2 months in and I want to quit

Just started my analyst journey at one of the stronger banks, but my lack of motivation for the job is really making me doubt my decision to go into IB now. I did the internship and was super motivated for that, but now I realise that my motivation back then was solely stemming from earning the return offer, and not because I actually enjoyed the work. Tried to rationalise into the following points below. Is anyone else feeling the same? And for senior analysts / associates, did you guys feel the same when starting out? How did you get over it? Was it just a matter of enduring it out and things will start to feel better?

  1. The decoupling of effort and reward. In our previous lives as students, we dictate the effort we put in; I'm sure we all worked hard - turning up to lectures, doing assignments, revision. We also reap the full reward of our efforts - good grades. As analysts however, we also work hard - get thrown loads of dumb work (next point below) with expectations that are sometimes unreasonable, but what do we get out of it? Sure.. a few extra tens of thousands at the end of the bonus cycle, but the lions share of the monetary reward goes to the partners. You can argue that 'reward' can come in the form of learning as well. Sure, some good stuff to learn on this job, but we all know - we're not learning anything when it is the kind of work in the next point...

  2. I am starting to realise how crappy, mindless, menial, unnecessary a lot of the work we do as analysts are. For one, 60% of the stuff we work on dont even make it to the print shops because of the endless comments / kill this kill that. And even the stuff that do get brought to the client, most clients dont even look through the whole deck! 

  3. The unnecessarily long hours and expectations to be on call all the time, even on weekends. I think this is due to the high fees, high salaries and hence attracting the 'IB' personalities - high achievers, perfectionists, will do anything to be the best, even if it means sacrificing health, relationships etc. Correct me if I'm wrong but the whole industry of IB could still function very well if it were done by less high achieving people - yeah decks may be shorter, formatting may be shitty, less level of detail in the models, valuations may be slightly off, but at the end of the day, deals will still close.

What do you guys think? Am I making sense here? I really struggle to see the value we add as bankers, and the reason to stay motivated for such as job.

Comments (28)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 9, 2022 - 4:01pm

You're 2 months in, nobody is going to let you run the merger analysis or build the operating model alongside the CFO until you show you can handle the basic "crappy, menial, and unnecessary work". You're in a role where as a 22 year old get to learn the inner workings of companies, be apart of growth strategies and strategic initiatives, and have high visibility to what C-Suite executives do while getting overpaid to do it. The hard technical knowledge and soft skills you can pick up after 2 years of banking can't be replicated in any other job and yeah, you do tons of bullshit tasks and have to be on-call most of the time (you will learn when things are important and when they are not and be able to push back accordingly as you progress, I rarely opened my laptop on a Saturday my whole 2nd year) If you stick with it for a year or two you'll turn into a machine and be able to go do whatever you want and have more coin in your account than anyone else you know. That was my rationale for sticking with it, I'm in PE now with significantly more control over my time and love it, not sure how I would be able to end up here w/o my banking stint. 

Sep 9, 2022 - 11:30pm
Captain CapEx, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank god I came across this post. Also 1.5 months on the desk and fucking hate it. I really liked my internship where I worked hard, only maxed out around ~85 hours on my worst weeks, and - most importantly - had that internship offer as a goal.

I'm typing this all pissed off at 11:30pm on a Friday night as I stay up for comments that really aren't necessary in the first place – especially on a Friday night. Really started to wonder over the last few weeks how this will be sustainable for 2 more years. I don't want to be a bitcher and moaner because I know that thousands of kids have pulled 90-100 hour weeks for decades and been just fine. But good god, was this a rude awakening to the real world.

I was fortunate enough to land a great PE offer in on-cycle a few weeks ago, but I've spent the last few weeks wondering if I'd be able to make it to then or even like the job once there. Sure, the WLB still sucks on the spectrum of jobs and it's practically banking 2.0 in a lot of aspects, but I'm glad to know that there's light at the end of this 2 year tunnel. Not delusional to think that PE is the promised land, but at least the hours will be marginally better and the work streams will be more predictable.

Thanks for sharing your positive experience in the move to PE – hopefully they'll be enough to keep my sanity through the next couple of years

Sep 12, 2022 - 9:41am
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm typing this all pissed off at 11:30pm on a Friday night as I stay up for comments that really aren't necessary in the first place – especially on a Friday night. Really started to wonder over the last few weeks how this will be sustainable for 2 more years. I don't want to be a bitcher and moaner because I know that thousands of kids have pulled 90-100 hour weeks for decades and been just fine. But good god, was this a rude awakening to the real world.

IDK how your group works, but if you are getting comments on a Friday night, its not a you thing.  I have noticed that it is typically one person (or several) if there is a way, I would try and limit your exposure to those people and find the people that are better in your group.  It can literally be as easy as grabbing coffee with some other people and saying  " I have not worked with you yet, I would like to work with you to get as much exposure to the team as possible". Also gauge on whether you need to do comments right away or not.  You don't want to back yourself into a corner, where you are know as the guy that will turn comment every Friday night and Saturday morning. 

Sep 9, 2022 - 4:08pm
CharlesCheese, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Look, I'm not usually one to defend banking, especially as someone who got burnt out and left to do something else.  However, I was 6 years into my career, coming off 2 of the most brutal work years of my life, and left to do something I was actually excited about.  Guess what, I'd still rather be doing absolutely anything else but working.  It's a job, it's a means to support my lifestyle, provide for a burgeoning family, and fund my hobbies.  Perhaps I'm negative but I was never thinking I would be bouncing out of bed, skipping to the office, and smiling all day everyday.

I actually agree with a lot of what you're saying but it's not at all profound.  Banking is draining, it's not particularly stimulating, and it's difficult to see the forest through the trees as a junior.  It also, for better or worse, gives you a meaningful stamp of approval in the business world that is not afforded to most 22-24 year olds.  You'll gain a certain cachet that can help you in your career, credibility, and open doors for other opportunities (btw, all these other opportunities also can be monotonous, demanding, and not very emotionally rewarding).

Maybe this reaction is out of line because I've recently been annoyed at my younger brother who has quit multiple opportunities because things are not as perfect as he imagined. I'd have a different reaction if you had identified other paths forward that may align better with your interests, but otherwise you're not really saying anything here.  Banking is what it is, I have to imagine you knew what you were getting into. 

I sound like a hardo and I hate it, but seriously how many posts do we need from people 60 days in spewing recycled critiques of a job they signed up for?

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Sep 9, 2022 - 4:14pm

1. This is true of any job. Yeah, it sucks. But I think one of the hardest parts of transitioning from college to adult life is finding satisfaction elsewhere. You are just expected to work hard at work with minimal "reward". Join sports leagues, make friends, travel, eat at good restaurants... that is the reward for doing the work.

2. Any job in your 20s is mindless. PE is mindless. Even MD work is mindless - they spend a huge chunk of time looking for missing commas or rewriting bullet points, after all. IB is not rocket science.

3. This is the only one I think is IB specific. Corp dev has much shorter decks because they don't spend all week on useless materials... but they aren't the sellside competing with 10 other banks offering essentially the same product.

I think a lot of this is just adjusting to post-grad life. Your staffer isn't going to give you a standing ovation for doing a ton of work, it's just the expectation. The hours and WLB are the only part that would change with another job. IMO, do it for two years and use the time to figure out what you want to do longer-term.

Sep 12, 2022 - 9:47am
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1. This is true of any job. Yeah, it sucks. But I think one of the hardest parts of transitioning from college to adult life is finding satisfaction elsewhere. You are just expected to work hard at work with minimal "reward". Join sports leagues, make friends, travel, eat at good restaurants... that is the reward for doing the work.

I disagree with this.  Sure there are a lot of corporate jobs that suck, but hours and the stress of banking can make the adjustment significantly harder if you are in a bad group and have shitty leaders.  

Sep 12, 2022 - 12:46pm
Bank Slut, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Happens every year after first-years hit the desk. These posts are warranted because transitioning into post-grad work is a huge life event that many fail to mention - both mentally, physically, and emotionally.

To OP - all your feelings are valid. You're now placed into the real world and will need to search for your new "happiness". Your mindset will slowly evolve and you'll need to evaluate your desires and best practices. Use these next two years as a time of deep introspection to understand what you want the future to be and work backwards to plan accordingly. You got this!  

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 9, 2022 - 9:26pm

Your reward is money and exit opps. Few other jobs can help you accelerate your career as much as banking.
 

Try to draw your satisfaction from getting good at your job and be well regarded by your group and and not from what happens to the final product. Did your slide get killed? The client didn't look at the deck? The deal died? Who cares, if you did a good job and become a go-to analyst, your bosses will remember come bonus time.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 9, 2022 - 10:43pm

You gotta realize a job is a job and nothing more. My parents work standard jobs and it's just a way to pay the bills. Here I am a year out of college making more than the 2 of them combined.

Sure, the work sucks but I worked a shitty retail job when I was younger and that sucked, at least I make way more aligning logos than folding clothes and and being a cashier.

It gets easier 6 months in when you are actually capable of doing work. The stuff I give my first year is either 1. so boring that I don't feel like doing and doesn't need to be super accurate (call notes, internal stuff, etc) 2. stuff I would typically outsource to India/value serve but you need practice / reps (converting pdf slides from other banks into PowerPoints. Typing up a schedule in excel from a pdf) 3. stuff that isn't actually that urgent that is easy for me to re-do. If it takes me 10 minutes, I expect it takes someone 2-3 hours because I've done it 100times (scheduling an internal call etc), 4. anything random side project that a senior randomly comes up with that is accompanied with some variation of "great learning opportunity" or "would love to see what else exists out there" that will 100% be forgotten about. 

Would recommend saving 3-5 pages you work on this week in a as a pdf in your email / on your desktop with a note on how long they took you. Look again in 2-3 months and you'll be amazed on how far you've come. It's hard to see your progress in the weeds but when you zoom out it's incredible.

Once you get an intern it gets sooooo much better. Gotta spend 2 weeks training them to be adequate and then you can offload your shitty work to them. They say yes to everything because they are so desperate for return offers and they believe banking is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's harder once the new first years join tho because your decently trained intern has left and the 1st years find out real quick the job isn't so great when the firm isn't wining and dining them and HR disappears.


TLDR: every job sucks but at least this one pays well. You 100% need to find a hobby or some friends not in finance to make it suck less tho.

Sep 10, 2022 - 8:37am
bluecollarfinanceguy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Guys, I realize being career bankers is not going be everyone's aspiration, and that is fine.

2 months into any job, you're going to be the lowest person on the totem pole and the work will be challenging.

Personally I think everyone who gets an analyst gig should at a minimum stick out the first two years. Learn the role, see what banking is going to be like, and if it's not for you, leave after 2 years. You'll make a couple bucks along the way too.

  • Summer Associate in PE - LBOs
Sep 11, 2022 - 2:12am

This is what happens when you don't actually do any thinking for yourself and you let others opinions dictate what you think you should do.

Combined with that this kid is bitching 2 months into the job. You havnt done shit or learned anything and you think you deserve to be running the show.

Save yourself some time and quit now or change your mindset. Cause you will go nowhere thinking like this.

Sep 11, 2022 - 6:51am
Middle Eastern Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Re points 1 and 2 - what the fuck did you do as an intern compared to FT that led you to this epiphany?? Surely your work as an intern was at least as mind numbing / pointless in which case you shouldn't have signed up for FT??

Re point 3 - think about if you're the client? If you're paying for a service, would you not want the best service??

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 11, 2022 - 12:50pm

Get a deal or two under your belt, be able to pass a modeling test and get out after a year (if you still hate it)

Sep 11, 2022 - 2:39pm
SansSerifSam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To be honest, life's to short to waste time in banking if you're really not feeling it so quick in. Tbh I would give up and go do something with better WL balance.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 11, 2022 - 4:32pm

I'm at a bank with a better culture than most, and I'm loving the job. Sure most of the WSO hardos would make fun of my lack of prestige, but having some freedom on weekends is better than none. Not to mention smaller deal teams allow me to have an expanded role on simpler deals that aren't as complicated to close. 

  • Intern in CB
Sep 11, 2022 - 10:45pm
[Comment removed by mod team]
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 12, 2022 - 5:54pm

Same, I'm at a top mm with good culture and am really enjoying the job so far. Night and day difference from my SA at a different (and larger) bank. People really underestimate how much culture matters.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Sep 12, 2022 - 12:25am

Finish out the year and re-evaluate then.  It'd be a mistake to leave now and your exits aren't going to be very good.  Frankly, you haven't been on the job long enough to be jaded, so try to re-set your attitude.  If you don't fuck up any of the easy work you're getting early in your analyst stint, you will start to be given more interesting work (there will still be waste of time BS, but you're getting paid well enough to put up w/ it) and that may change your mindset. 

Tough it out for at least 10 more month - there are much worse fates than earning 6 figures getting a valuable apprenticeship, even if it sucks at times.  And yes, there are going to be times when you're going to be eating some shit sandwiches, whether you're an analyst, associate, or VP

Sep 12, 2022 - 5:10am
WB97, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

As analysts however, we also work hard - get thrown loads of dumb work (next point below) with expectations that are sometimes unreasonable, but what do we get out of it? Sure.. a few extra tens of thousands at the end of the bonus cycle, but the lions share of the monetary reward goes to the partners.

"How working as an Investment Banker made me a Socialist"

Analysts of the world unite... you have nothing to lose except your 12C's

Sep 12, 2022 - 5:12am
WB97, what's your opinion? Comment below:

More seriously it's a bit ironic to simultaneously claim that (i) you spend your life doing bitch work that you know has value and (ii) the MD's that win mandates and generate revenue get paid more than you. Adult daycare indeed.

Sep 12, 2022 - 5:24pm
thegreatspoofing, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ignore every other top comment here, no c-suite exec is gonna wanna suck you off because they see you on a zoom call. No PE firm/hedgie is gonna want to hire you because you're CC'ed in the emails. If you find the menial work boring and realize soon that even the more "intellectual" work is regurgitating numbers that management/third parties provide to you, start recruiting for the buy-side STAT. Or corp fin if u find out that the buy side is more of the same. Always be closing, always maintain max optionality and progress upwards by evaluating your options. Plebs stay in a job even when they realize it's not for them. Give it 6 months and then pivot ASAP if your opinions hold. You're more likely to maximize utility over your lifetime by seeing what's out there until you find the place that's right for you. WAGMI brother

Sep 13, 2022 - 8:30pm
fsfdfsd, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Sep 13, 2022 - 10:10pm
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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