How do you stay motivated?

For context, I have a genuine interest in banking and most importantly, my current coverage. I joined my group as an intern and have always been considered a top performer. While I'm not experiencing a decay in the quality of my work product, I acknowledge that there's a lot more for me to learn. My goal has always been to perform at the next level - in my case, as an associate. From my experience, making your boss' life easier is always positively rewarded. However, recently I've found myself losing a bit of steam.

I'm currently staffed on three deals, two of them comprised of a jr AN, a VP and MD, which means that I've been doing a ton of the heavy lifting in terms of project management and running the processes. I'm not sure if this what burnout feels like, but I haven't been going out of my way to "do better" or deliver above and beyond what's asked of me.

For those of you that want to stay on as career bankers, how do you motivate yourself to do better? I'd welcome any advice on the little things you do on your day-to-day to foster continuous improvement.

Comments (10)

4d 
BankBoy23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is written like such an analyst 

if you're not motivated by the work, could be a sign that you're longing for something more stimulating. Otherwise just have to slug it out if associate level work seems stimulating enough (although it sounds like from your staffings you're getting that) 

  • 2
3d 
BankBoy23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You don't say. I'm not actually an intern though. Nice to see you've adopted the crumby attitude of those around you.

2d 
SunTzu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

But he is "running the processes"! Lol

Life is more than dollars
Most Helpful
2d 
rabbit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey there, great question. I totally understand where you're coming from. Execution and process get pretty cookie cutter, broadly the same steps. Shit gets monotonous man. It comes down to us as bankers doing a really bad job of laying it out to juniors that a lot of your development has to be self-driven. There is an expectation you'll figure out what to do next and how to grow outside the title hierarchy. I think this is where you're at, obviously through no fault of your own. If banking is for you long term, the objective should be a seat at the big boy table as fast as you can and driving your own development is key.

TLDR advice: find a champion, VP or above. Anyone who'd rather be out and about building relationships than sitting at their desk. Ideally a director. Anyone who will champion your involvement in "big boy" meetings, even if for nothing else than listening and/or taking notes. There is a lot of value listening in on senior discussions re: ideas, deal strategy etc. Lots of learning by osmosis. Will really accelerate your development and get you some good face time creds if that matters.

Long form below.

I will beat this drum to death. My experience with big banks is with the hierarchy, there is a cog in the wheel aspect and the junior teams get left out of the "big picture" stuff, which is really the fun part IMO. On the M&A side, it's deal strategy, negotiation, ego management, lots of game theory. You hear the term "maintaining deal tension" thrown around, but there's a lot of thought and nuance to playing bidders off each other (or even nobody at all). It's really an art and super fun. On the coverage side, it's understanding the dynamics of your industry, seeing trends, building relationships and coming up with sellable ideas.

Emotionally, I was exactly where you were. Monotony breeds dissatisfaction, which really burns me out. Started injecting myself into the fun stuff - deal strategy convos, idea generation discussions, taking charge of messaging for pitches. Basically a lot of stuff my VP would be bogged down by. She loved it, it let her have more time go build a rolodex. It was a kiddie view into the big boy table but would give me things to learn, read up and get smart on, real development stuff. Just listening to senior bankers talk about clients, deal and strategy is enlightening. Lots of learning by osmosis and honestly a huge part of my development.

  • Managing Director in IB-M&A
2d 
rabbit

Hey there, great question. I totally understand where you're coming from. Execution and process get pretty cookie cutter, broadly the same steps. Shit gets monotonous man. It comes down to us as bankers doing a really bad job of laying it out to juniors that a lot of your development has to be self-driven. There is an expectation you'll figure out what to do next and how to grow outside the title hierarchy. I think this is where you're at, obviously through no fault of your own. If banking is for you long term, the objective should be a seat at the big boy table as fast as you can and driving your own development is key.

TLDR advice: find a champion, VP or above. Anyone who'd rather be out and about building relationships than sitting at their desk. Ideally a director. Anyone who will champion your involvement in "big boy" meetings, even if for nothing else than listening and/or taking notes. There is a lot of value listening in on senior discussions re: ideas, deal strategy etc. Lots of learning by osmosis. Will really accelerate your development and get you some good face time creds if that matters.

Long form below.

I will beat this drum to death. My experience with big banks is with the hierarchy, there is a cog in the wheel aspect and the junior teams get left out of the "big picture" stuff, which is really the fun part IMO. On the M&A side, it's deal strategy, negotiation, ego management, lots of game theory. You hear the term "maintaining deal tension" thrown around, but there's a lot of thought and nuance to playing bidders off each other (or even nobody at all). It's really an art and super fun. On the coverage side, it's understanding the dynamics of your industry, seeing trends, building relationships and coming up with sellable ideas.

Emotionally, I was exactly where you were. Monotony breeds dissatisfaction, which really burns me out. Started injecting myself into the fun stuff - deal strategy convos, idea generation discussions, taking charge of messaging for pitches. Basically a lot of stuff my VP would be bogged down by. She loved it, it let her have more time go build a rolodex. It was a kiddie view into the big boy table but would give me things to learn, read up and get smart on, real development stuff. Just listening to senior bankers talk about clients, deal and strategy is enlightening. Lots of learning by osmosis and honestly a huge part of my development.

Literally could have written the same post. Same burnout, same recovery 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
2d 

Your advice is spot on. I'm at a point in my career where my friends and coworkers are moving to the buyside or simply pivoting into other industries altogether. I had to take inventory and evaluate how I feel about the job before making any rash decisions.

The grass is not always greener on the other side, especially when you intrinsically like what you do. I'd say that I have the motivation to perform at the next level, but haven't had this conversation before. Thanks for laying out the steps.

2d 
rabbit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you end up getting a seat at these meetings, you'll have a view into what banking looks like at the senior level. Good way to see if this is for you long-term.

I gotta say man, once you get past the desk work, it's competitive, it's high stakes, and a lot of pressure to deliver and I absolutely love it. It's an environment where you have to constantly push yourself to stay current, stay relevant, come up with fresh ideas. 

There's an element of entrepreneurship once you move up, where you're master of your own agenda, albeit with a lot of pressure to deliver. It's part of why I've seen a lot of people fail or lose the plot along the way. You go from getting firm instructions as an A1 and they get more nebulous as you move up the chain. At a certain point, you stop getting instructions and start getting objectives. "Spread these 10 comps" evolves into "show me a value range" and eventually becomes "think there may be a pay point here, make it happen". The TLDR is it becomes more high stakes and less structured as you move up and that's not for everyone.

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

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