How tf do you know what you want to do?

First year analyst that joined around 6 months ago. I'm pretty sure banking isn't for me (hours, client BS, etc), but I also find myself not particularly interested or excited about any of the exits. PE? Pass. HF? The 2+2 route is probably not in my cards. Corporate finance? I guess better work life balance but doesn't seem like something that would get me out of bed every morning. 

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I don't really know of anything that excites me, or anything I'm passionate about. My girlfriend is in marketing/press, and she likes it a lot. I'm not under the illusion that most people love what they do, but how I find something that excites me just a little bit? Does it come with age/experience? Or do I just need to make a leap of faith and hope it works out? I used to be all about just career progression and advancement, but now all I want is something that makes me believe it's worth working for. 

Comments (23)

Most Helpful
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 5, 2021 - 5:29pm

PE might not seem like the right thing, but I've seen a couple analysts buying some businesses and doing their own personal LBOs. Buy a 250k business but only put up 60k in equity. Cool thing about some of the smaller businesses I've seen is they run super low EBITDA multiples like 2-4x or so, so you could hold for 5 years and be debt free. Sell it for double at 500k down the line and voila it's all yours.
 

There are thousands of businesses for sale out there and I bet you could probably find one that interests you? Maybe finish up your IB years and build up the bank account and prepare for that? That will probably leave more open doors if you want to get back in finance down the road.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Feb 16, 2022 - 4:05am

Love this idea in general. One problem with this is you keep getting not-that-great bonus checks (let's say you are at least mid bucket but company is just fucking cheap, despite a great reputation), live in a HCOL place, and don't get to save much. 

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2021 - 6:25pm

In an ideal world I'd be a park ranger in a national park out west but that doesn't pay the bills. Instead I just do the next best thing which is a career that I moderately enjoy that pays well so I can retire young and relax on 1,000 acres in the mountains of Montana. Figure out what you want long-term both professionally and personally and find the path that will get you there.

Jan 5, 2021 - 6:49pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

+1 SB

This is close to the path I'm following. I'm fortunate to love what I do (seriously!) and I'm super passionate about it. But I'm also 100% clear on what "at will employment" means and I'm setting myself up to retire at a (relatively) young age. I've laid out a plan that will make me a multi-millionaire within 10 years. After that I'll either be running a F50 or playing golf every day for the rest of my life. 

*
  • 2
Jan 5, 2021 - 7:27pm
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Based on your interests and abilities you select a sector (for example, finance) and then based on your values, like money vs. work-life balance, you select a role (for example, IB or corp fin in the industry).

Jan 6, 2021 - 6:54am
Skeptic Ape, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Here's the deal - most things, standalone, would not help you get out of bed. You will not feel a sudden jolt of excitement on doing most of the things. Even if you do, it may not last long enough for you to keep doing the grunt work. 

Most people who kill it in IB or law or any of the other verticals have an eye for being a killer at what they do. That is what pays off eventually. And that is generally a combination of what you are naturally good at, your grit, your proficiency, and demand for your vocation. So, as douchey as it sounds, they work to improve themselves.  

Some people are interested in an industry and will take up any role in any function to work there. Some people like the process, like investment research or writing, and want to perfect it to apply to a broad set of use-cases. You have to figure out your own thing. 

I don't know where you stand and what are the constraints in your life. But, if I were you, I would keep my mind open enough to save it from falling off, and meet a wide range of people. Talk to them about their work and examine if that is the kind of life you may desire later.

Build some general skills, grow your network, and try as many things as you can. Read more about this concept of 'Match Quality', propagated by David Epstein. Maybe, you'll find it interesting. 

And - feel free to ignore all of this and do your thing. 

  • 5
Jan 6, 2021 - 9:54pm
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Following

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Jan 7, 2021 - 10:01am
GoLiftSomeWeightsBro, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Now look, this might sound weird at first, but hear me out.

Write everything you find interesting and may want to do professionally down into a list (max 8 points, so choose carefully). Then find a piece of cardboard. 

Now draw a circle on the cardboard and cut the cardboard into a circle. Once you have done that, divide the circle into 8 parts with 4 lines. 

Once you have done that, find a pin and pin the center cardboard onto said pin. It should be kinda loss and you should be able to spin it at least a bit without it falling off.

Now, take off your pants and start jerking off.

Right before you ejaculate, you spin the cardboard with your free hand and close your eyes.

Now, open your eyes and inspect the cardboard carefully. See that spot with the most amount of cum? Yes, that is what your calling is.

I hope this helped, good luck.

Jan 7, 2021 - 10:01am
GoLiftSomeWeightsBro, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Now look, this might sound weird at first, but hear me out.

Write everything you find interesting and may want to do professionally down into a list (max 8 points, so choose carefully). Then find a piece of cardboard. 

Now draw a circle on the cardboard and cut the cardboard into a circle. Once you have done that, divide the circle into 8 parts with 4 lines. 

Once you have done that, find a pin and pin the center of the cardboard onto said pin. It should be kinda loss and you should be able to spin it at least a bit without it falling off.

Now, take off your pants and start jerking off.

Right before you ejaculate, you spin the cardboard with your free hand and close your eyes.

Now, open your eyes and inspect the cardboard carefully. See that spot with the most amount of cum? Yes, that is what your calling is.

I hope this helped, good luck.

  • Prospect in Consulting
Aug 14, 2021 - 2:25pm

Finance tends to make people only consider finance exit ops, often because that is what they know and because they don't want a salary decrease. I suspect there's some sunk cost fallacy involved here too. Keep in mind you can exit to other things, and in the long run they can pay just as well if not better than finance, especially if you factor in that you're much more likely to succeed in a job you don't dislike. Tech, Corp strat, and start ups are all on the table. Some people I know with the best of the best banking jobs are leaning towards those options rather than the typical finance exits just because they found they don't like the industry. 
 

If you really don't like finance, consider expanding your horizons 

Feb 16, 2022 - 10:26am
throwaway909101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One realization with age is that nobody knows what they want to do. Everyone is just stumbling around, telling stories to themselves and others, trying their best to figure it out as they go.

Find something you are a) interested in (passionate is hyperbole), b) good at, c) feel like you're "growing", and d) feel like you're getting paid well relative to amount work. A is table stakes. Do you like dissecting financial statements? Markets? M&A? B is probably the most often overlooked. Make sure your skills/personality make you good at the job (the happiest bankers are usually the best). Being good at things is fun. C is pretty self explanatory but would just note for a lot of people who leave IBD, the corporate world can be very stagnant and you have significantly less responsibility immediately (go from leading calls with CFO to being a random person at their company 4 levels below). Find a spot where you see legitimate mid-long-term growth. For D, just adjust your WLB expectations based off point in career, $ already saved, etc.

All of that being said, I change my mind every 6 months at what I want to do so alas the cycle continues. Maximize happiness outside of work to always have a steady baseline / care less regardless.

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  • Managing Director in IB - Gen
Feb 16, 2022 - 10:43am

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