A1 Constantly Feeling Like I’m Drowning and Never Good Enough

A bit of a rant/emotional vent that's been building up over the past few months. I'm in an A1 at a BB bank within P&U. The models are very specific to the sector, and technically complex. Before starting the job in September I was only ever exposed to Corporate Valuation models, but renewables and utilities are extremely different. I've done some online courses to help, but each deal is structured so differently across different transactions.

I have been staffed on a couple of live transactions, but the one I'm currently on is the most complex and mind boggling. I do feel like I'm learning a lot over each 16+ hour day, but many times I feel like I'm falling short of being a net positive to the team. My associate/VPs give me slightly harder tasks each day, but I always feel like I take 2x longer than they take on similar tasks, and can only get 60-70% of the way there. I ask for help, but with time pressures of the client there is only so much time for them to hold my hand through the tasks, so they just end up doing it themselves.

The feeling of falling short, exhaustion, and stress is really getting to me. I feel like I'm drowning every single day, and I'm only able to get half of my head above water at the end of every day. 

Will it end? I hate feeling this lost and stupid, especially combined with the sleep deprivation. Any advice is appreciated.

Comments (18)

Most Helpful
pipole4, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just hang tough. You've been on the desk 6 months? You haven't been holding a model for that long, there is nothing in your message thag seems out of the ordinary.

I'd be surprised if they need as much as 50% of your time to get something done. As an associate or VP, I could do anything an analyst had to do, without mistake (important for models) in about a quarter of their time.

That comes with years of experience! No one expects you to do anything else than:

  • being dedicated & hungry, and it looks like you're putting the hours
  • learning new things all the time, looks like you're doing ok
  • trying to not fuck beyond the reasonable - same

You'd be amazed at the difference that another 6 months will make to your performance.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs

This was me in a similar niche and highly technical group (O&G) had no fucking idea what i was doing and felt like I was drowning everyday for about the first 6-8 months. But I'm telling you the learning curve flattens significantly and after about a year I was shocked at what I was able to do, keep grinding and putting in the effort, your asso's and VP's will recognize your work and you will improve greatly over time. I remember looking back at my work from way back and laughing at how bad it was. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

Haha, thank you. Yes I've had some O&G come across too! So mind numbing when you don't even know the terminology :)

A lot of my other friends in banking say they've already passed their learning curve peaks (but their models are 1/6th the size of mine) so I'm really hoping 1 year is more of a realistic timeframe! I'll hang tight!

reformed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Pretty normal and not something to be concerned about. It could be a while (years) until you're as fast and accurate as your associates and VPs. You should have a mid-year review which will give you an indication as to how you're performing. 

If you're putting in a good faith effort and learn reasonably quickly, you'll do fine. Personally, I'd much rather work for someone who is a bit slower vs. someone who thinks they're god's gift to their analyst class because they can link up an LBO template and tries to justify any mistake they make by sayings it's pointless or an irrelevant detail. 

  • 2
reformed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man, that's the job you signed up for. Why do you think comp scales so quickly as you get more senior?

Anyone who thinks they're fully "up to speed" in a year is either lying to themselves or too stupid to understand how little they actually know. 

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

You're what, ~6 months in? Sounds like you're somewhere between "right on track" and "above average" for our sector coverage. P&U is known to have a steep learning curve due to being very technical and also extremely busy. True for both rate base side and non-regulated side. Doesn't help that most people never do power industry modeling in any of their accounting, valuation, or corporate finance classes or in any clubs or prior internships for that matter. 

WSO is full of overachievers, but I think it takes 1.5-2 years and/or 2-3 M&A deals to really start to comfortably run with different situations (non-regulated, regulated, thermal, renewable, asset / portfolio level, corporate / platform level) and processes. Don't compare your development with analysts in "slap a multiple" groups, since they're gonna (relatively) run circles around you for a little while.

Deal Team Six, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have switched jobs 3+ times and each time for the first six months I am a net negative to my team. Like your switch to P&U, my switches have been significant and therefore Ive had to learn the basic ways of working as they were unique from past roles. Keep your head up and acknowledge that these adjustments will take time. If your team continues to give you more challenging tasks, you are doing a good job and should not be afraid to make mistakes. Stay positive my friend, you got this 

RE_Student_95, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I promise, it gets better.

I was in a very similar situation in a similar group. Renewables is an extremely technically nuanced industry, and assets have a very unique capital structure

Financial structuring aside, the markets are fragmented, new technologies and strategies are emerging, and succeeding in the industry requires a basic (non academic, but conceptual) understanding of the technologies, transmission systems, power markets, electrical engineering, etc.

It will likely take you a full 18 months (maybe 24) to feel very comfortable in any given financial model, and afterwards it might take another 12-24 months after that to get a strong conceptual grasp on the industry itself. 

If you choose to pursue a career in this sector, the same steep learning curve that you are suffering through will play in your favor once you develop the necessary skill set to contribute.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

You really hit the nail on the head with how I'm feeling. It's these monstrous renewables models with 140+ assets and a gajillion sensitivities that are killing me. Thank you for this very helpful advice- you're right I hope the skill set I'm able to gain from pushing through this period of my career will make me an invaluable asset in the industry. Just gotta keep trying!

  • PM in HF - EquityHedge

Most analysts don't really start clicking until the ~year mark. You'll be fine. 

leveredloser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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