July 9, 2012
I seriously think I belong in another era. Preferably one in which people are educated in etiquette, and a place where there’s a sense of decorum in everyday dealings. More on this below.
After a month-long hiatus, which included stops in london, stockholm, and the middle east, I have returned to the glorious U.S. of A, in time for a wet, hot American summer. You may wonder how this financiere managed to swing a few weeks of vacation in the middle of the year. It’s simple really: I retired. This is temporary of course. I have decided, amidst much contemplation, to take a two year sabbatical in which I shall discover true career passions, make “lifelong” friends, learn, and travel. Yes, friends – yours truly is going to business school. that’s another story.
1) If you’re an undergrad these days, and you’re contacting alums (or any contacts, really) through a career network or something, try to remember that they’re doing you a favor by talking to you. This means that YOU should make damn sure to a) not be late, b) be overly communicative should something come up, and c) recognize that you’re taking up their time. In more than one instance, I have agreed to speak to some naive, socially inept summer interns from my alma mater, only to find that they’ve either forgotten about the call or had something come up. In addition to that, it’s usually followed by radio silence until they “realize” the error of their ways. Is that the impression you want to leave with someone who you’ve never met or spoken to?
2) I harp on this point a lot, but remember, finance is a small, small world. Case in point: I had been dating an immature 28 year-old (do you guys ever grow up?) in the spring, just as he was trying to lateral from one private equity shop to another. We reached that strange part in the relationship dance (of which, I am convinced, is completely an American boy thing) where we were trying to decide where we were going. While yours truly is averse to all that boyfriend, touchy-feely nonsense, a girl does enjoy exclusivity where matters of the heart are concerned, whether it’s for a week or for a year. In any case, the boy in this story decided that job hunting was more important at the moment. What he failed to tell me was that he had applied to my firm to take my job and had noted that he knew me! Add that to the fact that our managing partner had tasked me with finding my replacement, and I had the perfect recipe for disaster. You could imagine the awkward conversation I had with the head of our HR.
HR: “So, this guy says he knows you.”
FF: “oh. I didn’t know he was applying here..”
HR: “Oh..what’s he like?”
FF: “He’s a solid guy. Smart. But, we are dating..sort of, not really. I”m not sure what’s going on there, actually.”
HR: (sympathetic woman) “I see.” – resume in trash -.
On telling a friend about this conversation, he made sure that the guy’s resume went straight to the recycle bin at his firm as well. The point is, be smart and don’t burn bridges. (Don’t worry – all’s well that ends well. I didn’t end up completely ruining his life – the guy ended up getting a job in Chicago and moving there in the fall).