Lou Lou Taylor
aboard Class of 2000. You are all here because you have exemplified
a strong sense of logic, intelligence and adroitness that exceeds
the norm of the 'average' college graduate. We are confident here
at LouZachary & Sons, that these next two years will reap a
plethora of opportunities for all of your future aspirations. You're
part of the family now. And if you're loyal to us, you can be assured
that everyone here at LouZachary & Sons will be right by your
side, supporting your endeavors. You are not venturing down an easy
path, but we feel that all of you here today can handle the rough
terrain. We didn't hire you to play it safe. We want risk takers.
We want people who will make strong choices and of course work their
asses off! You'll work hard and play hard. All right
let's start shaping Wall Street. Make us proud!"
my adrenalin pumping, I looked at my ivy-league peers surrounding
me in the large auditorium. Suddenly, I began to doubt that my Midwest
public schooling would ever be able to compete in this financial
arena of blue bloods. After all, I had never even heard of the word,
"adroitness". I quickly buried those grating insecurities,
and embraced my new position in the firm wholeheartedly. Being one
of the select few female financial analysts in the Mergers and Acquisitions
Department of a major investment banking firm was a medal to wear
with pride, not bury with the fear of failure. I was all set to
be the next Mary Tyler Moore with an I.Q. of 200.
from a middle class family that was habitually reminded of its financial
shortcomings amongst its yuppie neighbors, this was a huge outbreak
from my existing economic status. The average mean salary for a
financial analyst was $34,000 plus a hefty bonus at the end of the
year ranging anywhere from ten to twenty thousand dollars. I eagerly
calculated that within two years, I could actually be making more
money than my father ever brought home. Not bad for a twenty-two-year-old.
Of course, it goes without saying that my father also wore my medal
of achievements in his blue-collar commune. The financial success
of his children gave birth to his dreams for a life of autonomy
and elevated him amongst his working class peers.
grown up with purchases from The Hadassah House, and Garage Sales
of the Affluent in Suburbia, I became insanely intoxicated with
the fine threads of Ann Taylor and the Sex in the City favorite,
Bebe. (Real clothing stores!) I no longer dashed to my car discreetly
holding my non-descript plastic bags with the handle tearing in
half. Now I paraded out of 5th Avenue stores like a proud poodle
displaying my three-ply fancy shopping bag bearing a high-end label.
And, of course, it had a proper handle created perfectly for a woman's
delicate hand to grasp. My entire line of Maybelline and Cover Girl
cosmetics were disposed and upgraded to Clinique and Lancôme,
a prerequisite for being a polished female executive. Yet the novelty
and wonderment of these riches quickly wore off. Working 100 hours
a week in a small cubicle left me with no public notoriety. While
I appreciated that secretaries on my floor were the largest fans
of my fashionable trends, I desired more. My colleagues, all of
whom were men, were married to their numbers, and sought affairs
with ditzy blondes, not intelligent brunettes. When I did manage
to escape the confines of my analytical prison, the spotlight of
my success lasted for a mere three minutes in a dimly lit bar. Good-looking
twenty-something guys pretended to be interested in my I.Q. as I
elaborately explained what I did for a living in my drunken stupor.
those first six months as a financial analyst, my boss and mentor
instilled some "tricks of the trade" in order to become
a successful high-powered executive.
Never bring emotion into the job (I thought that was reasonable).
Work your ass off (I firmly agreed that discipline is the key to
Dot your I's and Cross your T's (Crosscheck all my colleagues and
especially those lazy secretaries!).
And never, ever take "NO" for an answer. EVER! (Although
that statement could be politically debatable amongst feminists,
contextually it meant that there is always a solution).
enough my boss's advice came to successful fruition. Although the
odds of survival in the M&A department were 10-1 against me,
according to a discreet insider, I made my one supporter some extra
incidental cash. No longer was I the sunny All-American Midwest
girl with that sweet enveloping smile. I trashed that image and
resurrected myself as the "Barracuda" . . . with a capital
B. Being "nice" got me nowhere but no man's land. Being
a bitch resulted in a speedy progression of my work. Intimidating
those with some strategically placed higher octave notes in my speaking
voice and some glaring eyes became my oasis of power. On days when
that behavior didn't resonate with my support staff, I threw in
a little profanity to shake things up and jumpstart their motivation.
No longer was I the gal who finished last.
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