(Editor’s Note: Ugh. The combination of my post-race drinking binge, the increasing temperature/humidity/trash funk in NYC, and the daily 4% drawdown in my trading account has made me a little lethargic. I’m gonna go with shorter chunks rather than 2,400 word opuses. Or is it opi? Anyway, as predicted, I finished the half marathon in a disappointing 2:10. The organizers kindly situated the start of the event such that it was about a 1.25 mile walk to the starting line, so we were fucking frantic and sweating as we hustled over. Started way in the back and didn’t want to waste too much energy weaving through people, the first mile took over 11 minutes and after like mile 4 I knew I couldn’t make up all that ground.
Have had a full social calendar since – met up with old colleagues early Saturday evening and drank about 1.3 bottles of Lindemann’s Cab/Shiraz, then went to a housewarming party for an academy classmate and drank another large amount of booze. Combine running 13 miles with a lot of booze, and you have an early exit for the night. Slept 12 hours and then had lunch with a madman from b-school that evolved into a drunken mourning of Jose Lima and a full-press effort from me to rally the troops for a trip to AC. Everyone pussed out, I called a black car (using the TARP II account and the real name of Jargon Boy) and was sitting outside on the sidewalk waiting for them to show up at 11:00 PM. SO didn’t bother to mention to me that she canceled the damn car. Anyway, probably best for me not to go to AC in that shape, and my resolution is still standing tall. Back to the topic at hand.)
Vignettes From A Painful Summer, Part II
When To Start, And For How Long – There are usually two waves of interns during the summer, I think one started in early June and one in late June. I had always heard that going last was best in any kind of performance comparison, so I opted for that second wave. Being poor, I also opted to stay an extra two weeks, so I was to work for twelve total weeks. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the best strategy – since there is some overlap between all the interns, one can quickly look moronic compared to the people who’d been around for an extra three weeks. The full timers can barely keep track of who’s who, much less who started when. So someone in the first wave might get the benefit of the doubt for doing/saying/asking something moronic in the first week (“it’s their first week, silly interns”) but someone doing the same things in their real first week three weeks later might get blackballed (“they’ve been here two months already, right? If he doesn’t get it by now, he’s never gonna get it”).
Also, on the two extra weeks – highly not recommended. A summer internship has a risk profile similar to that of a professional sports official. Do your job, don’t ruffle feathers, keep quiet – no glory. All downside risk, no upside gain. The likelihood of getting noticed for something positive is infinitesimally small, the chance of being hated for even one tiny misstep is huge. Hanging around longer than necessary runs the odds further against you. The ideal summer associate would have an impact akin to that of a sheet of fabric softener – a subtle behind the scenes performance that definitely added some value and left a lingering positive association (“you know, Bounce is really pretty solid”).
Where To Sit – This is extremely important, and somewhat tied to the previous paragraphs. Since I started in the second wave, and TBTNLSA had 20! summer associates between the media and telecomm groups, I was relegated to an office two floors below the floor my group was located on. You might ask, “Chilly, shouldn’t that help in the “be seen but not heard” department?” While a remote office mitigates your fatal error risk somewhat, being completely invisible is actually the worst thing that can happen as an intern. If nobody remembers you, they will chalk it up to timidity, stupidity, laziness or worse. No offer will spring forth.
Having been in the military, I knew none of this and was a little relieved to have an office where I could figure shit out in relative solitude. (The first wave people had cubicles in the bullpen, and were somewhat jealous of the sweet office I slipped into.) It wasn’t a solo office, I had a roommate. While my roommate was cool as shit and near my orbit of cluelessness, she also defied more banking stereotypes than anyone I’ve seen since. In general, most bankers are normal-sized white males. My officemate – let’s call her Mitzy – was a very large black female, probably about Anthony Anderson’s size when he was at his fattest. She went to Tuck, if memory serves. She actually liked the remote office setup and wasn’t that nervous that we weren’t getting any assignments the first day or two. I’d read in the Vault guides that you need to be really aggressive, so I kept calling the staffer and asking if there was anything I could work on (and, soon enough, my wish would be granted in an vicious and excessive manner.) Mitzy seemed fine with taking the opportunity to make as many international calls as she could, and to take advantage of our killer $20 dinner allowance. She also eventually got super busy, but she was a little tempestuous and got a bad rap for complaining about the hours and some of the stupid procedures. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were doomed from the start.
(I haven’t kept up with Mitzy since summer 2001, but I will always fondly recall our final group event from late that summer. One of the interns was a West Pointer (I forget what B-School he was at, want to say Emory?) and he was always bragging about his super hot girlfriend and all the chicks he was banging. (This guy was also not anywhere near smelling an offer from TBTNLSA, but he suffered a fate worse than pretty much anybody else: he went to UBS full-time and found out on his first bonus day that they were tracking his hours on the weekend – at UBS you had to swipe your ID coming in and going out. He basically quit on the spot.) Anyhoo, Mr. Ladies Man West Pointer ended up slow dancing and making out with Mitzy at whatever bar (salsa dancing? it was somewhere ggghhhhhheeeeeeyyyyyy) we were at. Mitzy was pushing at least 250 lbs and probably closer to 300. Not a strong night for the Ladies Man, but a good night for Mitzy.)
Godammit, 1100 words? Fuck I’m long-winded.