16 Things You Don’t Understand About Working in Finance in NYC

Shutterstock (edited)
Shutterstock (edited)

Of all the species that exist in New York City, none is more enigmatic than the finance bro (or finance lady-bro, as the case may be). These elusive beings actually live on the island of Manhattan (BELOW 96th Street), they spell subway “t-a-x-i,” and they drink booze during hours that aren’t specifically “happy.” This is because... they can afford it. They have ALL the dollars. And the rest of New York hates them.

Question is, do we hate them because we really just don't understand them? Only one way to find out: here are 16 things you don't know about them, according to them.

1. We have our own language

“IRR, returns, P&L, Sharpe, performance... these are all just ways to say, ‘Did you make money? Yes? How much?’” - Ben

2. We have a “time of the month”

“Don’t ask me out during month-end/quarter-end reporting. And don’t even look towards my direction during year-end reporting.” - Jonathan


3. We pray to the god named “Excel”...

“We find it annoying that people outside the finance industry don’t know how to use Excel... no offense.” - Laura (Editor’s Note: NONE TAKEN.)

4. ... because “Excel” actually does our job

“We don’t know how to do basic math... thanks Excel.” - Laura

5. There are three types of people who work in finance: LIFOs, Show Facers, and everyone else

“And you don’t want to be a LIFO -- Last In First Out. The Show Facers will talk smack. Wait for at least two people to leave first before you call it a day. Also, Show Facers suck. Every finance company has them. They sit at their desk until 8pm hoping that will get them recognized by the bosses. They make it hard for the LIFOs.” - Jonathan

6. We heavily monitor each other’s day-to-day routines

“Never take the same route to the restroom. Switch it up. You don’t want to be known as ‘Baby Bladder’ or ‘Poopsalot.’” - Jonathan

7. We keep ridiculous hours...

“Starting the day at 5am is a thing because of a call with Europe or Asia.” - Ben

8. ... however, the rest of our “long-hour schedule” is a sham

“Always have a spreadsheet opened on your desktop. Makes you look busy. Please remember to click around it every few minutes. You can’t have the same pivot table up for five hours. That’s how you get caught. Be a busy lazy person.” - Jonathan

9. We love the Internet as much as a regular cubicle-dwelling human

“Seventy-five percent of the day is actually spent on YouTube/ESPN and minimized in the lower section of your screen. All day, every day.” - Tom (Also: see #8)

10. We really don’t do anything. Seriously.

“Month/quarter end is truly the only time we are busy and that’s for three days a month.” - Tom

11. We are brilliant escape artists

“If you plan to escape early from work, I suggest to leave your blazer or something tangible on your desk or chair. Makes it look like you are still around.” - Jonathan

12. We might not be able to do basic math, but we are shrewd businesspeople

“Always be the first to buy the round at happy hour. Reason, people like to start off with a nice cold beer. This means the tab won’t be that high. Usually the hard booze comes into play after the second beer. I hate to be the guy buying those rounds.” - Jonathan

13. And should you end up being that guy...

“For those of us that just don’t know how to make it home after a HH, please keep an extra shirt and pants at work. Sooner or later it will come in handy. Can’t be smelling like beer and cheap body spray from Bath & Body Works.” - Jonathan

14. In that vein, fashion is of the utmost importance in our culture

“Don’t be a lame duck and wear a suit on casual Friday. EVERYONE WILL HATE YOU.”
- Jonathan

15. We are bloodthirsty

“We need to think LEAN... aka cut costs and lay people off.” - Tom

16. You aren’t the only one who’s confused. We don’t know what we do, either.

“We don’t really know what or how to explain to other people what we do for a living. I am in operational risk management and am supposed to minimize risks. Try explaining this to someone. Truth is, we probably don’t really know what we are doing but we take educated guesses.” - Tom

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Meagan Drillinger is a freelancer for Thrillist. She’s spending more time trying to discover the exact social ranking of Show Facers, LIFOs, Babby Bladders, and Poopsalots. Follow her progress on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @drillinjourneys.