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Why insecure 40-year-old bankers block 'lazy juniors'

If you're an analyst in an investment bank and you were annoyed by last week's comment on this site by a director who said today's juniors don't pull their weight, I'd like to offer you some reassurance: we're not all like that.

I've worked in banking for a while and I've heard the sentiment that 'today's juniors are lazy' a lot, mostly from bankers in their late 30s and 40s. They complain that they worked harder when they were younger than analysts do now. Their complaints are based on two things: they're insecure, and they don't understand what today's juniors actually do.

To understand why these guys bitch, you need to know where they're coming from. It's not easy being a senior VP or director in a bank: this is the level at which you're expensive but not pulling in clients. They're very exposed. And that makes them feel threatened.

VPs and directors sit there, and they look at today's juniors and don't understand some of today's functions like analytics and report building. They either fail to register that the kids these days are capable of doing things that they were never capable of, or if they do realize this they often try to freeze them out.

Not all of us are like this. Personally, I'm always astounded by the technical skills of our analysts and interns. People like me embrace the juniors and teach them how to apply their skills in finance. However, I have colleagues who simply exploit them and use their naivete to help promote themselves. If you're an analyst you need to avoid these people as much as you can. 

This isn't always easy to do. You might be 24 years-old with great technical skills, but you will probably have a tiny network in finance. By comparison, those 40 somethings you're up against have almost no technical skills but great networks. And the reality is that you're no match for someone networked, ambitious, and (justifiably) insecure. They can always simply buy someone else with technical skills instead of you. 

This is why a lot of young people today leave banking. The most talented move on to somewhere they're really appreciated. It's the quietiest and most obedient who stay around.

Alfred Weisz is the pseudonym of a mid-ranking banker.

Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash

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AUTHORAlfred Weisz Insider Comment
  • Pa
    Paul Bev.
    7 February 2020

    "It's the quietest and most obedient who stay around."
    Hmm, where did i hear that before? Ah yes,
    "Why I’ll NEVER work a 9-5 job ever again…I quit after 6 weeks" by Graham Stephan

  • t9
    5 February 2020

    It's not just analyst that late mid-senior/40-50 yr olds freeze out. It's anyone who thinks different, is creative and has technical/data - skills that most of those people are completely inept at, in favor of so called "business expertise"...

  • KK
    5 February 2020

    hahahahaha. i needed this to brighten up my day.

    "don't understand some of today's functions like analytics and report building"

    "This is why a lot of young people today leave banking. The most talented move on to somewhere they're really appreciated. It's the quietiest and most obedient who stay around."

    And I think you just highlighted the reason why someone said juniors don't pull their weight. The less talented are the ones staying and frustrating those more senior by not pulling their weight

    Excellent piece. Still making me laugh now.

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