Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Player: Having Pledges

Jeannie: This party so rocks, Richard!
Richard: This party sucks rectum, Jeannie!

Everything I needed to know about business I learned in a fraternity. Small and big things in fraternity life can be applied to a career. Whether it's knowing that closing a deal is easier over drinks, knowing how to manage Neanderthals who have one thing on their mind, or simply knowing people want to associate with others superior to them. (Say what you will about being the nice guy for getting business. But you genuinely care about someone and their well being and you will be stomped on. It's typically better to say a joke, act cold, and tell people what to do. They will appreciate your advice and love you for it.)
I occasionally check back in with the chapter every now and then. It's not like I care about the fraternity's organization and its history (I certainly did not when I was there). I just want to make sure the lazy shit heads don't fuck up so that the alumni god gets my 18 year virgin sacrifice at Homecoming each year. I was reassured when I called that we got 39 pledges that year which is pretty good I guess.
But being in a fraternity and being knee deep in slutty girls wearing camouflage hats means paying your dues and seeing if you have what it takes. Lots of things in life are like pledging, especially work. An internship is a time when you get treated like filth for the hope you get accepted as a brother/banker at the end of the trial. Some people don't make it through pledging or an internship. Take this one college guy I knew who was interning at a firm similar to mine when I also was doing my internship years ago. A smarter dude, he actually created value for his division by writing a program for the CDS desk. He got treated like shit and his ego got the better of him. He took a job at some puny i bank I never heard of.
Pledging in Greek and banking systems I found to be pointless (ie delaying the inevitability of me running things) but it teaches you the skills of silence and making your boss happy. You have to learn the tiny rituals that leaves your elders impressed, endure physical strain such as a lack of sleep, dress sharp, get drinks for superiors, pretend you are enjoying the most boring shit in the world, memorize the bullshit touting the greatness of the organization, and of course have a terrible self-esteem until you are deemed capable and worthy.
However, just as in the Greek world, if a bank don't get pledges that bank is gonna stagnate. I heard from the grape vine that BAC just canceled ALL of their interns for the summer. Shit, y'all are fucked. Not only does that speak volumes about how doomed that shit show is but I can't imagine who is going to get the BAC bankers' coffee and make their copies. One of the great pleasures of getting through pledging is that you can choose to be a complete asshole to the guys who want to join. Make the young guy stay late. Can you do this spreadsheet for me and I'll take credit for it? Thanks...oh, do you have something to say? No? That's what I thought.

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