Building PowerThree Lessons from an Investment Banking Career for your Professional and Personal Lives (self.TheRedPill)

submitted by [deleted]


I have spent the last decade working in NYC in one of the most competitive and demanding career paths on the planet. My experience, the people, and my mentors have taught me a few invaluable lessons that I want the present and future generations of boys and men to learn earlier rather than later. Each of these lessons will apply first in its context (my/your job) and second as a corollary to personal life. These are the 101, and a good starting point.

The Lessons

Be present

  • Your reputation is defined primarily by the quantity of people who can say "Yes, I know him" neutrally or better when asked

A common mistake first year analysts make is over-investing in their "desk" leadership i.e. their immediate bosses and group heads. While having a core support group (at least 3 mid-senior leaders and 1-2 senior leaders) is important, optionality in your career is derived from broad awareness of you.

Build this presence indirectly as a young employee by creating miniature personal connections as opportunities are thrust upon you. This means when your boss assigns you to a one-off task with an unfamiliar team, do not complete the task without a warm connection to a senior person on that team. As a junior there is no expectation to source your own work, only to source your own brand; as you are able assess the "quality" of the people you're introduced to, invest accordingly. People strongly bias recency - be recent, even if the recency is mundane.

Corollary: Don't over-invest in your immediate circle of friends, and especially not your romantic partners (present or potential). You will draw power and charisma from the quantity of those who tolerate or appreciate your presence. Do not prioritize "quality" until you are able to define it for yourself, and recognize it in others.

Be different - but only enough to differentiate

  • In order to beat the pack vying for advancement, you must have (in addition to whatever merits competence in your actual work) an indescribable edge.

This is a dangerous but necessary step if you have ambition that exceeds a basic career track in your field. A harsh reality is that the majority of the people I have worked with are objectively smarter, more pragmatic, and better planners than 97.5% of the population. A harsher reality is that superficial traits are as valuable to this 2.5% as the rest. However, your differentiation must be mostly positive. We can all recall more than one classmate or co-worker who was unabashedly different, and unashamed of that difference. We can also separate them into two classes - abrasive and interesting. Be the latter.

For me, it was my style of dress. I made a habit of wearing pink windowpane suits and other fashion that was otherwise entirely anathema to the so called Wall Street Dress Code. Why did this work for me? First, it sent a subconscious message that I was bold in my choices; second, I never apologized or equivocated in the face of criticism. I distinctly recall a senior VP who later became a close contact tell that when he first saw that particular suit, he though, "Who the fuck is that?" Despite his internal negative reaction, it made him curious. Find your difference and inspire curiosity.

Corollary: While I can't prescribe you the method, this playground trick works everywhere, on everyone. My dress style works in both social and professional circles. I have seen affable positivity work for some, carefully measured comedy work for others. Find one that does the same for you.

The political cycle - hitch your wagon to the correct person

  • As an entry-level employee, you are shielded from office politics. As a mid-level employee who does not yet make decisions, you must be aware of the politics. A decision maker must be involved in the politics.

A junior analyst, first year law associate, or young engineer must put his head down and produce good work. Mastery of the things you perceive to be bitch work are the foundation of respect from your superiors. Nobody on Wall Street became CEO because of their Excel financial modeling skills, but none would understand what it actually means to be an M&A banker without those skills. On the other hand, people know the analyst who is always a little too curious about what's going on in that meeting he wasn't invited to (because nobody below VP was anyway...).

An IB associate, however, should be keeping score. Is your direct manager's view winning out when your group comes to the table? Does your desk have a strong or weak voice when there is contention among internal parties? Again, this associate has no involvement in the charade, but must be aware of the momentum. The purpose of this is to pick your own winner.

There is no value in loyalty to a profession or product. Mortgage trading was a great game from 1997-2007, but only a foolish 22-28 year old would have stuck around after. By paying attention to who is winning and losing, a non-decision maker maximizes the chance that his early decision making days are already with the winners. Remember, until you're calling the shots, you are just along for the ride. Exit gracefully if you perceive that wagon is headed off a cliff. Hold on tightly if it is moving onward and upward.

Corollary: In any social hierarchy, there is an obvious superior group in each setting. Only denial can lead to a different conclusion. In school, the superior group is more plainly visible and easy to define - this group is hitting the milestones of early life sooner (relationships, sex, academic/sports victories, prestigious summer internships). After school, superior groups are judged on a relative basis, but nonetheless exist. An aspirant man's goal should be to find his place in this group.

Fortunately, a man can determine for himself how to reach his goal. This provides freedom to choose, but not freedom from social politics. A man can only "shield" himself from social politics by not participating at all. While there are ideologies that can support such a lifestyle, TRP is not one of them. A man's choice socially is to lead (be involved) or to follow (be aware). Neither of these are a better or a worse thing - they are each simply a thing. Decide if you are suited to lead - if not, be aware and follow those who you deem fit.


Be present so that you may be relevant; prioritize quantity over quality in your relationships until you are able to define quality for yourself.

Be different without apology, but that difference must not be disruptive.

After your social or professional infancy, your shield from the politics is gone; be aware of the game and keep score of winners and losers. When the time comes, choose to lead and become involved in the politics, or choose to follow and hone your awareness.

[–]savantness 87 points88 points  (11 children)

Bold move wearing pink in IB. I would think "fuck this guy" unless you had a good reputation. Excellent point.

[–][deleted] 53 points54 points  (6 children)

he's probably making it up, if not the whole post. nobody would be retarded enough to do that and think it would have any positive results. i worked in the same industry and mentor a few people still in it, and unless you want to be known as the 'faggot with a pink suit' you wont get much use out of something that stupid. even if you thought it might work somehow, the risk/reward is too shitty (if everything worked how you wanted, a few extra people would notice you. if things work out how they probably will, you'll leave a sour taste in people's mind of you which will effect your relationships with people you haven't even talked to yet)

differentiate yourself, but in a way where it's not differentiating yourself as a moron. ideally through the work you do and how you work in the team. when its time for a promotion, and it comes down to the "poof in the pink" vs "guy who ends up taking charge of the group", obviously you know who they will pick

its like wearing a giant dildo on your head when you go out. will it get you noticed? yeah. in a positive way? not really. so you're really just saying 'i have no other way for people to notice me enough to find out more about me, so i have to resort to stupid shit like this", which is a weak position to start out at

proof? look at any reputable success story coming out of banks, investment banks, or any high level positions in companies and see how many of them talk about doing stupid shit like this and how it got them to their position

[–][deleted] 24 points25 points  (0 children)

I think courting attention is a good idea. I'd prefer to do it with a tie clip or expensive patterned socks than dress like a faggy flamingo

[–]sanicthehedgefund 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Unfortunately I suspect a lot of posts on TRP/ askTRP are troll posts. I don't understand the motives why someone would do that but there is some ridiculous shit here. I think even on esoteric subreddits you will have a hard time finding things that are weirder.

[–]caP1taL1sm 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I feel like we need a combo community between WallStreetOasis and TRP lul

[–]Aarxnw 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don't know why but I trust what you say way more than OP, even though his advice sounded pretty solid.

[–]CtrlAltTrump -1 points0 points  (1 child)

So how important is team work vs getting results?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

well you have to know how to work in a team, thats a huge part of it. in both positions, as a leader, and as someone who is not in charge by default but (at minimum) be able to fully handle the work that's delegated to you and potentially the smaller group of people you're put in charge of within the group

but at the end of the day it's also largely about results. you can be effective within a team, but if youre not effective enough to deliver results, even in the form of not fulfilling the objective asked of you but offering some solutions and work-arounds vs just saying 'no we cant do this'(which some people do), the results will be noticed

they really go hand in hand, you cant have results without good and effective teamwork/leadership, and your leadership is largely ineffective without the matching results

this can apply to most jobs i think

[–]beginner_ 10 points11 points  (0 children)

The guy probably just wants to weed out some idiots at work by posting this here. At least some guy will now go buy a pink suit and wear it because they are idiots and take everything literally.

[–]Duchat 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I expect you to try and sell me a used boat on melee island.

[–]Kalidane 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Is Melee Island close to Whore Island?

[–]Duchat 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Anything's possible in the ghost fog.

[–]Weirdtual 53 points54 points  (10 children)

prioritize quantity over quality in your relationships until you are able to define quality for yourself.

Most important piece of advice I'll took from your post. It never occured to me before but it really is a no-brainer once it's said.

[–]Mastropasto 8 points9 points  (5 children)

So for me at university is like making a lot of friends?p

[–]Red_pill_2017 11 points12 points  (3 children)

I started university knowing 0 people. I talked to everyone and this quote makes perfect sense because you get to choose your friends instead of being stuck with bad / low quality friends

I always say that girls never follow this rule and they just become friends with whoever is placed in front of them. This is why I think a lot of girls have much more drama then guys, they don't get along with eachother. Out of 10 people, I can choose two who I would love to call friends. For a lot of girls, they don't choose and get stuck with the other 8.

[–]CtrlAltTrump 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Everyone you know should be a quality friend. They should be many. If not then no point in keeping them. So I disagree with OP, it's not quality vs quantity, it's both.

[–]NYCSPARKLE 4 points5 points  (0 children)

His point is that you can't necessarily define quality when you're new somewhere.

I wholeheartedly agree with OP on this. The IB equivalent from my experience is all the asshats that HAD to be in the M&A group because if was the sexiest group. Problem was, this group wasn't very good at our bank, but they still had shitty hours and culture. The analysts all got stuck working till 4am on pitch books and shitty deals and didn't make any real connections outside of that group. And when bonus / firing season came, their leaders didn't go to bat for them and a lot were unhappy or laid off in recession.

They chose perceived quality of an insular group, and didn't have time to make the quantity of connections they needed to advance in the company.

[–]Blackhawk2479 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's both, ultimately, but you need to start with quantity before you can separate the cream from the dregs.

You also need experience of low quality friends and co-workers to better identify their high quality counterparts.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This includes honing your ability to cut people off and out who do not produce any return for you in your life.

[–]Sasuke_F_Uchiha 1 points1 points [recovered]

How can I do this. Any advice/sources?

[–]Prophets_Prey 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I guess we're in the same boat here. As my dad says, it's better to network than socialise. It's a small world.

[–]metallicdrama 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Most of his advice applies to all arenas of life, not just career. Works in college, works in dating and networking.

[–]Drumcode-Equals-Life 26 points27 points  (4 children)

Your point about being a young professional is dead on - the first year in my company as an engineer I put my head down and focused on putting out good work, and along the way I cultivated relationships with a lot of the managers and earned their respect, now I'm on a management track at 25 with my name on a couple process and design patents because the managers trusted me to be the lead designer on our prototypes that turned into flagship products.

The first year in a company can make or break your career, its important to remember that always.

[–]DocPool 1 points1 points [recovered]

Can you expand more on the putting your head down and dishing out goos work?

[–]PM_ME_TRUMPNUDES 8 points9 points  (0 children)

He put his head down and focused on creating good work?

[–]Aarxnw 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It's so industry specific but it's not hard to follow what that guy said, be good at what you do, there's no secret. Don't be a slack off, don't be an asshole, take charge of situations, meet deadlines, importantly, make sure all your work is to a good standard if that applies.

[–]PoddyMouth611 0 points1 point  (0 children)

this isn't the best method for everyone. it's usually the ones who do above average but also communicate very well with their bosses who move up

[–]TheLegionnaire00 105 points106 points  (18 children)

Be ready for that one guy who will say: "fuck career, I live like a spartan eating only rice and noodles and I slay 3597 pussies a day while flipping burgers at McDonald's".

Joke aside, you made some good point. But I will add that you should try as fast as possible to start your own company if you really want to be free and enjoy life at another level. I'm quite young, just starting my second year of college. I've been working as a software engineer since I was 18 and this summer I have started my own company(while keeping the other job as a part-time for financial stability). Best decision I have made.

[–]beginner_ 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The problem with starting a company besides financial instability is the fact that you quickly will be weighted down by bureaucratic stuff starting with taxes and other financial stuff which will suck if you hate that.

Also you will work more for the same amount of money. Yes one in a million might make it and become rich but most don't. If you value freedom, large corps with good "benefits", meaning flexible hours and home office, is preferable. Even more so if they are somewhat clueless about what you do and you need a lot less time do do it than they think (automation).

[–]denniskane 1 points1 points [recovered]


Are you into JS, by chance? I've been working on a web-based operating system since 2012!

See my post history for background info about me... its a loooong story that I really don't want to keep rehashing.

[–]TheLegionnaire00 7 points8 points  (7 children)

Hey man. That looks cool and I will look into it. I've done some JS(my new company is doing web-design as primary ocuppation for now, so I wrote some lines in JS), but nothing fancy.

[–]denniskane 1 points1 points [recovered]

Nice. You kind of saved me here because I was going to go off like a banshee on the main topic.

About that, there is [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibuiUXOTE4M](a documentary called startup-dot-com) that traces some guys trying to start a startup in the late 90's. The main dude was a Goldman Sachs Harvard fratbro, who quit his dayjob in order to try his hand at building a government web-portal in the time before Google went mainstream. The whole movie is just filled with guys that are spewing this kind of prototypical Wall Street arrogance, and in the end result, they never had a chance in hell of breaking into the clear air of Silicon Valley style success, where, as Zuck himself says, "code wins arguments".

[–]metallicdrama 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lol gambled on web portals over search. Morons. No real coder would have gone that direction. Total user mentality haha.

[–]PM-ME-YOUR-SEXTAPE -1 points0 points  (3 children)

R u guys into ICOs? Working on a blockchain app

[–]denniskane 1 points1 points [recovered]

I'm into fucking the world up. Look into my posting history. I'm based in Florida, near UF. Whatever I get into, it will need to be based on looking people in the eyes and shaking hands/ brohugs.

As far as my tech, it is just a next gen OS, perfect for Chrome-based devices. As long as it can hook into that somehow, then we can legitimately talk business. If it can't hook into the client-side JS layer, there is a node.js layer that should be able to hook it in.

[–]redpillersinparis 5 points6 points  (1 child)

God, it's like I fell into a room full of wannabe 'alpha' teenage nerds.

[–]ThePounder 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This depends entirely on your profession and skills. For example, I'm in law school, starting my own law firm would be stupid because I'd lack the practical/field experience. I would also not make nearly as much as I would working at a big law firm. Same goes for anyone with similar education, doctors/engineers etc.

That's not to say you shouldn't give it a go: especially if you're not taking a high-paying carreer path. I do own two businesses for example, both in entirely different fields (not related to each other or law). Having your own business gives a lot of satisfaction, though it won't make nearly as much money in some cases. What you can do is save up money and gain experience as a lawyer, doctor, engineer etc. and start your own business off of that in the field you specialize in, like your own law firm or tech company.

[–]TheLegionnaire00 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I know what You say man. But I'm a programmer. I must admit that in pur days, being a programmer is like playing life on easy mode lol

[–]metallicdrama 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That McDonalds pussy is really easy though. Just ignore the smell.

[–]skrrrttt -1 points0 points  (0 children)

sick brah I started CS this years lets work together

[–]CtrlAltTrump -1 points0 points  (0 children)

The issue is coming up with an idea for a company (not investment banking).

[–]trpgeorge 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Thank u for this, Public accounting and consultancy also have this dynamic, thanks for putting pen to paper as a senior and spelling it out, it's inevitable to have red tape and office politics in large companies. Might as well embrace it, learn and excel rather than struggling through the corporate ladder

[–]Ugly_Merkel 18 points19 points  (2 children)

That suit is fucking trash... dress better before you start giving people advice.

[–]maliciodeltorro 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Definitely an analyst in like the mid west. That suit is hot garbage. Would get laughed out of a meeting in a more fashion conscious city.

[–]hopon_pop 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Have to agree. Wouldn't be caught dead wearing that in the city and can't say I've seen anyone rocking a jacket remotely similar... smaller checked shirts in xyz colors are one thing (I'll wear these in blue or red, no jacket necessary in my current profession) but that jacket is way too loud.

[–]ap426 10 points11 points  (6 children)

Funny because this is so true and I work in an investment bank. I made a brand of myself within the first to year. I'm only a third year analyst. Still got a lot to learn.

[–]sx2eck 1 points1 points [recovered]

If you haven't already...

  • Figure out who makes the final call on your promotion to Associate
  • Ask them on Wednesday or Thursday what the key ingredients are to that next step for you at a casual meeting
  • 6-8 weeks before the decision is made, have your best reference approach that decision maker about you

Remember - you'll never lose respect for being concerned about doing the right things to move ahead. You'll only lose respect by requesting or demanding to move ahead when you aren't ready.

[–]Arnoux 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have requested, even demanded to get promotion. I got it. Not sure managers are respecting me less, I think one them is more, because I had ballz.

I was not ready definitely, but after half year suffering I got better at the new role :D

[–]ap426 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I was going to get promoted at my previous place to Associate but I just could area future. I had no vision on where I would be in 5 years time. So left having served 2 years and moved across the street.

I've had to work insanely hard to get to where I am coming from a non target school. Sometimes worked day and night. During the winter, it felt like a casino. Come in when it's dark and leave when it's dark. Red Pill has helped me a lot career wise recently. I'm fairly new to TRP.

I mean I've never got laid but I like the psychology, philosophy of TRP. Anyhoo, development has been at the forefront of what I do.

I'm going to sit down with my boss and ask him what exactly he wants. What is going to be our case. If you don't ask you don't get. We usually have a weekly catch-up so I can get some feedback from my work that week.

Your last line is what I'm trying not to do. It's one of those points where you are trying to balance everything on the see saw. Thanks bro! What area of banking did you work in?

[–]sx2eck 1 points1 points [recovered]

You've got your head on straight. Keep doing what you're doing.

I started on a trading desk, moved to leveraged finance, then financial sponsors IB.

[–]ap426 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm on the market risk side covering all asset classes. Structuring of deals/trading is where I want to go to. I'll get there eventually. Only 24 so got some time still.

[–]Spacemage 3 points4 points  (3 children)

The bitch work part, I think, is what many people over look in the department if importance. Coffee runs give you a very good insight into a lot about many people.

[–]GIGANTIC_NIGGER_DICK 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Could you expand more on why you thing coffee runs give you insight into people?

[–]Spacemage 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You know what people like and how they treat the person doing something for them, if nothing else. You would also see how they behave if their order is wrong.

[–]whuttupfoo 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I would add to the whole differentiation thing and mention that physical differentiation isn’t the only way. Acting in a different fashion works really well too. I mean talking with no social filters and doing things that stand out.

I’ve said some things to people who I don’t even remember meeting, come forth months down the road and mention “oh yeah you’re the guy that said xxx you’re insane!”. Where as if I didn’t say x controversial thing, that person would’ve never remembered me.

This example might not work in an office setting, but I’ve been to networking events with high profile people in my industry and was given the dreaded “so what do you do?” question that everyone uses. I almost always tell people I sell coke to the executives, or some drug related thing. I have gotten some solid connections and jobs out of that alone.

[–]_MysticFox 4 points5 points  (5 children)

Can you go more in depth about how to create an image, specifically?

I have a hard time showing my personality without it coming off badly. I keep my mouth shut but then nobody knows what I have to offer. I'm well-groomed and dressed and such, but the only people that don't find me repulsive are my best friends who know my ins and outs. Even that was only after riding a rollercoaster of events with them, and also going on a "break" from talking to eachother for a while with every single one of them.

[–]sx2eck 1 points1 points [recovered]

If you've found every interpersonal relationship difficult the common thread is you. Can you share any self reflection you've had about why you struggle in this department?

[–]short_Mexican 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I know I'm not him, but I could also use your advice. Even though I have some high SMV friends. I also pursue my passion of being a comedian by doing open miss and I'm also on an Instagram comedy page . Yet on the other hand I find it difficult to compete with other men though in terms of money. Even though I'm a University student majoring in business. My gut tells me that I need to make money but I don't know what to do?

[–]_MysticFox 1 points1 points [recovered]

Let's see. I can't take banter well. When I meet someone new I'm quick to ask them to hang out and do something or to have them tag along with me. I have uncommon/strange hobbies. I don't drink or smoke which are easy to build rapport with. I'm skinny and don't have much success with women. My conversation skills are mostly bland. I get overexcited or too emotionless.

As far as taking it to a friendship level, I always expect the relationship to be give and take. I'm always the first to initiate. I expect them to be as open to me as I am with them. I complain as a method of bonding, like "damn I don't know what I'm gonna do in this class." I see a lot of things as power plays or manipulation tactics

[–]HumasWiener 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The main thing you have to do to win friends and influence people is to be genuinely interested in other people. That's it. Ask people to talk about themselves and don't argue with them.

[–]caP1taL1sm 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Jesus the way you write I can only imagine the comments you must give the analysts on decks.

Also inb4 you're in capital markets

[–]1GroundhogLiberator 1 point2 points  (1 child)

lol he's probably in fixed income S&T

[–]Cookiest 5 points6 points  (4 children)

Solid post.

Any advice for first year IB associates?

[–]sx2eck 1 points1 points [recovered]

Are you MBA or a2a promote?

[–]Cookiest 0 points1 point  (2 children)

MBA. No finance background

[–]sx2eck 1 points1 points [recovered]

Don't delegate anything 100% to your analysts until you know you could do it better. Learn alongside them (they'll be better at a lot of it at first) and go slowly on the soft management side of things.

Check everything you do delegate twice. It's your work at the end of the day, so mistakes actually hurt you more than an inexperienced analyst.

Other than that congrats and get ready.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Mildly interesting because I know a thing or 2 about surviving and thriving in an IB. Would be better if OP related his advice from Laws of Power because its all there. That's the manifesto if you ask me.

I'll add that networking with clients is much more valuable than internal politics. Yes, one must hitch to the right wagon and Yes, I have been blown out when my boss lost and that's the way it goes.

But if you find ways to take up space in the clients mind where they depend or get attached to you than you are not only safe at home but others will pay for your services and that my friends is something we call Dread

[–]sx2eck 1 points1 points [recovered]

I actually avoided laws of power because it's been trotted out so much here. That said, I think laws of power are good but as a whole the work is meandering and contradictory at times. In addition, it makes much more sense to someone who can already relate it to personal experience, as its abstract nature doesn't give practical lessons to young people with no experience.

[–]Roaring40sUK 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This says everything about why I left the corporate world over a decade ago... this shit leaves me cold.

[–][deleted] 13 points14 points  (27 children)

Banking sounds like some kind of stuffy, stick-up-the-ass hell.

[–]grewapair 23 points24 points  (26 children)

The kind of hell where you make $300,000 by your third year.

[–]samenrofringslikeLBJ 1 points1 points [recovered]

Only hookers define themselves by how much they cost, men define themselves by the value they can create.

[–]jobbbbinandjabbim 51 points52 points  (3 children)

That's what people say who don't make $300,000 in their third year

[–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (1 child)

I'm not a left winger, no jealousy here. But people who put stock in their cost to their employer tend to be terribly uninspiring. I like to present results, turnover generated, leads aquired, etc. Compensation and performance are in my view 2 uncorrelated phenomenons in the labour markets.

[–]jobbbbinandjabbim 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Great example of male hamstering. Screenshotted for future use.

[–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Every banker I met has massive insecurity issues. That or they are quants.

Source: went to an elite grad school

[–]shut_up_liar 1 points1 points [recovered]

You realize salary is directly proportional to the value you create right?

[–]Mithra9009 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I thought one of the criticisms of things like Wall Street is precisely the fact that this isn't actually true. Those working in Wall Street aren't actually, actively producing anything. I don't even know how it all works honestly, they're just storing money or transferring money and somehow, they're making more money than actual content producers.

One of these days, I'll really have to sit down and read some shit on this but for now, I'm just going to focus on what's necessary.

[–]D0initbig 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's true in a broad sense but not necessarily in an individual sense.

If a company is willing to pay you $300000 a year it's generally because they cannot find anyone cheaper to do the same work. When the cost of a mistake can be millions of dollars then it's often worth it to pay more in salary than eat those losses. On aggregate, an investment bank is paid in accordance to the fees they are able to charge to their institutional customers or on their trading profits. If they are able to make a profit while paying $300k+ salaries, then they are a viable business.

That's basically all it comes down to.

The problem is that people think that all hard work should be valued the same. This is a psychological facet of humanity. If a maid works 80 hours a week cleaning houses, she's created value by cleaning those houses. But she won't get paid $300000/year because the labor market for cleaning houses doesn't support that and you wouldn't be able to have a viable cleaning business unless you were charging several hundred dollars per hour to clean, which nobody is going to pay. Same for teachers. It's be great if the value of teaching public school kids was higher, but it isn't. Private school salaries ARE higher, because their parents are willing to pay more.

Getting into IB is highly competitive and the people who make it in will (generally) be able to make an upper middle class salary in most white collar careers. The standards are certainly higher than they are for med school, for example. This competition on the labor market reduces the supply enough that the wages are pushed up.

That said, there are exceptions, and just because you make a lot of money doesn't necessarily mean that you are creating that much value. There are weird perverted incentives, nepotism, political dynamics that create situations where people are paid far more than they are worth, and the business will take a loss on that person to support their ulterior motive.

[–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

So then you havent the faintest clue about economics, since wage theory is perhaps the most contested subject in the field.

[–]Endorsed ContributorThotwrecker 4 points5 points  (9 children)

This is not true. Banking is not a passion career. Sales is not a passion career. In this regard, it is like prostitution - working IB hours for a decade will hurt your health, cause you premature aging, etc etc, and the goal here is to trade that 22-35 decade(s) to create enough value for you to have financial freedom to pursue passion projects or value creation later.

Software engineering is interesting because gifted, passionate SWEs can work on passion projects for good comp (not finance comp, but good) if they are smart, savvy politically, and know how to jump. But ultimately, most SWEs are doing the same thing - trading a decade or so for the hopes of making "I'm set" money.

This is what smart whores do too. Not very many of them are smart, but the smart ones work and save, retire, and then do what they want to do.

There are careers that define who you are, and careers that don't. When you work in IB, you have to orient your life around the job. You get an apartment / live in the area that makes it most convenient to go in and out. You travel and eat, and your friend group and drinking group winds up becoming the people you are around most. You typically fuck the bitches that are fucking other similarly career'd men.

It does define you, it is hell, and most don't have 10 year careers before they decide to ship out to a lower upside but higher QoL career.

[–]sgactw 5 points6 points  (8 children)

As someone who has been on the Street for a number of years, this is ludicrous. Prior to the financial crisis (e.g. back when the industry was healthy), there were hardly any analyst to associate promotes. You did your analyst gig, and then you usually went to business school and came back as an associate at age 26-27. From here, you could reasonably expect to start a family, live an affluent family life, work like a dog for ~23-25 years and "call it a day" at 50 with about $10mm in the bank. Most people after 50 went into cushy corporate C-level gigs, vice chairman roles at the investment bank, or pursued other interests (teaching, academia, writing, other intellectual stuff).

A few key differences between then and now:

1) New York City cost of living was a fraction of what it is today. The city has been flooded with both domestic and international wealth, and people on the buy side make multiples of what people on the sell side do in today's regulated environment. A normal investment banker has trouble today getting his kids into a top UES private school, whereas it was a slam dunk in the 80s or 90s.

2) The industry innovated significantly in the 70s and 80s. The M&A and Leveraged Finance markets were created in those years. As in any industry in the history of the world, the people who were there early, played significant roles in shaping these markets, etc. got rewarded handsomely. It is increasingly difficult to justify outsized compensation to a bunch of paper pushers who follow orders and do things "as they always have been done." That's why front office headcount has been consistently retrenching after the crisis and I don't see an end to that trend. It will be a consistently declining industry.

3) You used to get paid in cash. Today, those who receive their stock bonuses during downturns tend to do OK, but financial stocks tend to move cyclically and if you are getting tons of stock in up markets, it may get slammed by the time we see a correction. Regardless, none of this is ideal.

4) You used to take that cash that you got paid, and put it into your bank's private equity funds and hedge funds, where it would earn you a cushy 15-30%/year. This compounding led to serious wealth creation for the past generation of bankers.

I have a lot more to say here, but do have to run. Look forward to continuing the discussion and having some healthy back and forth. One last point: the industry is set up to tie you to it. There is tremendous peer pressure to spend to keep up with the joneses, keep up a certain image for colleagues and clients, get married at a socially acceptable age, etc. The MDs usually rejoice when a young associate or VP gets married, as they know the young man has likely married a lady who is very interested in his career/lifestyle and can tolerate the hours - they know that they have him locked into the golden handcuffs pretty nicely and he will keep running on that treadmill as fast as they'd like. It is very very difficult to save meaningful amounts of money with the stress that comes with the job, as well as the tremendous pressure to conform. At 35, the average guy in the industry may have about $1mm set aside. This is not go live on an island money if your monthly burn rate is $20k in NYC for you, your posh wife, and your two young kids.

[–]IntrovertSigma 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I'm very interested in the psychology of people that decide to work in the top end of the financial industry.

On one hand these people are very smart and hard working, on the other many (at least those that I've known) seem to be psychologically weak and prone to conformity as you mentioned.

Why do you think that is? It's not just BP'ers either.

An unplugged friend of mine worked in investment for one of the big banks (everyone here will have heard of them) and he told me how on one occasion the whole office shamed him for wearing brown shoes with his suit. And it was casual Friday!

[–]sgactw 2 points3 points  (1 child)

The guys at the top are very entrepreneurial and hard core and alpha. On the buy side particularly they can be highly nonconformist and make their careers on having contrarian views.

It's the army of guys that work for them today that tend to be the betas - and all of those guys still get paid quite handsomely (especially relative to today's environment where high paying employment is tough to come by).

[–]IntrovertSigma 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I guess in that respect it's not different from other corporate environments.

I assume a lot of the workers also dream of starting their own thing but the expensive lifestyle creeps up on them.

[–]trpadvice 0 points1 point  (2 children)

This should be the epilogue to every MBA - Finance course in the world! Thank you for writing this out.

To add on, I think high finance as a profession is revered because of the pays offs it once offered and the marketing it has received - Gordon Gekkos and Jordan Belforts, the documentaries about the flashy lifestyles of bankers, etc. People underestimate how process-oriented (monotonous, paper work) banking is. Smart graduates, technical and business, eventually want to gravitate towards these roles (now-a-days start off) because of how much they believe they will get paid. Everybody's hope is to eventually run a fund of their own.

Practically, the industry cannot sustain that. When you have too many professionals in a particular industry, I believe two things happen - the industry innovates OR the pays offs come down. And I think we should guess what's happening here. Almost any business graduate I speak to today wants to get into these industries and one cannot blame them. The conversation surrounding these professions are so biased and misinformed, its a vicious cycle.

Your observation about the 70s and the 80s is very accurate. Apart from fintech, I think high finance will continue to decline and the people employed in that business will only become more miserable. Businesses are seeing through fancy presentations, innovative companies are not easily going to give up stake, firms cannot charge high fees for IPOs, automation is going to reduce the number of people banking needs and not to mention the MDs, VPs, Principals and Partners already IN the industry with the connections who are positioned to benefit from any new money created are likely going to stay there longer in their positions to reap the benefits.

Of course, there is opportunity for creative people to make money once they learn the ropes, but that can be said of any profession, I suppose.

sgactw, any thoughts on the future of this industry? Where its going to go?

[–]sgactw 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Fundamentally people that figure things out and invent new ways of doing things capture a lot of value. People that follow an instruction manual/directions do not.

Unless the industry innovates again - it's going to be tough. And frankly, given the financial crisis, millennials have tremendous distrust in traditional financial firms and it almost feels like the traditional institutions are going to lose a whole generation of customers. They'll still be fairly embedded into corporate finance and capital markets work, but I see profit margins declining rapidly over time. Banks will resemble public utility companies and there will just be a few guys that get paid public sector-esque wages to make sure that all of the pipes are flowing.

Lastly, wages in finance only spiked from about 1980-2010 or so. They're still reasonably high today. However, prior to the 1970s/80s and all of the "innovation" that occurred, being a banker/financier was not a glamorous profession. It was something that dusty conservative guys who wanted to earn a middle class living did - comparable to accounting.

[–]BKLager 0 points1 point  (1 child)

That's why PE is the wave man. Just finished my summer at a BB and it's unreal how many analysts I met planned to dip after their 2 years. 300k all in comp at 23 at some of these shops doesn't sound too bad..dont think it at all makes sense to stay in banking for the a-A

[–]sgactw 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The economics at a typical PE shop are heavily concentrated with the founders and the guys at the top. The standard guy who finds his way in the door and "works his way up the ladder" by following directions and saying yes sir has just as difficult of a time in that industry as any other. It's a lucrative game - but mostly only for those that are entrepreneurial enough to start their own shops.

Also - something like 50-75% of those analysts that get those associate jobs get kicked out after two years and never return to those firms again. They are used as model monkeys and then pushed out the door unless they bring something unique to the table and prove their value quickly.

[–]HumasWiener 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Technically analysts are creating billions of dollars of value, depending on the size of transactions they are modeling out. Why the hell do you think analysts are paid so much? It's because of the value they provide.

[–]AuWaP 0 points1 point  (5 children)

How much is left after all taxes, car loan interest payments, and rent on an apartment close enough to work that you don't spend 2 hrs commuting?

[–]redpillersinparis 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Can't you say that about working in any major city?

[–]AuWaP -1 points0 points  (1 child)

I asked a question, didn't get an answer.

[–]redpillersinparis 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That was a rhetoric question, you dumb fuck. And I want trying to answer, I was addressing your actual point behind the rhetoric question.

[–]sgactw 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You don't have a car in NYC. These guys usually net about 55% of what they make (the cash portion) and their cost of living is astronomically high as they are renting apartments and eating at the same restaurants as today's global rich class (billionaires, entrepreneurs, and executives) who consider the city to be their playground.

[–]AuWaP 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I just wonder how much your average 3rd yr $300k slave is saving per year in NYC.

We only ever hear about the poster boys of the financial world. But what of the millions of drones, whose backs those poster boys stand upon?

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (4 children)

Why does it say there is 4 comments but I only see 2?

[–]vast_rightwing 1 points1 points [recovered]

shadow banned accounts. The account appears to function normally to the user but the comments aren't visible to anyone else. Usually reserved for spammers, conservatives, and fucking white males.

[–]TheLegionnaire00 -3 points-2 points  (1 child)

conservatives, and fucking white males

Tell me You are being sarcastic please, because I laugh as hell remembering that yt video with the cuck saying "You are a fucking white Male".

[–]1empatheticapathetic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

His user is vast_rightwing. I wouldn't be surprised if he mentioned the subjugation of the white race in every comment he makes.

[–]I_Need_More_Space_ 3 points4 points  (17 children)

Mostly fruitless post.

Instead of relating everything to your professional bubble, try to take what you're trying to communicate and make it applicable to something other than offices. Just reading your post made me cringe. I'm so glad my path has taken me beyond cubicles and corner offices.


[–]redpillersinparis 2 points3 points  (15 children)

It's a disgusting culture, I'm glad tech is taking over instead of finance as a good field to make money. Obviously tech isn't a paradise but there's less of this alpha male competitive crap and extreme office politics AFAIK.

[–]sgactw 3 points4 points  (6 children)

You're absolutely incorrect. The pockets of tech where the real money and power is concentrated aren't very different. Lot of alpha males, highly political, lot of power dynamics that have to be managed -- just like anything else. There's just a lot of employment in the sector that is unrelated to the wealth creation and they do a nice job of regulating that and making it PC/liberal to keep the masses satisfied. It's no surprise or secret that Uber built most of its employee base from financial and consulting firms, and tons of financial execs get poached for top roles at tech companies.

[–]Fapisluv 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Tech,and alpha males,dont actually go hand to hand.

[–]sgactw 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Agreed. Elon is a big blue beta. So is Travis and his whole team. </sarcasm>

[–]Fapisluv 0 points1 point  (2 children)

In the manosphere Elon isnt considered an alpha though.If you think wealth makes someone an alpha you are mistaken.

[–]sgactw 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Certainly don't think wealth correlates. There's plenty of heirs who are morons. But anyone that can break down the barriers you need to break down to build a large business is an alpha in my view. Whereas frankly most of the yuppies at big Wall Street firms are the farthest thing from alpha. I'll agree to disagree with the manosphere on this one.

[–]Fapisluv -1 points0 points  (0 children)

There are so many definitions of alpha.Whilst Elon is alpha for doing what he has done,he isnt considered one.Those wall street yuppies,being con artists and producing nothing,while making money,are considered alphas.

There seems to be the inventor and hard worker alpha,the social skillz alpha,the chad tall robust athlete alpha,the romantic vagabond type of alpha,the bad boy who dgaf at all alpha,and the leader of men alpha?This seems more like a trading cards game.

[–]redpillersinparis -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Ok, first of all, did you work in finance? Also your PC crap is retarded.. tech will always be PC and more tolerant of 'others'. If you know anything about the geek culture, you'd know that.

[–]D0initbig 4 points5 points  (6 children)

Hahahaha what a joke. Dude tech post 2010 is just rebranded Wall Street. It's the exact same types of people, just a different generation.

Not wearing a suit is the new suit. Personally I think suits look better and there's a shitload more women in NYC than silicon valley, not to mention they're not all Asian and Indian.

Fuck SV I can't wait to get the fuck out of here. As a true Scotsman (read: actual techie) the place is a far cry from what it once was. It's a bunch of pretenders deifying the few who were around from when there actually was something special here besides fucktons of investment capital.

[–]sgactw 2 points3 points  (1 child)

People know that the guy in the fancy suit with the nice shoes and watch is doing well in life. There's a hierarchy in Finance where the more senior people wear nicer stuff.

The absurd amounts of money being made in tech by people at the top -- and the fact that it hardly trickles down to the rank and file -- means that the top dogs try to camouflage their wealth as much as possible. They wear casual clothing. It's a smart strategic decision not a fashion statement.

[–]D0initbig 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's absolutely a fashion statement and the anti suit thing is rooted in counter culture. The higher ups don't wear suits because they either are self made and carried that from their early days or they are pandering to their employee base. Nothing to do with disguising wealth, these guys all fly in private Jets. Nobody is fooled.

[–]PoddyMouth611 0 points1 point  (1 child)

yeah gotta make sure those asians and indians stop taking over!

[–]D0initbig 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Just like variety in my women and NYC is far more cosmopolitan. I have no issues w Asians nor Indians in a broad sense, not sure how you read that from what I wrote.

[–]redpillersinparis -1 points0 points  (1 child)

What kind of company you work at?

[–]I_Need_More_Space_ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not to mention we should have let wall street fail back some years ago. Honestly, I can't wait to see it burn down. It will eventually.

[–]CtrlAltTrump -1 points0 points  (0 children)

The way he writes is interesting, it's like squeezing words out of an instruction manual on how to write instruction manuals. OP try to loosen up, not every sentence has to be "you this" or "you that". We are not trying to defuse a nuclear device here, need to leave the reader free to consider what you saying.

[–]Frenetic_Zetetic 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I work in sales, and I approve this post.

[–]red_rover_red_rover 0 points1 point  (0 children)

IMO you don't have to play the corporate game to be successful with women, but if you are a lone wolf you better have tight game and the substance to back it up.

There is more than one way to the top.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

On the other end of the spectrum, people who change jobs every 2 years earn 50% more than those who don't on average.

Business is 80/20 rule. Be the top 20% at what you do (ideally top 1%)

[–]Fapisluv 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Everyone here has studied law,engineering and business management/accountant/economics.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Career advice almost always isn't TRP. Being a bitch for a high paying job almost certainly isn't RP. Tell me, how is committing 80 hours of your life a week, going on coffee breaks you don't want, playing office politics games you know you're above, all for a raise and a pat on the head from your superiors any different than doing everything for a girl in hopes of sex? It isn't.

You still lack agency. You still aren't "free". You still are a cog in the machine.

You can be RP and have those jobs, absolutely. And of course all things equal more $$$ is better. but the true RP career is entrepreneurship, regardless of the dollar amount generated.

[–]HumasWiener -1 points0 points  (3 children)

how is committing 80 hours of your life a week

Those are rookie numbers mate, you gotta bump those up. The average is 90-110. Also, there isn't another career on earth that will set you up for success like IB will, in any way that you define success.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

ah quoting wolf of wall street. Protocol for a high finance douchebag who lacks an original sense of humor so has to rely on movie quotes.

[–]HumasWiener 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Ah, a sour revolting squid who has no upward trajectory on his life, leaking of jealousy out of his orifices. Enjoy your Sunday mate.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

'sour revolting squid' lmao. Working 80 hours wont help you get laid buddy. I recommend finding value in other parts of life, you will be better off in the long run ;)

[–]SPREAD_THE_LOVE_7791 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Link to pink windowpane suits is broken. That's the most important part of this thread to me. +1 if it's actually you in the picture.

[–]CoronaTRP 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Care that you won't be doxxed. Telling your profession and your unique style might make someone recognize you.

[–]cl3537 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

What a douchebag post written by a douchebag.

If you want to standout style wise in IB or any suit wearing field wear a 3 piece or get yourself some brightly contrasting pocket squares.

You don't need to wear some loud ugly suit to do that.

As far as 'quality' people everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, you will have different friends for different needs, you'd be better off setting up relationships and realizing how to leverage those relationships than acting like the 'cool kid' in school trying to pick the 'coolest friends'.

[–]the99percent1 -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

Dude.. Fuck your advise..

All you need to know is, work hard, be a team player, be smart and efficient, earn more money than what you take.

Save your income and invest it until you earn "fuck you money".

Retire. Its that fucking simple..

[–]ShotgunTRP -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Is one of those "back in the day the red pill was so much better" tier posts?

Great work. Full of simple but easily overlooked tidbits.

Great formatting

Bravo, encore.