It will give you tunnel vision.
It will make you sacrifice many things you enjoy and put them on the back-burner.
It will give you a cynical (and sometimes hateful) view of your classmates.
You will seriously consider the possibility of purchasing a one-way flight to Fiji to retire. (Okay, maybe that was just me).
Recruiting will probably be the most stressful experience of your young life. Worse than college applications, worse than finals, worse than when your high school girlfriend or boyfriend broke up with you. In my case, I remember the pressure being so enormous that my hair was actually falling out.
Plenty of people have better experiences than that, of course. This just happens to be mine. None of this is meant to scare you; I'd like to share something that I wish I had back when I was going through the process.
Had I known about James Altucher's writing back then, I probably would have coped better. He has two rules for staying happy under any circumstances, and both are especially difficult during recruiting season.
1. Be thankful for what you have; 2. Don't gossip.
#1 is always tough under any circumstances, but it's especially easy to feel useless and discouraged as long as you don't have that offer letter in hand. I get it.
So did my dad, who had to listen to my curse-laden rants about how much uncertainty I had about my career and life, not to mention how I wasn't eating or sleeping. What he said gave me perspective. My dad has had a very successful career on the Street, but I never knew his full story of how he broke in during the early 1980s.
When he was my age (he explained), he was still working at Record World and Burger King. He had no money to speak of and couldn't even tell you what a stock was. He certainly wasn't coming out of college gunning for front-office finance. He was not on any sort of "path" or "track."
He got his first finance gig on a recommendation from a college buddy whose firm was hiring so many people that it wasn't very selective about backgrounds. They couldn't care less where you went to school or what your major was as long as they could train you.
Yes, it was a different world then--hiring on Wall Street was skyrocketing, and in a lot of ways it was easier to break in. But the fact remained that he had stumbled on something very lucrative and rewarding pretty much by accident! And he had never even HEARD of the phrase "stable, fulfilling career" until I regurgitated it from the mouths of my supposedly knowledgeable undergrad academics.
"I had no idea what I wanted to do," he confessed. "And I don't think most of your peers really do, either--as much as they may appear to. If somebody asked me about a 'fulfilling career' back then, I'd have no idea what they meant!"
...Ahem. Needless to say, I reexamined my place.
This doesn't mean you have to make grandiose changes or bold declarations. Do what James Altucher suggests and spend a few minutes in the morning (you can spare them) counting your blessings. Your college. Your friends. The people and mentors who have helped you get where you are now, and who will help you in the future even if they don't know you yet.
I'm Catholic, so I like to pray in thanksgiving for these things, as well as for the patience and humility to never forget them.
If that's not your thing, throw it all down on paper and add to it periodically. The next time you feel tempted to throw yourself a pity party because you aren't a Managing Director at age 25, it'll keep you grounded.
Thanksgiving may still be a couple of weeks away, but you don't have to wait for the holidays to be thankful for what you DO have.
I promise you...we all have at least a few things. Mine are my current job, my friends and family, my health, my ability to get a table at McSorley's Alehouse, and a beyond-expert level knowledge of the greatest music on earth.
What are yours?