HR Management Question of the Day: Unreasonable Hedge Fund Boss

Fran from Queens, who works at a hedge fund, writes in with an interesting predicament.

Dear Bud Fox News, I’m the office manager at a small hedge fund in Manhattan. One of my responsibilities is the office decor. I’ve tried my best to make the place look professional but also welcoming for investor visits. To be honest, I think the office looks pretty good. The problem is that my bosses, who are the fund’s three portfolio managers, are not happy with the office plants. I’ve attached a photo of the one that drives them particularly nuts. I’ll admit that it’s looking a little strange. They’ve started making inappropriate jokes about the shape of the thing; they call it “Fran’s Phallic Fern.” And recently one of them told me that this plant is a test of my ability, that if I can’t get the thing to grow, they might “need” (his words) to think about replacing me. He gave me some BS about “having to step up and take ownership.” Can you please advise me on this?  Thanks, Fran

Fake plant2

It’s unclear whether Fran’s hedge fund bosses realize that this is an artificial office plant.

Dear Fran, what you have in your photo is an artificial office plant. No amount of watering, feeding, or chatting with it will do anything to make it grow. So there’s a good chance that you’re the victim of a practical joke that’s gone on way too long, a real possibility considering you’re dealing with PMs at a hedge fund. Your typical hedgie has a sense of humor formed in a crucible of unthinkable nerdiness and often dirty lucre, and his misfired jokes wouldn’t put a smile on the face of an easily amused schizophrenic strung out on methadone. Another scenario is more troubling but probably more likely: Your bosses might be so stupid that they don’t realize that the plant in question is fake. You see, despite all the fancy degrees and the use of terms like “convexity,” some hedge fund pros are unadulterated idiots. Continue reading

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The Human Resource Management Question of the Day

JobInterview

“Manage expectations”: Always take time at the beginning of interviews to make potential employers aware of any upcoming vacation plans that will make you unavailable during the first few months of a new job.  (Photo: recruitingblogs.com)

Today, with great pleasure and excitement, we introduce a new feature to the Bud Fox News site: Human Resource Management Question of the Day, which, like our Financial Expression of the Day, will not actually be a diurnal posting (but we hope it will appear often enough that our readers will come to view it as indispensable, educational, and humorous weekly reading). Drawing upon our years of Wall Street experience, where we witnessed a War and Peace-sized catalog of unsuitable behavior ranging from the mundane and unimaginative backstabbing and account-stealing to the less common although clearly more creative ordering-up of call girls for on-site carnal stress relief in Conference Room 32A, we will field questions from our readers about how to navigate the nasty twists and turns of corporate life.

Without further ado, Ralph from Brooklyn checks in with our inaugural query:

Dear Bud Fox News: I had a good job in back office at a hedge fund until about 10 months ago when the fund shut down because our anchor investor cashed out. Since then, I’ve tried everything- networking, internet job postings, you name it. I’m starting to feel desperate, but I’ve got an interview for a decent job next week. The problem is that my girlfriend and I have planned a vacation to the Bahamas for the first week in July. Do you think I should tell my interviewer right at the beginning of our conversation that there’s no way I can work that week? My gut tells me that I should get this right out in the open.  

Dear Ralph, You may not realize it, but you’re a natural.  The giveaway wasn’t so much your nifty and impressive use of the phrases “back office” (the admin and support area where trades are “cleared” and records maintained) and “anchor investor” (the first big investor in a fund) but your question, which reveals “C-suite” (ie, CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, etc) intuition, and your gut here is right on the money. Continue reading