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Some of the People You Want to Avoid at Work

Rising to the ranks of managing director is as much about gamesmanship as it is about determination. And help along the way can come from all directions – from your first mentor to passages in Liar’s Poker.

Apparently, trouble can too. The conventional wisdom goes that the possession of certain tried and true skills is the key factor to success. They begin with a strong mathematical acumen and move into grayer areas like sound judgment and the ability to handle stress.

But here’s another one that can seal your fate: knowing whom to surround yourself with. Aligning yourself with the right people: For instance, there’s the vice president who’s well-connected and can teach you the group dynamics. At the other end of the spectrum are the personality-types to avoid before they get in the way of your work.

Some can be destructive: Stay clear of the binge drinker who enjoys his 9:15 a/m/ libation. Or the guy who can drink until 1 a.m. on Tuesday and says he’s immune to hangovers.

Others are pure annoyances: the guy who relies on cliche’ (“take one for the team”), or the girl who cries at her desk because her boyfriend’s dog left.

Finally, there are the ticking time bombs: the banker who can’t close a deal, but keeps his job, or the hotshot who keeps failing the CFA level 1 exam.

Finding people the right people who can provide sound advice, understand the firm’s culture or who have the top clients can be your ticket to stardom Yet, one thing is for certain, the ability to detect the potholes along the way is becoming an increasingly important skill, too – one that can prevent both quicksand and a whole lot of aggravation.

Comments (3)

Comments
  1. Thanks for the article Scott. I was fortunate enough to make MD at age 31 based significantly on merit (and in a non-revenue generating capacity). I’d therefore suggest that while it’s important to align yourself with the right type of person/people, part of that key is to ensure you’re in an area where there’s enough high profile/difference making work that allows you to focus on work as opposed to politics and the nonsense that goes with it … politics will always exist however if it’s taking up the majority of your time and getting in the way of doing your work, you’re in the wrong role and perhaps in the wrong firm … I learned early in my career that: 1. “we ‘pay’ for results and not good intentions”; and 2. “facts are friendly”.

  2. The article is very important to know.

  3. Why couldn’t you have written this article two years ago? Its great advice that is simple, & easy to remember/follow. You get right to the point, & for a young professional like myself I need clear concise advice, answers, & guidance. There are so many insecure people out there today that it’s tough to know who to trust and who to avoid. While some of the “people to avoid” you listed are a bit obvious. (For example: The “I’m immune to hangovers” guy.) The rest of the piece was almost perfect.

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