The Way of the Wall Street Warrior
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The Way of the Wall Street Warrior

Conquer the Corporate Game Using Tips, Tricks, and Smartcuts

Dave Liu, Adam Snyder

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eBook - ePub

The Way of the Wall Street Warrior

Conquer the Corporate Game Using Tips, Tricks, and Smartcuts

Dave Liu, Adam Snyder

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About This Book

A Wall Street Insider's Guide to getting ahead in any highly competitive industry

"Dave learned how to win in investment banking the hard way. Now he is able to share tools that make it easier for budding bankers and other professionals to succeed."
—Frank Baxter, Former CEO of Jefferies and U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay "A must-read for anyone starting their career in Corporate America. Dave's book shares witty and valuable insights that would take a lifetime to learn otherwise. I highly recommend that anyone interested in advancing their career read this book."
—Harry Nelis, Partner of Accel and former Goldman Sachs banker In TheWay of theWall Street Warrior, 25-yearveteran investment banker and finance professional, Dave Liu, delivers ahumorous andirreverent insider's guide to thriving on Wall Street or Main Street. Liu offers hilarious and insightful advice on everything from landing an interview to self-promotionto getting paid.

In this book, you'lldiscover:

  • How to get that job you always wanted
  • Whycareer longevity and "success"comes fromdoing the least amount of work for the most pay
  • How mastering cognitive biases andunderstandinghuman nature canhelp youwinthe ratrace
  • How to make people think you'rethe smartest person in the room without actually being the smartest person in the room
  • How to make sure you do everything in your power to get paid well (or at least not get screwed too badly)
  • How to turn any weakness or liability into an asset to further your career

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Get in the Game

An illustration shows a board with coins related to a few games in it.

Get Primed for Entry-Level Cattle Calls: Clean Your House

You think you've been demeaned, disheartened, or even abused up to this point in your life? You ain't seen nothing yet. During the cattle call required to find an entry-level job, rejection can come faster than a blunt, “Better-Luck-Next-Time” four-word email. It's your first, startling indication that even getting your foot in the door will separate the plebes from the potentates.
The whole process of interviewing is ludicrous. If you do get hired, it's because you interview well, and not necessarily because you can do the work with any kind of competence. Interviews never made much sense to me because people perform differently in the field of play under the bright lights. Imagine signing a new quarterback through this process. He might give a great interview, but don't be surprised if on the first day of practice, the dude can't hit a moving target more than ten feet away. There's even a scientific explanation for it. It's called interviewer illusion, and it means the tendency for interviewers to overrate their own ability to interview and choose the best candidate. Who's the fool now?
But we're not here to break convention, at least not this one. This tried-and-true method probably dates all the way back to the Ice Age, when the first caveman asked his fellow hunter, “You do know how to kill a sabertooth, right?” Seconds before they were both mauled to death, he was probably thinking he should have done more due diligence.
So, obviously, the first rule in this playbook is to learn how to interview well. That's a talent all by itself.
But hang on, first you have to get the friggin’ interview, so that's where we'll begin.

Scrub Those Leprotic Calluses

Landing an interview doesn't start with an email; it starts with a lot of prep work well before hitting the “Send” key with your cover note and resume. It begins with cleaning your social media house. Before going anywhere near a recruiter, a friend of the family who might help, or even your school's placement department, scrub your social media accounts like leprotic calluses on gangrenous feet. This is the arena where multitudes of warriors have fallen. Like the dormant chickenpox virus waiting to reemerge as the shingles, your youthful hijinks can hijack your career. Now is the time to search, destroy, delete. Then search again, destroy again, delete again.
At this starting point in the game, it's important to understand one very salient point. Corporate wonks have too many applications and resumes to cope with. Their mission is to find a reason NOT to hire you, and hundreds of others like you, so they can find the best three candidates worthy of an interview. If a quick Google search reveals a picture of you drunk on the roof of a house or having a penchant for racist memes, kudos for making their job really easy.
At the entry level, it's often the Human Resources department you're jousting with, so imagine them spraying luminol all over your life to uncover your darkest secrets. They're the bouncer at the nightclub; their ass is on the line if the firm hires a kleptomaniac, a slug, or a weaseler who got into Harvard pretending to be a champion coxswain.1
It's finally time to swab your Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and any of the other dozens of apps where you deliriously posted about your bro trip to Mexico mingling with the local hotties or your NSFW weekend in Jamaica at your best friend's bridal shower, all in the never-ending quest to get followers. Purge anything that shows you in compromising positions—especially your most cherished posts. As a good rule of thumb, if your visceral reaction is “Dang, that's lit!” then hit delete. You never know who is judging you.

The TMZ Test

Practice the TMZ Test: Simply put, don't write anything or post any photos that you'd hate to see on the front page of a tabloid. That means if you've written anything you'd regret your priest seeing, it might be time to say adieu (French for until we meet again) to your favorite social media account until you're on terra firma (Latin for solid earth). Otherwise, you might be f*cked (French for f*cked).
At the same time, understand that since we know that nothing is ever truly deleted online, your efforts at evaporation might not completely succeed. So come up with a Plan B. If it's impossible to bury those pictures of you skinny dipping in the Red Sea or doing a keg stand on a diving board, then perhaps you may still be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Be prepared to smile earnestly and tell them you're an apostle of the “Work Hard, Play Hard” lifestyle. Even the most judgmental interviewers might envy you, or not, but at least you've given it a shot.
Facebook and Instagram tend to be the top minefields, but buttoned-up LinkedIn can be equally treacherous. That's where most candidates put their resumes, but it's also where many feel the strange need to expose their inner selves or flaunt some higher purpose—like being on a mission to save all the pangolins in China. Remember, LinkedIn is not for making friends; it's your infomercial for getting paid.
On the positive side, job hunting is also a great time to take a good look at your LinkedIn account and be sure it's up-to-date and reflects your talents in the very best light. Dispense with the douchey descriptors like Jack/Jackie of All Trades (aka Master/Mistress of None) or Strategic Visionary (aka Good-for-Nothing). You'd be surprised how many bios I've seen that say at the top, Self-Starter or Game Changer. I recently saw a LinkedIn profile headlined, Futurist. Does that mean the person is a psychic? You might as well put as your headline, Blithering Idiot. If you're thinking, “Oh, dang, I thought I was actually being pretty clever,” you're not. Instead, see how employees at your prospective employer describe themselves and do what every best-selling author does: copy and paste!
Also, check your references and make sure their contact information is current. While you're at it, have a clear idea of what each person will say about you, especially those who might have something negative, or even neutral, to volunteer. References are one way for an interviewer to fill in gaps about you, information that might not be reflected in your resume or transcript. The interviewer doesn't want any surprises, and you'll always know more about yourself than your interviewer knows about you. Make sure you control your own narrative and have several apostles lined up ready to praise your miracles.
Use asymmetry of information to your advantage. In contract theory and economics, this is the study of transactional decisions when one party has more or better information than the other. Don't be the ignoramus. Make certain you control your own particulars, rather than some A-hole ex-boss or professor who thought you were too big for your britches. This is another reason why you should scrub your LinkedIn. An ex-boyfriend might have linked to you in the past because at the time you were BFFs—although on Wall Street we prefer the term Asshole Buddies because nothing is forever. But now you're foes, and largely through your own laziness, that enemy is now available as a reference for any prospective employer to find. There's nothing like a backchannel reference to torpedo your chances faster than a German U-boat. So get ahead of it and know what they will say—or better yet, delink them from your network!

Key Takeaways

Table of contents