So I chose the title “Highlander” because I coincidentally already used the title “Survival” in my prior post. Today, one of my good friends and banking partners, someone who was in the same class as me several years ago, left our firm. He’s not leaving banking, he’s joining a boutique, for arguably better pay and prospects at hitting it big. I was so happy for him, but also felt very sad.
What is funny though, is that sometimes when people leave or get fired, the other people in that person’s class gets a boost of energy, goes around the floor, chatting everyone up, feeling confident and happy. It’s survival, but it’s like they get a dose of the Highlander high when a fellow warrior falls. That is, there can be only one, and with each fallen comrade, the strength (i.e. cockiness) of those remaining grows.
I was never one of those. I love the people I work with, especially those that are good, and those that have stuck it out with me for so long. I have a particular respect for the veterans. I make my friends at work, and because they are my friends, I want them to stay with me and fight.
If there’s one very important lesson learned, it’s that those who see this game as a rat race and cut-throat game to become big swinging dick, are correct. Banking is, like many things, a pyramid-shaped process of elimination to the top, just as the military would be, a gang would be, any company or organization in fact. The thing is, some people over-play their hand, over-sell their abilities, and just let certain things get to their head. In the younger generation, there is an alarming lack of class at times, and it’s very off-putting. Imagine if this was Highlander, or- to use a more common analogy- Survivor. You know, one of those cocky contestants trying to sabotage his fellow competitors.
I’ve seen this behavior a lot- even during the first cuts of the financial crisis. But ultimately, it’s the men and women who stay humble, and let their work/actions speak for themselves, that are the strongest. The strongest do not need to go around celebrating or promoting their successes. Those of you who have observed this self-promotion, cockiness, etc. can understand: it’s very obvious and looks very poor.
Survive and win, but survive and win with class please.