I have no idea what I want in life anymore. Any tips on soul searching?

I've worked in banking for 2 years and feel like I've forgotten who I am (fully expecting jokes from hardos on this…). Maybe it's banking or something else, but I feel genuinely depressed and no job prospect excites me. I got a top review in my firm over the summer, but I don't feel fulfilled in any way.

I had some PE interviews recently and got rejected from them all this past week. The only feedback I got was that I didn't seem authentic enough, which is completely true. I'm applying for these jobs because they feel like the normal next step (and an escape from banking) but I'm not truthfully excited by them. In fact, I have no idea what a dream job looks like…

Would love to hear how people in similar situations have made necessary changes in life.

Comments (18)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
1mo 

I'm feeling depressed as well. Analyst years are tough

  • 2
1mo 
Kairo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The way to find yourself is to get uncomfortable. Challenge yourself. Get out and experience/do things that you are afraid to do. Also give of yourself (creative expression, volunteering, etc). Oddly the way to finding yourself is usually focusing on and contributing to someone(s) and/or something outside of us.

  • 3
Most Helpful
1mo 
Archivesofthepast, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm going to be realistic with you - I also had no clue about what I wanted to do as an analyst. Or as an associate. Or as a VP. It took me a loooong time to figure it out and even today I sometimes ask myself about what I am really doing. Most people do not know either unless they let big corporates brainwash them into believing they do ("We're doing God's work")

But I made a list of the things that were important for me and my key drivers in life. For me it was freedom - freedom to be wherever I want, whenever I want, and be accountable to mostly myself. That meant making good money in a flexible environment with little office politics, which narrowed down potential jobs to being either an investor (I became a VC - I thought about Hedge fund too but couldn't get a job at any, I was in PE as well but it was way to Corporate for me) or having my own business (I actually have my own business too which is run by somebody else - nothing sexy but that over time will allow me to quit my job anytime if I wanted to). No corporate world or charities for me. You can try to make that list and as you consider jobs think back about whether this fits. You can also reach out to friends and alumni in various jobs and get advice from them and see how they enjoy what they do.

I suggest you try to work at a firm or with people that are "going places"; a firm that is growing. The atmosphere is always better, it's more exciting and you grow faster in fast-growing platforms (sounds obvious - but IBD or consulting firms are not growth platforms unless it's a new and expanding team). Finally, sometimes it's ok to get tired and wanting a break; if you can afford to spend a few months thinking about things, I would advise you to take your time.

  • 21
  • Analyst 3+ in CorpFin
1mo 

Damn this post really resonated with me. I feel like i've been sleepwalking in M&A over the past couple of years, and like you, recognised I want to be in an environment that is either fast-growing or optimises for autonomy and freedom from corporate BS. Congratulations on getting there man, any further advice for someone treading a similar path would go a long way

1mo 
Arroz con Pollo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I feel this - I wanted to be a professional athlete and that didn't happen. Then it was money - I have enough now to where I don't worry about it. I don't spend much, but I'm currently looking for a new car and have no worries about spending around $80k. Could spend double that but that's just not responsible at my age, even with my substantial savings.

My life is easy. Six figure income with no debt and six figures in the savings and retirement accounts. I started listening to Jocko Podcast around a year ago and began asking myself wtf I was doing sitting at a desk for 50 hours a week when I could be jumping out of airplanes and shooting machine guns. Maybe the grass isn't greener but idk. I decided that at the very least, I should get back to my training regimen.

I used to be absolutely shredded. I've gained weight the past month and although I'm still lifting, I'm much bigger than I want to be. I'd love to travel the world, especially with someone I care about, but I have some inner demons I need to deal with. Funny thing is, they're all self-imposed. I live in America and, for a lack of better words, am rich. What the fuck do I have to complain about? The answer is nothing - it comes down to who you are as a person. I have a habit of committing to something for a few months then stopping. As much as I preach discipline and all that good stuff, I rarely take my advice.

Anyways, you've gotta figure out what you truly want in life. People say they'd love to live forever yet can't decide what to do when they have a free day with no plans on a weekend. For now, I'm gonna work on getting back not just in shape, but becoming a greater physical specimen than I've ever been. I think this is a good goal for anybody. Get in shape.

1mo 
bands_bands_bands, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"Funny thing is, they're all self-imposed. I live in America and, for a lack of better words, am rich. What the fuck do I have to complain about? The answer is nothing - it comes down to who you are as a person."

Facts. We have more than 99.9% of humans that ever existed had/have.  Most people get into this line of work to make a bunch of money, which is fine, but it's not the be-all-end-all. It took me a while to realize that I would need to change some things internally/with my mindset if I was ever going to be truly happy. Sure money is awesome, and I still want to buy expensive things I don't need, but I think even the richest man in the world would be unhappy if he wasn't content with who he was as a person.

  • 4
1mo 
jarstar1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

but I think even the richest man in the world would be unhappy if he wasn't content with who he was as a person.

There is a somewhat related paraphrase from Ecclesiastes that I really like, "He not satisfied with silver won't be satisfied with gold". It's definitely very important for the sake of your mental health and happiness to be able to be satisfied with what you have.

1mo 
wanttobreakin111, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The only feedback I got was that I didn't seem authentic enough, which is completely true. 

Did you explicitly ask them for feedback? My experience is that they tend to just ghost you if you ask.

Way to completely miss the point of this thread 

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
1mo 
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Assuming you had $10bln. in the bank, how would you spend 16 hours a day for 365 days?

1mo 
[email protected], what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am still not as experienced as others to give advice on this topic but will try anyways.

When you are depressed because of your job it can mean that life has became your job not only due to hours but the job took all your mentality. You need to atleast mentally not think to hard about job, think about something else, family, friends, SO, hobbies, passions.

After, you at least mentally not think about the job, your brain will generate happiness, and you will feel more happy.

As you are becoming happier, you will be able to think more logically and you will see that your situation is not depressing at all.

After, some time you will fully recover.

I know it is kinda cliche, but when depressed just don't mentally kill yourself, hang there a little bit long, like crawl if you cannot walk. Things do get better.

Career is a series of jobs and rising responsibilities which initially was needed for financial reasons. Career should't be your life.

  • 2
1mo 
Rags to Hermes, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Obviously the hours make this tough, but find ways to give back to the community or be more involved in the community. Since I started doing this, I have been actually more motivated by work because I feel like I have more purpose outside of work. 

Focus on the controllables because it may take time to figure out what you want from your job/career:

Health - Are you working out?

Relationships - How are you treating others and are you building meaningful relationships?

How you spend your free time?  - Are you doing anything rewarding outside of work

Attitude - It could be just a change in perspective, sit and think about your purpose, maybe you just need to change your mindset

1mo 
Rotterdam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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