Negotiating With the Stars

If you haven’t been to a web site called Payscale.com, take a minute and visit it. Sadly, it’s not terribly useful for estimating entry-level and junior investment banking jobs, but it’s still a hoot. And there’s also plenty of other good, solid information for you.

Job hunting is job hunting, whether you’re a fixed income analyst or a junior trader or a database administrator or a sous chef. It’s all about finding the right opportunity, then getting to “yes” with a prospective employer. Your next boss is just likely to pay better than the sous chef’s. And no matter how much you’re likely to be paid in investment banking, there are certain people who are likely to make you look like a retail assistant manager in a JCPenney suit. They’re called “celebrities,” and they have to negotiate over their gigs, too.

The waggish bloggers dispense career advice on Payscale.com with the hook of “[n] Career Lessons from [Famous Person]”. We first stumbled across this sage, if oddly presented, advice in a post titled “5 Career Lessons from Iggy Pop“.  “If Iggy Pop seems like a strange person to turn to for guidance, consider this: he’s been making music for over 50 years now, has survived everything from drug addiction to disco, and, with his band the Stooges, recently entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” blogger Jen Hubley Luckwalt begins. “Clearly, he knows a thing or two about enduring, even if he can’t advise you on corporate dress codes.”

She then outlines negotiating lessons gleaned from Iggy’s concert rider from his 2006 tour with The Stooges. For example, the erstwhile James N. Osterberg requests red wine be available backstage, but leaves such details as labels and vintage at the suggestion rather than demand level. From this, Luckwalt infers, “Be considerate.” Other elements of the 18-page document provide such instruction as “Use humor,” “Be well-informed,” “Understand the importance of environment,” and “Be yourself.”

But Iggy Pop isn’t the only celebrity that inspires Payscale.com’s bloggers. In response to Miley Cyrus’s infamous twerking performance at the MTV Awards (no link — you’ve already seen it), Luckwalt draws five more lessons from the young woman who will never again be singing under the name “Montana” (although she might end up dancing under the name “Dakota”). Credit the blogger for drawing five examples of things not to do.

Speaking of people who don’t know when to get off the stage during awards shows, there are “4 Ways We Should All Be More Like Kanye West.” From the hip hop star’s grousing about never having won Album of the Year, we are offered this takeaway: “Realize you have more to learn and room to grow.”  Mark Zuckerberg. The Kardashians. Tina Fey. “The Ladies of Madmen.” And every geek-boy’s favorite: She-Hulk (“Don’t accept less than you deserve”). All these and more are fodder for this offbeat but worthwhile blog.

We humbly offer this lesson for investment banking job hunters, inspired by the scribes at Payscale.com: “Find your niche, stand apart from the pack, and don’t try to be like everybody else.”

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