You were so used to seeing people get yelled at Paris Berkeley Capital that after six months on the job someone two seats away could get machine gunned with insults and be on the verge of tears and you wouldn’t even turn your eye in their direction. Like a song that you overplay, it gets relegated to the low-priority area of your brain.
Think of the general who’s spent so many years in battle that he is able to calmly give himself a straight razor shave outdoors as explosives violently go off around him and his subordinates run frantically for cover.
You witnessed so much abuse it would have to be bloody spectacular for you to raise an eyebrow. Even then, unless someone dropped dead, you’d probably let out a long sigh and look back at your computer screen.
When terror hits home
So when Amit, a few rows down from me, got yelled at I was tempted to turn around as he’s a friend and there are emotional motivations at play. But that very moment I was preoccupied with stealthily updating my resume ahead of a meeting with a hedge fund recruiter. Come on, I had priorities.
Therefore, I could not really be bothered. I figured I’d have a chat with him later and find out what happened. The only reason I did end up turning around was because I heard something unusually absurd:
“What kind of stupid stapling job is that? Do it again,” said a senior banker looming over Amit. The intimidating then proceeded to slam what sounded like a large dumbbell on my poor friend’s desk and walked away. A 70-slide presentation can be heavy.
Amit had done the unthinkable. He had stapled the presentation horizontally, allegedly making it difficult to neatly flip through the pages during a sit-down session. God Forbid one of us would make a client’s life difficult! It was our religious mission in life to make the contemplation of deals as smooth and easy as possible for our precious clients in order for us to get a mandate quickly and efficiently. And as a result see lots of big numbers enter our bank accounts. So was the senior banker’s wise thinking.
Apologies to my sexually inclined readership but I refer not of matters relating to the anus, here. Rather, I allude to those individuals characterised by meticulous neatness. It happens to most ibankers with the passing of time. They become fixated on particular ways of doing things, from the size and style of a font they choose, to the way they sign off on e-mails and even, I’m absolutely serious, the way they like presentations to be stapled together.
Some ibankers take their stapling very seriously. So before you hand over a stapled set of documents to your seniors be sure you’ve done it properly.
If you fail to conform to the prescribed manner of doing things then someone will inevitably have a tantrum and throw a hissy fit. This means that, if they are having a bad day, you will very soon be having one as well.
Senior bankers have their own idiosyncratic ways of seeing things done. The key to making life easier for yourself is to do things the way they like it. Period.
The right angle
So Amit did what most normal people would: he used a staple remover to remove the wrongly placed staple and then re-stapled the presentation at a better and more strategic angle. His major faux pas, however, was that the old staple marks were left visible. A client could actually be momentarily thrown off by it. This brought on a whole new set of worries.
We heard another cry.
“There are bloody holes in this presentation!”