• Sharebar

Mod Note: Throwback Thursday: this post originally went up 4/25/12

Like a majority of people who are on this website, I used to come on here and write bullshit about a life partly my own, partly fantasy. I'm now going to uncloak the anonymous man and tell you my story.

My name is Stephen Ridley. I graduated from a top tier British University with a First Class Honours Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 2010 and went straight into IBD at a top tier European Investment Bank, after interning there in 2009. I worked in the top team (on a revenue basis) for 16 months, before quitting in October 2011. I want to tell you about that experience, and about what has happened since then, about how I left the green to chase my dream. This will be blunt and honest. I do not mean to offend, quite the opposite, I hope to inspire! Again, this isn't an attack on those who choose to be bankers, it's just me sharing my experience together with the lessons I've learnt, and hopefully it speaks to a few people. If you look at the picture above you'll see a picture of what I do now. It's a little different from where I was 6 months ago!

Banking is fucking brutal. I knew this after my internship, but I didn't care. I wanted money. I wanted respect. I wanted to be a somebody in the eyes of myself and others. But most of all, I wanted money. Why? Because money is freedom. Money means I can wear what I want, live where I want, go where I want, eat what I want, be who I want. Money would make me happy. Right? Well... not exactly I'm afraid. In fact, money didn't seem to make any of the bankers happy. Not one person in the roughly 200 I got to know in banking were happy. Yet all earned multiples of the national average salary.

The reality of banking is this. Like everyone there, I worked my ass to the bone, working mind numbingly boring work. My life was emails, excel, powerpoint, meetings, endless drafts and markups about shit I couldn't give less of a fuck about, edits, drafts, edits, drafts, edits, send to printers, pick up, courier, meetings, more work, multitasking, boredom, boredom, tired, boredom, avoiding the staffer on a friday, more work, depression, tired, tired, tired, fucking miserable. 15 hour days were a minimum, 16-17 were normal, 20+ were frequent and once or twice a month there would be the dreaded all nighter. I worked around 2 out of every 4 weekends in some form. I was never free, I always had my blackberry with me, and thus I could never truly dettach myself from the job. These are the objective facts, contrary to what any 'baller' wants to tell you. The only models were excel models, the only bottles were coca cola, which I drank a lot of to stay awake.

Though I managed to maintain relationships with certain friends (testament to how good these friends were), I never was really 'there' and never really relaxed to enjoy their company, I was either pre-occupied, exhausted, or too self-centred to really have a 2 way conversation. I was constantly tired, constantly stressed, and I had this constant reoccurring thought. The thought went like this. I'm not happy. These are my golden years, my 20s, the years I want to look back on and talk about with fondness and pride. I should be making interesting stories, having the time of my life whilst I have no dependents. I'm richer than I've ever been, yet I'm not as happy as I was backpacking around South America on a shoestring. This is bullshit.

I personally did not find the work interesting, and that placed me in the 95% majority. Your not golfing with CEOs, talking about strategy, then driving your lambo home at 3.30pm to have sex with your hot girlfriend. No, your sat at your computer, haven't spent more than 5 minutes in the sun in weeks, your out of shape, bad skin, tired, overworked, and your facing yet another office dinner before calling yourself a cab somewhere between 1am and 5am to take your lonely ass to your empty bed. In those rare moments you do get out your tie to go talk to a client, you're not having a nice interesting chat with an interesting person, you talking finance to some other depressed office drone in some corporate office, who either pretends to give a shit or, more often than not, doesn't pretend. Of course, every now and then, I did meet that rare breed who got their kicks from debt-restructuring or endless levels of back-solved pseudoscientific analysis, but this only depressed me as it reminded me how little I cared about this nonsense, and thus made me further question why I was spending every waking moment - and half the ones I should have been asleep - devoted to it.

You're never going to get as rich as the superstars you admire on the TV and watch in films. Even though I got paid well, I wasn't going out buying a different coloured helicopters every weekend, rolling in designer threads, splashing £30k on a night out and holidaying every other week in some exotic location whenever I can be bothered to charter my private jet. You'll be above average, but still pretty average. Sure, you can buy an macbook air without really thinking about it, and you can take taxis instead of the bus. But that's it. I was amazed how modestly people lived in banking given all the hype that surrounds it. They were just sad middle class bland people, with unexciting lives, and unexciting prospects. A bunch of nerds who got caught up in a cage made of money and dreams and greed, and never got out. There had to be more to life than this.

Eventually, I thought fuck this. I got to the point where I wasn't buying myself nice things anymore because doing so only reinforced my dependency on a job which I hated, a job which was taking over every aspect of my shortening life. I had worked hard at university to have a good life, a happy life, a 'successful' life. And I wasn't finding it in IBD. And nobody above me was either. Even the 'baller' MDs were really just miserable, uninteresting, and often pathetic old farts. I didn't want to be them. I wanted to be a colourful, shinny person with love in my heart. Someone with passion, happiness, laughter lines, someone who has taken life by the horns and lived on the edge, taken risks, had love and loss and seen the world.

I made my plan to leave in baby steps. First I started interviewing at other city jobs - everything from hedge fund analyst to private equity analyst to inter dealer broker to insurance to wealth management to sales to trading and even equity research. These all looked boring, these all involved wasting away the majority of my life at a desk. These all involved long working hours, even if a little better. None of these lit the fire I once had before being crushed by banking. So I looked at jobs in corporates, in their M&A team, their finance team. Again, I went to a few interviews, got offers, but it was just the same shit. I didn't want to be a drone in a suit and tie. Fuck that Stephen, fuck that!

Eventually I snapped. Despite being staffed up to my eye balls, I left the office at 7pm to prepare for an interview I had the next morning at 8.30am. The AD I was working with (5 years my senior) consequently had to work until 5am. The next morning, I wasn't at my desk at 8am as I should have been. I was at my interview. Just another mind numbing 'opportunity' to work in debt refinancing team at Tesco's head office. Fuck that. I'd had enough. There was nothing for me in any spectrum of finance. I'd had enough. I walked into work at 11am, and by 11.01, the AD had dragged me into a side room to rip me a new asshole (she'd got a little cranky after 90 minutes sleep and a lot of stress). She said that she was going to go and talk to our team head about this and stood up. I told her to sit her ass down, I'd do it for her. I walked over to his desk, and I respectfully told him I'd had enough. I thanked him for his time, he did the same, we shook hands, and I packed my shit together and sent my bye bye email around the team.

Within 20 minutes of quitting, I was out of the front door. Bye bye blackberry, bye bye security pass, bye bye banking. The sun has never shone so bright, the air has never tasted so sweet, I have never felt lighter, than that moment. I was free. I was free. I was so fucking free I could taste it!

Now, oddly, I chose this moment to go to a shopping centre (long story) with a friend. Upon walking around in a slight state of shock I saw a piano in a suit shop, and this was exactly what I needed. To play a little tune and unwind. I didn't even ask if I could play, I just went in and started playing. A man quickly came up to me, paid me a compliment and then asked me what I did. I responded 'I'm a musician' (why not?!). He asked how much? I said £100 for 2 hours. He hired me 5 days a week. Just like that I'd become a musician, working around a ninth of the hours for about the same money.

Now I'm going to speed up the story a little. I quit this in a couple of weeks because I realised I didn't want to be a background musician in a shop, I wanted to be in the limelight. I wanted to entertain the world. I wanted to try and make it in music. I rolled a piano onto one of the busiest streets in London, and I started playing. Within 1 month I had 9 management contract offers and had started recording my first album. It's now been 6 months. I've travelled around the world, I've got an album on iTunes, named 'Butterfly In A Hurricane'. I've played to literally tens of thousands of people. I've felt all the love and beauty of the world. I've laughed until I've cried. I've enjoyed more female attention than I thought a guy with my face could get! This is the most alive I've ever felt.

I used to do something I hated all day everyday, I used to hate myself for doing that. I was bad company around people and nobody really liked me. Now I do something that I love, that makes me bubble with excitement daily. In return for doing the thing I love the most, people are made happy, people are overhwelmingly kind to me, people open their hearts to me, and I do the same to them. I roll my piano around the world sharing this love which grows inside in the soil of my happiness and fulfilment. I never ever thought I'd be this happy.

Okay, I can't afford the Prada suit right now, but I can't wait to wake up tomorrow, I've got a singing lesson in the morning and I'm meeting Coca Cola in the afternoon to talk about being in an advert for them. My future is unpredictable (which I love), but I know that it will be fine because I'm the one in control. I spent 23 years developing my brain, and now I'm using it.

I just wanted to reach out to all those people who are in banking and miserable but too scared to leave, I want to reach out to all the nerdy kids with the great CVs who want to go into banking, I want to reach out to everyone who has got this far reading and I'm telling you to take a leap and do something you love. You might not know what that is, but you sure as hell aren't going to find it sat unhappily at your desk trying to multitask all day long. You only progress by taking a leap of faith, not in God necessarily, but in yourself. Know that you have all the tools within you already. You can do and be whoever you want to be, and you deserve to be so much more than a tired suit in an office. Of course if that's where you get real happiness, then that's fantastic. I'm just saying that wasn't my experience, nor was it for the majority of those I met.

Life is short - you're young, you're old, you're dead. React to that knowledge. You have nothing to lose!

With all my love,
Stephen Ridley

In the interests of proof (and self promotion), here are the links to some YouTube videos and my Facebook/twitter.





52 4

Comments (291)

  • moneymogul's picture

    So how would this story be if you hadn't been a talented pianist or hadn't just walked into a shop and gotten a job?

    Just saying. There's a real chance that I'll be in the same position one day, or even during my internship this summer when I found out what IB is really about. Not a musician, no real idea what I want to do, but want to be rich, powerful, influential, etc. one day and make a huge impact on the world. Somehow I don't think I'll walk out of my IB internship or future job and stumble onto the next big thing after acting on a "fuck banking" impulse.

    “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” - Jobs

  • SonnyCrockett's picture

    This looks similar to when kids come on here posting their "thank you everyone, I just broke in with a FT offer" thread, which is really just a 'look at me, I'm in IB now' post. Are you really fulfilled when you need to come here to tell strangers who are better able appreciate your feats in life, or are you just that proud of yourself? Classic arrogant, proud banker's mentality,no modesty or humility.

    Maybe OP is genuine and really wants to inspire, I'm sure he already has no problem getting credit for what he's doing and how he's changed his life -- its not like he needs to come here for that. Still, don't be surprised to get flamed for a little bit of condescension. A good read. Maybe if someone else wrote about OP the story would've resonated positively with everyone instead of only about 95%.

  • Gate_Crasher's picture

    SIMPLY AMAZING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Genetic's picture

    You look just like Tim Tebow in the OP.

    With that said, I think the OP's post hits the nail on the head. I really enjoy finance but no matter how much you enjoy it, after 6 months or so, you get worn down. Period. Likewise, no matter how much you love singing and playing music, after 6 months of soul crushing tours from city to city on little to no sleep, it will wear you down. That's just the way life works b/c humans need variety and breaks. Not the same robotic work and hours. It really does crush your soul and I could totally see how that could happen in banking b/c of the relatively insane hours

  • BankMonkey21's picture

    Amazing talent.

    I Got a dollar and a dream...

  • TooEducatedToBeBanking's picture

    In this thread, people get angry at someone achieving happiness outside of their paradigm of success. Thank you for the reminder that there are things outside of banking. Unfortunately, I look like linebacker with zero musical ability. Also, my idea of happiness/hobbies are smoking and lifting, reading books, and sex. None of those pay particularly well and would probably get arrested for doing any of them on a street corner.

  • Dr. Strangelove's picture

    Great story. I began to think that money is such a small portion of life and that I have to live based on a belief, a principle that is more than just money. Your story just confirmed my thought. Best of luck.

  • Devils Advocate's picture

    The reason this hit so close to home is because I've come to realize this is all bullshit.

    I joined banking with the hopes of money and prestige, and 3 years later...it means nothing to me...I don't give a shit about the money...money really doesn't fucking buy happiness despite what I thought in college...the prestige? Honestly noone gives a fuck about IB...seriously...noone...

    I come to work miserable as fuck but yet afraid to take a leap...needed this

    Time is the most precious thing in the world and god help me if I look back at my 20s with regret

  • SonnyCrockett's picture

    A lot of people in a lot of different professions are miserable and live monotonous unsatisfying lives. That's reality. You could also be dirt poor in India, it gets a lot worse than Wall Street. Not everyone can live their life traveling, taking it easy, and fulfilling themselves. If you have a job and a means to provide for yourself and a family, you are lucky.

  • jacksooon999's picture

    Listening to your music and reading your story, it's clear that your departure from banking has freed your soul. I'm happy for you because of that!

  • big4orgobust's picture

    That is an inspiring story OP! It takes ballz to go against the herd.

  • Zheyuan FAN's picture

    Thanks for this inspiring story. Did your experiences working in IB give you something more than negative feelings?

  • A2Allegiance's picture

    Incredible story anonymousman, and I think it's safe to say music is definitely your calling! When one is passionate about something, their excitement/work is infectious and damn did I feel it while I was watching your videos. I have to ask though, you didn't have any debt coming out of college did you?

    While I have developed a strong passion for the capital markets and am now certain that a career within the financial services is right for me, I knew close to nothing about the world of finance when I chose it as my major back in high school. The only thing I knew then was if I was going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on an education, it damn well better pay off. Sure money was enthralling to me, and still is, but I believe the reason for that spawns from the way society views us. In today's culture, there is immense pressure to succeed. And the way we are measured more times than not is by our income. Our greed is intrinsic with nature, and I think this is why we see so many students looking to break into banking... Not necessarily because they love the markets, but because they simply want to be respected.

    The one thing I do know for certain though, is that success is irrelevant unless we have people in our lives to share it with. No matter how busy you get, it's important to keep your friends and family close. This story has definitely made me rethink/re-prioritize a few things and for that I am greatly appreciative. Thank you for the story OP, and keep spreading the good word!

  • blindthoht's picture

    Re-write this in somewhat 300page paperback edition, you got yourself a #1New York Times bestseller.

    couldn't let go of my pair of aces...

  • cinnamontoastcrunch's picture

    Epic...bravo OP, bravo.

  • In reply to SonnyCrockett
    valleybandar's picture

    SonnyCrockett wrote:
    You could also be dirt poor in India, it gets a lot worse than Wall Street. Not everyone can live their life traveling, taking it easy, and fulfilling themselves. If you have a job and a means to provide for yourself and a family, you are lucky.

    So true, to have an IB job in this economy (especially in Europe) is very lucky, can't imagine throwing away like that.


    Hope you have fun 'finding yourself', the rest of us "corporate drones" will continue to go to work to try and make a living.

    Eat. Pray. Love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjay5vgIwt4

  • SaucyBacon85's picture

    Happy for you OP,

    Not to shit on this deluge of SB-awarding praise....

    Many of those you look down on in monotonous BO-type processing roles are simply trying to feed their families on an honest wage. Life cannot always be about 'following your dreams' and whatnot. It's messy and sometimes we need to sacrifice excitement for security.

    You obviously have the resources that allow you to sacrifice a steady pay check for a risky career in music. You have that OPTION. And so I see your inspiring career move as a product of an affluent background/environment as opposed to some perceived level of boldness and daring.

    Not meaning to offend. Very happy for your success. Just saying...

    oh and your album is great. Bought it. Wish you all the best in the future.


  • In reply to SaucyBacon85
    valleybandar's picture

    SaucyBacon85 wrote:
    Happy for you OP,

    Not to shit on this deluge of SB-awarding praise....

    Many of those you look down on in monotonous BO-type processing roles are simply trying to feed their families on an honest wage. Life cannot always be about 'following your dreams' and whatnot. It's messy and sometimes we need to sacrifice excitement for security.

    You obviously have the resources that allow you to sacrifice a steady pay check for a risky career in music. You have that OPTION. And so I see your inspiring career move as a product of an affluent background/environment as opposed to some perceived level of boldness and daring.

    Not meaning to offend. Very happy for your success. Just saying...

    oh and your album is great. Bought it. Wish you all the best in the future.


  • Nabooru's picture

    Congratulations on your new-found success, OP. While your message is good, I do agree with some of the previous posters that you come off as a bit condescending. Just because you're happy in your new career doesn't mean you should "extend your push" to people here. You post should be neutral, for people to read on judge on their own, but it sounds more like a promotion of how shitty banking is vs. how amazingly awesome your music career is. To be fair, I think that many people on this forum understand that they won't be in banking forever and they're doing it as a means to an end. And some people probably honestly do like banking. Also, with a note to some of the other posts, a debate regarding what banking/music contributes to society is moot. They both contribute to the society in different ways.

    OP, you're lucky to have found success so quickly. At one point in my life I was seriously considering spending the rest of my life as a musician; I've studied at Manhattan School of Music and have personally done a lot of freelance work. I've met a shitload of people in the music industry; and it's extremely rare that someone finds success like you did. Props to you for doing so; I really admire that. But 95% of the musicians that I've met, even so they are so amazingly talented, understand that being a musician is a job and has its pros and cons just like everything else. Yes, they may be following their passions, but they are not ecstatically happy about their lives. They understand that there's a distinct payoff for following their chosen path and not everything's going to be daisies and roses. Many musicians have very real worries about keeping their jobs and having enough money to go around.

    In my case, I'm not in IB but I don't mind working in finance. I like investing and trading; and working in finance gives me the resources to pursue things on the side that in no way would I have been able to afford as a musician. And I'm fine with this compromise.

    It's the rare lucky person who gets to follow their exact passion without many barriers in their path and lead a successful life doing exactly what they want to do. Perhaps you're one of them. But for the rest of us, things don't work out as perfectly as you make your life after banking seem. Most people don't suddenly end up with 9 management contracts after quitting their job playing on the street. (An interesting side-note: I knew a musician who played on the streets like you did. She did this for a LONG time, shedding a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in the process, probably more than anyone ever would in banking, until she finally caught a break.)

    Most people have to make trade-off's - that's just the nature of things.

    Again: I'm not shitting on OP's success - in fact, quite the opposite. Huge props to you for ending up where you are. But in reality, that kind of transition is very rare.

  • anonymousman's picture

    Just to reply to a few people's comments...

    You don't have to know what you want to do, you don't have to have it all figured out already. People in IBD, in my experience, tend to be unusually risk averse, therefore before quitting (or starting) they want to be able to do some mathematical calculation of happiness in banking = x + y + z, happiness in something else = A + B + C, they want it assured, they want the plan tight and nailed down. I was the same, before the extremity of the situation I was in pushed that mentality out of me. I'm advocating a different way of approaching life, and that's based on the knowledge you can do anything.

    You can do anything, no matter how ridiculous it might sound to you now. If you spent even half the hours you spent getting into banking working in anything else you could achieve success in that thing. You've already done it many times in your life, you learnt to walk, talk, you made friends, you got various CV enhancing things under your belt, you can do something else!

    So what else? A lot of people said they don't know what their passion is. Genuinely, neither did I, but I knew that I could do 'something'! I've developed my musical ability ten fold since I left banking and made piano my food, drink and sleep. If you don't know which direction you want to take that's okay, just have faith you'll find out, then pack your bags and travel. You will blow your mind meeting the most weird and wonderful people living a lifestyle against totally alien values and logic to you; the more you move, the more you move. Then you'll find your place.

    To those who talk like ' I gotta support my family, pay the bills etc. '. This isn't a choice between having money and poverty. You don't 'need' the amount of money you think you do, and you aren't as poor as you fear when you step out of the box of your comfort zone. This is fear talking louder than reason, and like I said and keep saying, it takes faith in yourself. You CAN do ANYTHING.

    To those happy in banking; I obviously need to adjust this to sound less condescending, because that's not the intention. I'm addressing you as the intelligent people you are, I'm not shitting on you, I'm just telling my story and the lesson I've learned. Banking helped me find my perspective of the nature of a lot of things; money, prestige, success, material, love, happiness, passion, satisfaction etc. I came to realise that it offered significantly less than what I felt it promised, and took significantly more. I'm sure that there are empassioned happy bankers, but experience tells me that this is a very very rare breed.

    The point I'm trying to hammer home is anybody can do this, whatever the 'this' is for you, and perhaps I'm ramming that point too hard. I just really really believe it.

    When you make a decision with all your passion - this is who I am, this is where I want to be - the world will get out of your way, and you'll discover real happiness! That's all I wanted to share.

    All my love, sincerely,

  • IBTeaching's picture

    Clutch thread bro. I wonder... how many of us are reading this on a computer at a soul-crushing job we hate?. I know I am. After reading this I'm tempted to head to my boss' desk, throw my ID card on it, whip it out, and crip walk out the front door. You have my admiration, good sir.

  • ken_wso's picture

    Just wanted to say, I've been on WSO for years, and stories like this is what keeps me coming back. This was one of the best ones yet.

    Definitely an inspirational story, and one that made me think deeply about my own life.

    Thanks so much for sharing, and for the reminder of what life is all about.

  • HFFBALLfan123's picture

    If you are smart (which you seem like you are) you will use the ex banker thing at every corner.

  • xc48cross's picture

    Absolutely awesome read. Really enjoyed it. Good for you for growing a pair, taking a risk and leaving. That's awesome!

    Are you touring in the NYC area anytime soon?

  • In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
    MissNG's picture

    Virginia Tech 4ever wrote:
    Cool. I know the guy outside of Starbucks who plays his guitar thinks what I do isn't very important and what he does is. I can tangibly show the importance of my profession and he can show me the intangible benefits of his. I suppose neither is right or wrong.

    thats funny; why compare 'anonymousman's music career to the guy outside starbucks? why not any other successful musician? Then the each-to-his own sentiment would sound less passive aggressive...

    I dont think that the story was meant to say that in order to be happy you necessarily have to have less money (as the starbucks comparison implies), I think the point is, to put aside even the contribution one makes to humanity as a whole, that people falsely assume that 'money' and 'happiness' have a negative relationship. thats the myth i think is being dispelled here.

    While its understood that when complaining about ib on a finance/business site, it shouldnt be a surprise to get a few rebuttals... he was addressing the people who are in it, and unhappy (not everyone els). that makes this the most appropriate place to raise the issue, in my opinion.

    "Dont compromise yourself; you're all you've got" - Janis Joplin

  • In reply to HFFBALLfan123
    Human's picture

    HFFBALLfan123 wrote:
    If you are smart (which you seem like you are) you will use the ex banker thing at every corner.

    Was about to say the same thing. The world is filled with renegade bankers who moved to other fields, yet would always bring up the ex-banker factor.

    "I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."

  • aadpepsi's picture

    Luv this. Happy happy.

  • aempirei's picture

    OP, great story.

    Unfortunately, I am a pussy that hasn't found my "muse" or "passion" yet and I see finance as the best alternative until I make that discovery. To many people, it seems like a means to an end (I don't want to be a lifer).

    My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

  • In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
    Downeasta's picture

    Virginia Tech 4ever wrote:
    Warhead wrote:
    Virginia Tech 4ever wrote:
    This is a great story, but I wouldn't sell short the "importance" of banking--I'd argue that the drones do a lot more important work than a pianist. After all, high finance is basically the blood that makes the organs [edit: no pun intended! haha] of society work. Pianists are just pianists.

    I no longer work in high finance--I work in "branch level" finance--but I work devastating hours and what I do is really hard. The intellectual challenge keeps me interested and I'd argue that a lot of people genuinely find finance interesting--in fact, I'd argue that most people in this business find finance more interesting than piano.

    In any event, to each his own. If you're not happy doing what you're doing then it makes no sense to continue doing it. I mean, when I quit a job I hated I gave 6 weeks notice, but it doesn't seem like your boss gave a damn anyway.

    I don't know about you, but I'd take a less efficient, even lower quality of life society over a society without pianists any day. I also know for a fact that most intenrs getting into Goldman, MS, etc.these days (even the two sophomores I know interning there this summer from Ivy league finance majors) really only say they banking interesting. When you get them one on one, it's almost obvious to them that "most people are in it for the money, but they love money enough for it to be worth it to them. Bravo, OP for pursuing your dreams. I've met very few people who actually find finance intellectually stimulating (mostly more mathematical people), and neither of them have finance internships this summer.

    Well, "Bittersweet Symphony" is about the extent of my piano listening, as it is for the vast majority of the Western world. Just a matter of opinion, but I doubt the man on the street in our societies would accept a lower quality of life, but most people, even the people who work in finance, don't appreciate the fundamental importance of this business. It's little wonder that the industrial revolution emerged slightly after the founding of what is now considered modern banking.

    I'd say John Law has had a far greater impact on this planet than Mozart (although this is not discounting the work of Mozart, simply comparing the relative impact).

    Speak for yourself. "The vast majority of the Western World" has MANY people who truly appreciate a good pianist.

  • ChrisHansen's picture

    awesome story. i'm still shooting for banking though because i care about money and prestige alot and want to go back to my high school reunion and see how much of a loser everyone else is. maybe i will "wake up" after a few months of banking.

  • A2Allegiance's picture

    Extremely interesting TED talk regarding work-life balance by Nigel Marsh. If your life is completely dominated by work, check this out.

    "There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”


  • Voltaire X's picture

    What I took from this was that you should be yourself. Don't try to fit someone else's model of what "successful" is, do your own thing. You shouldn't go into finance just to be cool or rich, but at the same time you shouldn't quit your job to become a musician to be cool or rich, either. Do what you WANT to do. Also, this makes me want to stay the fuck away from corporate finance at all costs.

    The way I look at things, I can always go into finance and quit later. I can always quit. However, 15 years from now, I don't want to be sitting around thinking to myself "What if I did pursue my goal of becoming a trader? Where would I be today? Would I have liked it?" There's really no reason for me not to try it out. Worst case scenario, I quit and find another career. Maybe as a journalist running around the front lines of whatever middle eastern country is being overthrown. Maybe I'd start my own medical marijuana collective. Who knows.

  • yhp2009's picture

    Happy for you OP.
    You are obviously drunk with happiness, so your words are slurring a bit and some are taking offense to it. Dont mind them. Keep searching for the things that bring happiness to your life.

    Anyone with an objective perspective can agree with OP that the majority of the IB analysts are miserable. This is regardless of one's reasons for working in IB. The pain does not discriminate. In the end, if you do not have a bigger goal or vision for yourself in finance, then you'll leave the grind. If you are willing to ride out the pain, then you are in the right place.
    Still painful tho, but you'll stay, and you'll be proud that you stayed.

  • eriginal's picture

    OP, congrats on finding your passion! +1 for the inspiring story. I start FT in the Fall and if I don't fucking love my job I'm going to leave. I really like this idea. I love financials so I think I'll be ok, but I've never worked FT so I suppose I don't really know.

    Virginia Tech. your posts are very transparent... there is no condescension in the OP's post, you're just reading it that way for whatever reason. This is something you should look into. Maybe you do love finance, but you clearly take the happiness of others personally - why?

    "One man with courage makes a majority." — Andrew Jackson

  • Asia_i_Banker's picture

    Stephen, you are awesome.

    I hope to be writing my own story in the not-too-distant future.

    Next time I am on iTunes, I will get your album.

    Go East, Young Man

  • MonkeySuit's picture

    Im thinking book deal... lol

  • jfh06dd's picture

    Excellent! I'am so happy for you Ridley.

    You are an extremely talented individual. For one you got into banking and then had the presence of mind to realize that it wasn't for you and then you accomplished the even more difficult task of following your dream and making it work?

    Just curious, how did you get the piano onto Camden street?

  • nutellaontherocks's picture

    Good read! I'm happy for you for finding your true passion, and for the banker who's actually interested in finance that will hopefully take your spot on wall street.

  • Virginia Tech 4ever's picture

    Haha, wow. According to my stats I've been on WSO (since it was ibankingoasis) for 5 years, 3 weeks. That's 263 weeks. In this thread alone I've gotten 40 monkey shits to 8 sliver bananas. That's literally 25% of all monkey shits I've received in 263 weeks--in a single thread!

    I would say the people have spoken!

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    Just bought your album...you know, to help a brother out.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
    energyanalyst's picture

    Virginia Tech 4ever wrote:
    Haha, wow. According to my stats I've been on WSO (since it was ibankingoasis) for 5 years, 3 weeks. That's 263 weeks. In this thread alone I've gotten 40 monkey shits to 8 sliver bananas. That's literally 25% of all monkey shits I've received in 263 weeks--in a single thread!

    I would say the people have spoken!

    You lack people skills ....if you behave like this whole your life, I highly doubt that you can be a sucessful leader or even a manager .....again...these are just my view..How many frnds u have :P

  • In reply to Virginia Tech 4ever
    energyanalyst's picture

    Virginia Tech 4ever wrote:
    Haha, wow. According to my stats I've been on WSO (since it was ibankingoasis) for 5 years, 3 weeks. That's 263 weeks. In this thread alone I've gotten 40 monkey shits to 8 sliver bananas. That's literally 25% of all monkey shits I've received in 263 weeks--in a single thread!

    I would say the people have spoken!

    :)..no offence

  • SJRATH's picture

    Wow man, this was an amazing post. I'm in IBD right now and went down this journey on my own as well. In 2 months, i'm ending my career in finance to start my own business (something I have always wanted to do). Your article made me that much more excited. 2 months left!

  • In reply to Mammon
    SJRATH's picture

    Mammon wrote:
    Reminds me of the novel Bank by David Bleden. Awesome story dude! I'd say that banking was necessary for you though, you needed the misery to drive you and the money to make it all happen.

    This is a good point that is often overlooked. Our greatest realizations usually come from our times of greatest struggle

  • mdk6c's picture

    You have swung from one extreme to the other.