Muffie Benson-Perella (muffie AT dealbreaker.com) is an Associate in the Investment Banking Division of a "Bulge Bracket" bank. She holds a B.A. in French and Art from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Her regular column "Heard in the Suite" is a probing (and, ahem, fictional) weekly look into the secret lives and behind the velvet curtains of the investment banking world.
It is a recurring theme here in "Heard in the Suite" that working in the most substantive practice group at the most prestigious investment bank around is not for everyone. Even the most dedicated professionals sometimes have problems maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Sometimes neglecting the "play" in "work hard, play hard" is a big mistake. The harder the work the harder the play needed to maintain the balance. Fortunately, in a culture of success like my employer's, there is a group of unsung heroes that the firm has invested piles of money into and who are dedicated to servicing the critical professional employees.
It is true that the people in Human Resources are typically disaffected, bitter women. Who better to understand the trials and travails of those of us who haven't known much hardship until recently?
So when I needed to take a little break I was really happy to discover a group really experienced in personal crisis, weight management challenges, and disappointment: the human resources department. Anyhow, I went off to this wonderful resort camp and ate a lot of healthy food and spent some time resting with some really famous people. We're only supposed to use first names though so: Robin- you are even funnier in person. I've been working for almost a year, after all. I certainly deserved a good four month rest.
Just to head off the rumors that have been flying about, I do not have a drinking problem. That's very a very déclassé cliché for investment bankers, I'm sure you will agree. "Substance abuse" does not necessarily mean alcohol, after all. Duh.
Anyhow, I was working pretty hard and this really important project was taking so much of my time that I had to increase the "play" side of the balance to keep the work-life balance ratio in the right zone. That meant spending a lot of time at Cielo, of course and with a certain Managing Director I met there. (Kirk, I'm sorry about the whole police thing and the car. I kept trying to call once I got back but your wife keeps answering your cell phone. Text me?) Really the whole thing is understandable because how the hell are you supposed to work and play so hard without a few "ski lessons" once in a while. But that's beside the point.
Anyhow, someone found something in my desk (it wasn't mine either, I was just holding it for someone) and wrote this cowardly anonymous letter to the women at Human Resources and I had to have this big meeting with like six older bankers. Some of them had no idea how hard I had been working and they kept telling me that they thought it was better if I made a career change, but my father called around and reminded them how hard I work and how important I am to the bank and the talk of some kind of career change in the bank evaporated right away.
I really think it was that bitch Marsha because I had two little bags in there but there was only one when I got back from lunch and I got called into the meeting the next day. I'll get that little whore back somehow.
And, hey, I also really don't understand why you can't drink for three months if you're not at "the spa" for a drinking problem. That was a real downer.
Anyhow, I'm back! I know many of you will have had the same experiences that I have. Drop me a note and tell me about it!
muffie at dealbreaker dot com.