...per the instructions enclosed in a letter sent out by CEO Richard Handler and Chairman Brian Friedman. The short version: Treat junior level employees like they are humans and not life-sized pieces of garbage. The longer version:
An Open Letter to Our Managing Directors, Senior Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents About Our Future:
As an officer of Jefferies, each of us sometimes feels we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders to satisfy the needs of our ever more demanding clients, higher ups within our firms (yes even the two of us report to the Board of Directors), and all of the life pressures that define us as we raise our families, try to be the best spouses and partners possible, and lend assistance to the friends, charities and all others who are not as fortunate as we are. We at Jefferies are amongst the most fortunate, blessed, and, yes, lucky people around. That said, we all live with the pressure of the next investment banking pitch, complicated trade, difficult research assignment or challenging operational assignment. Between the work challenges and the personal obligations, it is very easy to forget, overlook, or take for granted our most precious and critical partners who enable the Jefferies world to keep revolving and our individual careers to continue to shine: our analysts and associates.
You see them around the trading floors, in the investment banking and research bullpens, and throughout offices such as Jersey City, London and Los Angeles. They are the youthful faces, with fresh attitudes, incredible work ethics, and an unbendable desire to help add value, make a difference, learn, and begin building their own careers. They are fresh (or recently) out of college or graduate school and, to state it plainly, they are our future. As we are in the middle of the back to school month of September, we ask each of you to reflect on the following five thoughts about those who will provide us with our future leadership:
1. It wasn’t that long ago (or at least it doesn’t seem it) that we were the ones that were so eager to help, learn and get the job done for no personal gain, except for the good of the team. Remember what that felt like and personally thank every person that is helping you get your job done today. Yes, a simple acknowledgement and thank you feels good to the recipient and makes a big difference.
2. Everyone wants a mentor, but few work endlessly to find a “mentee.” Pick an associate or analyst to whom you feel some kinship or relationship, or in whom you see a special spark, or perhaps you just like as a person … and get involved in his or her career and personal development. Someone did it for you. Never forget that. It’s time to give back, and every one of us has a little spare time.
3. If you don’t respect the need for some type of normal life balance in the lives of our associates, analysts and support team, shame on you. Now we all know there are periods of time or circumstances that call for time and effort beyond the normal call of duty, but we are not a fraternity or sorority that hazes or takes advantage of people because of the way it was when we were cadets. Waiting until the last minute to hand out work, creating unnecessary projects or deadlines, or just being insensitive makes you a jerk. We do not have or want jerks at Jefferies.
4. Every analyst and associate needs real client contact, as often as possible and practical. If he or she is up all night or weekend on a pitch book, tell her or him to sprinkle some water on their face, straighten out the scarf or tie, and join the team at the meeting. By the way, the clients typically love it.
5. Make it personal. Get to know our young folks as our potential long-term partners. Take an interest in where they grew up and the school from which they recently graduated. Understand their career aspirations and goals. Learn about their families and friends. Nobody gets into Jefferies unless they are amongst the best and brightest and every last one of our associates and analysts is special. Quite frankly, we should all wonder if we could get ourselves into our firm today if we were competing heads up with all of them. They are our future and if we don’t all take a personal interest in each of them, what does that say about our future?
Ok, “back to school time” or “done with school time,” whichever it is, we all know what time of year it is for all of us at Jefferies – time for the home stretch on fiscal 2014. We have finished nine months that add up well and we have never had more momentum or opportunity. We all feel it and are living it. Three more months and we enter fiscal 2015 (if that doesn’t make you feel old, nothing will). Let’s go get the job done for our clients and enjoy ourselves and each other (particularly, our analysts and associates) as we do it.
Well rested from summer, fresh and highly motivated, (and one of us is no longer cold from the ice),
Rich and Brian