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Engineering grad student out of a top target school in NYC- Very interested in multiple areas of finance, but not yet quite sure which one and I know they are all different. Venture Capital/ PE/ IB / HF So I have been spending time on this website combing through the threads and trying to figure out which area I will ultimately fit into given my goals--and one other important area.

Burning out

I have met 3 people so far, that worked in finance for a few years, and nearly suffered a nervous breakdown because they were worked to the bone. One gentleman worked in a boutique PE firm, and said he worked 7 days a week for 2.5 years, and then had to take over a year off just to recover. Another girl, is so recently burnt, she cannot even talk about it.

This has me wondering, are there certain areas/ companies that are grenades?? Or were these people just not cut out ? Or both.

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Comments (27)

  • waltersobchek's picture

    It's pretty easy to burnout if you're not that driven by money or don't really like the work.

    I think most analysts and associates feel pretty overwhelmed in banking, which contributes to a good experience (assuming you're getting good deal experience), but also puts a lot of stress on you at a young age (if you're an analyst).

    Regardless, the best thing you can do for yourself is do an internship of some sort. 10 wks will never be the FT real deal, but will give you a lot of insight into whether this job is for you, which is the most important.

    The one thing this job will do is force you to realize what you will sacrifice early on, for potentially a better life later on. Just remember, you can't buy you're youth back, so you better like money a lot, or have a hard-on for mindless work (my personal opinion).

  • Marcus_Halberstram's picture

    The people you mentioned burned out because:
    (a) they're stupid
    (b) they got into finance even though they had no interest in it, because they're insecure and thought accepting a highly sought position/having a well paid job would somehow lend them some self-esteem and self-worth

    Now that they "burned out" they have to exaggerate because they know they are useless and couldn't cut it. He didn't work 7 days a week for 2 years straight. He's a fucking liar. She can't even talk about it, because she probably can't bear to tell you about how much of her co-worker's cum she guzzled. They have to describe a scenario where anyone would have quit/burned out, in order to justify what fucking losers they are.

    If you get into it for the wrong reasons, which it sounds like you probably are, then you will burn out and be a fucking loser just like your friends.

    Anyone who, prior to even being employed, is worried about burning out, obviously isn't very interested/passionate about the career they are looking to pursue.

  • CashCow's picture

    Hahaha

    That was one of the best posts I've read in a long time.

  • bigmonkey31's picture

    Mad props on that post. hahahahha

  • MezzKet's picture

    Welcome Back Marcus... this blog was definitely missing personality

  • dayaaam's picture

    a lot of kids burn out in this job man... and 99% knew what they were getting into before, so know what you're getting into

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  • ourdirty2's picture

    Is like people saying they have an addictive personality. They are too weak to conquer themselves. If you don't give yourself the opportunity to burn out, you wont.

  • headcheese's picture

    Marcus, you strike me as a gentleman and a scholar, what can I say? Thank you? Clearly this idea caught you to the point where you couldn't help but yell from the depths of the trenches - and indeed in the dirty trenches it appears you are. I couldn't have hoped to strike the right chord of the dirtiest grime than with your response - and I sincerely appreciate your feedback. Even look at your profile picture, you are a misogynistic doodle digger and your comrades love you for it.
    Would you mind revealing what area of finance you work in ? Are there others that tend to have personalities similar to yours in your area?

    The way I look at it, you either give something all you've got, every last drip, because you cant help but taste the saliva 24/7- or you are just a middle of the road fuddy dud. I currently have a part time job to put myself through graduate school and I work with a whole bunch of said fuddy duds - and let me tell you, these people have no real passion in life, let alone being productive members of society. So I yearn for some CHALLENGE. I want to release some potential - which is why I am so attracted to investing. I think the ultimate form of creativity in capitalism is the ability to mobilize talent and potential. I am initially drawn to VC, but I am wondering if that's not the greatest place to start. Also drawn to PE, but know that there are plenty of Ivy MBA's going for these coveted positions - and wondering what my chances are as an Ivy non-mba.

    So now, I am looking for the proper internships.

    The point of my question really was, I would imagine, that there are still places to work that are generally a "bad" idea. Places that beat the living hell out of your ego and shit all over you to make you never want to come back. Believe me - I have seen this in other industries happen to perfectly great people - and then they switch places - and everything is much better. Being that I have heard from an abnormally high number of people who have experienced this in Wall Street - I wanted to make sure this isn't something I would uncover at face value by making this post - such as - DO NOT WORK AT X company as an Y because it is a dead end and many people have committed suicide by working for this group of lunatics.

  • junkbondswap's picture

    Maybe it was just me but that post was gayer than a Top Gun montage remixed with Pumping Iron scenes...what are you even talking about you doodle digger? You seem more than competent enough to work in finance (sht, its not brain surgery) so why not give it a "shot"? Hopefully you can bun beat the CHALLENGE and not end up like that c-dumpster that you are friends with.

    Your friends are lazy, hopefully you can suck it up, and realize that if you do something for the right reasons, you will get out what you put in.

  • GoodBread's picture

    Maybe you didn't enjoy the way in which Marcus responded but he has a point. If you're really serious about finance, burning out should be the last of your worries. If you think investing is "the ultimate form of creativity in capitalism," I would refer you to something called entrepreneurship. That seems like a pretty weak reason to want to work in finance in the first place anyway. Finance is, generally speaking, about being right more often than the next guy. As Soros would say, the money is a very nice extra. I'd take a harder look at what working in finance really means rather than worry about burning out because you talked to a couple people who weren't cut for it. The people who succeed in finance usually love their jobs.

    Finally, never say dirty trenches or fuddy dud ever again.

  • In reply to Marcus_Halberstram
    TheKing's picture

    Marcus_Halberstram:
    The people you mentioned burned out because:
    (a) they're stupid
    (b) they got into finance even though they had no interest in it, because they're insecure and thought accepting a highly sought position/having a well paid job would somehow lend them some self-esteem and self-worth

    Now that they "burned out" they have to exaggerate because they know they are useless and couldn't cut it. He didn't work 7 days a week for 2 years straight. He's a fucking liar. She can't even talk about it, because she probably can't bear to tell you about how much of her co-worker's cum she guzzled. They have to describe a scenario where anyone would have quit/burned out, in order to justify what fucking losers they are.

    If you get into it for the wrong reasons, which it sounds like you probably are, then you will burn out and be a fucking loser just like your friends.

    Anyone who, prior to even being employed, is worried about burning out, obviously isn't very interested/passionate about the career they are looking to pursue.

    You must really, really, really like IBD. It is definitely possible to burn out as an analyst, regardless of your "passion" for IBD. Clearly the two people he spoke to were exaggerating to an extent, but the streches of time where you see nothing but your cube can decimate anyone's will, especially when the money isn't really justifying it anymore.

  • In reply to headcheese
    Marcus_Halberstram's picture

    Doodle digger? Fuddy dud? Maybe you'll have a better shot at getting into banking if you subtly mention on your resume that Homer J Simpson is your neighbor, maybe even copy your post into your cover letter. Something like "I want to get into finance so I can taste your saliva 24/7, gosh darn diddly doo."

  • In reply to TheKing
    Marcus_Halberstram's picture

    TheKing:
    You must really, really, really like IBD. It is definitely possible to burn out as an analyst, regardless of your "passion" for IBD. Clearly the two people he spoke to were exaggerating to an extent, but the streches of time where you see nothing but your cube can decimate anyone's will, especially when the money isn't really justifying it anymore.

    I'm not saying it doesn't fucking suck working 18-20 hour days for weeks at a time. I've been working 16-20 hour days regularly nonstop for the last several months, thats why Im rarely on here anymore. This past weekend was the first weekend I had off since labor day. Thats not pleasurable for me, but big picture-wise... I still love what I do, Im learning a shit load every single day... and its just one of the steps along the way.

  • boutiquebank4life's picture

    ^aren't you in PEG, not IBD

  • SirBankalot's picture
  • In reply to Marcus_Halberstram
    TheKing's picture

    Marcus_Halberstram:
    TheKing:
    You must really, really, really like IBD. It is definitely possible to burn out as an analyst, regardless of your "passion" for IBD. Clearly the two people he spoke to were exaggerating to an extent, but the streches of time where you see nothing but your cube can decimate anyone's will, especially when the money isn't really justifying it anymore.

    I'm not saying it doesn't fucking suck working 18-20 hour days for weeks at a time. I've been working 16-20 hour days regularly nonstop for the last several months, thats why Im rarely on here anymore. This past weekend was the first weekend I had off since labor day. Thats not pleasurable for me, but big picture-wise... I still love what I do, Im learning a shit load every single day... and its just one of the steps along the way.

    I'd say that you are the exception, not the rule. There are a lot of factors that contribute to burning out beyond hours spent in an office. i.e.) people you work with, type of work you're group is doing (you really don't have that much control, especially when the market is slower), and there's a whole host of crap work associated with being an analyst that sucks.

    If you are learning something new everyday and haven't gotten bored with the job after spending more than a year or two in it, then kudos to you. With that said, pouncing on people are being "idiots" or people who only got into the job because of the prestige (which is seriously overrated anyway), is unfair and generally not accurate. I have seen some damn good analysts burn out.

  • In reply to Marcus_Halberstram
    yung_gekko's picture

    Marcus_Halberstram:
    TheKing:
    You must really, really, really like IBD. It is definitely possible to burn out as an analyst, regardless of your "passion" for IBD. Clearly the two people he spoke to were exaggerating to an extent, but the streches of time where you see nothing but your cube can decimate anyone's will, especially when the money isn't really justifying it anymore.

    I'm not saying it doesn't fucking suck working 18-20 hour days for weeks at a time. I've been working 16-20 hour days regularly nonstop for the last several months, thats why Im rarely on here anymore. This past weekend was the first weekend I had off since labor day. Thats not pleasurable for me, but big picture-wise... I still love what I do, Im learning a shit load every single day... and its just one of the steps along the way.

    The job wears on you. If you're still learning a lot, then obviously you haven't been in the business long enough to experience burn out.

    Everyone in the business feels burn-out to some extent. Some are weak and quit. Some are talented and move on to better things. Most of the time, the ones who stay in the business are the average ones - not weak enough to quit but not talented enough to go anywhere else.

  • gomes3pc's picture

    I think one of the biggest things that causes people to burn out is a failure to manager their time. One of the keys to being able to get through 2 years in banking is figuring out when you can sneak out and grab dinner with friends and when to crank out and when to push back on work. It took me basically a year to figure it all out, but you can get something of a balance if you manage your associates and VPs pretty well.

    Especially in these markets. This isn't 2006, when there were so many deals going on that BBs were turning down big-time projects due to a lack of resources to take it on. Most analysts are on 1-2 live deals at a time and maybe a bake-off pitch or two. With that kind of schedule, you'll have a few late nights a week but most of the time you can get time to unwind and party.

  • Marcus_Halberstram's picture

    I think it is heavily dependent on the type of work you do as well. If you're doing the same exact deals/industries day in and day out vs. stepping outside of your comfort zone doing something new you're going to eventually hate what you do. The #1 cause of burn-out is NOT long hours, its unchallenging work. This is the case across the board... for all careers, all job, all industries.

    The first time you do something, you may love it, its something new and you're learning alot. The second time, its pretty good, you get to use everything you've learning before and build on top of it. By the third time around, its pretty much the same old shit, equivalent to bitch work.

    While you have to manage your seniors, a good senior/staffer will be cognizant of placing top talent where they won't want to bludgeon themselves to death with a polycom.

    I'm not saying every day at work is an episode of Road Rules, but it helps if you get a decent amount of seniors behind you. It also depends what type of banking you're in. In restructuring, you can get very different types of exposure.... vs. say if you're an industry coverage analyst or in DCM.

  • In reply to Marcus_Halberstram
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  • TheKing's picture