Quitting Before 1 Year Mark

Hi everyone, wanted to get some advice and see if anyone has been in a similar situation. 

I started at an EB in July and am currently considering quitting altogether. I realized pretty quickly that I was not going to stay past one year but initially thought I would stay until August when bonuses hit. As dramatic as it sounds, I really do not feel like I can do it anymore. I've realized the money does not matter to me anymore and I am fine passing up the bonus if I can feel happy and like a normal person again. I would not quit before having a job secured but feel I could find a business ops / strategy role at a start-up within the next month. Has anyone quit prior to the one year mark? Did your new company cover the clawback on the signing bonus?

Thanks everyone. 

Comments (78)

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
Jan 9, 2022 - 10:36pm

For sure at least wait until your bonus, if you haven't already consider using some scaling back strategies before outright quitting.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 10, 2022 - 3:37pm

Overstate workload, take longer to finish takes, be less immediate when responding, push back on staffings anyway you can, etc

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 9, 2022 - 11:52pm

Exactly in the same shoes as you and started a forum/thread myself. I don't even recognize myself anymore just after 6/7 months. No money is worth this and I'm leaving asap so just know you're not alone. Ideally, I'd leave with another job secured but I might just leave by the end of next month latest, with or without a job secured.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 12:49am

OP here, glad to hear I am not the only one feeling this way. Agree 100% that I do not at all feel like myself and just want to feel like I have control of my life again.

What types of roles are you looking to? Have you already started applying / reaching out?

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 1:21am

I think this is a normal feeling of the experience sadly. I would encourage you to push through to the year mark. I get it really is pretty terrible, but a year of banking gives you props for life and sub a year makes it seem like you couldn't handle it. I was in this position and started looking and fortunately things improved the month after. In retrospect, it would have been a mistake leaving. It really is a miserable experience, but try to take a bunch of vacation or personal days and reevaluate after some rest. Alternatively, consider asking your firm for an unpaid break for mental health reasons and return after 2 weeks. I believe you should get out and I think you should start looking, but think timing it post 1 year makes a lot of sense from a personal development standpoint. You are already halfway there and once interns start the job gets easier.

May 18, 2022 - 10:27am
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How many analyst do you think quit pre or at 1st year mark?  we have already lost one of the 8 that started and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one more follows at the 1 year mark.  

Jan 10, 2022 - 9:56am
OCSC1290, what's your opinion? Comment below:

TBH I did not find the case prep that hard. I did ~5 cases before the interviews and read case in point. I will footnote this with the fact that I live with two MBB consultants, so they were able to give strong feedback that helped me improve a lot faster than I otherwise would have. Feel free to pm if you wanna chat. 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 10, 2022 - 12:17pm

Truly the worst feeling described here and in the comments is not feeling like yourself anymore. 

I used to be funny, happy-go-lucky, could carry a conversation easily, had lots of interesting recent life experiences to share.

Then after I entered IB this past fall as a 1st year, anxiety set in for the first time in my life, and now I find it hard to hold a basic conversation

Lot's of small things and decreases in quality of life that I never experienced before in my entire life 

And I can't tell if this it simply is in the adult world or if I'm the only one who can't take it

I just really can't do it anymore. I need to quit, but I've been finding it hard to find a job that I'd actually enjoy next. I don't want to be unemployed either. It's a lot and I just feel like it's breaking me. Easy for me to say because I'm anon here but I'd never say this to anyone IRL. It makes me feel insanely weak. I wish I was more strong, mentally

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 12:30pm

Ditto on the holding a conversation point - same thing happened to me. Honestly believe that when I leave I will leave worse off in every way, besides the number in my bank account which I honestly don't care about anymore… lots more decently paying jobs out there and I'm willing to take a payout at this point to regain my life back.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 10, 2022 - 12:34pm

Only thing I'm scared of is how long it'll take for us to get back to normal/get our life back

Is it like riding a bicycle where we can just pick it up and find ourselves again? Or have we changed forever

The thing that made me worry the most about this was over the holidays - I took a week of vacation and thought I'd feel like myself again, even for just a bit, but something was still off about me the entire time 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 10, 2022 - 12:40pm

You are not alone at all. Especially the part about other more "chill" jobs also not being a fit. Who says you need a job at all? Many of us just chased finance but deep down want to be something so much bigger or different. There are so many paths and industries nowadays. Hell I want to work in the entertainment or music industry at this point even if it is crowded and saturated. There's a lot more to life than corporate life 

Jan 10, 2022 - 1:30pm
stollthbel, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Covid definitely has also played a role in this… don't get too down.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 13, 2022 - 7:41pm

I often think people underestimate how difficult the transition actually is from college into adult life (especially banking, one of the most demanding jobs...). You go from a low-risk, fun environment that allows for failure to an environment with significant responsibilities and zero margin of error. Covid has certainly exacerbated this difficult transaction because of a lack of connection / community... 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 18, 2022 - 9:52am

Looked around for 2 months, got a lateral offer at MBB - literally my life is different night and day. Could not be happier. On average, work about 40 hours LESS compared to IBD per week. Never have to check my phone once between 4PM Friday and 9AM Monday. People are infinitely more interesting, multi-dimensional, than just IB/PE/HF clones. 

Life is good right now man. Going to enjoy it :)  

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jan 10, 2022 - 12:41pm

As Someone in the same situatiom. You will come back pretty quickly after some time off. The things u are experiencing are mainly because of lack of sleep, you caring too much, and not enjoying the work enough. Leave ASAP

  • 3
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 1:03pm

What type of role did you leave to? How was the recruiting process and how did you deal with any questioning about why you were leaving IB early?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 12:54pm

Really happy to hear I am not alone in feeling like this. How are you guys all feeling about leaving the bonus behind? That is definitely the hardest part for me. Although ~8 months really is not that long in the picture, it it pretty terrible to think about the fact that I might have to continue feeling like this for 8 months.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 10, 2022 - 1:09pm

I think I'm going to learn to let it go 

8 months is a pretty insane amount of time to continue feeling this way, I agree

But I'm also trying my hardest to try to come to accept the fact that if I can't find a better job, and that I do have to do this for another 8 months (1 year is my hard stop - I will quit post-bonus with or without a job in tow), that I'll probably look back on this year as the worst year of my life but nothing more than that. Just a really, really bad year. 

^ I try to tell myself this but saying it is harder than believing it deep inside

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 1:24pm

Staying in IB doesn't get any better. Seeing my VP and MDs being up at 1am was evident to me that you'll just make more money climbing the ladder but you still won't have your life. That's what helped me solidify and justify my reason for leaving.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 1:31pm

Just adding to the above-the not feeling like yourself really is a result of the anxiety of the job and lack of sleep. Once you leave or take a decent amount of time off, it comes back. I wouldn't be worried you did long term damage by entering this role or that anything is irreversible. Honestly, it only gets to that point if you stay in the role for 5+ years. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 10, 2022 - 1:43pm

Does anyone else feel really polarized about the job? Like when I have downtime or a moment to think about my experience from a high level, I'm proud of my experience and feel like it's been worth it for the amount I'm paid- like I've learned an incredible amount and the exposure I've got is really unique. On the other hand, anytime I'm actually working, I just hate it to no end. Deals don't feel like they're going anywhere and the amount of bullshit work generated on a whim is really discouraging.  

On a separate note, I'm also finding it difficult to tell if what I hate about banking is actually about banking or if it'd be the same with a 'normal' job. As this is most of our first jobs ever, I think it's really hard for me to tell if there are any jobs out there that I'd actually like or if it's turtles all the way down. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 10, 2022 - 1:48pm

Feel this all the time but that's what anchors you. Felt great that I learned a lot in a short time but I started thinking more openly and realized that I didn't enjoy the process at all. I typically enjoy reading and learning new things (this actually makes me happy) but when I'm being forced to not go at my own pace/leisure or having the decision on what to learn and when, really makes me unhappy which is why I don't think it's worth it

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 10, 2022 - 6:01pm

On a separate note, I'm also finding it difficult to tell if what I hate about banking is actually about banking or if it'd be the same with a 'normal' job. As this is most of our first jobs ever, I think it's really hard for me to tell if there are any jobs out there that I'd actually like or if it's turtles all the way down. 

I couldn't relate to this more. Just wasn't sure how to say it. I have a dark feeling that it's corporate life in general and honestly wouldn't be much different working 40 hours a week...maybe I'm wrong

Jan 12, 2022 - 4:51pm
Symfuhny, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i wouldn't discount working for a company in a corp strat/FP&A role. i did before and although i left, i worked for a company with an amazing culture and people, now work at a BB and it is much worse. when you have a great culture, you don't dread work/no sunday scaries (at least imo). hope you find a role you like at a great company!

  • Analyst 1 in CorpFin
May 18, 2022 - 10:34am

Similar to commenter above but I started in FP&A in tech and then switched to IB in search of more "purpose" with my work. All in all I've realized I still have the same feelings and that it's just a personal thing. There are times when I personally think banking is better but that's solely because I'm learning so much at such a rapid clip, not because I genuinely enjoy aligning logos.

FP&A, especially at a large company, can be very monotonous but you undoubtedly have fantastic hours and could argue the ROI of having a life is worth the pay difference.

Jan 10, 2022 - 4:07pm
BearishBull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was in this exact position (at least sentiment) wise this time last year. Had a couple of really bad nights, and it just didn't get better despite "acknowledgment" of team issues. Associate blowing up my one and only vacation day since COVID started brought me to my wit's end. 

Ended up leaving shortly after bonuses in 2021. 

Message me if you want to connect / chat. Unfortunately these threads appear yearly and it seems to have only gotten worse in a virtual setting. 

Jan 10, 2022 - 4:09pm
AndyLouis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jan 10, 2022 - 5:05pm
aspiringcoolperson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you can afford to quit, just quit. The market is so hot that recruiters and employers are starting to accept shorter stints in employment. Plus with COVID, nobody can really blame you if you become overwhelmed and need to prioritize your own health. You have the rest of your career to make up this bonus, and by quitting, you'll make sure that you're alive and healthy enough to do exactly that. Good luck. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 10, 2022 - 5:44pm

Think I'm going to try to stay until the bonus hits... in a way I think WFH makes it easier bc I have some separation. It sucks but I'm trying to distance myself as much as I can from it and remember it's just a job and only a year. I think I'd regret leaving without a) another job in line an b) bonus. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 10, 2022 - 8:14pm

Relate to a lot of the sentiments here and sort of a side-related question. How "comfortable" do you guys feel in your role so far? I see the third years being modeling wizzes and even second years just being very efficient with the small tasks and competent enough at anything thats more of a heavy lift. Then I see myself doing very basic tasks and either having some errors that need to be fixed or just nerves in general about sending stuff out. Am I supposed to be at the point where I just *get* how to do things yet and am I behind or is it normal?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 11, 2022 - 2:14am

Same here. Glad you brought it up because I felt like a dumbass and thinking I'll never get promoted at the rate I'm at. The second years seem so competent and I'm already 7 months into the job and almost a second year

Jan 11, 2022 - 3:11pm
chihayafull, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To be fair, a lot of the 2nd years "getting it" is directly related to giving less of a fuck and losing the fear of sending documents.

Over time, you start to "get" what matters most to people so you make sure you don't fuck up one or two important things, and everything else ends up being a spot check. 

I was in awe when I was a first year and saw second years just CHURNING comments, no print/highlight bullshit, and doing a lightning fast alt tab page flip before saying fuck it and sending it. They knew it was 90% good so no need to waste another hour being meticulous. 

Jan 12, 2022 - 6:29am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Assuming you find a role as you've suggested, make sure they agree to buying out your clawback as you are liable for it and the bank can absolutely pursue action against you to get it.

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Jan 12, 2022 - 4:27pm

Just stay the whole year. I felt the exact same way and started looking for jobs at the 6 month mark. I had a bunch of interviews but nothing I really wanted and stuck it out. Sent in my resignation the day my bonus hit and never looked back. Finding a job will take longer than you think, especially if you are trying to go corporate. Those processes can take weeks on end. 

Jan 13, 2022 - 10:28am
Loser Banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I felt similar as a first year analyst and was super close to quitting as well. If you stay for your first year bonus, you'll get better and less stressed, but the fact of the matter is IB does truly control your life

I understand how you feel and if you feel getting a job in a chiller field will make you happier, you should do it

I used to think PE was the way to go (I work at a top BB), but I've started to feel the same as you and after wrapping up my second year I just want to go into corp dev or something where I can have interests outside work

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 13, 2022 - 9:00pm

Interests outside of work is huge for me. Outside of banking MDs, all the successful startup founders, VC partners, MBB partners that I've met have incredible life stories. Banking MDs are cool in their own way but you quickly realize that their modus operandi has been some combination of golfing, tennis, expensive restaurants for the past 20-30 years of their life... 

  • Partner in PE - LBOs
Jan 13, 2022 - 9:42pm

Banking isn't for everyone, but the time you spend there, you hopefully can bank a couple $K and exit off to greener pastures.

Later on in life, when you get punched in the gut, because that's how life works, you'll have developed some discipline to keep on going.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Feb 6, 2022 - 12:13pm

Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I quit after 6-7 months - recruited for another job a few months ago and was able to ride it out until my bonus (stub). My primary project when I first joined was absolutely brutal, which pushed me to feel like I had to leave. The work was nonstop (worked about 100 hours a week every week for months and I was siloed). My next one wasn't so bad, and honestly I liked it enough that I'd stay if others were that way, but in my mind I was already committed to leaving. On the off chance I'd ever have to go back to that first environment, leaving felt far more worth it. 

Culture is probably the primary reason I decided to leave. While recruiting, I was made to believe culture was specifically a huge part of this bank and group in particular but I quickly learned this was not the case. I was spoken to in ways I would never expect to be spoken to by a person, let alone in a professional environment, I was given little guidance if I made a mistake and only criticized (given I was very new it would have made sense to at least try to provide some guidance) and I was forced to crank on deals with low probability of closing. The stress and anxiety I felt during this time was so insane that I genuinely don't know how I made it past this. I completely understand the sentiment of not feeling like myself. There was a lot of top down stress and the narrative that the bank was actively trying to retain us did not add up - it was pretty well known that moving to PE was frowned upon and there was very little support there so you'd expect there to at least be measures in place to make the junior team feel valued. Also, I was under the impression Sundays were only work days if absolutely necessary, but found that we were expected to work morning to night on Sundays. This didn't at all feel necessary given clients were hardly online and didn't expect anything but was the case. 

The work was also far from interesting in the beginning - it got better towards the end of my time when I got more responsibility. In the beginning, I really couldn't bring myself to care about the super menial details and justify working so much on such meaningless work. Of course, meaningless work exists everywhere and is inevitable, but spending nearly 17 hours a day on it became hard to justify for me. 

All of these things in tandem showed to me that it wasn't a fit for me. There were positives - I had the opportunity to lead some calls on one project and had a lot of client interactions. I got to meet some very intelligent, savvy people, and ultimately the way banking is structured enables so much learning that I wouldn't have been able to get elsewhere. There is a huge opportunity cost to me leaving, but I'm excited to have a life again that isn't dictated by anxiety and stress. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 6, 2022 - 1:27pm

Resonate with you 100% and decided to leave after my stub too for the exact reasons you listed. Just know you're not alone and I'm unemployed right now but I never felt happier in my life (which is kinda sad lol)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Feb 6, 2022 - 1:28pm

Wow good for you, I'm glad you feel that life is better on the other side. I'm very excited and all the best to you

Feb 10, 2022 - 12:43am
Purpleparadise, what's your opinion? Comment below:


I am feeling very similar. Like I hate it so much! But I don't know if I am making the best financial / career move for me. Just got an offer at a tech company. Pays less than current IB obviously. It's not a finance role. I just realized I have the clawback for 10k and will not get my bonus. What do I do. I feel lost and confused. I hate IB tho - like absolutely hate it. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 22, 2022 - 3:43am

10k ain't worth shit. Don't let that stop you from happiness.

Feb 10, 2022 - 7:43am
Purpleparadise, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 15, 2022 - 1:25pm

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May 18, 2022 - 10:35am
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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