Have you ever thought about the metrics that we, as smart, frequently "target-educated" (I vomited a little in my mouth as I wrote that), set for ourselves? And more importantly, how absurd they are?
Having read WSO for a long time, lots of people, myself included, dish out advice to prospective monkeys that follows the following format: "If you are willing to give up, you clearly don't want 'X' badly enough". Usually, this advice is laden with gut shots and less-than-desirable language, but the basic gist of it is that giving up indicates one of two things: that you aren't that dedicated to IB/PE/Consulting, or that you're too insecure to ever succeed in the field evidenced by constant second-guessing and a general lack of self-confidence.
But I've never really thought about giving up as being a true indicator of failure, until recently.
Those of you who read my article from Monday (check out the link in my signature to all of my blog posts) are familiar with my take on the struggle that is breaking into. One comment by IlliniPride really struck me, for a few reasons that I'll discuss shortly:
You are nothing more than free labor to these boutiques.
They offer unpaid SA positions but don't hire for FT? That means the Partner / MD left a larger firm and is trying to run his shop with minimal expenses. He gets a free worker that he can dump all his bitch work on, and if the intern complains who cares? A fresh, eager face is coming in next summer. Or winter. Or semester. In many cases, they are preying on your desperation.
As I mentioned this to someone, my friend questioned whether I was "running away from the challenge" by even suggesting something like that.
Here's what I think of when I think of a challenge:
- Being either an officer or an enlisted member of the military
- Working unpaid on a campaign for a candidate whom you're truly passionate about
- Going all-in on your dream to become a singer/songwriter/producer
- Grinding your way into professional sports the hard way (known people who have succeeded and Jesus H. Christ was it hard)
But no, investment banking is the challenge for kids like us. IB/PE/Consulting is the acceptable, challenging career path that we're _supposed_ to have. Many would say that anything else is failure.
As I read more and more threads where freshmen at good schools proclaim that for them it is "or death", I can't help but wonder what we, as a bunch of 18 to 22-year-old white kids, have created. or death, my friends, or death.
What do you guys make of all this? Are people just covering up their discomfort at going into a field solely to make a lot of money by proclaiming that IB/PE/Consulting represents this huge challenge which in itself is some normative good? It's been a rough few days so I'm venting, but I think it's really easy to get tunnel vision...