Switching office cultures

I’ll be starting a new job in asset management in a couple of weeks, and wanted to get some insight as to how much “culture shock” I should expect. It’s a smallish firm with ~30 people. I’ll be coming from my first job, which is an NGO, and although pretty professional - they’re a bit lax on deadlines, time off, lateness, etc. Now, I’m the type who enjoys a faster pace and challenges, which is a major reason I’m making the move. I also come from a pretty rigorous school, so I’m no stranger to working hard. However, I’m afraid that the past 1.5yrs of NGO office culture may have subconciously rubbed off on me/my work ethic. I don’t want to unknowingly do/say something that would further differentiate me from the people with banking experience (in a negative way). I’m totally ready for the longer hours and more demanding work, but is there anything else relating to more subtle office culture issues that I should be on the lookout for?

I’ve worked at an NGO too, and I can tell you, sloth knows no boundaries. People love to talk sh*t about how they work like a dog, but there’s plenty of wasted time in the private sector too. And, if your NGO experience was anything like mine, it’s a mistake to think that non-profit types don’t have to work hard. The main difference is that the NGO world makes you feel like you’re a douche for wanting to get paid enough to support yourself after putting in plenty of 50 hour weeks (not that 50 hours is a lot compared to many finance positions, but you figure that you ought to be able to support yourself on that).

Thanks bchadwick! I definitely know what you mean about working your tail off and getting a somewhat less than decent reward for it. It’s just that where I work it’s really family friendly, so the 9-5 still exists for many (not many young folks either). I also feel like I had to really prove myself during the interview process to all those bankers since I didn’t have the traditional background. I want to make sure I don’t give them a reason to be like “what an NGO kid - that’s not how we do it on the private sector”

Private sector is mostly a lot of tough talk about how you work so hard that you can barely squeeze in a full 90 minutes at the gym, although it is true that you really are expected to screw your family when some juicy deal or deadline comes along.

What type of AM firm? Is it personal money (HNW, UHNW) or institutional. What exactly is your role going to be at the new firm?

It’s institutional, and I’ll be starting as a portfolio analyst/general risk analyst

It depends how much you want a decent bonus. I have hired a new guy. I want him to be the go-getter. He is coming in on his contracted time and leaving on his contracted time. The rest of the team are coming in earlier and leaving later (esp. me - I work the longest hours). He does not ask the team if there is anything else to do. We are a small team. How much bonus do you think I should give him? A big one or a little one? Do you think I should tell him that he is doing himself no favours? He is not out of his probation period. He has eyes in his head and a brain. I don’t think I should say a word - I might even hire someone else at this rate. FWIW I gave my staff 4 months bonus on average in this average/not great year. I thought that was a decent chunk of change. Other than that:- Reserve the 101 questions for your lowliest coworker, not the person higher up the food chain. You can save your own embarassment. Ask the coworker what is normally expected in terms of hours etc and then exceed that. At least exceed the biggest slacker. Make sure the person you look after most is your boss and his boss. Don’t give them problems, give them solutions. When your boss asks how it is going tell them it is great and ask them if there is anything more you can do for them. That will be in sharp contrast to the person who whines to your boss/doesnt produce. Do these basic things and you will do well - financially and career wise. Doors will open that you never thought possible. It’s amazing how many people fail in this undertaking. Congrats on getting the job.

Muddahudda Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Do these basic things and you will do well - financially and career wise. Doors will open that you never thought possible. It’s amazing how many people fail in this undertaking. This is why it’s so important to choose the right culture as this doesn’t hold true in a poor (not financially) environment.