A few years ago, CNBC’s Ash Bennington compiled a fantastic list of the people you should avoid on Wall Street. Recently, the Wall Street Journal’s John Carney issued a Twitter challenge for an updated version of this list.
In an industry where people often take themselves too seriously, or even define their own existence by their job title, it’s easy to dismiss this challenge with a flippant, “Just avoid everyone on Wall Street.” Fair enough, and that’s why I’d rather get a Sriracha enema from Guy Fieri than be seen at the Hunt & Fish Club. But nonetheless, I’ve managed to restrict my list to just the Top 25 in this year’s version of people to avoid on Wall Street:
- Avoid the guy who bitches about affirmative action. Odds are he’s benefited from nepotism more times than he cares to admit.
- Avoid the guy who acts like his parents’ place in Nantucket is really his beach house.
- Avoid the guy who name-drops college. A good education is a prerequisite for a job on Wall Street, and as Carney says, “A guy who drops the H Bomb clearly thinks his biggest accomplishments are behind him.”
- In New York, avoid the guy with the pocket square and greasy hair.
- In London, avoid the guy with the pinky ring and floppy hair.
- Avoid the serial connector on LinkedIn, a.k.a. eHarmony for the underemployed.
- Avoid the guy who has MBA and CFA printed on his business cards.
- Avoid the girl that tries too hard to fit in — swearing unnaturally, and even dropping the c-bomb.
- Avoid the back office guys who refer to themselves as investment bankers, or the repo guys who call themselves traders.
- Avoid fat people. It’s not fair, but they don’t get promoted on Wall Street.
- Avoid the guy who tells you what Wall Street was like in the 1980s. He should be on a beach in Barbados by now.
- Avoid the guy who roots for Duke and didn’t go there. (Notre Dame if you’re a broker or in wealth management.)
- Avoid the convenient feminists – the girls who use cleavage and short skirts to get ahead, and then when things don’t go their way, start bitching to HR about sexism.
- Avoid the “When I was at Goldman Sachs…” guy. He’s not there anymore.
- Avoid the bucket shop bankers turned CNBC pundits. They will drink on your dime and parrot your ideas.
- Avoid the guy who jumped around to a different bank every two years. His Patek Philippe (paid for by a bull market BNP Paribas guarantee) doesn’t make him a hitter.
- Avoid the guys who mime golf swings in the office. They never break 100 on the course, and always say things like, “Big dog’s gotta eat” after every half-decent drive.
- Avoid the guy who uses his business card to impress women in bars. (Side note: Avoid women who are easily impressed by, “Don’t worry ladies, these drinks are on Morgan Stanley.”)
- Avoid the 40-year old Director. Unless he was a fighter pilot or platoon commander and got a late career start, he’s never making MD.
Avoid the guy who still talks about his college athletic career. No one really cares that much about lacrosse or Ivy League hockey.
- Avoid the guy who expenses everything. You’ll be on all of his fraudulent receipts.
- While it’s impossible to avoid the guys who cheat on their wives, at least avoid the ones who brag about it.
- Avoid the guy who’s in love with the “Reply to All” emails, especially at 6am. We get it, dude; you work hard. He’s also the guy who makes every conference call twice as long as it needs to be.
- Avoid the banker who applies trader lingo to everyday conversations outside the office.
- Avoid the quants from third world countries. If they ever find out what you get paid, they will kill you.
John LeFevre is the creator of the @GSElevator Twitter feed and the author of the soon-to-be-released Straight To Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals
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