> Do you mind sharing your age, Gouman?
I’m 27. Please explain the relevance of this. I can’t wait to hear this one…
> Not a chance….my boss testifies in front of
> senate banking committee…actually had a law
> named after him. I will never be as smart as
> him…but Im okay with that.
Your situation is the type I want to be back in.
> > I routinely make more cogent, relevant, logical
> and less emotionally motivated points
> I know your type.
And what type would that be?
> Finally, if your boss or bosses boss is not
> someone you could see yourself being in 5 years,
> maybe you should change positions.
Working on it e.g. networking, enrolled in CFA, planning to do MBA, reading for personal development on a wide variety of financial and non-financial topics etc.
> Working on it e.g. networking, enrolled in CFA,
> planning to do MBA, reading for personal
> development on a wide variety…
That’ll work. I can tell ya getting a hot asian girlfriend and not giving a damn about any of it works wonders too. ;)
If you work in the White House, of course.
BTW, for what it’s worth, I think that competent managerial skills are way more important than raw intelligence in the workplace. However, the common trend is that the people who “gripe” about bosses (myself included) are doing so when the person superior to us in the corporate structure lacks not only the smarts but also the management skills.
I believe that industries that tend to be more team-oriented often foster better managers. The problem with Wall Street is that there are too many personal incentives and sometimes people who are only out for themselves lose sight of what it takes to appropriately handle a team. I find that this is less of a problem in private equity or investment banking, where it’s a legitimate team working on getting a deal done. While you do hear stories of analysts or associates getting abused, sometimes there’s enough people on the team to either share the glory or distribute the blame.
In my experience, where I saw the most frequent mismanagement of employees was actually in equity research – the problem is that most coverage teams involve a senior analyst and one or two associates, which doesn’t really make for that much of a team. In addition, aside from some very good research teams, I tended to notice that there was less teamwork and more distribution of labor, namely in the sense that the senior analyst already knew what he was trying to accomplish and it was the job of the associate to do whatever it was that the senior analyst asked. Perhaps the biggest problem with research is that you’re just working with the same people all the time – it’s not like in banking or PE where deal teams often change personnel from one transaction to another – and ultimately, the problem is that the senior analysts often don’t know how poor their management skills really are because they’ve never had to work with a huge variety of people. These analysts more or less assume that whatever way their prior boss treated them must be the correct one, and because research teams are so siloed, it’s not even like a senior analyst on another team has any real way to keep another bad analyst in check. Plus, there’s always the “ego” factor, in that a lot of these guys think that just because they’ve made VP in director, they must be doing something right. In fact, sometimes they’re so absorbed in their opinion of themselves that they don’t realize that they’re churning through associates at least once a year! (either they don’t realize it or don’t care, but in both cases these people are still bad managers)
I would be curious to hear of other people’s experiences, and to see whether they agree or disagree with my assessment that certain Wall Street “teams” are not really teams the sense of a manager-employee relationship; rather, the superior-underling structure is exactly what leads to employees not feeling a sense of ownership of their project and ultimately what often ends up fostering resentment, in my view.
Career Coach -- www.linkedin.com/in/numicareerconsulting
How to Break Into Equity Research -- www.mergersandinquisitions.com/equity-research-recruiting
Numi, your post resonates well with me. I’ve worked for people who may not have been the brightest in technical terms but were great at managing me our group and the groups individual needs. I don’t expect my bosses to be geniuses. I do expect them to be clearly more capable than myself, but not be a dick about it, to recognize my potential and be interested in developing me up to their level. The reality is most bosses feel threatened and try to develop moats around themselves and slow the progression of the people below them.
I think what really irks me is when somebody is not a very good manager and also not exceptionally intelligent. I just think it’s unfair, and typically the result of nepotism, but who said life is fair.
bchadwick and numi hit it on the head. I think accounting serves as a good example. If you work in an organization that tends to give promotions to good accountants, that doesnt necessarily mean that they can manage efficiently (or effectively for that matter). a good accountant <> a good manager.
my current boss hasn’t been in her role for all that long, but she’s great at her job (managing) and i feel a lot better working for her than i did for a previous manager who had more experience and knowledge.
in response to numi’s post, you can see the same situation in a lot of different industries/areas. That is why you see the word “senior” attached to so many job titles. Its a way for them to recognize employees, that deserves a promotion. the easiest way is to stick “Senior” in front of a title and give them a person or two to train/mentor. corporate america loves hierarchys and complex organizational charts. if we had flatter org charts and could still find a way to recognize good employees, the world would be a more efficeint productive place.
so why dont you quit???
You sound like a prick with too much pride and self worth. I’m friends with cocky people and d’bags and they don’t bother me at all- you just seem a little “off”, socially.
I am smarter than my boss in accounting and finance, but not in the business and operations side or technical/engineering side, since he is the president that is much more in line with his job.
In my own business I am equal to my boss since it is me, which doesnt say much.
Define smart? At my last job I would easily state that I plainly knew more about actual money management while my boss was more of a “portfolio structure” guy. And thats fine but lets face it, in this world there are two kinds of people: those who know how to value companies or predict the psychology of the masses & those who do not know how to value companies or predict the psychology of the masses. At my current job, the boss knows his stuff but he’s one of those guys who did his CFA back in the 1980s and - to be perfectly honest - he’s somewhat “out of touch”.
> You sound like a prick with too much pride and
> self worth. I’m friends with cocky people and
> d’bags and they don’t bother me at all- you just
> seem a little “off”, socially.
this coming from a guy with a “Tpain” moniker. be more original, wanna rapper.
> TPain88 Wrote:
> > You sound like a prick with too much pride and
> > self worth. I’m friends with cocky people and
> > d’bags and they don’t bother me at all- you
> > seem a little “off”, socially.
> this coming from a guy with a “Tpain” moniker. be
> more original, wanna rapper.
…mmmm… maybe he’s fond of the revolutionary pamphleteer and forgot the ‘e’?? maybe?
> points. I also routinely use basic deduction to
> back people into corners where they have to accept
> my premise. Of course they get butt hurt, and
> eventually flip flop on their position.
You may be intellectually smarter, but socially and politically you are not wise.
> maratikus Wrote:
> > Do you mind sharing your age, Gouman?
> I’m 27. Please explain the relevance of this. I
> can’t wait to hear this one…
When I was in college, my friends and I used to look down on most people because they didn’t seem as smart, logical and ambitious as we were. When I started working on a research department a couple of years ago, I thought I was much better than one of my co-workers despite his PhD in Physics and many years of research experience. The primary reason was that he wasn’t a great communicator and didn’t always seem logical. Since then I’ve learned to appreciate his intuition and high quality of his research. Each person is unique and even though I prefer interacting with people who are similar to me, I can probably learn more from those who are different. Ability to appreciate others and see how we can learn from them comes with age and experience.
I don’t think that I am smarter than my boss. He is not a genius either.
Actually when it comes to being intelligent, I guess I had a much more vibrant mind in my early 20s. I guess it is supposed to be that way.
So take the age difference into account when comparing yourself to your boss. And having a vibrant mind would not necessarily mean functioning better at work.
> daj224 Wrote:
> > TPain88 Wrote:
> > —–
> > > You sound like a prick with too much pride
> > > self worth. I’m friends with cocky people and
> > > d’bags and they don’t bother me at all- you
> > just
> > > seem a little “off”, socially.
> > this coming from a guy with a “Tpain” moniker.
> > more original, wanna rapper.
> …mmmm… maybe he’s fond of the revolutionary
> pamphleteer and forgot the ‘e’?? maybe?
LOL…good one akanska
Also, guys, rather than turning this into some type of personal discussion, I think Gouman’s point here is the gripe that sometimes the people in management simply are not the smartest or the brightest, yet somehow managed to get where they are. I think Gouman’s gripes are things that most of us that work in big companies or corporations can relate to…and usually the only solution is to find another boss or work for oneself. Can’t wait till the day I am my own manager, but that will probably be a while…
From my VERY limited corporate experiance that in middle mngt a lot of it has to do simply with time put into the firm; like you just have to spend enough time before your up in the line for the position. At the same time, in my experience the “ambitious” and “intelligent” are antsy, constantly seeking new and more simulating opportunities that take them out of that mid-mngt rotation and hopefully jump to the upper ranks post MBA. I for myself cannot imaging being at the same firm for more than a couple of years unless its a true dream job and the pit is really great. After a while its just too boring.
It is true in most corporate worlds, you just need to have the years to get promoted. I saw it at my company when I was proposed by the US operations president as VP of finance with only 3.5 years experience (and less at the company), but since they wanted a 12-15 year person the CFO didnt allow it. Still got a decent gig out of it, but it is clear sometimes the number of years equates with ability to do the job. Even MBA wouldnt help me in this case. Good thing is I think I can go do the same role in Europe for a 2 year stint (I hope the company remains open to this), so all is not lost.
not always the case in prof services though, some you can really move through the ranks fast.
From having my own company though being your own boss still has gripes. Replace boss with customers in this discussion and you can imagine.
Everytime I see this - it makes me smile…
Re: Are you smarter than your boss? new
Posted by: daj224 (IP Logged) [show posts from this user]
Date: September 23, 2008 07:40PM
user ignored - click to show/hide this message
As a junior guy in sell-side research you are there to learn and move on, I know Analysts who can’t keep an Associate for more than 3-4 months, they don’t care and that’s how they choose to run their “team”. There are literally tens of thousands of people who would love a sellside job. While I had a great relationship with my Analyst I also knew Associates who consistently talked about killing their Analyst and physical confrontations would occur every once in a while. The training in sellside research and entrance into the relatively closed world of institutional investing is potentially worth millions of dollars over your career. Complaining about a lack of team is pretty lame when you only have to do it for 2 years and then you’re set. Other just as intelligent people would sacrifice a lot for a sellside job and wouldnt care that their analyst mistreated them. Having a difficult boss as a young guy will help you become a better manager, learning how not to treat people is often worth more than learning how to treat people.
> also knew Associates who consistently talked about
> killing their Analyst and physical confrontations
> would occur every once in a while.
I had a difficult first boss. I did think I was smarter than her, but let her make her own decisions. I respected the fact that she was in charge.
Then, she tried to overrule my decisions that I turned in on my financial analysis. In the end, if she did not touch my analysis, we would have been fine, but month after month, her overrule kept blowing up (she was way off). Finally the partner came to me and was like wtf is going on - so I told the partner I was submitting what I thought and she kept disagreeing and changing my analysis.
The partner slammed my manager at the next monthly meeting and I was put on probation by my manager for ‘not following her decision making abilities’.
A week later she (my manager) got the boot. Great ending.
- - - - -
I still go by my first post on here though - managers have a wealth of experience and should be followed most of the time. I have been through a handful of direct leaders and have learned much in my career from them to this point. I did learn many situations of how not to act from the first manager that I had though.
Re: Are you smarter than your boss?
Posted by: numi (IP Logged) [hide posts from this user]
Date: September 24, 2008 12:03PM
take the guy that was head of RJR Nabisco (Ross Johnson) - - - how many times did he acquire a company, schmooze with the staff, pull corporate political strings, and drink his way (ie. scotch on the rocks with his cronies till 4am) to the top to become CEO of the new merged company? Being the boss is so many more things - - some people are just good at working their way up the chain.
> As a junior guy in sell-side research you are
> there to learn and move on, I know Analysts who
> can’t keep an Associate for more than 3-4 months,
> they don’t care and that’s how they choose to run
> their “team”. There are literally tens of
> thousands of people who would love a sellside job.
> While I had a great relationship with my Analyst I
> also knew Associates who consistently talked about
> killing their Analyst and physical confrontations
> would occur every once in a while. The training in
> sellside research and entrance into the relatively
> closed world of institutional investing is
> potentially worth millions of dollars over your
> career. Complaining about a lack of team is pretty
> lame when you only have to do it for 2 years and
> then you’re set. Other just as intelligent people
> would sacrifice a lot for a sellside job and
> wouldnt care that their analyst mistreated them.
> Having a difficult boss as a young guy will help
> you become a better manager, learning how not to
> treat people is often worth more than learning how
> to treat people.
If these comments were directed towards me, I don’t think I was “complaining” about a lack of a team environment in sell-side research. Rather, I was just calling the experiences as I saw them, and as you pointed out, it is unambiguous that there are a number of senior analysts who don’t know how to manage their team. I’m sure sell-side experience is great for the junior associate and maybe senior analysts don’t care about alienating their subordinates, as long as it’s a means to an end. However, that doesn’t change the fact that some of them have poor managerial skills, which is exactly what I was referring to.
That certain managers mistreat others is a concern to me, because I don’t think that anyone should be so arrogant as to abuse others in the workplace. What I found out in my experiences on Wall Street is that a lot of the time, those managers that most of us would consider “poor” tend to act out in strange ways because they have an inferiority complex. Generally, people that are the best at what they do have the peace of mind to let their work speak for itself, and to treat others around them in a fair and respectful fashion. The golden rule goes a long way in this business.
As far as my own work experience goes, I was the youngest person ever to be promoted to senior associate at the BB bank that I worked at, so there really isn’t too much I would do differently in that regard. I worked hard and also caught some lucky breaks, which is probably why things worked out the way they did – and I’m grateful for that. That being said, my personal successes don’t change my opinion that a bad manager is a bad manager, no matter what exit opportunities and other stuff may exist. Maybe this is just my own opinion, but based on my limited experience in the working world, I have been able to deliver better results when the people around me feel like I treat them fairly, as opposed to their resenting me. You are right in that some senior analysts churn through associates in 3-4 months, and maybe that works for them. However, I know what works for me and what doesn’t, and I’m glad to have the presence of mind to know that it is actually possible to be kind to your colleagues AND expect them to deliver good results for you too.
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