Advice on a sensitive issue

Greetings, So about a year ago, after L-school, I was picked up by a PE-firm. I was excited, it as always been a dream, or so I thought. I was sort of shifted, because I was attached to one of the portfolio companies, instead of being at the main office, which was having trouble, and we are taking public end of this year. However, I was reassured by the MDs/CFO/CEO that I would get significant exposure here, and some other things were promised as well. Unfortunately, as we get closer to the S-1, everything is going to the wayside. For one, this particular portfolio company is doing about one acquisition per quarter, which is awesome. So everyone (other analysts/associates at the firm) all want to be a part of this. Three of them have joined the IPO/Acquisition team very recently. So how is this affecting me? for one, I can no longer attend board presentations, because so many others are attending. When I am in fact creating all of the board presentations, the executive committee reports…etc. Next, I am getting shoved into a data analyst position, because no one else can code. I am an expert coder (VBA, SQL, C++, Java…etc). This is another thing I was told specifically, that I would not be a “data analyst”. However, I feel as that is all I am doing now, because “there is no space” in the meetings, due to everyone and their mother wanting to attend. I do all the work, but ousted of the exposure. Coding is just a hobby for me. I pursued it just to build value, and it may have backfired. Finally this occured today, and it may be the final straw. I lost my office. However, in the strangest way possible. So new MD is here to oversee the process of going public. Today was his second day, so one by one he was calling everyone in and interviewing them, or “getting to know them”. Well he spoke to me for about an hour. I thought the conversation went very well. 5-minutes later, the CEO walks into my office and says, “Did you just speak to Bob? He was very impressed. He said you were “phenominal” and he has some very big plans for you. Don’t fail.” and he smiles. Obviously this excites me very much. I think to myself, “Wow! Awesome! Finally, some exposure!” Well I celebrated a bit early. He puts his hand on my shoulder, escorts me out, and tells me that he will move me to a cubicle, because another analyst is coming down on Monday, who will work strictly on the S-1, needs an office, and said the magic words, “Sorry, we are low on space.” A cubicle! His selling point was, “It’s next to Steven’s office, and you can learn a lot from him.” Steven is another associate that shoved his way here. In my mind, the issue is that I am the youngest person here. And, I guess I am not as social as everyone else. So I think the “higher ups” think it’s alright to treat me in this manner, but I think it is totally unfair. I work, 80-90 hours a week, every week. Do all of the “monotonous” stuff, that no one else wants to do, and get no appreciation, and now have no office. Am I over reacting? Please tell me if I am! Financially I am very secure, so if I quit, it wouldn’t really affect me at all. However, I do enjoy the challenge of PE. Where we try to master a portfolio of business models, versus just one. I just can’t let this office thing pass, because it is embarassing. Everyone will see me walking to a cubicle Monday morning. I don’t know if I could take that. People below me have an office, but they are older and have been here for much longer. I am going on 8-months. If I make a stand here, and tell them this is not acceptable, obviously two things can happen. However, I am 80% (pulled that out of my butt) confident, they will rethink it, because I honestly do a lot here. Or, they could let me go, 20%, but that doesn’t bother me financially. I guess the bigger questions is, is this worth making a stand for? Or, will this just make me look petty? Furthermore, if I do, and suppose I am allowed to keep my office, how will I be treated afterwards? Also, I get my bonus in approximately 3-months, but it is only 32k, which is crap, so I don’t mind forgoing it. At the same time, this would be my first IPO, and would be awesome to have on my resume, but how much will I learn if I keep getting shafted out of meetings and conference calls. E&Y is doing our IPO audit. I was included in the first few meets, but now “we don’t need 6-people here” is what I am being told. I am just really confused, as you can probably tell from reading this babble. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Sincerely, Butt-hurt as all hell!

Hmm. Sounds like there is some reshuffling going on and somehow, you got the short end; maybe it’s because you are relatively new there. Anyway, even if it’s not your fault, I don’t see how you can complain without being perceived negatively. If you can manage to keep going without taking it personally (while learning from the experience), that’s probably the best thing. If not, it seems like you should try to get another job lined up before rage-quitting.

Have they tried to take away your red stapler yet?

walk around and constantly mumble some combination of these words: “on fire” “I’m gonna” “set the building”

That’s politics in the corporate world, get used to it. Keep your head down and pick up the best experience that you can get, and keep building your credentials (CFA or MBA?). At the same time, keep one eye open for other opportunities. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff, let it roll off your back and keep moving forward.

Your situation is indeed very unusual and I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it before. I think I understand your story, but I’m unclear what you thought your role was when you first started. Were you an investment analyst, someone that was brought on to help the portfolio company, or what? You mention that you’ve been seemingly marginalized by other analysts or associates, but who are these people exactly (i.e. are they at the PE firm too, and investment professionals at that) and what can they do that you can’t?

I spent two years working in private equity / leveraged buyouts, so I’m aware that anything goes. However, I have to admit that I think there are probably some key aspects of your story that you haven’t explained (or maybe you just don’t realize they’re important). Anyway, happy to continue the dialogue here or you can e-mail me at to discuss. Good luck.

Hi MiserableLawStdnt,

What I have learnt in my life is as follows. When you have to decide between two or more alternatives and you can’t make up your mind quickly, the best thing to do is _ not _ to ask others.

Go with a combination of your gut feeling and moderately careful analysis and it will work out fine.

Others’ opinions may give you short-term comfort, but long-term confusion. Others’ opinions are not going to be better than your own opinion in the long run.

You know your situation best and you will be the best judge of your decisions in the long run. So, please do the necessary analysis without sweating over it too much and arrive at a decision and stick with it.

I am much older than you and based on experiences in my life I can confidently say that the very important decision point you are facing now is not big enough to count in your life.

I used to fret just as you are doing now and I think I should have made my decisions faster without vacillating so much.

Hope you take my advice in the right spirit.

Best Regards



Oh to have your problem I would be grateful…

if nothing else, you are building a fantastic resume that opens bigger doors for your future…ride it out for 4 more months to complete 1 year of experience, and start looking elsewhere if things arent any better then…a lot of times you’re “tested” to see what you can handle…sometimes its an intentional test, with the test being in mind at the beginning of the decision making…sometimes its NOT an intentional test, and you’re originally getting screwed over, but in retrospect the way you handled it becomes looked upon as a test…i.e. “he maintained a positive attitude when there was a bit of uncertainty…i dont know how i would have handled that”…focus on the bigger picture

also dont forget that old saying…one mans trash is another mans treasure…

i have a headset strapped to my head all day and take phone calls and place trades for retail clients for $40k a year…i would give to be in your role where at least your experience and resume is being built…whether i was losing my office or not…granted, you’ve gone through a long road of education and experience and should have these opportunities, but so have a lot of people who are out of work

challenge yourself to find the positive and have your mettle tested and hope it pays off later with this company…if it doesn’t…keep your options open and its a great situational interview response to the question “tell me about a time when…”

To me, it appears, you are not playing the corporate game right.

You mention you are not a very social person. May be that is the reason you are treated this way.

Wokring hard is the least you can do to be successful. Besides, I am sure you are not the only in the PE firm pulling 80 hours every week, but what might really differentiate you is what kind of networking, schmoozing, arse-licking, socialising (or whatever else you want to call it) skills you display. Shameless self-promotion is the name of the game.

For example, How many times have you been out drinking with the big boys in the last week / month / quarter?

Looking good is more important than being good…sadly, my friend!

Actually, in this sort of situation, it might be better to get an outside opinion. It’s hard to make an unemotional decision if you work in an 80 hour/week high stress environment and are personally vested in the outcome.

Apologies, if my earlier post was a bit harsh. But I am speaking from my own personal experience. I was given the same advice early in my career which I took on board and noticed the difference within months.

You need to play the game…the game of thrones

I have a feeling there will be far less sex than there is in that show though. Seriously, what’s up with that? Everyone is fucking.

ask for the title Chief Technology Officer and more money…

Money Money Money

This may have worked for you, but I don’t think this is universally applicable advice for everyone. The eye only sees what the mind knows – he’s clearly trying to gather more information from people that are more experienced in the profession than he is. Making too many “gut decisions” without a robust decision-making process can often lead to biased and sub-optimal outcomes. I know what you’re suggesting may work for some people, but it’s not exactly a universal truth. For me, throughout my professional life, I have relied on thoughtful guidance from a number of people that I call my mentors. My career wouldn’t be where it is without their advice.

yeah i agree, and not many people can say they’ve made it to antarctica, so i recommend following his advice

It sounds like you’re in a better place than most at the moment. Its only been 8 months. Give it some time, get some resume bullet points, and re evaluate after a year and a half.

Another thing… you are young. (I am too). I quite literally feel like I am more intelligent and more capable of producing quality work than 70% of the people at my company. But nobody else cares. They see you as young and inexperienced regardless of your resume. Suck it up and work in a cube like every other mid 20’s professional. You seem to define your ego and identity by the meetings you attend or the size of your office. You are getting fantastic work experience, and once you learn to schmooze, you will shine.

I would suggest asserting yourself a little bit more, always in a positive way. If you are on calls or in meetings, speak a little when you know you can add value. Once higherups see you can communicate with outsiders, maybe they’ll give you more opportunities.

I also have been forced into data analyst BS because nobody else could do it. I 100% agree that it sucks.

Thanks for all the good advice. People who suggested I just jump past this hurdle were right. I am glad I didn’t do something dumb like just walkout. It would have given me a bad rep, and this industry is a small community. As usual I am being a drama queen when I don’t get my way. Over the past two weeks, I completely forgot about this whole cubicle thing. We are in the midst of Q2 board presentation. Still at the office right now on a Sunday, and it is almost midnight. I hardly thought about any of it at all, no time to dwell.

Was in a meeting earlier and everyone was freaking out. One of the Senior associates messed up on this model for a prior acquisition. We paid a 4.3 Multiple. Unfortunately he gave the same value to contracted and un-contracted revenue. Un-contracted anything obviously has higher risk and therefore should be valued lower than contracted revenue. Anyways, turns out the seller may have inflated uncontracted revenue, and now we are losing it. He was getting his ass reamed. Can’t say it didn’t feel good sitting there, watching him defend himself and his work, “…what was I supposed to do? Go back to Mr. Smith and say your numbers aren’t right after the Due Diligence report from PriceWaterCooper already came in?” I felt like saying, “Yes asshole.” I didn’t. However, I am surprised no one else caught it.

Any ways, I guess the lesson here is, never react to a situation immediately. I got advice from you good people, cooled off, and now things are good again. After all, how much time do I spend in my own office? I am always in a Senior’s office anyways. Not like they will come to mine. It’s more than 20-feet away after all.

Well going to get on this debt covenants, make sure everyone gets their 15% distribution, and get home for at least 2 hours of sleep before the yelling that will ensue in the morning. Don’t want to miss that!

PEACE DAWGZ! (I don’t know man I am sleep deprived)

FFS, you are complaining about a $32K bonus?

Maybe “bonus” means something different than bonus.