Banking Lifestyle: What Are the Hours Like REALLY?
In light of the recent death of an investment banking intern in London (who was apparently epileptic) and with all the misinformation and romanticized bankingbeing peppered all over the place, I thought I'd (try to) settle this for once and for all and clear up all the bullshit.
With respect to the people saying that it's "NEVER" expected to work 3 back to back all nighters, or thataren't expected to work all nighters--you guys might be too senior to notice it happening.
There is a team that sits near me at my shop that regularly has to pull back to back all nighters, because they have a terrible staffer and awful seniors to work for. They don't even go home for the shower anymore; they have a few sets of fresh clothes under the desk. Unsurprisingly, the majority quit post-bonus. HR is puzzled, but people are too afraid to tell the truth about how badly the workload for that team is managed.
This is just patently false. Its not at all like this in the industry.
This sounds more like one of the college kids that so frequently troll WSO and are for whatever reason turned on by the idea of working ridiculous (beyond the pale of reality) hours in banking.
The amount of misinformation about the banking lifestyle on WSO in fairly absurd. And it stems largely from these nerdy kids who think its a badge of honor to somehow work ridiculous hours. Its the same kids who when they first start working will stay in the office for absolutely no reason. Its the same kids who try to impress people by bragging about their ridiculous work schedules. Its the same kids that build a 16 tab model with 11 different scenarios and 8 sensitivity tables to run statistics on how many hours per week they are working.
You see this through levels in banking, these are the VPs that are in the office until midnight-1AM consistently. Its the directors and MDs in the office until 10 or 11. They are legitimately sad people, you feel sorry for them. To some degree banking is constantly forcing people to demonstrate their worth, and some people think that their worth is quantified by how many hours they spend in the office. What you start to see is that the 'face time' people initially starting putting in to demonstrate their worth to other people, starts becoming their own sense of self worth. Yeah, thats some deep Dr Phil shit.
Pulling 100 hour weeks is fairly intense. But even still its working from 9AM to 1AM during the week. And working from 10AM to 8PM on Saturday and Sunday. Its not really that bad. Its just horrific in comparison to working a normal job and going to happy hour after work, and brunch and college football on Saturdays and chilling at home all day on Sundays. Even in the banking 100 hour week, you're still averaging about 5-6 hours of sleep during the week, and as much sleep as you want during the weekend. Will there be weeks when you work more than that, yes. Will there be weeks when you work less, yes. The busier groups will work those weeks more often, and will have the absolutely ridiculous weeks come up a few more more times than the less busy groups. But if you're consistently working meaningfully more than that on a regular basis, its because you're not effective at your job.... and often times because you like the idea of always being in the office. Everyone who has actually worked in banking for a year or more knows exactly what I'm talking about.
The truth is the industry has its fair share of characters, but they are still within a few standard deviations of reasonable human beings. After you work a really long week and the deliverable are off the table, you can bounce early if you want. If you worked all weekend until 2, worked until 4 Monday night and were in the office at 830AM to flip books on Tuesday, you can bounce early. Or come in late the next day. No one is driving slave ship. Meetings can get pushed if there is not enough man power. Analysts get shuffled around. Most banks have templates, canned presentations and pages from past books, presentation operators that turn changes, outsourced analysts abroad and graphics departments to create shit.
The real gruel of the banking lifestyle comes not from a lack of sleep... even though there may be instances where you're fairly sleep deprived when you're sprinting towards the finish line on a few projects... rather it comes from the fact that everything outside of work is always hanging on a string that may get snipped if the smallest thing requires your attention at work.