Posturing - the magic is in the makeup

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Posturing - the magic is in the makeup

You know what posturing is all about. You see everyone around you do it. Rupert is an example in case, with his wide pinstripe suits, Hermes ties that scream “In your face!”, braces that he probably only wears because he saw Gordon Gecko wear them in Wall Street. The know-it-all tone and the over-chewed piping-hot-potato-in-your-mouth English accent are all part of the show. Male i-bankers can’t get away with lipstick and mascara (at least at work, anyway), but they sure can posture their way to peak of investment banking showbusiness.

10% of being a BSD (Big Swinging Dick) is knowing what you are doing. This is by no means an absolute requisite, as even if you have no clue as to what you are doing (like many BSD’s), the remaining 90% of your skill-set will kick in to overcompensate. The other 90% of being a BSD is posturing. It’s simple: if you present yourself as a BSD and keep up the show, you will be perceived to be a BSD. A simple example.

Rupert interviews you and acts like a BSD. You conclude he is a BSD. You tell your intern buddies that he’s a BSD. They tell their analysts that this Rupert guy is a major BSD (interns like to exaggerate). The analysts start telling their associates about this BSD in M&A called Rupert. The associates are always keen to get on the good side of important people (the “ass” in associate in not there by chance – it’s in fact part of the job description – kissing ass is what they do) so they go out of their way to treat Rupert (should they ever meet him) like the BSD he is rumoured to be. The VPs see everyone crawling around Rupert, and here’s where it gets interesting. Most VPs are promoted associates, and whilst you can take the ass out of the associate, you can never separate someone who’s been an associate from the ass. The rare few who question the “Rupert is a BSD” rumours and try to test this for themselves are in for a surprise. The Ruperts of the world are very well aware of the existence of these dangerous independent thinking VPs, who will usually try to come up with a smartass challenge to a point Rupert is making (usually via email, copying half the bank in an attempt to uncover the fact that Rupert is a dumbass). This will usually be done at around 6PM a day before the meeting, in an attempt to give Rupert as little time as possible to manoeuvre himself out of the situation.

This VPs, my friends, has sown the seeds for a group all-nighter, also known in the business as a clusterfuck. Rupert will have every associate, analyst and intern work through the night ion every possible combination and permutation of the pieces making up the matter at hand, to be able to see every possible scenario in the morning, before the meeting. If what the smartass VP mentioned does crop up (Scenario 1), he will staff his army of followers on finding ways of discrediting the VPs assumptions (i-bankers are very good at discrediting assumptions). If the scenario doesn’t crop up (Scenario 2), Rupert can comfortable claim that the VP does not know what he’s talking about. In either case, Rupert will reply to the VPs comment (reply to all) after the meeting and regardless of whether it’s Scenario 1 or Scenario 2 that takes place, will make the VP look like a complete muppet.

In short:
Rupert is not really a BSD.
Rupert postures as a BSD.
Rupert becomes a BSD.


Anonymous said...

last three lines reminds me of a website where they forces you to summarize your writing in three phrases.

Arun said...

Your blog is entertaining and informative. Thanks.