Monday, 20 September 2010

CLMs: Career-Limiting-Moves

There's been a well-publicised case lately of a high achiever who blew an internship (and given the level of media coverage, possible a career in finance might no longer be on the cards....).  Most of you will do really well on your internships, but we all make mistakes and in the very small world of financial services (believe me, it is...), mistakes can be very costly.

It doesn't matter who you are amongst your friends, at your university, in your hometown, etc... when you're working in the City or in management or strategy consulting, or many top 100 firms these days, you are one of many, many high-fliers. Yes, you can do very well, and yes the potential to do amazingly well is  definitely there... but you have to start at the bottom, like everyone else. An internship is a great opportunity that many would kill for.... don't do anything you'll live to regret.

So, what specifically, can be a CLM?  There are a few that I've seen quite a few times...

- Don't go off in a huff when you are told your development points during the mid-way review. Trust me, we all have them. Don't try to argue your way out of them. Take them onboard and work at them. If you don't you will fall into the 'doesn't take feedback well' category, and may very well find yourself without an offer at the end of the day.

- Don't consider the initial easy tasks you are given as being beneath you. You need to build trust and belief in you. You don't necessarily get this by default. This is the case in most new jobs in life, not just when you're an intern. Impress step-by-step and you'll soon find yourself with plenty to do.

- Don't get so drunk that you harass members of the opposite (or same) sex on a night out. Word spreads very quickly, chinese whispers often apply and unfortunately exaggeration often takes place and you go from being an overly-friendly person who had a few tequilas too many, to a sex-pest. If the HR team get wind of it, you could get your marching orders and potentially have to give up your aspirations of a career in finance.  Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because its not an 'official' night out, it doesn't count. Any nights out with colleagues count as ones you need to be careful of

- Be culturally aware. Just because you don't find particular comments or language offensive, doesn't mean someone you are with wont take offense.

- HR/recruiters are very conscious of the atmosphere/group mentality of their class of interns. Often what makes people want to return to the company is the friends they've made and the fun they've had, as opposed to just the work / the company. Anyone or anything that might upset this 'harmony' will come to their attention quickly. Like a rotten apple threatening to damage the rest of the fruit bowl, they will remove it quickly...

- "Romance" often ensues between interns. Keep it out of the office and away from the ears of HR. Equally, don't gossip with HR about any activity you have heard about.

- If you are invited out with the business on the same evening as an intern event, go with the business (if it cant be moved). The business/line will be the ones who decide your future, not HR and not the rest of the interns. Those types of invitations are not usually issued again if declined....

These CLMs are not that difficult to avoid... don't be the intern in your class that makes one. There is always at least 1 in every 50 in my experience....

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