There are lots of critical skills you need to succeed on Wall Street. It helps to understand market forces. A facility with numbers is useful. Having a feel for group dynamics is necessary to succeed on trading desks and deal teams. Superb time management, verbal acuity, and judgment are all important.
But, mostly, what you need to do is avoid the things that will destroy your career. And most of the things that will destroy your career go under the general heading of “people.”
I asked NetNet reporter Ash Bennington to look back on his years on Wall Street—where he was a vice-president at Credit Suisse and BB&T—and assemble a list of the people you need to avoid. I thought there might be three or four. I was way off. Ash returned with a list of 25 people to avoid.
You might want to print this out and carry it with you. When you meet someone new, scan the list. Decide if they are someone to avoid. Alternatively, you should take a look at the list and ask if you are on it. If you are, well, don’t be surprised when your colleagues start avoiding you. — John Carney