$500k IBD role vs $50k part-time job

I'm a senior IBD associate at a top bank, my total comp is around $400-500k and is expected to increase every year especially if I make it to VP level which earns around $700k at my bank.

I've already been told I'm on track for VP so things are going good but I have been feeling very burnt out, I'm good at my job and my work life / hours are good (relative to other bankers) so I'm not burnt out in the sense of hours but I just can't be bothered to work anymore and need a break. I want more of a "chill" life where I can just wake up whenever I want, go to the gym whenever I want, play video games and spend time with family and friends.

I spoke to a friend about this who works at an early stage tech start up and funnily enough they were hiring for a role and offered it to me which is a $50k part-time job. It's a really chill and easy role with only 2 hours work per day (including weekends) and it's fully remote from home.

I really want to accept this but don't know if I'm just being a lazy idiot throwing away an incredible $500k career that'll eventually lead to a $1m+ MD role in the future. Plus inflation is crazy so 10 years ago $50k was survivable but today $50k is absolutely nothing and various google searches state that $50k is basically a very poor minimum wage for the bottom earners which will get you no where in life with current inflation.. but it is only 2 hours per day so gives me that chill life I really want so feel this is the right move for me but need some advice.

Just to give context on my current cash buffer savings I unfortunately, despite my high income, haven't got any cash saved up - my spending over the years has been extremely high as I rent a really nice apartment, travel a lot, go out partying spending a lot on alcohol etc.. I did have a savings account which grew nicely over the years but sadly I lost everything in the market crash.. it's literally down 96% at the time of writing this post (not joking) so if I take this job I have no cash buffer to continue my current lifestyle and so my life will shift dramatically and I may need to move back in with parents for a while or to somewhere with a super cheap cost of living.


Can’t advise you here but curious as to how you are down 96%… sounds like someone was in TQQQ calls?


This is a tough call. Once you’ve reached that point with a job, it’s hard to continue. Can you take time off at all? If you can, do that first, then decide.

Another option is the leaving the job and the expensive lifestyle you’ve created for yourself. Go back to what is truly important to you (mental health, relationships, etc.) and take the job that gives you more time to figure things out. IB is supposed to give you a variety of exits, right? So just give yourself time to rejuvenate and then go after what you want at that point. 

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Seems like an extreme overreaction that you'll almost certainly end up regretting, as $50k is barely a livable salary. And given where markets are right now (highly likely recession + widespread layoffs in Q4/Q1), you would be crazy to take that salary at an unproven, early stage start-up that could easily go under in a serious downturn. 

There's obviously a middle ground here. I would look for a fully remote FP&A role in tech that pays you ~$200k to work max 50 hours/week. Log off at 5 or 6 every day and have the weekends to yourself. 


Work two jobs. One in chill FP&A/CorpDev, and do the part-time job in your free time - sounds like you would do it in your free time anyways.


I thought this was a joke but if it’s not, just go work for a finance/biz role at a tech company. Can make $200-$300k at your level with very chill hours (not 2hr days, but honestly not far from it for some gigs). Garden leave in between can be your full unwind period.


One of the main pros of a career in finance is the rapid comp growth, which causes people to slog and grind in their 20s for a chance at the big bucks in their 30s. In your case, your transitioning into a mid-level role with a clear path to senior banker. However, the consequence is your burned out and want to leave ASAP.

I feel like in this situation a compromise can be made. There are a lot of high-finance-adjacent careers that are extremely appealing from a Comp-WLB ratio perspective. After a few years in the 75-80 hour range, you’re probably averaging 70 hours a week and compelled to always be in an “on and ready to go” state, which has been extremely taxing. In this case, a switch to perhaps a capital markets role/ boutique bank/ private credit/ PE secondaries/ corp dev/ corporate banking might be the answer.

That move would drop down the sheer number of hours worked and free up the weekend for the gym/ sleeping in/ video games. A major aspect of IB is the exit opps and pursuing a 50k role at a relatively unproven start-up on the brink of a recession doesn’t seem to be the most prudent move.

One of my favorite posts of all time on WSO was a VP asking if they should leave their cushy debt advisory role to a more intense environment for higher pay. The response was an overwhelming no and reasoned that they could make that move once they are more senior. In your case, you have a phenomenal trajectory ahead of you and hours-wise have conquered the most brutal stages. I think a slight job change to a more comfortable environment during your mid-career years might help you the most and maintain a substantial amount of the upside of a finance career.

Wishing you all the best with your future decisions!


Yes ofc!

I don't think I can post links so just search this up on google: vp-banker-tentative-about-new-sweatshop-hours.

The best comment on that thread also has a great perspective


Wouldn’t underestimate that $50k job. Pretty clutch after the this round of layoffs


MD isn't always guaranteed, you're already thinking of not continuing so I wouldn't rely on it being there for you in the future (in other words, you might not want it 2, 5 or 10 years from now). I would have 6-12 months of income saved up before I quit, especially in this economy


Bro, my entire net worth is in crypto, yet my portfolio is down "only" 70%. How is yours down by 96%?!

Anyways to address your actual query, is there a chance that your current employer will be ready to grant you an unpaid sabbatical for 3-6 months? Maybe take that time off for yourself and then work the 50k job and come back to your current job, refreshed and energised?


Take a sabbatical. You could easily get 3 months off and then you can chill and decide what you want to do long-term. Also, look up burnout and burnout recovery, it's no joke.

Use a month of it to just relax, no thinking about work/career, and then in the back part think about career. This is where corp dev makes sense for a lot of people. No driven person is going to be happy working 2 hours a day (although it would be amazing the first 6 months, once you recover from your burnout you will be bored and stuck). Something closer to 9-5 with limited or no weekends is likely the move.

But to answer your question I would definitely not take the startup. You're making your options only IB or startup, you need to find a middle ground.


Unclear if troll or not but going to give you the benefit here as its a certified account.

1. As others have said, see if you can explore a sabbatical (I know, kind of rare in IB, but if you're good and the culture isn't horrible they may play ball).

2. If #1 doesn't work, take time off outright to reflect on what you want and why. By your post seems like you're either completely burnt out (you didn't give a reason for wanting to accept the $50k job other than WFH and very few hours) or, again, giving you the benefit here, maybe craving something new but not quite sure and this $50k offer has redeeming qualities + easy connection re: the friend

3. If you're serious about a change then the first thing you need to do is not find a new job, but rather come to terms that you're going to need some SIGNIFICANT lifestyle changes in one area of your life (QoL / spending / social) if you want to change the other part of your life (career, fulfillment, etc.). I can't tell you what the graph here looks like but there may very well be a world where you're happier (or not) with a job change. The only thing I can guarantee is if you don't shake those golden handcuffs what could've been an amazing opportunity will turn into a regret that you end up resenting because no career pivot will let you continue spending $350-450k in cash p.a.

4. Always remember that leaving IB isn't really a destination, just a trip in your journey. Plenty of examples of folks that have left for entrepreneurial pursuits and either come back or pivoted to PE / VC / etc.

5. Good luck


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