How is Vacation viewed at your bank

You read in the public press that these banks encourage their employees to take all their vacations days each year, but everyone in the industry knows it's mostly smoke & mirrors.

I want to see how taking vacation time is actually viewed by your firm. Is taking a vacation a surefire way to get bottom-bucket? Does your firm encourage taking a couple of days off if you get overwhelmed? Have you ever taken a vacation day in your time in banking?

Comments (82)

Jul 8, 2021 - 12:08am
Miles Teller, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Pretty typical. Pack my laptop and charger, get greeted by friends and family, then ask where the office / spare room is.  Park there for 90% of the vacation (maybe make a dinner and drinks over the long weekend but either late to the occasion or smashing away on my phone responding to emails that somehow need an answer), immediately resented by friends and family with lots of snickers, "Why did Miles even come?" "Miles should just leave" "We'd appreciate if you'd partake in the plans" "Miles probably half decent at foreplay with how much he's typing on his computer (brother nice burn)... Return home usually in an awkward fight with friends / family / GF on the flight back (lots of the silent treatment, which works cause I'm already working again on the plane).  Back in office, "hey Miles hope you had rested and fun vacation away with your friends / family, back in the saddle!" Followed by a horrible joke that they tried to divert work to free me up (knowing that's blatantly false), but chuckle and smile (die more inside). Look out the window in the office wishing it wasn't tempered glass so I could hurl myself out, repeat in 6-9 months, reminding my loved ones nothings changed and I'm a sack of shit and look forward to next vacay cause it means I'm getting fucked on vacay by some senior guy but not as bad as in-office work (kind of like those couples that only bone on their anniversary, but neither has loved each other for years, but hey it might be shit sex but still sex). 

Jul 8, 2021 - 5:19pm
Lvl99Bankstanding, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Visiting with family is often not a real vacation anyway. What would your firm say if you just went on a real vacation and gave prior notice that you would be unavailable? I ask because I'm just starting as an analyst and expect to go snowboarding at least once a year without interruptions.

Jul 8, 2021 - 6:07pm
Miles Teller, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So many variables (bank, team, deal flow, deal speed, timing, etc.) dictate what happens, but I'm taking a week long vacation at the end of the year.  I haven't shut-up about it.  MD1 takes vacation, I'm asking how it was, then following-up with, "I'll be in your shoes at the end of the year!" and so on with MD2, MD3, etc. Basically, I'm planting the seed and covering VPs on vacations (ok that's not me volunteering, I'm no tony tough nuts, just what has been happening), those guys will hopefully remember my slack pulling when they're enjoying a nice summer vacay (probably just my own personal wet dream). I didn't get a single day off my entire analyst years except for one extended weekend in New Orleans as an analyst (in my post history, funny read IMO).  Seriously, even holidays, 4th of July might as well shoved a sparkler up my ass, Christmas day I actually got cause it's fucking Christmas. I'm pretty satirical on here, but in all seriousness, I'm just another puss-boy yes-man slogging through shit like the rest of us.  I'll probably work the evenings when I'm supposed to be enjoying paradise for a week, but so is life.  I actually encourage my analysts to plan a vacay well in advance and fucking lap that shit up.  They bust balls, there're plenty of analysts to go around, take a real vacay once a year given they take it up the poop chute 51 weeks of the year and just reset the damn batteries.      

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 8, 2021 - 12:22am

Sucks for the above commenter but cant relate. Im at an EB and taking your vacation is encouraged. Worst ive had to do was send a couple emails or hop on a group call. Also, my family and friends are supportive of me and understand my work demands, so that definitely helps a lot. 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Restr
Jul 8, 2021 - 2:29pm

Why don't you just properly unplug? The world isn't going to fall apart without you, no matter how much you've convinced yourself it will. Assuming you aren't at an absolutely trash office, there should be more than enough competent team members to fill in for you while you actually get real down time.

Remember you only get one life dude, don't waste it being loyal to a company. Companies won't remember you when you're gone, friends and family will.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 8, 2021 - 1:15am

RBC - Encouraged to take vacation and mandated to take 1 week continuous vacation with 3 weeks total as a first year. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 8, 2021 - 1:45am

Curious. With the other 2 weeks, what exactly do you do with those? I'm assuming you add another day or two onto 3 day weekends to make them longer or take random days every now and then but are those single days really ever respected?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 8, 2021 - 1:47pm

Usually another ~week around Christmas time, our office gives preference to people who aren't originally from the city so they can go back and visit family. Rest of the vacation is like you mentioned, taking a Friday or Thur/Fri to make an extra long weekend / protect that weekend from getting blown up (in theory).

You can roll the dice on Christmas time since its already slow but if its not booked off your at the top of the list if something blows up, its not worth the risk for me.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 8, 2021 - 11:10am

Simply put, I worked my ass off to spend 1 week with my GF in Hawaii. Told my bosses months in advance I planned to do something then. Made sure staffers knew and wouldn't put me on anything. Week before my vacation comes, my team gets hit hard with a ton of stuff. I was honest and put in as much extra work as I could, openly communicating I'm willing to pull 100 hours that week if needed to help out, but once my vacation starts I'm not working then. Everything seems fine, head on my vacation without major issues (airports aren't the easiest). Then on day 2 of my vacation I get emailed about work someone wants me to do. I tell them I'm on vacation and that someone else on the team Can assist. I'm then told I need to do it, but I again refuse, saying either it can wait till I'm back or someone else can do it.

Fast forward one week, the whole team is acting different to me, seemingly distant. I try to ask for as much work as possible to get back in the groove and relieve my fellow analysts l, but everyone seems to be fine and not needing my help. Fast forward about 1 month of this, and I'm told that my work has slipped and I'm no longer needed.

Jul 8, 2021 - 10:37am
NoEquityResearch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In my experience, you always get dinged a little for taking longer vacations. However, it's a very marginal impact to your evaluation.  Let's say on a scale of 1 to 10 of work effort/quality, your MD thinks you're a 7.  After the vacation, you might come back as a 6.5 in his eyes and work your way back up.

If you're crushing it, there's nothing to worry about. If you're already hanging out near bottom bucket, taking a vacation will hurt more as you don't have many points to lose.

  • VP in IB-M&A
Jul 8, 2021 - 2:22pm

Lazard – highly encouraged at junior levels and now mandatory to take 2 weeks per year out of your 3.5 weeks allocation (new policy). Most banks have had big cultural changes on this front, taking vacation is not viewed negatively, firms are more worried about preventing burnout / off cycle quitting than anything now. At analyst and associate you can be swapped out with someone else at your level temporarily so it's not that hard to have an uninterrupted vacation if your staffer is on board.

At VP and up, much harder to take uninterrupted trips, just the nature of the role - can't easily swap out a VP for another random VP on a live deal. Per a comment above, honeymoons, weddings and mat/pat leave are the exception i.e. an important enough event to be worth explaining to clients why you've made a mid-deal change to the team.

  • VP in IB-M&A
Jul 8, 2021 - 8:00pm

At that level you'll be on at least a few deals at any given time so usually when one finishes you'll have a couple others still active. But at certain times of the year the stars might align and you roll off a deal at a time when the others deals aren't very busy, and the Asso/Director can cover for you a bit

Jul 8, 2021 - 2:31pm
Spatiallyunaware, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Genuinely curious, but why is vacation culture so adverse in the US compared to say Europe? Most bankers in London take 2-3 weeks off a year (spread out of course not back to back), and at all levels as well. 

Jul 9, 2021 - 9:11am
CanadianEnergyBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Because American work culture generally is predicated on a cringier world view of "grinding" and "out hustling the competition" in these service industries. Which is hilarious when compared to the burgeoning tech sector in the US.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 8, 2021 - 2:36pm

Two weeks is strictly enforced. No work on vacation (so essentially 9 days off given both weekend). Not sure how vacation is viewed by senior bankers, but they have no say in it. Every junior has to take two weeks also, so no stigma around it. If you don't take the time off, they will force you to take vacation at end of year.

Jul 9, 2021 - 1:32am
Incoming cfa level 1 charterholder, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lmao my friend at MS still had to work during those two weeks. It's a regulatory requirement but it's not like you're going to be ratting out your group if you want to keep your job.

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 9, 2021 - 2:16pm

I think that is more of the exception rather than the norm. Most groups (including the relatively "rough" ones) strictly enforced the vacation policy. Analysts were forced to take vacation at the end of the year if they had not done so yet. I am not sure if two weeks is a regulatory requirement for investment banking analysts (it is a requirement for people dealing with wire transfers, etc). 

A lot of the policies like no staffings on Friday, BD on weekend, etc were not really followed. However, the vacation policy was pretty strict across groups. They made a point to emphasize required two weeks in training as well.

Jul 9, 2021 - 2:57pm
offthepiste, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sounds brutal in the US. In London we get 25 days (30 if you're an MD) and are actively encouraged to take all of it.

I've actually been told off before for working during my holiday...

People generally respect your holidays (though not always).

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 9, 2021 - 4:12pm

Jesus, the comp might be lower in London, but at least most people get to take 2-4 weeks off per year. These horror stories from the US sound miserable. 

Jul 10, 2021 - 10:47am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Five Star Man                    

Worked through my honeymoon

You're a zero star man to your wife. She deserves a make-up honeymoon, uninterrupted.


  • 4
Jul 11, 2021 - 11:49pm
Spacejam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Barclays - 20 days allotted + 2 personal days.  No stigma attached, been there for years now and pretty much always take the full allotment.  I'd also point out that we don't have a formal vacation system and as a result its not really tracked.  Would raise eyebrows if you took three weeks in a row or something but otherwise no one cares.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Jul 12, 2021 - 10:38pm

Different once you get to VP / senior associate, but my bank gives analysts a 2-3 week sabbatical once they get promoted to associate, which is really just permission to use the 2 weeks of vacation you accrued over your first two years.  If you take more than 2 weeks, if you take 3 weeks, the last week is unpaid... 

Jul 12, 2021 - 11:31pm
Anonymous244729, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The last bank I worked at said it was like an unlimited vacay policy and like Hr sent emails to take vacay but the actual people I worked with and would have the power to promote/fire me seemed very against vacay. Bank before that had allowed vacay policy but when I tried to take vacay my team was very against it until they caved and said "it is what it is"

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 13, 2021 - 8:55am

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Jul 13, 2021 - 12:33pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 13, 2021 - 3:07pm

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