Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Divorcing Yourself from Deal Outcome

Deals die.  They die for any number of reasons.  Something egregious is uncovered during diligence.  The parties can't come to an agreement on material terms and conditions.  The seller is outbid.  Market conditions change.  Financing dries up.  Whatever the cause, deals die.

Prior to that nasty turn of events, you've probably reviewed hundreds of documents, participated in diligence calls, and made charts to summarize the charts that summarized the memo that you wrote to summarize your research....  You've swapped endless emails with the investment bankers.  You've billed a month of hours in less than two weeks.  This is to say that you've missed a lot of dinners at home.  You've cancelled plans with friends.  You haven't gotten much sleep and probably look like hell.  You may have even stayed at the office all night on Christmas Eve with a quick nap on the floor.  (What, am I getting too personal?)

And then... pencils down.  The deal dies.

One day, when I'm a mid-level associate, I will meet this news with grace.  I envision powering down my laptop, scooping up my bag and coat, and proceeding to the nearest day spa for a glass of wine and massage.  I'm just not there yet.

I'm still fixated on the fact that I spent the holidays away from my family for a deal that didn't happen.  I get it, it's a sunk cost.  I also get that we sometimes serve the client best by providing the client the information and analysis they need to conclude that the deal isn't worth doing.  But it's just not as satisfying as swapping signature pages and finding the press release online the next morning.

It also makes me think twice about this job, what we're doing, and what we give up to do it.

[Y'all, I'm in need of a good yoga class--I need to let this go!]


CM said...

I'm sorry you missed the holidays working on a deal that died... I know, it really does make you question why you're doing this. I'm happier now that I'm not doing so much financing/M&A deal work. There's so much fake urgency, and you can convince yourself that it's really important and it's okay to sleep on the floor on Christmas Eve (ok... I can't imagine ever going that far, but I can see how it can happen...) but then when it falls apart, it's like they're twisting the knife.

Before you went overseas, it seemed like you worried a lot about your hours or perceived dedication -- at least that's no longer an issue.

Paragon2Pieces said...

You're right, it's such a relief to not worry about hours while I'm here.

I probably should have added that Christmas isn't an office holiday here. This means that there was an awful lot of peer pressure to be a good little soldier and stick it out. (In addition to a deadline on this deal, another deal I was working on signed December 26th!!!) As you point out, it's so easy to lose perspective.

Really happy to hear that you are finding ways to make the job a little more manageable.

Brittany Jean said...

I feel this same way when a case settles on the eve of trial. Like, why did I sacrifice my whole life, in increasing amounts, over the last three months of sprinting to the trial?! Gah.

I hope you're doing a little better with it now.