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When I was in banking, I lost nearly £17,000 spread betting on the Goldman Sachs SEC trial. I lost another gut wrenching chunk of money in Vegas playing poker with the big boys. Sucks right? But "life is long, I'll win it back".

And so I went on, and yes, from time to time I also made healthy profits spread betting and gambling, if ever there was a difference. From time to time, I still dabble. The truth is I'd been gambling all the way through my late teens and through university, in fact more than half the draw to banking was the 'make a fast buck' appeal of it. The rush of free money, of free surplus, of sudden rockstar freedom.

But soon enough I realised that there was little difference between the win or lose; it was just stuff in, stuff out, and nothing seemed to fill a hole that I up until that point hadn't realised I was trying to fill. It was the gamble that was the fun, the corrosive pleasure of standing on the edge of a building and letting go of your responsibility, to let fate decide which way to blow you. Burnout or blow-up.

After a while 'on the ride' of gambling, I felt so removed from the aspiration, inspiration and movitavtion which initially drew me in. I just wanted to keep going to that edge, like a junkie to his dealer.

Soon enough I lost all that mattered to me. I don't mean financial. I mean I was broken. I had gambled friends and girlfriends for the job, the job won, I lost. I had gambled my youth, I was losing. I had gambled fun and freedom and that nonchalant pleasure of a summer evening for long nights in an air conditioned office, and I was repeatedly losing. I'd win once a month on payday, then spend the rest of the month gambling everything I cared about away. How did I break out of the cycle? Well to quote (I think) Chuck Palaniuk, it was only when I 'lost everything' that I was free to do anything!

I snapped, I quit my bullshit job, and I chose to chase my dream, hoping for all the emotions and excitements that would come with that. I decided I wanted to be a musician. I'd had enough of the banking bullshit, the job itself was insipid and dull, and the life it allowed me to live was as fruitless as pointless. I wanted to find passion again. I won't go into the details of this journey. But in short, it started on the street as a busker, and if we cut to today, I have just finished being a small part of an online Google+ TV show. One of the producers of this show said I could play one of my own songs one time, so I sat down I thought about the road I'd travelled, and I wrote a song about the moment before my tipping point, and all the moments described above that led to this tipping point. This is that song...

I hope a few people on here can relate,
As always, feel free to DM me if you want a soundboard or a shoulder, you can also message me on

www.facebook.com/stephenridley.official

My love,
Stephen Ridley

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Comments (34)

  • m2's picture

    I just take holidays when I'm down.

  • BTbanker's picture
  • kitsune's picture

    Good post, just as your others are - respect! Quite like your music too, pretty unique style.

    I was just wondering though; did you never consider becoming a musician before IB? I mean you clearly have talent, can compose and play great piano, and you're not really just another guy who knows how to play the piano. Obviously the monetary appeal of banking is an aspect, but did you never think of just giving it a shot rather than starting IB (I.e. the job that you had no interest or passion for as I recall from another post)? To me it doesn't seem at all surprising that someone creative like yourself (with talent) lost all interest in finance, while you seemed to think that you would magically love the job (basing myself on your other posts here too).

  • BatMasterson's picture

    Looks like a good move.

    "I like money (as do most females) but love is...great :)"-student
    "Perhaps you've failed to take into account my hidden assets"-007
    Storm: Orig Mix
    Oscar Wilde -Ballad of Reading

  • Tommy Too-toned's picture

    Long time no see. Keep slayin'

  • Mitt Romney's picture

    Thanks for checking up on us again.
    Looks like you have a bright future in music

    I'm not concerned with the very poor
    -Mitt Romney

  • qwertyas's picture

    shameless promotion/sick of your sob story.

    don't get me wrong i'm glad you found what is currently making you happy but several vague statements of how you were "broken", how much ib sucked and how much you've grown with a youtube vid of your song at the end... c'mon man if you want to sell me something make it more original/intersting

  • In reply to qwertyas
    bfin's picture

    qwertyas wrote:

    shameless promotion/sick of your sob story.

    don't get me wrong i'm glad you found what is currently making you happy but several vague statements of how you were "broken", how much ib sucked and how much you've grown with a youtube vid of your song at the end... c'mon man if you want to sell me something make it more original/intersting

    Considering that you read said "sob story" I'd say shameless or not he has done quite a good job of promoting his story..

    The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

    WSO is not your personal search function.

  • animalz's picture

    same story again, this time in the 100% purpose of selling the song...

    its an OK story, but move on dude...

  • esbanker's picture

    pretty good!

    more importantly, congrats for following your dream.

    Capitalist

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture
  • BKND's picture

    Respect.

    “To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks.”
    --Benjamin Graham

    B.K.

  • renitent.precept's picture
  • In reply to bfin
    qwertyas's picture

    bfin wrote:

    qwertyas:

    shameless promotion/sick of your sob story.

    don't get me wrong i'm glad you found what is currently making you happy but several vague statements of how you were "broken", how much ib sucked and how much you've grown with a youtube vid of your song at the end... c'mon man if you want to sell me something make it more original/intersting

    Considering that you read said "sob story" I'd say shameless or not he has done quite a good job of promoting his story..

    #didn'tclickonhisyoutubelink

  • mrktmaker's picture

    Nice shameless promo

  • In reply to mrktmaker
    LevFun's picture

    mrktmaker wrote:

    Nice shameless promo

    To be fair MOST posts are some version of sob story, cry for help, or shameless bragging...at least this time there was a solid song and a youtube video.

    "Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game." - Donald Trump

  • technoviking's picture

    def shameless plug... but i like the song so i dont care anymore

  • Holmes's picture

    'Do what you love, and love what you do.'
    The later part of your story is an example of this quote.
    Respect!

  • Anacott_CEO's picture

    This should be on Music Oasis. You don't belong here anymore.

  • Dubya's picture

    Congrats, you definitely have talent. I would consider getting a drummer and a bassist. Pure piano songs don't really make it big anymore.

    http://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/0gbU...

    ''You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.'' — President George W. Bush
    0.5 bb

  • pacman007's picture

    Do you still gamble?

    "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion" - Muhammad Ali

  • Teldar Paper's picture

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  • In reply to Teldar Paper
    Dubya's picture

    ''You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.'' — President George W. Bush
    0.5 bb

  • bluegold's picture
  • upquark's picture

    I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature. -John D. Rockefeller