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“You will find the worst managers working for French banks in London”

Navigating the treacherous waters of French Banks' neo-favoritism can be akin to a dicey game of Monopoly played in a dimly lit alley. Picture this: nestled in the heart of London's financial hub, there existed a manager by the name of Brunon "The Terrible." Oh, Brunon was quite the character, notorious for his formidable presence on the trading floor and his uncanny ability to dodge the bill at the local pub after a long day's work.

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Brunon's management style was as passive-aggressive as they come. Instead of issuing direct orders, he preferred to sprinkle his conversations with thinly veiled jabs and sardonic remarks masquerading as sage advice. "Ah, Steven, if you harbor any aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder, perhaps a tad less laughter in our boardroom deliberations wouldn't go amiss."

And let us not forget the meetings—oh, the meetings! Brunon had a knack for conveniently forgetting his attendance, only to nonchalantly brush it off with a casual, "Apologies chaps, must have slipped my mind. I trust you managed just fine in my absence, hmm?"

But Brunon’s pièce de résistance was his penchant for mockery. Whether it was comparing Susan's project to a unicorn's flight or likening Jim's presentation to watching paint dry in a deserted town, Brunon’s barbs knew no bounds. 

This reign of terror was not without consequence. His questionable antics and the growing discontent among his team led to whispers of his downfall. In time, the once mighty Brunon found himself teetering on the precipice of uncertainty, hanging by a thread from the lofty perch from which he metaphorically  

This reign of terror was not without consequence. His questionable antics and the growing discontent among his team led to whispers of his downfall. In time, the once mighty Brunon found himself teetering on the precipice of uncertainty, hanging by a thread from the lofty perch he’d used to metaphorically urinate on the rest of us.

Firmly convinced of his invincibility within the bank's political echelons, Brunon remained unfazed. However, as the tides of change swirled his once unshakeable confidence began to wane. His future at the bank grew increasingly uncertain.

We in his team were forced to endure Brunon’s rise and fall. Navigating such a cycle requires a steely resolve. Here are five pearls of wisdom to guide you through the tempest:

1. Maintain the Stiff Upper Lip: In the face of passive-aggressive behavior and favoritism, steadfast professionalism is your greatest ally. Avoid being drawn into the quagmire of office politics, lest you find yourself sinking deeper into the mire.

2. Keep a Paper Trail: Document every interaction, every slight, and every instance of injustice. A meticulous paper trail may prove to be your saving grace when confronting HR or senior management.

3. Rally the Troops: Forge alliances with like-minded colleagues who share your grievances. A united front can lend strength to your cause and provide much-needed support in tumultuous times.

4. Let Your Work Speak Volumes: In the midst of chaos, let your work be your beacon of light. Focus on delivering stellar results and surpassing expectations, thus proving your worth beyond a shadow of a doubt.

5. Look to Greener Pastures: Keep your ear to the ground for opportunities beyond the confines of Brunon’s domain. Networking externally and exploring new avenues may offer an escape from the toxic clutches of office politics and favoritism.

The future may be fraught with peril. French banks’ neo-favoritism is always a cauchemar. Armed with this wisdom, I hope you can navigate their stormy seas with grace and resilience.

Roland Duret is the pseudonym of a trader at a French bank in London

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AUTHORRoland Duret Insider Comment
  • An
    AnoTrader
    7 March 2024

    Congratulations if you managed your way to fight back such level of toxicity, facing both HR and an hostile senior management.


    I guess you did a very nice gift to your colleagues and the bank.


    In a similar situation, I preferred to give up a long career at the bank and left to greener pastures. Hallelujah!


    The French bank in London should wonder why it tolerated this kind of behaviour for more than a decade in the XXIst century.

  • Fr
    FrenchTrader
    7 March 2024

    I'm French and I have a different view on the topic.

    I saw it several times in different banks not only French banks.


    First, only someone who is protected by the senior management can have this type of toxic behavior. In any "normal" situation that type of person will face HR and will be fired quickly.


    So, I slightly disagree with your " five pearls of wisdom", the only solution is to leave.

    Change team or banks. But any other solution will put you in troubles.


    Suffering every day is not a solution and could destroy your mental health.

    Trying to build a case for HR is very dangerous. HR works for the interest of the bank, not for you. So if the manager is protected, the one who is going to lose it's you.


    The only way for the senior management to "understand" it's to see that the turn over in the team is very high. And even with protection, if no one wants to work with/for this manager, they can take only one decision, it's to remove him.


    Yes, it's a shame.

    But if you "just" leave, you can save your mental health and have a proper career.


    Don't sink with the boat ... let the senior management to face it.

    After all, if it happens it's because they allow it...


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