An alliance is a tricky thing.

When you get to a certain point in an organization, you may be asked to pick sides between an individual and the company that employs you. How do you choose?

Check out this video to learn more about how to answer this question. Hint: it depends!


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The Transcription…

Alliance Overview

Hi, this is Mike, your personal career coach. The question of the day is, am I really loyal to the people I work with, or am I loyal to the company? Well, I think the answer is in general, you’re loyal to the people that you work with, but there are some exceptions just by way of background.


We see so many people who have been laid off after many, many years at Google and Meta and some of these tech companies where they’re absolutely shocked that the company would actually let them go. These people really understood that they had an alliance with the company.

Alliance Conflicts Arise

Most of us on Wall Street and in banking think, well, some may think that they have an alliance with the company or the bank and some people may think that they have an alliance to the individuals. So it’s a really, it’s a very, very important question because you have to know how to play your politics. When you get to a certain point in an organization, you will be asked to pick sides. And when you’re asked to pick sides, sometimes the individual is in conflict with other individuals or that individual is in conflict with the company. So it’s not a theoretical question.

My Alliances Experience

And this happened to me very early on in my career. So let’s dive in a little bit. When I was at Merrill Lynch, my lead alliances, I thought, were to the company. That’s what I was taught. I was hired by Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch was paying my salary. Individuals weren’t paying my salary and my pay stubs said Merrill Lynch. But then I quickly saw in a political battle that I had to pick my lines and I decided to go with a particular managing director who I knew better than another one. So in that alliance situation, I didn’t pick the firm or the firm was not even an option to me because I had to pick between two people, and a similar situation at Credit Suisse.

The Alliances Exception

Credit Suisse was a little bit more tricky because they had stock options. So if many of us have stock or restricted stock or have a vested interest in our company, then it starts to get tilted a little bit more in the direction of being vested in the company. Although given what recently happened with Credit Suisse, I would say that vesting or vested interest in your company is probably not as important as it used to be. So it’s like anything in life, anything with job search, you have to think about the fact pattern and you have to weigh your risks. But I think overall, I think your alliances fall with the individuals in the company and not the company itself. Thank you.

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