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Office Etiquette 101, Lesson #2

Office Etiquette 101, Lesson #2

Okay, let’s get back to the subject at hand.  I was in the process of giving the young-uns sage advice upon how to act in the office (once they get to that exalted spot).  So here’s lesson #2.

How To Not Be Hated By Everyone In Your Office (Lesson Dos)

7.  Know when to not look at your Blackberry – Newbs typically are pretty fired up to get their ‘berries – maybe not so much anymore as everyone and their brother has some kind of phone that is also a camera, television, sewing machine, etc.  But back in the day it was a pretty big event. (When I was getting started on The Street, I got one of the old school assed Blackberries that looked like pagers and showed three lines of text.  And yet somebody figured out a way to play Donkey Kong on that tiny mofo.  Donkey Kong!  Okay, it was a poor facsimile, but a strong effort anyway – a step up from upside down 58008 on your TI calculator.  And those little Chunky bar-sized motherfuckers were awesome, fitting seamlessly on your belt.  The new ones definitely destroy the lines of your outfit, if carried in stylish belt holster.)

The widescreen berry - best ever
The horizontal berry was the best ever

While your Blackberry can sometimes by useful, it should ultimately should be seen as an electronic slave collar, leash or catheter.  You are suddenly at/near work, 24 hours a day.  Which is awesome.  Dinner with your parents who flew in from Ames, IA?  Better have your shit on vibrate so you can bounce to the office if some important analysis is required on Friday night at 9:30 PM for a Saturday internal call.  But that hardly ever happe – actually, it hardly ever doesn’t happen.  There are no excuses once the thing is on your person – 2:00 AM emails should still be read when you are low man/woman on the totem pole.

Aside from all the standard smartphone usefulness, probably the greatest attribute of the Blackberry is its functionality in helping you avoid awkward small talk. Are you stuck on the elevator with someone you either barely know, cannot stand, hooked up with or combo platter?  Whip out the ‘berry, make a disgruntled face while uttering a barely audible mild profanity.  Then start frantically typing.  Continue doing this until said person exits, someone you desire to communicate with enters or the awkwardness melts away from disinterest and lack of eye contact.

Keep in mind that people senior to you – no matter how senior, one day, ten years, it’s all the same in the “business world” – need your undivided attention when they are speaking directly at/to you or are otherwise confined in a room with you.  Seniors frown upon Blackberry use by juniors in their presence; they strongly prefer a grapes/palm frond/averted gaze approach.  So use a little common sense – when stuck on a conference call with the notoriously dickish MD, don’t pound away on your friggin Blackberry.  You will either be eviscerated on the premises (to the delight and amusement of all the other unlucky souls stuck in that office of horrors) or have a virtual knife implanted in the small of your back.  This is not a  great outcome.  If you are really working on something important and have a certifiable need to check your email, then grimace (for all to see), leave your materials at your spot at the table (but take a pen and paper with you) and urgently (yet quietly) exit the room and take care of business in the comforts of your own cubicle.  Check while you’re there – make the most of your momentary freedom.

One exception to any of this is if you are playing Brickbreaker; if you’ve got a strong game going, fuck it.  Once the man starts beating you down, you show him you’ve got 750,845 points and 127 men left.  That will earn you more respect than merely doing a good job and working hard.   In fact, you should always have a game going, it really improves the quality of life on those elevator trips (when you should be shutting the fuck up as per #4).

8.  Be careful with the Bluetooth headset – I have a Bluetooth headset; I wanted to get the full disclosure out of the way upfront, cuz that’s how I roll.  When I put on the Bluetooth, I look like an asswipe.  I realize that.  It’s a sacrifice I have to make sometimes because my SO’s apartment gets ZERO cell phone reception, and certain of my retarded friends insist on calling me rather than text, email, registered mail, courier pigeon, etc.  But at all times I am aware that I look stupid.

One thing you Paduans will quickly notice about the business world is that self awareness is in very short supply.  Most of the folks you will encounter have an image of themselves that’s vastly different than the way they are actually perceived in the world.  Career success and the monetary rewards that go along with that success often have unsavory side effects, such as self-unawareness.  So prepare yourself to deal with a lot of sleeve-rolled-up, headset-wearing nimrods pacing around their office and randomly barking banker-sounding jargon into their headsets, just as they’ve seen done in the movies.  (Wait a second – why would they have Bluetooth headsets in the office?  Wouldn’t they just use one of those telemarketer headsets?  Brace yourself, but some dickbag tech company came up with a Bluetooth headset that also picks up landline calls – it was the biggest development in office douchiness in 2007-8).

You will see a few of those guys.  Don’t be that guy.  Only wear a Bluetooth outdoors and only when absolutely necessary – and take that shit off when you aren’t actively using it.

This guy?  You will never be this guy.  No way.
This guy? You will never be this guy. No way.

9.  Don’t go overboard with speakerphone – You may also wonder, why doesn’t Bluetooth Guy just use his speakerphone?  Because speakerphone has a way of pissing off people very quickly, that’s why.  Let’s run the math – the typical industry group at a bank has probably 110 people or so in some ghettoish common cubicle area  – they will try and spruce it up with a nickname like “the bullpen” or “downtown Baltimore” but don’t believe the hype.  I’m sure other office environments have similar setups.  You will become very, very familiar with all those surrounding colleagues during your career.  I could identify probably 30-40 different people solely by their gait and the sound of their footsteps during my cubist period, I shit you not.  I could also identify about 75 different personal phone conversations just from hearing a snippet of one side of the convo fifteen feet away – “Farsi baby talk?  Neeraj asking parents for a loan til bonus hits.”   My point being, you hear way too much from other people.

So if you are listening to an hour long earnings call on speakerphone, that means 10-15 colleagues are also hearing that shit.  Keep the volume down very low if you’ve got to go that route, or don the dreaded telemarketer headset.  (I never wore one as a matter of principle).  I have seen homicidal rampages ignited by a very loud (and even work-related) speakerphone conversation between two people who were about twenty feet apart, causing thirty people to endure their stupid argument over what multiple to use when they could’ve just quietly discussed at one or another’s desk.  When in doubt, walk over and talk to the person.  Better yet – email!  (I always tried to minimize the actual human interaction to the extent possible – less chance of getting the flu.)

This, on the other hand, might be you - if you're lucky.
You might, on the other hand, be this guy - if you work hard, apply yourself and get very, very lucky.

10.  Carry a pen and notebook with you everywhere you go –  I know you are probably thinking “this old fucker has straight lost his damn mind, pen and paper?”, but this is something that needs to be strictly adhered to.  See, when you are a junior person, people senior to you think of you as a “resource.”  That may sound okay to you, but the type of “resource” they consider you is more a fax machine or coffeemaker than an elite member of  the Army Rangers.  Consider yourself a very basic resource, like say an adding machine – all cogent thought and input comes from the user, the machine itself merely provides an orderly, legible represention of the requested information.

When senior people see you, what you think they think, and what they are actually thinking, can be quite different.

Fiction:  “Say, isn’t that Donald Markson, the bright young man who fought his way from Purdue all the way to Wall Street?  I’m gonna check in and see how he’s doing, just to make sure he’s set up and getting off on the right foot.”

Fact: “Is that fat kid the one who was in my office with those other gimp on that Sears acquires Intel pitch?  What is his name?  Why doesn’t he get a haircut?  Fuck it, I’m gonna have that bushy-headed fucker go through every retail or semi M&A proxy from the last ten years and conduct a synergy analysis as part of my unrequested followup materials package.”

Translation: On your way from your desk to the printer, you can expect 3-4 people to stop you and ask you to do shit for them.  You won’t remember it all, and if you don’t carry around something to write everything down, you will be fucked.  Burning bridges before you even get started is poor strategy.  I recommend a small notebook and a Zebra pen – thank me later.

Damn, I’m rambling again, this is too long.  Gotta break it off, guess there will be a lesson #3 at some point.  Feel free to fire in your own thoughts on office do’s and don’ts.



My Top Three Reality Show Ideas (plus one from Tdiddy)

My Top Three Reality Show Ideas (plus one from Tdiddy)

Given that I provided the history behind poster dicksukha#1’s handle yesterday, today is probably a good day to give some props to another poster, Tdiddy.  Beyond providing sexual favors to my mother for months (according to him, at least) he also provided maybe the funniest content this site has ever seen.  It may have been overlooked a bit since it was in the comments, so I have provided below, for your viewing pleasure.

Submitted by Tdiddy on 2009/05/15 at 9:24am



I think you’d be great at running your own Reality TV production company. Lets call it C17. Here is my first suggestion for a new show:


Hot Chicks and Homeless Rick (A cross between The Bachelor, Average Joe, and Rock of Love)

20 women compete for the love of a man named Richard who they think is super wealthy. In actuality, Rick is a homeless dude (probably named Smitty). The setting is a mansion in California and the women are all hot, young, aspiring actresses.

The rules:

1) The women must not use sex to win the competition. They all sign agreements to not sleep with Rick.

2) Rick wins money ($10,000) for each girl he sleeps with.

3) Rick sends one women home each week. At each elimination session he berates the women for not being physical enough or sexy enough (adding to the pressure to sleep with him).

4) Rick has one “save” where he can allow a one night only “extra chance” to win his love to a recently eliminated contestant.

5) The contests for immunity each week are all centered on sex and debauchery. Stripper pole contests, jello wrestling, lap dance competition, etc.

In the end, Rick selects the final girl as the winner and reveals that he is in fact, homeless.

Brilliant.  I love it.  It’s basically a raunchier Joe Millionaire (although that Evan Marriott looked like he could use an extra shower or two).  This did get me thinking about reality shows though; I was envisioning a pay-per-view show FingerFork (described below) a decade before Survivor was more than a gleam in Mark Burnett’s eye.  Given the enormous amount of television I watch and/or am subjected to, I’m pretty confident that none of my show ideas are currently on air.  But it could happen any day.  TV producers – call me if interested!

My Top Three Reality Show Ideas


Finger not included
Finger not included

Close friends can vouch that I had this brainstorm in either 1992 or 1993.  While I was thinking pay-per-view, I can easily adapt this concept to an eight week summer program.  The competition is simple – eight people are placed at two tables, four on each side, facing one another.  Each person has one fork.  A starter says go.  The first person to successfully remove one of his own fingers (below the knuckle) with said fork wins $3 million.  Everyone else gets nothing.  No medical care.  Nada.

Who wouldn’t watch this show?  To make it an eight week event, you have an audition process, whereby you go to several different cities and have people explain why they NEED this $3 million.  Bonding through human interest.  Empathy via  “I need this money to pay off my credit card bills, buy some new rims for the Prius, and implement the forex trading program that I learned about on daytime television.” All culminating in the event itself.  And the strategy involved!  What’s the best approach?  Stabbing?  Sawing?  The ultimate battle: pain threshold vs. greed!  I repeat: who wouldn’t watch this show?  It’s possible that it’s already in production over at Spike TV.

So You Think You Can Drink

This probably doesn't get you to Vegas
This probably doesn't get you to Vegas

Competitive eating has become a quasi-legitimate sport.  Why not drinking?  Everyone can eat, right?  But drinking, that’s a skill unto itself; not every jackass knows how to balance his port wine and his warm Goldschläger.  This actually pisses me off, because if we lived in a world where competitive drinkers were celebrated, it’s entirely likely that I’m Michael Jordan.  But no, we live in a puritanical society where drinkers are shunned and forced to conduct their business in poorly lit drinking “establishments” that generally never have sufficient ginger beer or jello shots on hand.

My show would be similar to So You Think You Can Dance (which is why I so cleverly chose a similar name) – drinkers of all types would audition for a chance to be on the show.  As with FingerFork, auditions would be held at all the major drinking cities in the U.S. to pick out 200 potential “America’s Favorite Drinker” candidates.  So you’d have to hit New York, Chicago, Annapolis, Oklahoma City, Tallahasee, Chico State University, every city in Wisconsin and a handful of others.  Prospective drinkers would audition with their beverage of choice in an attempt to wow the judges and get the ticket to Vegas.  One might shotgun a fifth of Jack Daniels, while another might do a three minute red wine bong.  Anything to earn the coveted ticket to Vegas, where the 200 semifinalists would be whittled down to a top twenty.

In Vegas, the 200 selected contestants would be put through a series of rigorous drinking tests such as Method Method Shot (“method” is the street name for taking all the ice out of a Long Island Iced Tea and drinking it like a shot – Method Method shot is doing this 2x and then chasing with a tequila shot), Sweaty Lumberjack races, Gorilla Fart quarters and Nonsensical Three Wise Men Challenges (tequila+gin+Jägermeister – repeat, repeat, repeat).  For safety, all contestants’ blood alcohol content would be closely monitored, and anyone scoring over a 0.40% would be given a bagel and cream cheese.

Once the Top 20 had been selected, we would pour on lots of back stories (“my momma was drinking straight through the third trimester – I was literally a born drinker”) as the viewing audience would decide each drinker’s fate by weekly voting.  Each week would be a different drinking challenge in a variety of genres – gin pong, Everclear tastings, rum kegstands.  The bottom three drinkers (by viewer vote) would have to “drink for their lives” to remain on the show.  “Drinking for your life” would be a five minute period where you attempt to put your best imbibing foot forward to impress the judges and spare your life for another week.  The people of America would decide the ultimate champion by text message voting once the field is narrowed to the final two.

Who would the judges be?  Drinking luminaries, of course.  One would definitely need to be female.  So, how about, Chelsea Handler, my cousin Jethro, and Dennis Rodman?  That would be phenomenal.  We would probably need subtitles for the judges’ comments, though.  If this show gets made, I will likely be the only executive producer/series champion in the history of reality television.

Top Banker

Barrow only needed for Bonus Day
Barrow only needed for Bonus Day

We have all these shows now where some pretty unsung occupations are in the spotlight: chefs, dancers, fertility drug abusers, masseuses, okra farmers, etc.  How about a once-relatively-anonymous occupation that now causes shivers of revulsion amongst even the most out of touch Americans?  Investment banker – just seeing the letters arranged in that undesirable sequence likely made you dry heave.  Yes, this once-noble field has taken one to the gonads due to the whole subprime/easy credit era.  As a former banker, I’ve gotta be honest – I never approved a migrant worker making $15k/year for an $800,000 mortgage.  (Did I ever help put incomprehensibly overleveraged corporations in largely the same financial dire straits?  No comment.)

So this show would have a different level of banker every three weeks or so – there is a definite need to crown the top analyst, associate, vice president, director and managing director individually.  Whole different skill sets.  For instance, one of the analyst challenges would be to spend 3-5 hours discussing, ordering, eating and digesting a Seamlessweb feast, to be followed by one hour of “work” (checking fantasy football stats, shooting the shit with college buddies on the phone, etc) culminating with pulling off a plausible explanation for being three hours late the next morning.  (Contestants must claim to have “pulled an all-nighter” during this explanation)

For a vice president, one of the challenges would be a demonstration of the ability to say “yes” (or substitute affirmative of your choice) when asked for fact-checking backup by a managing director during a client meeting:

Managing Director (to client):  “Your competitor Startech went public at, I believe, 7.3x EBITDA – Stanley is that right?”

VP Stanley (who is solemnly look into distance, as if recalling an afternoon fishing with his late grandfather):  “Yes, 7.32x EBITDA, that’s right.”

(For the record, I would fucking rule this part of the competition – I had several variations of agreeing response: the momentary puzzled look followed a split second later by a confident “yes,” the casual “yes” with head nod, the quick look down at some papers (that probably had nothing to do with the question asked) and then a “yes, that’s correct” – I could go on for an hour or two, but I may eventually have to work again so can’t spill all my secrets on this public board.  But lending credibility to your boss’s potentially made-up-on-the-spot facts by agreeing with them is one of the most important jobs for a banking VP.  (That sentence might be a bit of a grammatical abortion, but I don’t really know how to reword it, so hopefully you can sound it out))

For MDs (and to an extent, Directors) the challenges would involve seeing how much bullshit they could take from middle management nitwits at some megacap company while trying to “maintain share of wallet.”  Another would be trying to  calculate M&A fees in their heads as various deal parameters are discussed over dinner, without access to either an associate or the spreadsheet that breaks down the complex-assed incentive fee structure they negotiated.

After fifteen weeks we could crown the winners of each category at once, and have a fucking sweet-ass deal team that would then put together a pitch on how the producers of Top Banker should totally lever up and buy Hollywood Squares.  That would be awesome.

Anyway, I’ve gotta call my hookup in H-Wood, Joe Che, and see if any of this is actionable.

Til then,

Chilly17, wasting potentially significant potential

Crappy Jobs I’ve Had: An Ongoing Series

Crappy Jobs I’ve Had: An Ongoing Series


If nothing else, hopefully the recaps of my various unfulfilling occupations will prove that if you work hard, apply yourself, get into good schools (after failing out of other ones) and catch a few breaks, you too can get a dream job you will fucking hate.  When I was applying to business schools in 1999, I had no idea the array of career opportunities that would be available to me.  I’m from the south; the most lucrative occupations I had ever been exposed to were pro athletes or the wealthy protagonists on TV programs such as doctors, lawyers, architects and taxi drivers.

I knew nothing about the world of finance.  Sure, I’d been day trading internet stocks with limited (okay, extremely negative) results, but I had no idea what an “investment bank” was.  I was, however, becoming a tad more aware of the somewhat dire financial straits I’d be facing after two years of high-powered MBA learning (final tally was $108k in student loans).  I was told at one of my personal interviews that I should consider investment banking, but that it was grueling work and that I should read a book called Monkey Business to get a sense for what really went on in the industry.

So I read Monkey Business; where most people were turned off by the banker’s horrible behavior, ridiculous hours and awful working conditions, I was staggered only by the tales of their first bonus checks.   $175k bonus???  That sounded impossible, could that even be real?

Snippet of my internal monologue: I would happily blow donkeys 24/7 for a year for $250k.  No problem.  Who cares about the long hours, I worked the fucking midnight shift every night on a submarine for Christ’s sake!

So once I got into business school, I set off to be an investment banker, figuring (correctly) that this was the quickest way to eradicate my stacks and stacks of student loan obligations.  How exactly did I get into banking?  I will save details of that bizarre mating ritual for another post; the interview process is cruel and outlandish on its own merits.

What the hell is investment banking, anyway?

I worked in this field for six-plus years and I’m absolutely certain that no one in my family had any idea what i did for a living.  In a world where personal bankruptcy was as frequent as the Summer Olympics, my newfound financial security was somewhat shocking to my family.  I’m pretty sure many family members suspected that “investment banking” was code for “snake oil marketing” but it was definitely nice to be able to order freely from the Chili’s menu with little regard for price.

Anyway, what is it?  I’ve often described investment banking as “a bank for companies” – providing equity and debt underwriting, merger advice and other sundry services.  But I noticed that most people started the glazing over/tuning out process at “equity,” so that wasn’t really working.  Once, while in Europe, my boss (in banking parlance, a Managing Director, or MD) told me that he was having a similar conversation with an acquaintance and he’d told him his job was to “identify undervalued assets.”  I suppose there is a kernel of truth to that oversimplified and optimistic statement, but also an overwhelming amount of dignification and justification with a hint of overstated importance/relevance.

I countered (somewhat cynically, but I hadn’t slept in about 34 hours) that I felt a more accurate description of our job was “making rich guys richer.”  Capturing private/public valuation arbitrage, levering up, merging companies – invariably these transactions resulted in someone who was already impossibly wealthy getting at least a tad bit wealthier.  Our job was to make sure we were in the mix with the important players in our sector, and that we would get a piece of the action on any deals that went down.

Hopefully that clears things up.

Crappy Jobs I’ve Had

# 7.  Investment Banker (Part I of II)

I have tastefully cropped out the Bear that is sodomizing the Bull
I have tastefully cropped out the Bear that is sodomizing the Bull

Description: I started my investment banking career as an “Associate” at a bank – let’s call it TARP Bank I for anonymity’s sake – after a wildly unsuccesful stint as a “Summer Associate” at another bank.  (I will also save that shitshow for another post).  You start out in banking as an Associate – almost the exact same thing as being a Junior Officer in the Navy.  You don’t know shit, you depend on the junior people (“Analysts” in this case, invariably focused, super-dedicated uber-nerds from Penn, Columbia or Duke) to teach you the ropes even as they hate your guts because you are technically senior to them, and the senior folks (MDS and VPS, in this case) see you as more a resource than a human being.  (I have actually seen two MDs draw up a schedule for when they could have access to a particular associate for a one week period.  They omitted a “sleep” category in this schedule.  Seriously)

I managed to land this jet-setting investment banking job offer in the robust social/economic enviroment the month after 9/11.  (My confidence in my donkey-blowing skills was not unwarranted).  Was TARP Bank I the best place to work on Wall Street?  No, but it at least provided a quasi-professional environment to learn what the hell i was supposed to do.  I had botched my summer gig so bad I didn’t really know what was what – I had learned just enough lingo to get myself through the interview process.

As an Associate, you are responsible for checking the analyst’s work on the quantitative metrics, working with the VP/MD on the strategic message and generally making sure the day-to-day tasks are being handled correctly.  What tasks, you ask?  In the absence of actual transactions, bankers spend their time imagining various scenarios in which their services could potentially benefit their clients – then they go pitch said ideas to their (largely disinterested) clients.  In 2002-2003, investment banks were largely in this “pitch” mode – and to pitch someone you of course need a pitch book.

Pitch books are colorful, professionally produced documents which offer clients incredibly thoughtful and thorough evaluations of a variety of unlikely financial occurences, such as the client being acquired, acquiring someone else or adding to/reducing its debt load (depending on the “liquidity” flavor of the day).  By law, these books are required to include pages and pages of (unwanted) analyses, supported by informative (and unrequested) graphs and charts.  Completing the analyses and preparing the colorful pitch documents (invariably of a length that would make Proust embarassed by his conciseness) generally takes around 1500 man-hours.  (The bulk of the “men” in those man-hours is 2-3 unlucky junior souls)

As on a submarine, where a good deal of each day is spent pretending that a catastrophe has occured, in banking you spend a preponderance of your time working on hypotheticals.  What if Company X bought Company Y for $Z?  What would the Pro Forma look like?  Pro forma is finance talk for best case scenario.  Like, pro forma for me being a better writer, this column would be shorter, have fewer parentheses and be less crappy.   You can pro forma anything, just be unabashedly optimistic.

A pitchbook will also always include “qualifications” pages, which show why that bank is better than all its competitors at everything.  To add legitimacy, these claims are always substantiated by “league tables” that show the ranks of all the banks across categories such as “U.S. Equity Issuance.”  Never in recorded history has a bank been lower than #2 in any league table chart that it provides, despite the fact that there are hundreds of such banks.  Liberties are frequently undertaken with the “raw data”  underlying the league tables.  If NFL teams operated like investment banks, every team would have showed up to the 2007/8 playoffs claiming to be 16-0, lest they be proved less an “industry leader” than the Patriots.

This is most assuredly from a JPM league table
This is most assuredly from a JPM pitch - subtly highlights why they are better than ML of BofA. Actually, pro forma BofA is #1!

I stayed at TARP I for almost 2 years before I moved to TARP II, a much more formidable competitor with a much less sweat-shop like environment (it was standard practice at TARP I for the “Staffer” to walk the floors late on Friday night; anyone who left before 10:00 PM was certain to get a new assignment for first thing Saturday morning).  Thankfully, the market started shifting in 2004, moving away from pitching and more toward executing actual transactions.  Deal execution is actually less stressful than the pitch process, you actually get to create (or in mergers, destroy) something, and there might even be a flicker of – gasp! – job satisfaction.  Getting this execution experience ties together the myriad concepts that get thrown around in the pitching process, and one eventually starts to understand what the hell is going on.

My excellent execution work was rewarded with a promotion (either that or three years had passed and I had a pulse).  I was then a Vice President –  I have business cards to this effect and everything – it sounds pretty powerful and prestigious.  Unfortunately it doesn’t mean much –  you really just have an additional person (the Associate) that you can blame when things start going awry.  A VP is a bit more removed from the day-to-day fray and (supposedly) more integrated into the strategic thought process.  In reality, you are more likely to be the unfortunate gimp lugging 60 pounds of pitchbooks to a meeting, doing final signoff on client documents at 2:30 AM or boozing with out-of-town clients until 4:00 AM.

Actually, to be balanced and fair, the client entertainment aspect was pretty solid.  Given that at TARP II most every senior banker was a dedicated family man, a young (well, middle-aged) degenerate such as myself was considered an attractive asset when dealing with visiting yokels who wanted to stay out all night at the coolest (coolest that we could get into, that is) NYC clubs.  That is the area where I really shined (as a bonus I was always greeted like a conquering hero when I rolled into the office at 3:30 PM the next day).  Learning how to navigate the expense report channel was especially tricky, but I got $2k bills to Marquee through on more than one occasion (either that or my Associate is still paying that shit off).  My strong moral code prevented me from ever accompanying a client to a strip club.  The moral code and the more than outside chance that one of those deviants would try and stick me with a $7k tab.

My Greatest Contribution to the Industry: There will undoubtedly by many posts on my illustrious banking career on WPz, but there is only one stone-cold absolute highlight.  Unlike most other occupations, bankers are insecure enough to require an actual physical trophy following the successful execution of a transaction (the trophy from the pitch process is lifelong back problems for whichever junior bastard had to carry the 150 pages of nonsense numbers to the client).  The form of this trophy was the “deal toy” – a small lucite figurine that reflected something about the company that did the deal, with a “tombstone” inscription describing details of the deal and of course highlighting the investment banks that executed said landmark transaction.  So if you did a deal for John Deere, there was a good chance that six months later you would find a small tractor with your banks name on it on your desk.

As mundane as this sounds, there are actually at least two companies that produce these deal toys – and they fight to the death to win the assignment to produce them for the banks.  Every deal is its own bloody battle and the most junior investment bankers are the ones who ultimately decide which firm will produce the lucites (and they generally don’t play fair; when I was at TARP I one of the sales reps for the deal toy company was a cross between Megan Fox and Brooklyn Decker – work in the 30 story building would literally come to a screeching halt when she stopped by).  Both firms will generally send a mock-up of their vision of the lucite to someone on the banking team whenever they see a deal announced, hoping to win the assignment.  They generally start with a version of the firm’s logo with the deal terms inscribed on it.

My greatest contributrion to the financial community will always be the deal toy mock-up sent to us following the completion of a bond offering for a tape company (marketing campaign – Tape: it’s sticky on one side, not sticky on the other).  I present without further comment the serious mock-up provided to us by one of the deal toy companies trying to win our business:

…wait for it…

In all fairness, the logo did look like this (and at least this is anatomically correct)
In all fairness, the logo did look like this (and at least this is anatomically correct)

Part II