Broke down in front of my mom tonight

Been sick as a dog getting only 6 hours of sleep all week. Worked last night (Friday) till midnight, woke up at 7:30 am to work, have more work waiting for me tomorrow morning.

Was on the phone with my mom and she started nagging me about something really stupid and I just completely lost it. Just couldn't stop crying. Idk what this job is but it's really starting to change me… and I'm only 5 fucking months in.

But I need the money, and lateral market is shit so don't know where to go. I really do respect all of you who can bite down on that stick and grind this thing out. I really do. I wish I were more like you. But I'm not. And it really sucks sometimes

Comments (79)

6d 
ddd1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lateral ASAP to something with better WLB. If you don't like it now you probably won't like the entire grind of making it to MD/Partner. Maybe try corporate dev or corp M&A? Some finance role in tech?

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6d 
ddd1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah I see. Well at the worst, after your 2 years is up, go to something with better WLB for sure. 

6d 
MrPermaBear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

No job is worth sacrificing your mental health.

Try getting some exercise and eating as well as possible. It'll really help manage the stress. Add in some meditation too. 10-20 minutes per day is easy to fit in and makes a huge difference for me personally.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
6d 

My parents came to visit me during my first year and I recall trying to take them to dinner this one Saturday, but I had to cancel due to a senior banker making my whole team turn a deliverable for a non-live project, so they sat behind me while I worked. Halfway through the night I went into the bathroom and cried but didn't want them to hear, so I did it into the towel.

Looking back it's not that serious, but when you're sleep-deprived and stressed any little thing can set you off. The first year is the hardest and it gets better man. Unfortunately, this is par for the course, but fortunately you'll make it through. Stay strong, you're not alone :)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
6d 

I think the thing I'm really having a hard time with is that the standard advice when you, me, and other countless analysts have breakdowns like this, is that "it's just part of the analyst experience".

And I truly don't mean this as a knock to you. It's just a knock to IB itself. I'm getting so fed up with the culture of banking that makes it seem acceptable for us to miss out on truly essential things like sleep, family time, social experiences, and hell even just the ability to step away from your computer without feeling an overwhelming sense of dread.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
6d 

The advice I'm trying to share is that your pain is real and valid, but it also may likely be a transient part of the learning experience. Many analysts have a breakdown or hard times in their first year and as most of those first years mature into second years, few would look back and think "yeah I should've quit then and there". But only you know what's best for you at the end of the day. Good luck!

4d 
sjsjsj, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To elaborate on this: I remember realizing how much the stress and challenges of consulting made it easier for me to handle stress and challenges at my subsequent tech job. It's not that you will always feel that way - your capacity to handle stuff without feeling shitty, or your capacity to power through it, actually increases. (That's not to say that you should seek out jobs indefinitely where you must work on 6h sleep while sick...just that, especially with the right attitude, this adversity is actually building your capacity.)

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
5d 

Agree with this. Its crazy how much sleep deprivation, stress and burnout can change your emotions and outlook on life. And when you get a couple days to sleep and destress you think wtf was I so upset for lol

  • 1
  • Intern in IB-M&A
3h 

so they sat behind me while I worked. Halfway through the night I went into the bathroom and cried but didn't want them to hear, so I did it into the towel.

This almost made me tear up

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
6d 

I know your pain brother. Even if we bite the stick we all feel it when we're eating dinner at midnight, mindlessly repeating the commute and work on a few hours of crap sleep, and unable to find time for anything else. I was just able to go to the store and start cleaning my apartment today after nearly 2 weeks of constant work.


I hope you have fellow analysts you can safely vent to, and I hope you can keep your perspective strong. I try to keep in mind that this is a game of attrition, and all that matters is cashing checks and building that resume.

6d 
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This actually happened to me not during banking but during PE. Was getting grinded the hardest it had ever been and was nonstop 7 days a week for 16-18 hrs a day months on end. Parents told me to prioritize mental health and take a week. Had to fake illness to do so but was so worth it and guess what, due to half my shit being fake deadlines, not much was put behind schedule and my colleagues/friends weren't bearing the brunt. Obviously this is very anecdotal and specific to my situation but consider taking at least two days attached to a weekend to reset

  • 3
5d 
SOFRsoGood, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I actively try never to think of my 2yrs in banking. Aside from the friends I made, it feels like another world the intense disaster I was mentally at all times basically. It gets better man, PE is a lot of hours too but so much better.

5d 
BankBoy23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Love ur name. But this is how I feel while in it, lol I find myself blocking experiences out of my mind, can make recalling certain parts of deals difficult. It's just a dark period now and it'd hard if there isn't a tangible light at the end of the tunnel yet, but trusting that it's coming. It's completely messed with my state of mind and world view. Can't wait to start working towards being back to normal.

  • 1
5d 
Devils Advocate, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There's absolutely nothing wrong with you and don't think for a second that you're "soft" because of this job.

The analyst years, particularly the first, are brutal and many people suffer in silence.  There are a ton of analysts (many in your class) going through the same thing.

 When I was an analyst, I definitely went through a  rough patch that significantly altered my interactions with my parents and eventually I got called out for it.  

It's hard to do but you have to prioritize your mental and physical health. This job has a way of making those personal sacrifices seem like a badge of honor and it's not, because the banks don't endure the long-term consequences - you do. I happily sacrificed aiming for top-bucket, which doesn't mean shit post-tax vs middle bucket, so that I could survive the gauntlet.  Your career is a marathon,  not a sprint, so don't completely ruin yourself before it has even really started. 

Try to get a day off to just simply recharge (tell them you're sick, family shit, etc). You'll come out of this far more productive 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
3d 

Personal days should be emphasized / required for everyone.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
5d 

Is nobody commenting on how weak OP is? 6 hours of sleep per week would be paradise for me, I'm running on 4-5 hours these days

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  • 17
Funniest
  • Intern in IB-M&A
5d 

most socially aware WSO user

  • 26
  • Prospect in ER
5d 

You're so cool bro I hope your MD sees this and makes you top bucket this year 

  • 2
3d 
illinois122, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Damn man, share some Z's with the rest of us!

  • Intern in ER
2d 

Didn't know Chef Rush was on WSO, you looking to lateral?

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
5d 

Sorry to hear this OP, many of us have probably had moments like this. Stay strong and try to get some more sleep and consistently, as it'll improve your efficiency and mentality. 

Additionally, take on fewer staffings. You do not get paid more for doing more projects, so just do your projects well. 

5d 
BankBoy23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Would just shoot back that you're booked with another pitch or deal work. Honestly usually not worth their trouble to really debate or dig in, they'll just send the work to another analyst. I would do this tactically though and not make it too glaringly obvious what you're doing if possible. 

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
5d 

Take some days off and catch up on sleep, eat some good food, hang out with friends etc

I have gotten into gaming in my free time recently, and found it has helped me deal with stress and boosts my mood. 

5d 
GBull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm a fair few years into my financial career, the one piece of advice I can give would be to read the book "Make Your Bed" by William H. McRaven.

While his graduation speech was great, his book goes into detail on the 10 things to remember and the context behind why he chooses them. It's a very short book and very easy to read through. But it'll put things into perspective very quickly on how to manage things like this. 

The only thing I wish was that I had a copy of this when I started working in finance many years ago and had to learn it the hard way.

5d 
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

These things ebb and flow.  When you say you're "only 5 months in" you're implying that its just going to get worse.  It probably won't.  It will probably get better soon, and then worse again but you'll be more prepared for the next one.

Suggest putting aside these bigger career questions and focusing on getting through the current storm.  

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5d 
reformed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm so tired of analysts acting like this is some badge of honor. 

If you're really getting that little sleep on a regular basis and it's not driven by your social life, you're either working inefficiently, bad at your job or on a team that isn't using your time efficiently. This is a sign of something seriously wrong and is something you should be actively working to address, NOT something that should in any way be encouraged. 

Array
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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
5d 

Thanks for the advice, sending an email to my MD telling him to be more efficient I'll be right back

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4d 
PommesQT, what's your opinion? Comment below:

6 is like good for me …

Yep look, plenty of us have worked worse hours regularly for less pay than you, for the decade when employers had the upper hand. We don't flex it now or subject our juniors to the same thing so just stuff it.

5d 
m_1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think putting things in perspective is always a helpful exercise. 

Yes, it's a shitty work environment, but it will be over fairly soon. It's not like you're stuck with an uncurable permanent health issue.

When I had to do some serious grindy grindy a few years ago + was losing a huge chunk of my net worth per day, I was just grateful at least my health was solid and that made it easy to get through it.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
5d 

You're not alone, I broke down crying in my apartment during my first year. Taking care of your mental health is underrated in this job.
 

When I was feeling blue about the job, I started practicing mindful meditation, went short walks around the block, took mini cat naps in the evening when I worked from home (8-15 minutes). I also started exercising on weekends and tried to eat healthier. I would also recommend talking to a professional, there are services that offer virtual telehealth appointments to make it more convenient.

there's also a new movie on Netflix called Stutz. It's a fireside chat between Jonah Hill and his therapist, and the therapist would walk through exercises he would practice with his patients. I'd recommend checking that out too, as I have found them helpful as well. 
 

Hope for the best for you and hang in there. 

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5d 
goliath2235, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just quit for the sake of your health

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
5d 

Exact same spot as you 6 months ago, except I had 4 years of experience at an EB. My romantic and social life was falling apart, I was miserable, I had no energy for my hobbies etc. 
 

i pulled an all nighter on my birthday and had to cancel my own dinner for some dumb deliverable that never went anywhere. I missed my sister's 21st birthday. I got chewed out over the phone while I was taking my parents out for drinks for their anniversary. You get the point.

Some people deal with it. I realized I was sick of being treated like that as a senior associate and being pressured to feel that way because I was in a job that people would kill for; and that I should be grateful for it. 
 

soooo I immediately started trawling LinkedIn for anything and everything. Found a strategy role at a hedge fund I moved to a couple of months ago that pays me $250k, working 50-60 hours a week around people who aren't so miserable. 

banking is just a uniquely miserable beast at times. Now that I'm outside of it and look back at how I rationalized it I'm embarrassed with myself. There's more to life if you need it. 

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4d 
NG Guy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You gotta go buddy. Life is short in a cosmic sense but long for decisions like this. It doesn't matter. Don't be miserable. I spent years in the military watching people die and I feel I've learned it's a waste to do something you hate. So you don't like it. So what. You're no less a person. You're still doing great. You recognize it now. Good. Go do something you like. Find yourself a good woman and you're set. But don't do a job that does this to you. And respectfully, cuz you only get one, tell your mom to get off your ass. You're making your own bones and you're done doing what mom says.

4d 
imposter_syndrome, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I love my mother to death, but she is, well, a handful. During a particularly tough week she calls me and starts bitching at me for the dumbest thing and for the first time in my life I didn't placate her and was like, I really, really don't have time for this.

This type of thing has been happening to me more and more while in banking. Everything else in life is cake and you have little patience for nonsense.

To commiserate with the OP, there's been a couple of times in banking that have brought me to tears because of stress. Just gotta let it happen and when your come up for air look back and on it and be like, yeah, I dealt with that and now my bar has been raised. Makes you better.

  • Works at Other
4d 

Save money. I got paid really poorly for the first 3-4 years of my career (aka no / low bonus). Really, really poorly for IBD, which my MD blamed on bad deal flow / deals not closing (which is his problem, not mine). Also had toxic teams and / or bosses.

I saved just under 300k in those years (incl. retirement accounts) and then gave them the finger to leave. I developed a serious health problem by then (which thankfully went away the moment I got more sleep and less stress) and that 300k gave me the courage to walk away.

You don't even need 300k to walkaway - honestly save about a year's worth of expenses and start looking for other roles (PE / BD / tech whatever). Having that option to quit can preserve your sanity, even if you don't use it.

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  • Associate 2 in IB - Cov
4d 

What kind of firm did you work at?

  • Works at Other
4d 

What kind of firm did you work at?

Well... a pretty shit one. Globally well regarded, but I wasn't in the US. The local team was so much of a joke that I avoided putting my photo for the team page and used the faceless FB one. I had a punitive contract structure that made it very painful to leave, don't want to say more because this is already very specific.

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4d 
nirav.m, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Analyst 1 in IB - Gen

Been sick as a dog getting only 6 hours of sleep all week. Worked last night (Friday) till midnight, woke up at 7:30 am to work, have more work waiting for me tomorrow morning.

Was on the phone with my mom and she started nagging me about something really stupid and I just completely lost it. Just couldn't stop crying. Idk what this job is but it's really starting to change me… and I'm only 5 fucking months in.

But I need the money, and lateral market is shit so don't know where to go. I really do respect all of you who can bite down on that stick and grind this thing out. I really do. I wish I were more like you. But I'm not. And it really sucks sometimes

Whenever you are feeling low or not able to cope-up in life with the stress and the pressure, then always look around to people who are living a much more tougher life than you. Imagine about that person who is starving the entire day and can only sleep on roads. How tough must be their life but occasionally they also smile as they know it is life and nothing is permanent. Maybe you would say that it was their luck and they didn't choose this. So then look at an army person protecting the borders and living in really tough conditions with no certainty that he / she will be alive the next minute or not and that the family they met last time was truly the last time for them. They are of the same age as yours. How strong mentally and physically they must be to accept any challenge and overcome it. Look at an athlete who wakes up everyday at 4am to practice and does it till almost 10am with a short-break and again continue from afternoon till evening to win a gold prize without complaining. I am not saying that you are not going through tough times but remember only tough times or situations create tough & great people. You are still lucky to get all the comfort like food, shelter, security, good environment etc. The ones mentioned above don't have this luxury and they still continue giving their best to reach that pinnacle. The only thing you have to give is your time and some amount of sleep and for that in return you will get a fat paycheck with bonus. Apart from the monetary benefits, the amount of learning to shape your career as a professional is something you will not get anywhere else. Keep a calm mind and focus on your goal. Always live in present which is a great meditation technique and hence you don't need separate time for this. Eat nutritious food and stay hydrated. Always pray to the Cosmos for what you want and it will make it happen. Wish you good luck! 

4d 
tredsguide, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I Hope You Have Better Days Ahead 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
3d 

Been there and can say my first year certainly had its rough days. Random things had made me feel like I wasn't good enough or lowered my self esteem. My mood improved into my second year but there are still some tough work days, I feel you mate. Push through, it gets better.

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3d 
sheet_spreader, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you feel that way you should really look for another job. Can you really imaging doing more or less the same for the rest of your career? because if you stick it out in IBD, that's what you are looking at. It will even get worse because once you become VP you lose protected time off on weekends. 

In the interim, you should learn to push back on work, especially if you plan to get out after your 2 year analyst stint. You need to realize your VPs and Asso will take every advantage of you if you let them. I've seen VPs ask junior analysts to cancel family vacation with parents to work on some stupid client service stuff / pull all-nighters when an analyst was sick in bed from COVID, and stunned to see analysts comply with these requests. Don't let them do that to you, set up a personal boundary and don't be afraid to say no when they cross it. Because honestly, what's the worst that can happen? VPs don't have the power to fire you, you might get a bad review and get bottom tier bonus. So what? at some point you will realize you can't buy a family vacation.

1d 
rubiomn9, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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1h 
smallmanbigapple, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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