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This is my first work experience, and I am very upset with my performance. I am a few weeks into finishing a three-month internship and have been told I have been underperforming.

I worked for two managers. In the first few weeks when I was working for manager A, I made a lot of mistakes. I took his advice very seriously and personally thought I improved a lot, but he never seemed to be pleased with me. Then I worked for manager B. He is always pleased with my performance and even said he appreciates my proactiveness and the quality of my work.

Then today manager A told me he told manager B how much he dislikes me. A said he nearly let me go as I was underperforming. What really shocks me is manager B agreed with him. When I asked manager A why manager B never said anything, he told me maybe manager B was just being nice.

I am so disappointed with myself right now and feel like a complete loser. Manager A thinks I never listen to him, but I don't think it's true. I wrote down everything he told me to do and did every task in the way exactly what he asked for. But he thinks I never listen. I always ask when I don't understand, but he thinks I never ask. I thought I performed well and even helped attract new corporate investors for the firm. Manager B saw it with his eyes and even appraised me then and there.

I have three questions at the moment.

  1. How should I go about asking manager B for a review?
  2. I take manager A's criticism very seriously and strive to improve day by day. However it seems like I will never be able to please him? Am I not learning to improve in the right way?
  3. It would also be good to know how to work with someone who is overly critical and doesn't really give approvals.

closed as off-topic by gnat, scaaahu, Masked Man, mcknz, Lilienthal Sep 16 '15 at 12:32

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – gnat, scaaahu, Masked Man
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Sep 11 '15 at 19:17
  • Do they give you any training? All you mention is work, which isn't all that an internship should be. – RemcoGerlich Sep 12 '15 at 8:59
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    No no training at all as it's a small firm. – autumntimes Sep 12 '15 at 17:18

10 Answers 10

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It sounds to me that Manager A does not understand internships. As noted in other answers, you are there to learn. If you were underperforming with Manager A, that's manager A's bad training of you, not something you did or didn't do. You are basically a blank slate that needs to be formed by your leadership and peers to perform well.

Manager A also sounds like a bad manager in that he is spending too much time criticizing you and not enough time helping you grow and supporting you. It is a balance and he isn't doing it well.

You need to schedule a 1 on 1 with Manager B, your current manager, and discuss your concerns as well as iterate that you want to do well and did everything manager A asked you do and learned from that. You want to continue to do well and appreciate any feedback he (manager B) has for you.

Don't let manager A get to you, he clearly doesn't like you on some personal level and is trying to undermine your confidence and your reputation with Manager B. Be sure you are checking in with your manager on an appropriately regular basis (this varies by organization and job, but I would assume relatively frequently as an intern).

Treat everything, including getting bombed by Manager A as a learning experience. Learn to identify this type of office bully early so you can either avoid or manage your expectations and interactions appropriately. You will find all kinds of personalities in the office setting and the quicker you assess who likes what (information, friendship, control, etc.) and give them what they like the better you will fare.

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    Although this is a "nice" answer and I am sure it gets votes because it is nice, it really isn't true in all cases. The intern could simply be way under-qualified to do this job. You could spend time trying to teach a bad intern something but without a background they really never learn. Also I have had interns simply not listen to simple instructions, not follow up on things right, spend time doing things that have nothing to do with their assigned tasks (because hot girl in office asks them to do something)... These are not management or training issues. – blankip Sep 10 '15 at 16:55
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    @blankip Bill's advice is applicable to OP, no matter what his qualifications. Telling him he's not qualified wouldn't be a helpful answer to his situation. Incidentally, if a lot of your own interns have issues, you might want to consider your own management style. – Chan-Ho Suh Sep 10 '15 at 17:30
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    Some companies use internships more like "cheap FT labor" and if that's the case then it makes sense why Manager A would be upset/annoyed... – enderland Sep 10 '15 at 19:07
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    @blankip you could have told him to learn it by himself, shouldn't take longer than week - but it's you who is managing them, so it's your decision to just pay him for doing nothing. Anyway, I think that if manager is constantly mobbing trainee telling him he's underperforming(which is terribly negative attitude) instead of pointing out what's wrong with his workflow/quality, he clearly knows little about soft skills, and how morale affects productivity. I can imagine that OP couldn't have been less productive as he's now, given the pressure he's under. – MatthewRock Sep 11 '15 at 8:35
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    @blankip Honestly, if you are not prepared to put that much time in an intern, it would be better to not accept interns in your team. They are there to learn from you, no matter what their initial skills are. If they really do as bad as you say, then communicate with their school to find out if this is a problem with the intern or a problem with your expectations. Underperformance should influence the intern's grade, but simply telling an intern to not show up anymore makes me think you really aren't interested in interns, but instead you are looking for cheap employees. – Kevin Sep 11 '15 at 11:20
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How should I go about asking manager B for a review?

Find a quiet time that is handy for both you and manager B.

Ask if he has a few minutes for a chat. Something like "Hey, boss. Can I get a few minutes of your time to talk privately?" should work.

When you meet, be honest, and ask for what you need sincerely. Something like "I'm trying to understand my performance so far. I need your feedback so I can see what I'm doing right, what I'm doing wrong, and how I can make it all better."

Then listen.

Don't be defensive, don't try to point out counter-examples, just accept what is said. If some of it is confusing, ask for more specifics and examples. Ask if you can set up a time a week or so down the line to check in again and see if you are going in the right direction or not.

Then try to go out and implement what you have heard. Keep notes, if you need, to use in your next check-in meeting.

If you accept this all as constructive criticism, and use it as motivation to do better, you'll likely end up with a better internship experience. You'll learn more - about the job requirements, and hopefully more about yourself as well.

[If, as you indicate, you only have a few weeks left, then time is of the essence here. The feedback from manager B would be useful even after the next 2 weeks. Talk to him today. You can either feel bad, feel sorry for yourself, and give up - or you can do something about it now.]

  • Unfortunately i only have 2 weeks left. After this week i will be back to working for manager A :( I feel so unmotivated as I am almost sure he will keep criticising me. Today he told me out of nowhere he almost gave up on me as I was wasting his time and so underperforming. Now I just think, what am I good at and what is keeping me in the company? :( – autumntimes Sep 10 '15 at 16:40
  • @autumntimes "Today he told me out of nowhere he almost gave up on me as I was wasting his time and so underperforming" - was this as you were doing something that a normal person might compliment on, when considering your progress from before to now? If so, maybe he feels he can admit this to you because he no longer feels that way (meaning he doesn't know how to give positive feedback, but was trying to say you've improved since then.) – DoubleDouble Sep 11 '15 at 19:38
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I would advise you not to beat yourself up (do not be overly self-critical) over your managers' opinions about you. I have worked in over a dozen companies over 25 years and I can assure you that managers and executives are rarely objective (they rarely base their opinions on facts); most of the time they base their opinions on vague impressions. So just because they think you are not good enough does not necessarily mean you are actually worthless.

Most managers and executives have large egos and those people that massage their egos (butter them up) they regard as good, efficient, productive etc. and those who do not adequately massage their egos they consider to be worthless even if they do their job well enough. Once I realized this secret my career really took off.

So, you should review your work yourself as objectively as you can and if you feel the opinions of your bosses are not based on facts then you know that all you lacked was the willingness and ability to butter up your bosses.

Observe your co-workers, see how they interact with your bosses. Start by interacting just like they do. Do not ask for a review with your boss right away. You have at least two months left on your internship. Continue this modified interaction for about two or three weeks and then ask for a review. In parallel, see if there is some other section or project with a different boss who requires less ego massage that you can shift to. Keep in mind that higher up a person is in a hierarchy the larger their ego.

Manager = large ego stuffed into a small brain. Executive = colossal ego stuffed into a tiny brain.

All employees in every company actually have the exact same job description: supporting, reinforcing and inflating the ego of their bosses. Doing your job well is just a part of that ego inflation process, not the entirety. So doing your job well alone is not enough to get good reviews from your bosses.

  • Unfortunately, for many workplaces, there's a lot of truth in this. – A E Sep 11 '15 at 16:19
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But you don't know manager B is unhappy with your work. Manger B tells you directly your work is good. Manager A tells you manager B does not like you work. So either manager B is lying to your face, manager B is lying to manager A, or manager A is lying to you about manager B. Bring this conversation up to B and decide who is lying does no good in my opinion.

What happened with manager A is past. If he wanted to fire you then he should have done so when you were on rotation with Manager A.

Leave you relationship with B alone. As your internship comes to an end then thank him for the experience and ask for feedback.

  • If manager B was really unhappy why he didn't say anything at all? Why complimented me so much when things were actually not right? – autumntimes Sep 10 '15 at 16:43
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    @JoeStrazzere No, that is called hear say. Manager A told me manager B said. Manager B has not indicated to the OP he is unhappy. – paparazzo Sep 10 '15 at 16:45
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    @JoeStrazzere "Then I worked for manager B. He is always pleased with my performance and even said he appreciates my proactiveness and the quality of my work." OP stated in comment above - "If manager B was really unhappy why he didn't say anything at all?" – paparazzo Sep 10 '15 at 16:49
  • @JoeStrazzere I am not seeing the conflicts but not important. – paparazzo Sep 10 '15 at 17:20
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    And when asked for a reference from this internship, use Manager B! – HLGEM Sep 10 '15 at 17:36
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Manager A sounds like an asshole. There is a very important fact that makes none of this your fault: you are an intern. If you really do underperform (which in itself is subjective), then that is your manager's fault. If he thinks that what you do is not enough, then he should've worked with you to improve, he is your teacher.

Then there is the simple fact that in a whole bunch of fields, managers actually don't really know what their subordinates can and can't do. They mainly look at "What needs to be done in two weeks, how far is my team and will they get it done in time?". The question "Is any team capable of doing this in two weeks?" is not something they care a whole lot about. When you start working you will see that higherups aren't always better and you should be picky about what you take serious. If you look up against this, find a smaller company to work, this issue tends to become worse in big companies.

Bottom line: There are tons of managers that are absolutely clueless. Manager A seems like one of them to me and it would do you good to take his words with a grain of salt. Put on a smile when he tells you to do stuff and try to do it as best as you can, but take your questions to manager B. I don't know how long your internship is going to be, but if it's going to be a long time you will have to address your issues with manager A and work to find a way to keep him satisfied, maybe you can contact someone at your school to ask for advice (I always had a dedicated teacher in charge of this kind of stuff at my school).

  • I think you have a very valid point. Someone people think even when interns make mistakes and need to redo their work, they still help you save time because your time can be spent on some thing else which are far more important than grunt work. I recall manager A's choice of words when I made a mistake "we are losing time!" "you are wasting my time!". If I wasn;t there to help out, he;d never finish work on time. I think a good manager should know how to appreciate an employee's input and also point out specific mistakes that were made by him/her. I never got one of these things from A. – autumntimes Sep 11 '15 at 10:46
  • It is actually a very small firm wihout a HR department. I also recall whenever he criticised me, he would say "i know all of this, i've been working for 25 years". Im not sure this is how we should convince people. This actually turns out to be an interesting and thought provoking experience. – autumntimes Sep 11 '15 at 10:48
  • @autumntimes A manager blaming an intern for wasting time is a giant red flag for a bad manager. A company will always lose time on interns, you have to dedicate an employee to be ready to answer any questions the intern has, the intern will need more frequent evaluation of his work. The intern's work needs to be cut into smaller projects. If your manager thinks you should save him time, then he doesn't understand what internship means. Source: I guide our interns in their work, it costs me tons of time and I can hardly do my own work with three of them asking all these questions all the time. – Kevin Sep 11 '15 at 10:56
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    Welcome to the site Kevin. I kind of agree with your interpretation of the situation but your post doesn't actually answer the OP's questions of how to proceed from here. Consider editing that in, even if it's just a simple "ignore manager A and focus on what manager B thinks". – Lilienthal Sep 11 '15 at 11:01
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    @Kevin see this link about edits. If you have questions feel free to post on The Workplace Meta! – enderland Sep 11 '15 at 14:28
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I am going to be the voice of dissent here.

An internship has two main goals as I see it. First, it gets your experience in the field you want to work in. Nothing can beat real-world experience. Second, it is usually the first time someone gets any experience in that field.

Now to your questions. Manager A may be an ass-bag, but he may also be right. If you got an intern from a course that teaches tea making, and that intern didn't know how to boil water, well...

Important Notice

What is really happening here is that Manager A expected one thing and got another from you. This may or may not be your fault. Manager A could have a totally backwards idea about what an intern should bring to the table. However you could be lacking in skills that are "general" (like work ethic) or "in field" (like water boiling) that make Manager A feel like he is not getting what he paid for.

How can you tell?

Well, as I started this post, I said that an internship also provides you the intern with usually your first real look at a career. Do you like it? Are you having fun? Do you feel dedicated? Do you feel "too far" behind? It's OK if you decide you don't like the career.

Ask Manager B. Ask your peers, and ask your classmates. Is this the first internship that Manager A has managed?

The Balance

It is very easy to get to a place, especially in our "every-one-gets-a-trophy" society, that you get the feeling that you're awesome and that Manager A is just being an ass-bag. But it is also very common for Manager A to be an ass-bag and for them to have unrealistic expectations. There may never be a way for you to tell (from your current point of view) which is happening here.

If you like the career, and you like the work, and you're happy, then work on. If you're like the career, and like the work and you're unhappy, then look for a new internship. If you don't like the work, then look for a new career. There will always be ass-bags. It's part of life. Focus instead on your goals and your accomplishments, your wishes and your future. Make a list of what you learned at your internship. That may help you decide.

Short Answers

  1. Just ask. If you suck, Manager B will welcome the chance to complain. If you're awesome, they will just tell you. Interns ask for reviews. It's normal.

  2. Impossible for us to tell. Again he may just be an ass-bag. He may be right. Also some managers just manage that way. When you're in a real job the best measurement is if you're still employed, and if you advance. For an intern that doesn't exist. You're just going to have to wing it. Ask others that interned with Manager A and see if they got the same reception.

  3. If you need constant approval, then in all seriousness, you DO NOT work for someone that doesn't give them. It's OK. There are different management styles and not everyone is going to be a good fit. If it were a real job, and you wanted constant approvals to be happy, then I would advise you to get a different employer. One that gave those approvals. There is nothing wrong with that.

Last Note

I want to stress that it is very possible that you suck. That happens, and you need to be aware of it, and figure out why. At the same time, you should find a way to measure your suckage and skills that are outside your self and others. Define success, then see if you meet it. Because it's just as likely "they" suck.

I have seen many times, interns ditching work, or on cell phones, or browsing Facebook, or "hanging out" instead of working, and they don't stay interns long. I have seen interns for a programming internship had absolutely no idea what programming was, or what it entailed. I have seen interns take an internship and try to "half ass" though it. These are all bad things. But even the best of interns is a blank slate, conditioned with enough knowledge to be able to learn the stills needed for the real job. I have never seen an intern come in and 100% be able to do a experienced employee's job.

The point is to find a way to measure your success that does not revolve around Manager A's approval. Be prepared not to be successful. That does not mean pack your bags and go home; it means you have more to learn. You're an intern, and it's expected you have more to learn. If you can't learn it at this internship, take another. Don't let Manager A get you down. But don't ignore criticisms either.

Bonus Story

At one time I managed five interns for a programming internship. All five of them were discouraged, because it took them days or weeks to do something it took me minutes to do. When their reviews came up they stated this discontent. I pointed out to four of them that they were meeting their deadlines, their skills were improving, and that they were better programmers now, than they were when they started. I also pointed out to two of them that they needed to look else where for careers.

They were constantly late, they did not think for themselves, and they were always doing unprofessional things in chat. One of those two, was happy the internship was over. The other thought I was horrid, because he was working "faster" than the "good" three. He was very upset when the internship ended and he wasn't offered a chance to stay on and the other three were.

In the case of these five interns, all five were "down" because they thought they were not producing enough. But in fact four were producing "fine". One was upset because he was under producing, but he was half-assing his way through. The last was upset because he was "outperforming" everyone, but he could not be serious in chat or in meetings.

For three of the interns, their lack of confidence was hiding them from the fact that they were doing fine. For one they just didn't care. And last: Their overconfidence made them ignore critical criticisms.

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It's unfortunate that you seem to be working in an environment where you haven't been, by the sounds of it, properly managed. The good thing is that you are identifying where you need to improve and actively doing it.

Remember that the point of an internship is that you are there to learn. It's only been a few weeks and you can't possibly have worked out everything there is to know about the company, the environment and perhaps even the position. Perhaps it would help to sit down with your manager(s) - or maybe even their manager - to identify where it is they feel you are going wrong. If you take a proactive approach then at least it looks like you're not burying your head in the sand.

There is nothing wrong with defending yourself in a constructive way. Communicate with these people. Telling you that you're not doing as well as they think you should should really have been backed up with why this isn't happening and how you may be able to improve.

If they've recruited the wrong person than there's more than one person at blame, and that isn't necessarily you.

  • Thank you very much for you comment. Sorry for being a bit confusing. I am actually finishing my internship now. I did sit down with manager A and talked about it many times. But he always believed Im not improving even when I presented good work and showed improvement. I did try to "defend" myself once but it went really badly. Manager A got really angry with me so now I stopped talking about this with him now :( I am thinking about asking manager B why he thought i was underperforming as well – autumntimes Sep 10 '15 at 13:51
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    If you're going to have a conversation with manager B, don't ask him why he thinks you're underperforming, because it seems you haven't discussed this with him at all. It's entirely possible manager A is lying about what B said. Instead, ask him honestly about your performance, and then ask him what you can improve upon. – Caleb Jay Sep 10 '15 at 14:35
  • Hi komali_2, yes I didn't discuss with manager B at all because he complimented me literally every day. I will send manager B an email regarding this and leave the convo between me and manager A alone. thank you! – autumntimes Sep 10 '15 at 14:43
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keep a written record of tasks and results

Manager A thinks i never listen to him but I dont think it's true. I wrote down everything he told me to do and did every task in the way exactly what he asked for. But he thinks I never listen. I always ask when i dont understand but he thinks I never ask. I thought I performed well and even helped attract new corporate investors for the firm. Manager B saw it with his eyes and even appraised me then and there.

Usually tasks are given orally, because it's quick and easy.

You think you did your job. That's good and important, because this would all be moot if you aren't happy with the result yourself.

The manager A thinks you didn't do your job very well. It is moot to reason about the possible reasons for that (him being an ass, you being incompetent, both managers being in a secret relationship and A being suspecting you to know it or jealous, whatever)

The important thing is that you have no way to back these things up. If orally communicating tasks does not work you should:

  • schedule regular meetings. That includes meetings without anything to say (see following points)
  • create a protocol of every meeting. If there wasn't anything in that meeting, write down "nothing". Let the manager (be it A or B) in charge sign every protocol. Let them write their own protocol.
  • write down tasks with deadlines. You are an intern, so you aren't doing some overly complex task. It should be possible to predict the time it will take.
  • write down the progress of tasks
  • explicitly state if a reoccurring problem happens, like missing deadlines. (this will be more likely to be seen on the protocol of a manager and not yours)
  • explain what you are stuck with

...

At the moment, you don't have anything written down that can be a basis for an argument against anything or anybody (including yourself) With a weekly report on what's going on it's a lot easier to draw conclusions.

You can make this as detailed as you like from oral communication (nothing) to the precise timing of your heartbeats.

I was told to do XYZ and I have signed confirmation that I did that. I made a mistake the first 2 out of 7 times. The mistake did not happen again.

Sounds like something to work with rather than this exaggeration of your current situation

yeah, maybe I have the impression that yesterday, I got that strange look from the manager and he also once told me that he wanted to fire me

This is also great to summarize your internship to include in your CV or future job interviews.

0

I think the significant piece of information here is that this is a first work experience. I'm presuming that means that you've never even held a food service job. Those are very valuable experiences in that they help you learn soft skills, e.g., how to work for a boss and with co-workers.

There could be cultural/personal differences going on here, too. What you boss perceives of you is key. Are you completely impassive when boss A speaks to you? If so, you may not be giving the active listening feedback that boss A is expecting, so he perceives you as blowing him off. Nodding your head, repeating back what you heard in your own words are some examples of this feedback.

There are some truly horrible bosses out there - I've worked for my share. In every case I got a clue about their natures during the interview process, but I took the jobs anyway. Live thru this experience and see if you can look back at the initial interview for clues that he was going to be horrible. This will help you weed out the assholes when it comes time to find another internship or full-time job.

  • (1) I did have other experience such as data entry and work shadowing, which did not require team work. For the data entry job it was pretty much they log you in the system and you start typing that's all. I was quite new to the real workplace. Funny enough, i thought about things you mentioned about signs of manager A being a horrible boss. 1. We had a conflict about salary. He wanted to pay me under minimum wage so I negotiated to minimum wage. 2. I asked him for more information about the internship ie hours etc after the offer. He thought I didn't want to work for him and said "if – autumntimes Sep 12 '15 at 17:34
  • (2) you don't want to work for me you have to let me know". 3 after I started the job I asked him if he would be willing to help out young graduates who come to him for expertise. He said no and nobody would do that. I ignored the first two red flags at the beginning as I really needed a job. – autumntimes Sep 12 '15 at 17:35
-3

I don't know what you do. I scanned the posts, but I really never found a description of your job duties. Are you in sales, financial analysis, gopher, what?

My first job out of college was a retail broker, a customer's man for Dean Witter Reynolds back before dinosaurs. I thought it would be all Ivy League, everybody polite, dignified, educated, quietly diplomatic with customers that acted like Father Knows Best.

Actually, the movie Wall Street was pretty accurate at modeling the tone of the industry when I was in it. If you're in sales then you're a hero if you sell and somebody someone has to get rid of someday if you don't. There's no middle ground. They don't keep salesmen with low numbers around because they're nice.

They keep them around because they haven't found someone that can do more sales yet. Salesmen create the revenue that keeps the company solvent, nice guys with manners and ethics bore the snot out of everybody, because most are too stressed over performance to even take a few seconds to make a somebody else feel better.

They might be next if they don't remain ruthless. Ruthlessness is something that a lot of people will never develop; it just isn't in their nature. That's why, despite the fact that everybody thinks they'll be the one to make millions, over 90% eventually fade out of the business. It does indeed take a rare individual to become a lying weasel with no ethics, courtesy, sincerity, or credibility so as to achieve their financial goals. Most people just can't bring themselves to believe the rationalizations you have to make to do the things you have to do to bring in the money that will turn your manager into a rear kisser.

Your biggest mistake is not in what you may or may not be doing wrong at work. Your biggest mistake is over-worrying it and letting it define your value and competence. Don't do that. You'll tear yourself down for no reason at all.

Winning the kudos of a bunch of sleazy millionaire wannabes is not a healthy strategy for maintaining worthwhile self-esteem. I know it's your first job and your pressured to perform so as to get off on the right track, but the fact that your first job is in an INVESTMENT BANK is proof positive that you're not a punk.

You're not asking some fat woman if she wants fries with her burger, though if you're in sales, it might feel that way. So win, lose, or draw, never ever let anybody define your value.

You might have to get up and start over 100 times in your life or you might get lucky and cruise on the first try, but either way, letting some aging has been or never was take his self-loathing out on you is a pity-party you can't afford to attend.

The whole world may be black, but as long as you refuse to see it, you're in the upper 1%. If this crashes, move on. When going through hell, keep going. It's what's so, but it's also SO WHAT!

The ULTIMATE SIN is getting down on yourself because you overly revered the projection of self-hatred aimed in your direction by people who sensed a lack of confidence and decided to use it to pump up their non-existent egos.

Workplace bullies typically are those people who group up on the one who is doing their job well and or with sincere effort and enthusiasm. Factory floor workers are more obvious about it, but all industries experience the phenomena at every level. When everybody in the office hates your guts, it might be because you're making them look bad.

You won't end up on a dead-end path by crashing out of this job, but you will if you let it define your abilities. Investment banking is a fancy name for a financial whore house and the best way to be successful at it is to be the biggest whore in the house. If you can't bring yourself to be that, nobody blames you.

Only a small percentage of people likely are born with the complete lack of good manners, consideration for others, and a general lack of decorum necessary to excel at sales and/or big client rear kissing. Despite their desire for fortune, most just can't figure out how to kill off their personality enough to become successful.

One other thing. Timidity draws attack. If you're apologetic for not living up to your own, possibly unrealistic expectations, you're going to draw heat from losers who never had any expectations for themselves or you're going to draw heat from the bravo class that refuses to give up regardless of the prospects and don't want to be around people they perceive as doing so.

When you're psycho-pumped to jump into the death match with a 95% chance of slaughter, you don't really want to be around people that you perceive as not being into it. It's a motivation thing for the true psychos who refuse to take no for an answer in a sales call or a client interaction. If you feel like a loser when your around the hot shots, either do what it take to be a hot shot, even when you hate it, or decide that you don't want to eat your own soul and go try something else.

Don't dawdle, decide one way or the other and follow through with your decision as though your life depended on it because, given your concern over failure, maybe it does. Failure won't kill you, but failure, perceived in an exaggerated way, might!

Refusing to be a hyena is not failing. Don't confuse the two. You will get more babes being a disgustingly wealthy, gigantic jackass though, in case you're wondering.

As far as bullies and snide innuendo, set a limit and then bite back if they cross your line. Don't slug em', just go outside the boundaries they assumed were fixed because of your polite nature. Bullies will pull back instantly when challenged if they sense a flare, though they may go tell daddy.

Those kind are dangerous, but the alternative is to let them wear you down slowly. They're goobers looking for opportunities to convince themselves otherwise, but the really mean ones can do damage if you strike a nerve so stack some money away if possible to take the stress off the transition if they finally come to believe that you're as bad an employee as they secretly think of themselves as being.

You can help mitigate that ganging-up phenomena by not agreeing with them when they-you criticize you. Remember, being down on yourself is the don't-go-there part of failing your expectations.

While you're castigating yourself and sliding into a crisis-class clinical depression for not getting the A+, D- students with confidence have everybody convinced that they're setting the world on fire. They may be, but it's more likely the catastrophic kind of fire where people will stand around saying things like "I can't believe they actually did that."

Fake it till you make it, kid. Everybody that makes it does exactly that. You may have to sell a little of your soul to get what you want, but you can be successful without pouring gasoline on it and setting it on fire if you find the right career match. Those are rarely found on the first pick, even when composed of a caliber of the kind attracting great expectations. Great men fail greatly, how else could they? Good luck!

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    Hi Ed, welcome to The Workplace. Right now your answer is just a huge wall of text that reads like a stream-of-consciousness (from the parts I read). To make this more useful and readable, consider cutting your answer down to just the most important points that specifically address the question asked. – David K Sep 11 '15 at 13:01
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    Thanks Dave I could trim it for efficiency but doing so would trim what might be just the information needed so I think I'll leave it the way it is. Maybe if you read all the parts, you might not feel that way but I'm already starting to get the impression that the pecking order in here is a little more pecking than I initially suspected. Sorry for the great wall, I probably won't produce anymore but would appreciate it if you would leave it up just in case the questioner might find something useful. Have a wonderfully controlled day, Dave. Ed Would. – Ed Would Sep 11 '15 at 13:12
  • Even if you really think that everything in your answer is crucial (which it probably isn't), you could at least try to structure it up a bit more by adding some headlines and partition the text under those headlines (see for example coteyr's answer above, which is almost as long as yours). – Hjulle Sep 12 '15 at 13:56
  • Yes, cutting out parts of your answer could risk removing exactly the information which was needed, but on the other hand, more people will read a shorter answer, so the chance of helping someone increases from that. I'm sorry if you feel picked at, but we want to help you produce better answers. I hope you are not discouraged from keeping answering questions and contributing to our site. :) – Hjulle Sep 12 '15 at 13:56

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