I had a very unpleasant “conversation” with a manager this week at work.
He is a very important person inside the bank because he is an excellent deal-maker and is necessary.
He can be a nice person when in a good mood, but he is known to blow off steam on employees when he is stressed, and there are known cases of people quitting because of his absolutely bat shit insane mood swings.
Well anyways until two days ago my policy was to stay on his good side and just swallow my pride when he occasionally gives me shit. Overall the relationship with him had been good ; he gives me responsibilities and holds me in high regards, gives me deals and overall has been very good for my career.
But two days ago I basically told him to fuck off. He was yielling at me for no good reason in his usual incoherent rambling, hitting his table with his fist, etc., and he then insulted me (called me obtuse). At that point I told him that nobody talks to me like that and left his office. Today he sent me a rather friendly email mentioning objective facts about the reason we were arguing. I replied by reminding him that he had insulted me and that I do not accept any type of verbal abuse.
The bottom line is how his lack of respect totally changed how I view him as well as my work. While at the beginning of the week his opinion of me was very important and I was going out of my way for him, now I give absolutely no fuck anymore and am willing to quit in the blink of an eye (in any case my reaction might mean that my career in this bank is pretty much over anyways).
Basically I am amazed at how his intimidation tactics actually made me fearless. It is as if he crossed a line beyond which a totally different set of rules apply.
my friend had phil falcone as his second line manager. he hated his first line manager so much that he left harbinger capital even though he was pulling in seven figures. he got along with phil, but not his direct manager.
having a good first line manager is essential or else your life sucks.
Anyway, here is my “wisdom”… Successful people in finance have two faces. It doesn’t matter if you respect the guy or not. What matters is that you can act like you are his friend to his face. This is a characteristic of any successful business person.
Additionally, I would avoid having any manner of conversation like this through email, IB, or other written form. First of all, leaving a record might be bad for future purposes. Also, your intonation or body language cannot be read, and this can lead to people misinterpreting your intentions.
For instance: “I replied by reminding him that he had insulted me and that I do not accept any type of verbal abuse.” Maybe you should have talked to him in person. I understand that maybe you just didn’t care any more though…
I know this is tough but try not to take it personally, remember everything said is strictly business and consider what he says only an implication of the business side and not your personal character.
I learned this the hard way with my first job out of school. My mgr was a nice guy but it was his duty to pass along the demands from the powers who be. Any criticism, critiques, or warranted warnings i took to heart and responded with insinuating physical repecussions (i was deep into training mma at the time). It didnt work out but i was able to learn this valuable skill bc of it. Learn from my misdoing and remain factual leaving personal emotion aside.
I would also say, when things cool down, to walk back into his office and confront the prior discussion. Ask him to calmly state his problems, address those problems without getting defensive, and in return ask to be treated as an employee without being called names (ftr, obtuse isnt too bad).
life’s too short bro. I had a similar experience and looking back it was one of the precipitators of me deciding to go out on my own. I think I subconsciously knew that my ultimate goal was to be out on my own so I allowed myself to fight back, as you did. Perhaps your current work situation does not align with what you really want in your life. Sounds like you’re starting to realize that, and hopefully you identify what you really want to pursue before you’re out on your ass. I can tell you that higher ups who behave like your boss will have no problem (and will probably find great delight) in screwing you in the future in some way.
If you’re so inclined you can find a way to make your leaving sting for the company all while keeping a friendly and positive posture. In my case, I gave notice very shortly after my boss offered me the opprotunity to raise and run my own portfolio. He made it sound like a career changing opportunity, except that the economics to me were table scraps compared to what they would have made if I was successful (his way of trying to screw me in retaliation). I acted excited and grateful, and then told them I was going out on my own a few weeks later. They were stunned and pissed because they told their existing investors they tapped me for the new portfolio. Without saying it and all while staying very positive, I sent the message that I thought they were horrible people and no amount of money would keep me there.
I have learned, like Ohai, to never have a debate through email. Never ever. If they’re not in the same office, I pick up the phone. 1) it takes a lot less longer, 2) email for some reason has this tendency to just escalate, 3) people focus on exactly what was said whereasa demeanor and a face / voice helps soften the content and 4) paper trail. If I get an argumentative email, I literally stand up and walk directly to that person’s office to settle the issue amicably and immediately. Basically, I don’t Black Swan people IRL.
That being said, I think you made your point, I don’t think you should have sent that email response and I do think you should immediatley walk to that guy’s office and settle things amicably face to face. Time to give some ground and let him save his face while hoping he doesn’t hold a grudge. As someone who at times has a similar temperment to that boss, he probably did not mean his words personally, and will probably take the lesson away from this to show you more respect. There is literally nothing to be gained by carrying this crusade onward. I’ve seen people shit on their careers over smaller things and it just makes no sense to me.
I don’t think you were wrong to walk out (although I wouldn’t make it regular practice) and if he has any sense, he’ll respect you more for it. But a lot of success comes from knowing exactly where the line between good and bad decisions lies.
I also think you’re being a bit of a child about it yourself. You were called obtuse. Get over it. Be a man and make positive things out of it. Strong individuals are unphased, the weaker ones will cave into a vacuum of indignation. If this escalates and he craters your career, he won’t remember it as that Joan of Arc that stood up to him, you’ll just be that petty man he disposed of.
Txs dude but this is not the way it works around here. This is my fourth job in the financial services industry in this country and I have never seen anyone get yelled at this way, let alone be insulted.
Sure people will get criticised, their competences put in question, humiliated, demoted, fired, etc. But I have never seen people get insulted or really yelled at. It would be perceived as being unprofesionnal. People get destroyed here, but not this way.
i think the main consideration here for how you acted is whether or not your actions serve you or hinder you in achieving your goals. usually, emotional reactions to a stressful or threatening situation do not serve you.