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I'm confused.

I used to post on here a couple of years ago, most of what I posted was bullsh*t. The truth is I was in my final year at university, I'd just done an internship, wasn't sure how I felt about it as a prospective life, and I wanted to play banker on the internet to test the water a bit.

To cut a long story short, I ended up going into banking, and I'm now about to become a second year analyst in IBD at a BB in London. This has been a very very tough year. If I could give some genuine pros and cons of my experiences in banking;

Pros

1. The people I work with really are nice. At least 90% of the people I've worked with are down to earth, nice people. A lot of people who post on this website are borderline sociopaths, and I don't know whether it's an American thing, or if (perhaps more likely) only 10% of the people who post actually work for a bank, but people like this just don't exist in London at any major bank (I've worked with most of them on various joint mandates). They wouldn't get through the front door, because to be frank, nobody wants to work with a douche for 16+ hours a day.
2. The money is 'good' but your not going to live like a movie star, it won't go back to where it was anytime soon. ***[see the bottom for more deet] The point is that the money is 'good' but nothing more than that. I earn (post income tax) c.£3k a month - about 1k goes on rent, I spend 1k, and I save c.1k. Reality check - £1k in London doesn't go super far. I'm comfortable, no doubt, but I'm not driving around in my lambo to my South Kensington Apartment, I don't live like Brad Pitt, and it would take at least 15-20 years in IBD to get close to that dream. 15-20 years is a longggg time especially if you don't really like what you do, and your doing it every single day all day long.
3. Exit ops - I'm yet to confirm this, but undoubtedly so. Though do bear this in mind. The exit ops you get are there because your analyst skills are in demand at other companies. What this means is that you get your head down and do all this shit for 2/3 years, only to go do this exact same shit for a different company (perhaps more money, perhaps less hours, the point being that the shit never ends! Of course, if you genuinely enjoy the work of banking, then this isn't an issue at all)

Cons

1. The one and only really. The lifestyle is harder than you can imagine. I mean that. It's easy to just say you will go through weeks where you get less than 4 hours sleep a night, 6 nights running, but it is hard to describe the emotional, physical and pschologocial impact of that. And then before you know it, you do it all over again. I cannot describe how demotivating it is to make plans on a Friday night and end up still at work at 4am, tired and angry at life. This career gives no rest. It's constant. And when you get a day off, you've got your BB on you and so you don't get real distance from the banker life. I'm on vacation now (yes, you can take vacation in IB, to dispel another myth) and not a day has gone by where I haven't had some work to do.

2. I personally don't find what we do interesting at all - playing around in presentations, doing markups, arranging meetings, taking minutes, even doing modelling.

I want to go do something else.

I have no idea what yet. I have completely lost my attatchment to prestige - the people I care about respecting me don't really give a toss about what I do, truth is it's only people who are obsessed with prestige who judge people on what they do (i.e. you and a former me). Banking won't get you the girl and it won't make you cool. You'll still be the nerd, and you'll only get a girl when you become comfortable with yourself. I have not lost my attatchment to money - it's necessary to live happily. I like being able to book holidays and wear nice clothes and have a mac. But I'm not going to give up EVERYTHING for these things.

So I have considered everthing from sales&trading, to working as a quant for a casino, to consulting, to opening a jazz bar, to working in fashion or as a writer, to just going travelling and saying fuck it to the conventional life until I can figure it out (make money as I travel kind of thing). By the end of this year, bonus permitting, I'll have saved c.£20k-30k - I can live in London for over a year on that doing unpaid work exp in other fields, and I could travel for easily 2. I have absolutely no idea what to do. I just know that IBD will never make me happy; it's slow paced, boring, and takes your life in exchange for a hollow egoism, loneliness and money.

I need to get the balls to go out and live. That will either mean I end up with a few less spare bedrooms in my house, and a Ford instead of a Porsche, or I end up with a ferarri, a lambo, and 6 houses across the world. In both though I'd be happy, because I'd be living according to my own decision and choice and enjoyment, rather than sustaining my addiction to prestige and risk aversion.

Watch this space.

I realise that this post is probably pitching to the wrong audience - I just wanted to share.

***{This is the era of the political economy and that isn't going to go away in a couple of years. Credit masked inequality before. Both you and your neighbor have a flash TV, maybe one of you got it on credit, but the point is you both have the TV and all is good. Now there is a bust, and all of a sudden your up to your eyeballs in debt, less credit is available, perhaps you lose your job even, but your neighbor can still get a new TV. That doesn't feel so good does it? All of a sudden, the inequality is becoming apparent and people are (rightly or wrongly) angry at affluence - it's becoming politically popular to punish those who make money. There are countless examples of this now being done, and this is as bad for global growth as it is for the 'wealth generators' themselves, but I'm not going to debate that here.}

Comments (52)

  • st84at's picture

    Hey dude, don't worry i think its perfectly fine to feel that ib is not for you. I am currently feeling the same way and am going to leave the industry in search of better work life balance.. All the best!

  • kalga's picture

    Jump the chinese wall to S&T/ER or find a nice boutique that will offer you a better lifestyle but since you hate the work, thats probably a no go.

    I actually work with someone who was in a similar position. Worked at CS London for 3 years as an analyst and hated it (apparently, CS London is/was a sweatshop while he was there). He ended up moving away from London and jumping to sell side research.

    If your concerned about the money, are partial to living in London? Being paid street or higher in another location goes a long way.

  • firefighter's picture

    thanks for the read, made me think for a bit

    but at the end of the day most jobs suck in general. look at where your college friends are going into?

    consulting (travel is brutal)
    account/audit (tedious)
    med school (brutal for at least 8 to 12 years)
    law school (brutal) followed up corporate law (brutal)
    PhD (99% of work is boring and degrading. groundbreaking discoveries are not the norm)
    engineering (tedious math and calculations)
    teaching (stressful as balls. could be rewarding though)
    prof athlete (brutal practices 99.9% of the time, scoring a touchdown in front of people .01% of the time)
    prof actor/actress (tedious memorization and rehearsals 99.9% of the time, on screen .01%)

    etc etc etc

    the reason you get paid for jobs is because they generally suck. if they were enjoyable you would do them for free with a smile or even pay to do them. think about how many people are stuck at low paying dead end jobs. while IB is certainly a tough career, everyone is fighting a tough fight and everyone hates work

  • In reply to firefighter
    Solidarity's picture

    you were doing well into you got to this part

    firefighter wrote:

    teaching (stressful as balls. could be rewarding though)
    prof athlete (brutal practices 99.9% of the time, scoring a touchdown in front of people .01% of the time)
    prof actor/actress (tedious memorization and rehearsals 99.9% of the time, on screen .01%)

  • MrV's picture

    Thanks for the insight. I like how you have 30k saved up and can literally just take a vacation for a few months to just chill/seek out your goals in life if you really wanted to.

    Banking.

  • In reply to Solidarity
    firefighter's picture

    Solidarity wrote:
    you were doing well into you got to this part
    firefighter wrote:

    teaching (stressful as balls. could be rewarding though)
    prof athlete (brutal practices 99.9% of the time, scoring a touchdown in front of people .01% of the time)
    prof actor/actress (tedious memorization and rehearsals 99.9% of the time, on screen .01%)

    how is that not true? i'm not saying it's not rewarding, just that most of the time you're not gonna be doing glamorous shit. if movies were true all analysts would be closing multibilliondollar deals by shaking hands with and charming fortune 500 CEOs

  • In reply to firefighter
    Status_Quo's picture

    firefighter wrote:
    Solidarity wrote:
    you were doing well into you got to this part
    firefighter wrote:

    teaching (stressful as balls. could be rewarding though)
    prof athlete (brutal practices 99.9% of the time, scoring a touchdown in front of people .01% of the time)
    prof actor/actress (tedious memorization and rehearsals 99.9% of the time, on screen .01%)

    how is that not true? i'm not saying it's not rewarding, just that most of the time you're not gonna be doing glamorous shit. if movies were true all analysts would be closing multibilliondollar deals by shaking hands with and charming fortune 500 CEOs

    The latter two professions aren't feasible for the OP anyway, also 100% - 99.9% = 0.1% lol

  • In reply to firefighter
    Chicago85's picture

    firefighter wrote:
    ..the reason you get paid for jobs is because they generally suck. if they were enjoyable you would do them for free with a smile or even pay to do them...

    Really? You must be kidding, either that or you must be a trust fund baby if this is your view on why and how people get paid.

    There are also different levels of enjoyment, I do not think for most people it is either that they LOVE or HATE their job. Unless you own your own business and even then, some days are simply better than others and you do what you have to do to hopefully one day be able to live off your portfolio and pursue interests that genuinely interest you.

  • gopadub's picture

    Wow this is amazing man, this makes sense (wanting to raise a family and IBD doesn't give time for that) isn't ER high paying as well? like associates make 250k with bonus or am I high? I know the lifestyle is better or AM. I know a guy who worked at BAML analyst, then went to a small PE firm in NYC for 2 years then went for MBA and now is wanting to start a small PE in columbus ohio (He is at OSU for MBA) (But thats a lot of work too in the first 5 years.)
    I guess you could try Corp Dev? Sorry if I was no help.

  • In reply to ALC8
    bfin's picture

    ALC8 wrote:
    I think the best jobs are: musician and food critic. Porn stars too maybe.

    porn star would be terrible because you'd have such a skewed view of sex.

    Best job..career host. Carson daily, Ryan Secrest, Nick cannon bunch of no talent idiots who are career hosts.... ridiculous.

    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.

  • awm55's picture

    Indeed once again S&T all the fucking way. You don't get these life affirming existential threads about S&T because it actually can be a very fun place to work. I recommend making the jump over, you won't regret it.

    And to the OP, I have come to realize there generally is a distinct difference between the mentalities of people from the US vs. Europe/UK. Some people on this forum do come across as borderline bat shit crazy, and I have to say no one I work with on the floor is like this at all.

  • apan's picture

    As a fellow analyst I know where you're coming from 100%..

    While I could certainly pursue the general "path", I've learned through my analyst stint that it's not what I'm really passionate about. It's certainly a relatively low risk way to a cushy lifestyle, but it sucks the life out of me, and at this point I'm not willing to throw my ambitions out the window yet. There's so many ways to "make" it - I don't want to look back and regret never trying to do something I'm actually interested in.

    I think a solid middle ground between saying "fuck it, I'll bum around until I figure out what I want to do" and "megafund or bust" would be working for a startup / high growth company. The comp won't be great (depending on the stage of the company), but it should be enough to get by. If you make it, you're golden. If it goes bust, at least you tried, and you'll learn from it. And if all else fails, you can always network your way back into the IB/PE/HF world.

  • jason bourne's picture

    i'm starting IB at a BB in London in July, I have a question for current analysts.

    What was your mentality going into it? Were you quite excited about it in the beginning then to have the life sucked out of you after 1/2 years? Or did you expect the dull, tedious, and often brutal aspects of the job as well?

    Also on a completely separate note, wondering what NYC IB analysts pay for rent. Just secured a 2 bed flat in central London (Waterloo), myself paying around $1600. Is this the norm/high/low compared to NYC rent? (Though I went to UG in the UK, as an American I'd like to eventually make the move across the pond)

  • CARRY's picture

    hey guys,

    interesting comments. i have spent almost five years trading interest swaps for a bulge bracket bank in london and my take on this work/lifestyle balance thing is that yes the hours are better in trading (as well as the money), but it's still a hard slog.

    The pro's

    free ski holidays from brokers
    thursday nights at nobu, lunch at ubon (when it was there)
    strong correlation between bonus and performance

    The downside

    although it looks cool on tv the reality is that you end up doing the same thing eeryday, that is pricing swaps. that's fine at first but after a while it is boring. yes, you can punt as well (most market makers do) but the novelty soon wells off after a while. ultimately you are a bitch to your clients and tied to your desk for at least 12 hours a day, if a trade comes you have to price it for them. this might sound silly, but it really pisses you off after a while having to drop your lunch in order to do a bullshit trade. there can be some really good banter on the desk but it depends on what your collegaues are like. also, you end up well off but only after ten or twelve years and at the end of the day you never end up truly rich; there is only one head of fixed income or credit. also, you end up getting used to the money and you stop feeling well-off as all your mates are the same, it becomes normal to eat out at michelin star restaurants and once you've done them all several times over it gets boring. for a lot of people that might be enough, but when you realise that you are giving up a lot of time (10 to 12 years) doing something that isn't all that enjoyable when you could pretty much do any other career you can think of it pisses you off. the other thing is, a lot of the people doing this job really define themselves by it, they genuinly think it is cool to be a trader and that they are going to get loads of hot girls because of it. most of the blokes i saw on the floor had ugly birds but spent a lot of time in strip clubs. the truth is, a banking job in a big city isn't going to get you a hot girl just a girl who isn't ugly (there's a difference), being famous is what gets you hot chicks (eddie irvine said the same thing), or being interesting and likeable.

    this probably sounds like a rant against trading (maybe it is), but basically what i'm saying is that the grass always looks greener on the other side. i bet most jobs suck after a while. if you are someone who got a lucky break on the trading floor and doesn't think to deeply about what you are doing then it's probably one of the best jobs in the world. if you have a good cv, could pretty much do anything and are introspective enough to reflect on other possibilites than it won't seem like the best thing since sliced bread after a while.

    also, on the hours thing: some exotic traders used to leave work at 10pm, maybe that sounds great to a bloke in ibd, but it sounds fucking awful to me.

  • In reply to awm55
    leveredarb's picture

    awm55 wrote:
    Indeed once again S&T all the fucking way. You don't get these life affirming existential threads about S&T because it actually can be a very fun place to work. I recommend making the jump over, you won't regret it.

    And to the OP, I have come to realize there generally is a distinct difference between the mentalities of people from the US vs. Europe/UK. Some people on this forum do come across as borderline bat shit crazy, and I have to say no one I work with on the floor is like this at all.


    this is a pretty horrible deduction, so in absence of threads claiming the lifestyle of s&t is horrible, it must be a great place to work?

    There are tons of posts on WSO complaining about S&T being meaningless, boring, repetitive, unintellectual work.

    The grass is always greener on the other side, whilst S&T has the lifestyle plus nothing you do has a visible impact in the real world, trading is a money generating activity and nothing else.

  • In reply to jason bourne
    awm55's picture

    jason bourne wrote:
    i'm starting IB at a BB in London in July, I have a question for current analysts.

    What was your mentality going into it? Were you quite excited about it in the beginning then to have the life sucked out of you after 1/2 years? Or did you expect the dull, tedious, and often brutal aspects of the job as well?

    Also on a completely separate note, wondering what NYC IB analysts pay for rent. Just secured a 2 bed flat in central London (Waterloo), myself paying around $1600. Is this the norm/high/low compared to NYC rent? (Though I went to UG in the UK, as an American I'd like to eventually make the move across the pond)

    So you pay almost 250 GBP per week to live in waterloo? You can live anywhere in central for that (though you would be sharing and the place would be small), but that is pretty expensive for the area.

  • In reply to awm55
    jason bourne's picture

    awm55 wrote:
    jason bourne wrote:
    i'm starting IB at a BB in London in July, I have a question for current analysts.

    What was your mentality going into it? Were you quite excited about it in the beginning then to have the life sucked out of you after 1/2 years? Or did you expect the dull, tedious, and often brutal aspects of the job as well?

    Also on a completely separate note, wondering what NYC IB analysts pay for rent. Just secured a 2 bed flat in central London (Waterloo), myself paying around $1600. Is this the norm/high/low compared to NYC rent? (Though I went to UG in the UK, as an American I'd like to eventually make the move across the pond)

    So you pay almost 250 GBP per week to live in waterloo? You can live anywhere in central for that (though you would be sharing and the place would be small), but that is pretty expensive for the area.

    hah, yeah. kinda shit as i've been paying 200gbp pw in a 3 bed flat in covent garden. but i wanted a change as it's a pain in the ass running into tourists in the mornings and pretty noisy at night. good thing is the flat is right on the bank (away from the sketchy parts of SE1), and just a 10min walk across the bridge to work :)

  • In reply to jason bourne
    awm55's picture

    jason bourne wrote:
    awm55 wrote:
    jason bourne wrote:
    i'm starting IB at a BB in London in July, I have a question for current analysts.

    What was your mentality going into it? Were you quite excited about it in the beginning then to have the life sucked out of you after 1/2 years? Or did you expect the dull, tedious, and often brutal aspects of the job as well?

    Also on a completely separate note, wondering what NYC IB analysts pay for rent. Just secured a 2 bed flat in central London (Waterloo), myself paying around $1600. Is this the norm/high/low compared to NYC rent? (Though I went to UG in the UK, as an American I'd like to eventually make the move across the pond)

    So you pay almost 250 GBP per week to live in waterloo? You can live anywhere in central for that (though you would be sharing and the place would be small), but that is pretty expensive for the area.

    hah, yeah. kinda shit as i've been paying 200gbp pw in a 3 bed flat in covent garden. but i wanted a change as it's a pain in the ass running into tourists in the mornings and pretty noisy at night. good thing is the flat is right on the bank (away from the sketchy parts of SE1), and just a 10min walk across the bridge to work :)

    I lived in and around Covent Garden for a few years, I don't mind the tourists but I see your point. I am guessing you went to LSE?

    Waterloo is fine, but after having lived in London for 4 years I have discovered live as close to the center as possible.

  • In reply to leveredarb
    awm55's picture

    leveredarb wrote:
    awm55 wrote:
    Indeed once again S&T all the fucking way. You don't get these life affirming existential threads about S&T because it actually can be a very fun place to work. I recommend making the jump over, you won't regret it.

    And to the OP, I have come to realize there generally is a distinct difference between the mentalities of people from the US vs. Europe/UK. Some people on this forum do come across as borderline bat shit crazy, and I have to say no one I work with on the floor is like this at all.


    this is a pretty horrible deduction, so in absence of threads claiming the lifestyle of s&t is horrible, it must be a great place to work?

    There are tons of posts on WSO complaining about S&T being meaningless, boring, repetitive, unintellectual work.

    The grass is always greener on the other side, whilst S&T has the lifestyle plus nothing you do has a visible impact in the real world, trading is a money generating activity and nothing else.

    Most jobs are meaningless, boring, and repetitive. Its just you don't have to do them for 20 hours a day and won't be called in at 11 pm on a Friday. IBD just sucks, period. The level of dissatisfaction with S&T is not nearly at the same level.

  • LeveragedFiend's picture

    I like your post anonymous, every once in awhile we get some great threads like this and the PE one. Just found out a friend is buying a round-the-world plane ticket for before she starts work. Maybe a Magellan-esque voyage would clear your head and give you some direction?

    It’s no mystery that ass has always been tits’ greatest enemy... It’s almost like a Muslim-Jewish thing, but with tits and ass.

  • rickyross's picture

    I've never seen that many SBs awarded to one post...

    People tend to think life is a race with other people. They don't realize that every moment they spend sprinting towards the finish line is a moment they lose permanently, and a moment closer to their death.

  • juniormistmaker's picture

    Great post man and as an analyst I feel where you're coming from. My particular group is the bread and butter of our firm and while it's really cool and interesting to be involved in all sorts of transactions we also get bombed all of the time. It's also a little disheartening to see the guys from other groups with their coats on while I'm just going to grab a later dinner given I don't know yet what difference it makes at the end of the year.

    I've quickly discovered it's a job with a lot of highs and lows but it seems like it get's better as time goes one. Who knows though, maybe I'll bolt for ECM in a bit so that I'm "only" working 12 hour days.

  • Binary_Bankster's picture

    I'm gonna get that bish some binary
    Bishes love binary
    ---------
    Kind Regards,

    Bin_Ban

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