Standing up to a boss?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 10, 2010 11:21 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    I was wondering if I could get a little advice from people on how to stand up to your boss.

    To give a quick rundown, I joined a firm of financial advisers where they said that they would give us leads to start, then we would go off and market ourselves, bringing in business to the firm. The issue is, however, that the more senior advisers, 3 of them who have been there for 5 years, never got off of the house accounts, and now they are running low.

    I have been their for a little over six months now, I drive the furthest to get to work, and I even show up and work on Saturdays, even when no one else does. I am very dedicated to the work, and even took out thousands of dollars in loans to meet my expenses to make the job work.

    Recently I have ran into the issue of not having people to call, and I went to talk to my boss about it. He pretty much said (after much discussion) that I need to start prospecting outside the firm if there isn't enough people to call, and bring in my own book of business.

    Tomorrow I have a meeting with him one on one. I want to talk to him about how it is unfair for me to go out and market myself for a couple of reasons. First, they haven't taught me a sustainable business practice, so once the people I know run out I am SOL. Second, no one else is prospecting outside the firm, they have never prospected outside the firm, and they wont prospect outside the firm because (as one put it so eloquently at the last meeting) "Its too hard." The third reason is because when I was hired, I was told to not prospect to others outside the firm, and wait until I had two years of experience. The fourth reason is because I ignored what I was supposed to do, and have been prospecting outside the firm all ready, more so then the more senior advisers have been. (I have five new clients signed up in 6 months, as opposed to their collective total of 0 over 5 years.)

    What is the best way to phrase my argument to my boss? I cant help but feel a little betrayed/taken advantage of, and not sure how to handle it.

    Any advice appreciated, thanks.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    May 11, 2010 12:29 AM GMT
    "I quit." would be a good one.

    Clearly this is the way they have been doing business since long before you arrived, and unless you think you can change the way the company functions from the bottom up, start looking for a new job. If you are going to change things, avoid the words, "not fair". You need to talk about changes and how they will impact the bottom line. That's all the boss cares about.
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    May 11, 2010 2:12 AM GMT
    I never take crap from any of my bosses. That's not how the workplace works. But when it comes to the "not fair" argument.. shitty as it is... it's their company, man.

    I would plead your case from the angle of "I'm asking for help, so that I can make this place (and myself) more money." If they don't see fit to help you, it's time to start looking elsewhere for employment.


    And.. I'm not familiar with how all this works but.. taking out thousands of dollars in loans? That just sounds like a bad idea for any job.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    May 11, 2010 2:33 AM GMT
    KentuckyTuss saidI never take crap from any of my bosses. That's not how the workplace works.


    When I read that the first thing that came to mind was, he's either never had a professional job or he's an artist. While we should all be able to have that attitude, it's not really feasible in the cubical world.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 2:35 AM GMT
    Dig up any dirt you can find about him. (BeenVerified.com is a start)
    Write down any malpractice he's been doing to you since you started working there, include date and time if you can remember. Call labour board and human resources. Don't gossip or tell anyone what you're plotting.
    That's how i got my boss fired.
    Trust, she deserved it! icon_twisted.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 2:37 AM GMT
    The house accounts didn't materialize out of dust. There was a marketing campaign, or young guys like yourself came on, found the accounts, then got disgruntled because they didn't make enough money and left. The accounts stayed with the company and became 'house accounts' which the more senior fellows scooped up.

    You are not going to get house accounts from these people. Forget it. If you can't tough it out until you are one of the senior advisors too, then you will just have to chalk it up as life-lesson-learned.

    Unless you have a legal agreement with them to provide you with x dollars or x number of clients, you have nothing. You are working pure commission.

    What does the boss have to gain by having you around? Does he make money on your work without having to do anything personally? Or does he only make money on his own accounts? If you don't earn him any doe, he really doesn't care much if you are on the team, especially if things are thin. If you vanish, he probably gets the accounts you have started, which is a boon to him.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 2:42 AM GMT
    DCEric said"I quit." would be a good one.

    Clearly this is the way they have been doing business since long before you arrived, and unless you think you can change the way the company functions from the bottom up, start looking for a new job. If you are going to change things, avoid the words, "not fair". You need to talk about changes and how they will impact the bottom line. That's all the boss cares about.


    I agree with DCEric.

    Get your CFA (if you don't already have it) and hang out your own shingle. If you're a rainmaker, make it rain for YOU.
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    May 11, 2010 3:49 AM GMT
    Sounds like your boss is an ass. Obviously, your tasks/responsibilities are outside the scope of what you signed up for. Trust me, it will only get worse. I would recommend keeping your feelings to yourself and just start looking for another job. I know that's not the answer you want to hear, but at your age and early stages of your career, it's much wiser to quit on "good terms" than be fired for not being a "team player".
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 4:49 AM GMT
    If being a broker/financial advisor is what you really want to do... recognize that what you do is ultimately sales - you're selling clients on their ability to trust you with their money. Your value is your book of business. The greater your assets under management the more value you generate. I don't know what type of financial advisory you guys do, but I'm assuming that it's a combination of brokerage and trailers from things like mutual funds / % of assets that you manage.

    From the firm's perspective, their goal is to make more money and the value of the firm is directly tied to AUM/margins. While I've never been in the brokerage side of the business, financial services in general tend to be significantly more metrics/results oriented. A fund manager I know used to say something to the effect that it didn't matter if someone was a green midget from mars so long as they could pull in the numbers.

    These last few years have been hard and I'd suggest that given the level of uncertainty out there, it could well get worse for everyone and there will be a lot of financial advistors who won't be able to hack it and will leave the industry. A lot of people who start out in the industry also won't make it.

    That was a long preface to say that it's not surprising that they'd give house accounts to more senior staff with an expectation of higher conversions versus a guy who doesn't have the supposed experience they see as valuable (which may not actually be of value) and might not be there for too long. So any conversation should center around why you're in a better position to retain clients and grow their business with the firm if you want house accounts.

    In the meantime, pass the series 7 if you haven't already, and get your CFA as GAMrican pointed out, then read as much as you can on consultative selling. The reality is clients don't really care about the CFA, they just want to find someone who is knowledgeable and can trust - and the CFA is just another signal for it (albeit an arguably unreliable one).

    The reality is if this is the business you want to get into, it's hard initially and will involve a lot of cold calling but once you get a good base you can grow with your clients... and from the people who I do know who have done well in the business they've generally told me that you make your luck in those first few years - finding one goldmine of a client can lead to other similar referrals from which to really grow. Referrals are critical.

    Hope that helps, and best of luck.

    PS It sounds like the environment isn't dissimilar to a lot of firms out there - so I suspect it'd be an exercise in futility to find a better boss if you can at all help it (I started in investment banking with a specialization in financial services and trust me things were far worse than you're describing but I'd acknowledge it was at least lucrative)... so you just have to make sure this is something you'd like to do and be as mercenary with respect to the firm as they are to you. Get as much out of them as you can but remember it's about your book of business and making sure clients are loyal to you. Once you have that, you can move to another firm - I've heard a lot of good things about Edward Jones for instance... (I've never found much value in financial advisors myself to be honest but most people are financially illiterate and see the stock market as some big casino)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 4:51 AM GMT
    DCEric said ...it's not really feasible in the cubical world.



    You hit it right on the head! Sort of.. I'm an artist by trade, but I work a 8-5 Monday-Saturday in the banking industry. I've had a cubicle for years now. But instead of a big speech about personal empowerment, or your assumption that because I can draw pretty pictures means I don't work hard, or am lacking in experience... I'll just turn the attention back to the OP. He's the one asking for some help here.

    I think OHhiker, and GAMrican, are offering up some very solid advice. Sounds like they might have the real experience to back it, too.
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    May 11, 2010 5:07 AM GMT
    . . . sounds a bit like Glengarry Glen Ross . . .

    1 Is there an HR Department?

    2. Quietly document everything.

    3. I hate to say this, but start joining professional service groups like the Rotary Club, et al. Network like there is no tomorrow!

    4. I would postpone the meeting with your boss. I wouldn't even have a meeting like that unless I had a pretty solid Plan B up my sleeve. You will be perceived as a whiner no matter how you couch it.

    5. You are dealing with losers. Start planning your exit (quietly, of course.)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2010 5:08 AM GMT
    Do it in a respectful assertive non personal way with a good idea that will benefit the bottom line and you will accomplish more than the best resume or suck up around.

    be good at what you can offer.
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    Jun 04, 2010 1:44 PM GMT
    I got attracted to this topic by the title... but I don't know much about how the financial industry works or how ruthless or complicated it probably is.

    But I was going to say that workplace bullying is a huge issue and its only beginning to come out in the press. School bullying has hit the news first but people are discovering that if bullies don't learn how to stop that behavior when they are school age, they keep doing it in the workplace because there are very few regulations there that protect employees. Something like 1/3 of all workers are bullied by bosses/colleagues at some point in their lives and it is one of the greatest sources of turnover as well as major life stress.

    The capitalist workplace is kind of like a bully/manipulator/intimidator's dream, actually, because bosses have some real power and control over people's lives and their income. (though they say there are equal numbers of bullies at non-profits and caregiving organizations, too, nurses are supposedly the most bullied group.)

    If you google "workplace bullying" you'll find an institute founded to address this problem and some really good resources. (Their slogan is "work shouldn't hurt.") You might find some ideas there that will help you, there are some books, articles, and definitions of what bullying is.

    Honestly learning how to stand up for oneself in the workplace is one of the biggest things we all need to learn, because if you don't stand up for yourself there are tons of people who take advantage. I've done it, sort of, and I can't say its easy... and I ended up leaving that job anyway.

    Good luck for surre!