage worked through his system. He slowly began to sneak glances down to the non-existent rack of Evil Associate. I was bewildered. There was nothing to see — what could he possibly be looking at?!
Suppressing my urge to boot all over the cherry oak floors, I made a beeline to the bar with Mr. Burrito and enjoyed my first glass of perfectly dry and chilled champagne while I surveyed the scene. Before long, I saw Douchebag Associate and Apathetic Associate lurking about in a dark corner. Each of them double-fisted Heinekens and finally took setas. Apathetic Associate slumped back in the chair looking particularly soulful and morose. His hollow glance followed the almost flamboyant movements of Douchebag Associate as he mustered a small grin. My concentration was immediately broken by the flurry of hors d’oeuvres which flooded the party. Bankers, while making all the money in the world, are some of the cheapest mofos on earth. Free drinks are a given but free food? now that’s an instant crowd pleaser.
“What’s going on with Apathetic Associate?” I downed the last of my champagne and signaled for another one.
“Heard he got shafted on his bonus number. Apparently landed in the third bucket whereas the evil bitch from hell got first.” Mr. Burrito was already on his third beer. “C’mon let’s go over there.” We inserted ourselves into the middle of Douchebag Associate and Apathetic Associate’s tete-a-tete. Douchebag Associate was visibly annoyed. “What the fuck, guys! We were talking!” He tried to yell above the swell of chatter and music which permeated the scene. The Hot VP plopped down next to us as well.
“Well, the gang’s all here. Where’s Smelly Homeless Kid?” The Hot VP asked, completely oblivious to Apathetic Associate’s world of pain. Shrugging, I drained the last of my champagne and watched as the senior guys became more boisterous, the admins began falling over each other and subsequently, onto the Masters of the Universe, and everyone threw their inhibitions to the wind. The gyrating motions of 45-year old married men and their 20-something fake-blonde admins permeated the bar area which now became a dance floor.
Ew. “I’m out.” I stood up and delicately placed my champagne flute on the table. The scene was enough for me. Stopping outside of the hotel, I dug around for my blackberry while simultaneously trying to hail a cab. Hearing a familiar laugh, I looked up to find none other than Tila Tequila grabbing a smoke with her massively large bodyguard standing to her side.
“Hi!” She mused while taking a long drag on her cigarette. The walking VD princess smiled, her eyes twinkling with a drunken glow. She took an unsteady step forward and tripped, her bodyguard catching her easily. A cab rolled up to the curb and, looking back to the boutique hotel which held our holiday party and shifting my sights over to the booty bar which Tila Tequila ducked back into, I shook my head and sighed.
How’s that for classy?
May 27, 2009
I am disturbingly bad at this blogging business, i realize. I will try to have another post up for all this week. It will most likely be in reference to the analyst tale so please dust off those old blog posts and catch yourselves up! I am still alive.
May 14, 2009
The NYTimes had an interesting article in today’s Style Section referring to the fact that “no one wants to look like a banker” anymore. The whole article echoes the same sentiment that floods the newspaper headlines these days: excess and extravagance is out, frugality and conservatism is in.
Any banker who is dressing in the ‘creative professional’ style is either unemployed or not at a real bank. Take, for example, this Euan Rellie character. He quips that, “The banker suit is definitely dead…And because there isn’t a dress code, you have to think about what you wear.” Well, Mr. Rellie, I’m not really sure what bank you work at (or don’t) but I’m pretty sure if you go to the offices of BarcLehs, Bank of Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, you will indeed see that men are still wearing conservative suits, power ties, and button down shirts from Thomas Pink. As a sidenote, NYTimes: When you decide to profile a character or get a quote, try to find someone a bit more status quo who can actually speak for the Street. A quick search of Mr. Rellie shows that he’s 1) married to Lucy Sykes (sister of “Bergdorf Blondes” writer Plum Sykes), 2) photographed for style.com, Page Six, and the like, more than he actually works, and 3) a “prominent investment banker” and co-founder at a top bank called Business Development Asia LLC (yes, i don’t know WTF that is either). I think it’s pretty easy to dictate a dress code or lack thereof when you’re the founder of your own company. You could come naked if you pleased. That being said, Mr. Rellie is pretty handsome in that confident British way.
I recall a chapter in Jonathan Knee’s book, “Accidental Investment Banker” in which he discusses the burst bubble during the tech boom in ’01-’03. He mentions that there was a period where all the bankers who had tech clients became lacksadaisical in their dress since they had the ‘coolest’ clients (young 20-somethings who showed up to meetings in cargo shorts and flip flops). People were jealous that these bankers shed their ties and blazers in favor of khakis and button downs every day of the week. But, the blissful era of casual dress came to a screeching halt when the bubble burst. Bankers from all sectors began wearing suits to work every day of the week. Now, if you were dressed down, it meant you had no clients to advise and nothing to do (and subsequently, you were probably next on the chopping block).
From personal experience, I haven’t seen any bankers begin to dress down for any of our meetings. Hermes ties are still in full force, as are Ferragamo loafers and cufflinks. As much as I love the style of Justin Timberlake and the other pretty boys, I’d be pretty remiss if our bankers showed up to a meeting wearing a V-neck sweater, slim-cut trousers and a skinny tie. Maybe it’s just that Bulge Bracket traditional ‘upbringing’ but we know that presentation is everything in investment banking and that skinny Oxford button down with checkers is just not going to do it.
If you don’t like it, go work at GQ. You’ll probably be fired from your TTT bank in the next few months anyway.
May 1, 2009
The faint glow of my computer screen was the only light emanating from my section of the floor. Like clockwork, the lights had shut off yet again with no one to turn them on but me. Not even a janitor nor another soul was on the floor. I just finished the second season of “The Office”. My only friend at 3:42 am on a Wednesday morning was Steve Carrell (and ovguide.com) while I waited for colored copies of a Project California presentation to come off the press. Apathetic Associate took off at midnight, giving me strict instructions to wait for the books so I could methodically “flip” them to check for alignment issues, upside down pages and binding issues. This presentation was the real shit: metal, spiral bindings, full color, single sided, Failed Bank Colors in a heavy graded front and back cover. The CLIENT presentation. I moseyed along downstairs, inevitably running into other analysts on the way down to the 24-hour print center. The print staff allowed me to begin to flip the books right there and then as they came off the printer. Colors okay? Check. Pages in correct order? Check. Massive paper cut and dry hands from flipping 50-page pitch books? Check.
Forty five minutes later, I returned to my floor and dropped the massive stack of books onto Apathetic Associate’s desk. Naturally, I wouldn’t be allowed to go to this meeting as a lowly first year. I quickly shot off an e-mail to AA: “Books are done. I left them on your desk.”
I would return to the office just four hours later to the chipper sounds of my colleagues arriving in the morning.
While I downed my second latte from Starfucks at 11:30am, the floor buzzed with excitement as the associates and VPs filed into the offices of their respective MD’s for year-end reviews and bonus numbers. The anticipation was palpable as we took odds on where the associates (our most direct supervisors/slave drivers) would fall in their classes. It was cathartic and simulated a perverse form of retribution. Analysts felt elated when the truly wicked associates got cut down in their reviews and were shafted on their bonus, often emerging from the MD’s offices with dejected faces and/or flaring nostrils.
Douchebag Associate: No odds. Guaranteed bonus for the 2007 year.
Evil Associate: 2:1 odds on being in the top tier of her class. She flirted shamelessly with the senior managers, had no qualms of playing dirty and maintained a facade of intelligence, kindness and helpfulness. Someone give her a fucking Academy Award for her performance imitating a human.
Apathetic Associate: 25:1 odds on being even remotely close to top tier. If AA’s functionality as an associate mimicked his drinking abilities, he would have been promoted to MD in his first year. Unfortunately, these two were inversely correlated. AA didn’t ‘play the game’ and wasn’t exactly Mr. Charismatic.
Our MD didn’t get around to handing out numbers to our group until mid-afternoon. I could tell that my associates and VPs were almost pee-ing themselves with excitement especially since the reported news from other groups was “bonuses flat” despite the downward spiral of every investment bank on Wall Street.
Evil Associate bounced down the hall in her 4-inch heels to our MD’s office which happened to be right in my direct vision line. There was a lot of nodding and the warranted hair toss. She emerged a quick 10 minutes later, a shit eating grin on her face. Figures. I fired off a quick IM to Mr. Burrito: “FUUUCKKK!” Within a few seconds, my IM beeped. “i hate that bitch”
Apathetic Associate was next. His walk to his fate was more lethargic, head cocked to the side, hollow eyes staring forward. He sat down, slouching a bit, his head shifting from side to side. WTF. I couldn’t tell if he 1) fell asleep, 2) died, or 3) was just that bored. As he exited, he remained expressionless and shuffled back down the hall. Well that was supremely uneventful. As I pondered something witty to write to Mr. Burrito, I heard giggling with the familiar stomp of Evil Associate’s Jimmy Choos with the unmistakable trumble of AA. Smelly Homeless Kid perked up next to me, abandoning his GMAT book and popping up like a creepy gopher from his cube (internal monologue: why the fuck does he have a GMAT book? And why does he have time to study it? And why wont’ he get a damn haircut?!)
SHK: “Hey! Where ya guys going?”
Evil Associate: (with permanently plastered grin on her face) “WE…are going to pick out Rolexes!”
(Apathetic Associate mustered a weak smile. *gasp*! An emotion!)
SHK: “Very awesome! You guys coming back before the holiday party?
Evil Associate: “I think we’re going for early happy hour..”
I watched as the pair happily turned the corner. A window popped up on my desktop.
Michael Kors (16:34:02): Are they really going to pick out Rolexes?
Fashion Financier (16:34:38): Looks like.
Michael Kors (16:35:17): Ridiculous. So, Debt Debt’s been looking at Philippe Starck furniture. She wants to get those ugly plastic chairs at $500 a pop.
Fashion Financier (16:35:59): How is she not in debt?
Michael Kors (16:36:24): Oh, she is. I heard her on the phone with debt consolidators. Her idea is that her bonus will take care of everything.
(Note: Pay attention peoples! Not just Main Street who can’t service debt with cash flow)
Fashion Financier (16:36:47): Are you f’ing serious. Exactly how much debt is she in?!
Michael Kors (16:37:11): 5 figures. I ‘accidentally’ saw when she was checking her online CC bill.
Fashion Financier (16:37:22): Freak.
Michael Kors brought stalking/eavesdropping to a whole new level. I became his humble apprentice that day.