Having been on the Corporate Ladder for some years, below are some basic blunders I will advise you avoid as you climb the ladder too.
1. Believing your own hype – a sure way to court disaster. It’s fine to convince your friends that you are the greatest thing the markets have ever seen, but bringing such delusions into the workplace is usually fatal.
2. Threatening to resign unless you get a bigger bonus. Rarely works, and only then if you are on top of your game and your firm is (temporarily) desperate to keep you. Even then, your boss will have a long memory and will eventually make you pay.
3. Thinking that you can take your foot off the accelerator. You are only as good as your last successful trade / deal. The moment you rest on your laurels to reflect on how well you have done, is the moment it all begins to slip away. Smart firms always hire insecure bankers who have a constant need to prove themselves.
4. Having a sexual relationship with a work colleague. It is distracting while it lasts, and can become a nightmare when it ends (as it usually will – and badly!).
5. Going out drinking during the week. Keep off the drink during the week (even if you are taking a client out). It’s tough enough to compete these days, without coming to work looking like a sack of potatoes and wanting to curl up in the corner and die.
6. Failing to admit a mistake. Always hold your hands up and take responsibility for errors. Never blame others, and don’t attempt to cover anything up (you’ll only make it far worse for yourself).
7. Underestimating the Compliance Department. Don’t try to be clever and cut corners. The rules are there for a reason. And the folks in Compliance are never as stupid as you think they are.
8. Speaking for the sake of it. Never open your mouth at meetings unless you are sure of your ground and are in full possession of the facts. Your boss will probably tolerate a smart arse, but showing the world that you are a buffoon is never a good career move.
9. Being overly ambitious. Don’t try to run before you can walk. Take the time to build up your experience, and gain the respect of your colleagues. Gain promotion because of your abilities / experience in the job, and not because you have played political games and stabbed rivals in the back. Otherwise, you will eventually get found out.
10. Looking down on subordinates. Always treat less senior colleagues well as you are moving up the corporate ladder. There will be occasions when you’ll need their support to help you achieve your personal work goals. And remember, you could easily be knocked off your perch and be back among the mere mortals again someday, so don’t burn any bridges.
11. Moving on to a rival firm just for the money. It’s rarely a smart thing to do, and will usually end in tears. It’s more enjoyable earning less working in a firm with talented people and a strong franchise, than following the money and ending up with a bunch of losers on a depressing road that ultimately leads nowhere.
Feel free to share with your friends. Thank you and good luck.