It Only Takes A Year And A Half To Get Adjusted To Bridgewater Corporate Culture: Ray Dalio

  • June 6, 2014: Sign contract
  • June 9, 2014: First day on the job
  • June 19, 2014: Receive July Metro North pass in mail (paid with pre-tax dollars)
  • August 1, 2014: Approached on the way to the men's room and asked how the struggle between your upper level you and your lower level you are coming; have no idea WTF this means
  • September 22, 2014: Overhear Ray talking to a lieutenant about a healthcare PM being one part Socrates, one part armadillo...scratch head
  • November 10, 2014: November 10, 2014: Confess to co-worker that it’s been months since you started and you still feel like you were just dropped onto a new planet with no instruction manual…are told this is normal
  • December 6, 2015: Acclimate to corporate culture

For most new Bridgewater employees, "it's a little bit like entering the Navy SEALs," says Mr. Dalio. "There's a period—usually about 18 months—of sort of adaptation to this. And some make it and some don't make it. And so we call it 'getting to the other side.'" He adds that "the other side looks like: They can't work anywhere else and the reason they can't work anywhere else is they don't know what anybody's thinking anywhere else. They don't have an ability to speak their mind anywhere else. They don't have the guardrails of their weaknesses. Everybody's got weaknesses. They can't candidly address weaknesses. "We describe it as: there's the upper-level you and the lower-level you. The human brain is part thoughtful man," he explains, "and part animal. And you have to drag yourself. And we see the struggle as between the upper-level them and the lower-level them." In other words the brain wants honest feedback but the emotions aren't always ready to handle it. "It's not a struggle between us and them typically. It's a struggle between what do they want" and "what happens in their emotional reactions to that."

The Soul of a Hedge Fund 'Machine' [WSJ]