What was the best job you ever had?

The summer after I graduated high school (and before I even had the most remote understanding of what IB or Finance was) I worked in construction for a local homebuilder in Arizona.

The jobs were pretty simple. Painting walls, doing drywall, installing lights, toilets, bathtubs, etc. Some days we spent all day sweeping up sawdust.

It paid $17/hour (this was in 2019, before COVID/Inflation and rising wages, so it was pretty nice for a job as a kid who just graduated HS). I worked with 3 of my best friends and we just dicked around all day. Reminiscing on this I think this was seriously the best job or internship I've ever had.

No MDs yelling at you, favorable schedule (7am-3pm, M-F) on your feet moving around all day, and just being a jackass, shooting the shit with your best buddies. I'm set on going into IB and will be interning with a BB next summer, but sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to just pursue a blue collar career and live a chill life. I remember my boss telling me that if I stayed on for another year or so he would promote me to being a supervisor and start off making 55k a year as a 20 year old. Obviously I wouldn't be making nearly as much as IB, but that was tempting as an 18/19 year old kid at the time, to just not even go to college, learn the ropes of construction, and live a pretty chill blue collar life.

Glad I picked IB, but man sometimes I wish I could back to those days in construction. There is nothing like working with a couple of your best friends and just dicking around all day.

What was the best job you ever had?

Comments (66)

May 14, 2022 - 2:55pm
Arroz con Pollo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've had 3 jobs - freshman year had an on campus job doing facilities work aka taking out trash. Did that for a week and quit. Then have worked 2 jobs post graduation. Current role (third job) is the best, but my other jobs were pretty shitty. Could def be improvements at current role, but the people on my team are great and the culture is much better than my previous role

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 14, 2022 - 2:59pm

I totally agree. I worked several of these job with friends and they were always a ton of fun, paying like $20/hour. Grind it out in IB a couple of years and then find something I actually enjoy that pays good, that's the goal. No need to get rich but just have fun making a good wage

May 14, 2022 - 3:03pm
jocko'sCFO, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Caddying: wake up early, go to the club, walk with some rich rich person for 3-4 hours (mostly shoot the shit with some golf advice sprinkled in there), get to be outside, then get home before noon with $200 CASH

  • Assistant in IB-M&A
May 14, 2022 - 3:12pm

Lifeguard at a hotel pool in high school where I made 12/hr. I emphasize hotel because beach lifeguards had a legit job, whereas working at a hotel was joke. Got free food from the hotel restaurant, when people weren't there we just dicked around and worked out in the hotel gym and watched movies. Was extremely boring at times but also super easy and a great bulking situation.

May 16, 2022 - 1:51pm
jarstar1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I did pool lifeguarding too, for a local day camp. Mornings were lessons, afternoons were free swim, which basically just mean chilling with the other lifeguards either watching the pool or while on break. Very chill job.

Beach lifeguarding is a totally different animal, you need to constantly be on the lookout and an actual strong swimmer. Major props to them. 

May 16, 2022 - 3:58pm
equityanarchist, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lifeguarded at my high school's pool, got a key to whole campus. Came in clutch to fuck around on the weekends and go swimming whenever. Joked around with my teachers calling them my co-workers.

May 16, 2022 - 8:33pm
intern_forever_x, what's your opinion? Comment below:

are you me? same experience.

But i enjoyed the process of speaking to people and because it was a very small pool i saw it almost as customer service. i watched people's kids and even got a tip!!! what lifeguard gets a tip?! i was so happy. very cool job. 

May 19, 2022 - 8:59pm
BuyTheDipShortTheVixFBitcoin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was a lifeguard in high school too. It was for a beach resort so we lifeguarded beach and pools. Such a chill gig. Got promoted to a supervisor when I was a freshman in college and literally got to dick around all day and surf whenever I wanted on the clock. Looking back, will definitely be the best job I'll ever have lol.

May 14, 2022 - 3:59pm
streetghost, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Was a bus boy at a good sorority house on campus. I shit where I eat.

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May 15, 2022 - 11:15am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is like the start to one of those good Playboy Letters from way back when . . .

May 14, 2022 - 4:23pm
suitup23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm a student at a Big 10 school and I work for the football team. I do film work so I work the games and practices which is awesome. I get to travel with the team and then get free merch, flexible hours, and good money with a bunch of perks

May 14, 2022 - 5:54pm
retard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Best job I had was working in an animal shelter with my mom. I worked constantly whenever I was available. I would bathe dogs and cats who had cuts and scratches and needed careful attention. I'd also take injured dogs on rehabilitating walks, train them to do integrate etc. I miss that life

May 14, 2022 - 10:08pm
hipp0, what's your opinion? Comment below:

During college I worked at a sorority house a few nights a week setting tables, serving food, eating with the girls, then doing dishes. $15 bucks and free dinner for 2 hours of "work"

May 14, 2022 - 10:27pm
YabberShneebs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Aren't you an incoming intern that hasn't even experienced a day in Ib yet? Why are you talking like you're 6 years into your career reminiscing. You graduated high school literally a year ago lol.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 16, 2022 - 5:41pm

Lol OP here. Graduated HS in 2019 not last year. But I get your point, I haven't been in workforce that long. Worked part time (or full time in summers) at different jobs since I turned 16. So I've worked at bunch of different jobs…construction, landscaping, driving FedEx truck delivering packages, selling solar, retail…you name it, a bunch of random shit. And of course finance related internships in IB, PE, etc in college.

Just saying that sometimes I miss the simple ness of working blue collar and dicking around with the bros at work.

May 15, 2022 - 8:23am
TorontoMonkey1328, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Centerville amusement park on the Toronto Islands. I was basically a carnie. Same situation as OP except we didn't really do any work (I don't know if you can call collecting tickets and starting and stopping rides "work").

Centerville/Toronto Island is a great place to hang out regardless of your age. It's a good family place (I loved going as a kid and would love to take my family there now) or a cool place for teens/younger adults to hang out. I remember taking a girl there for a day trip for a bike ride near the water. Fond memories.

Most Helpful
May 15, 2022 - 11:28am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I played poker for a living and it was glorious! 

I sucked at the game for a long time, just playing recreationally. But then I started to really study the game and became friends with some professionals that upped my knowledge. One year a friend and I committed to playing every single weekend for a year (we both had other jobs) and we managed to do it and I knew I was playing at a high level. 

Out of pure coincidence, later that year I found myself in between consulting gigs so I decided to play poker professionally and ended up doing it for 8 months. It was the best time of my life! I got to meet so many people, play against so many different styles and made some good friends along the way (poker room managers, dealers, waitstaff, other players, etc). I got to be so good at it that I wouldn't even look at my cards half the time (that whole "play the player" thing) and I could even tell people ahead of time that I would take their money. I would flat out tell people, "You're in my office, you're sitting at my desk, I play this game more than you do and I will take your money". I kept my schedule in a very professional way and created "shifts" for myself and when I had to be at the "office". Overall, the game is worth about $35/hour for me (I have the records to support that). So not all the money in the world but I keep my life expenses low so this was plenty of money. 

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better than the feeling you get when you're paying your bills from money you won with your own intellect. You could have come to me and said, "choose any other job, we'll make you an astronaut, a porn star or the lead guitarist for Aerosmith, whatever" and I would have told you, "nah, I'll just keep playing poker".

I've had plenty of jobs in my life but I'd return to playing poker in a second. I'm working on my skills again just in case this recession thing gets serious, so it's always nice to be able to fall back on it if I need to. 

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May 15, 2022 - 12:39pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've played all kinds of stakes in my life, but when I was doing it professionally I played no more than 1/3 and most of my hours were at 1/2. I was playing against a bank of about $5k, but that was basically never in danger. 

Now, I know that some of you that play the game might doubt my hourly rate for those stakes - and it is indeed high - but there were a couple of things in my favor:

  • Game selection is everything. I would stay away from places with a lot of other pros. I also found some key times of the week/day to play (might not be what you think!)
  • I was playing a lot of poker leading up to this. It's like anything else, it's a skill that you have to keep up with and I was in "top shape". 
  • Lots of fight weekends to bring in suckers. I was playing at the heights of McGregor & Mayweather and that would pack the poker rooms with stupid people with money.
  • I took this all very seriously as a job, I was highly disciplined. Be there on time, no alcohol, no drugs, no headphones, no phone at the table, I was 100% dialed in. Most poker "pros" simply can't do that. 
  • I had done some consulting and have seen the back-end of online poker operations. I attended poker seminars, even gave a couple of talks myself. I was really studying the game at a completely different level than most people pursue. 
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  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 16, 2022 - 7:36am

" I got to be so good at it that I wouldn't even look at my cards half the time"

Lol cute story. Can we play heads up where you aren't able to see your cards??

May 16, 2022 - 8:19am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't think you understand poker, so yes, I would happily take you on. Who doesn't like free money? 

  • In its purest form, poker is about mistakes that people make and how you interpret (and then exploit) those mistakes. Those mistakes are communicated to you in any number of ways, it's your job to listen to them. The last thing you are trying to do is make a hand. 
  • In heads up play your cards matter even less because you are so unlikely to both make and be up against a strong hand - that's not an opinion, thats just plain statistics. Heads up is all about patterns, not cards. So you essentially leveled yourself by picking this format of play. 
  • My favorite player, Annette Obrestaad, has famously proven that you can win entire tournaments while only looking at your cards in all-in situations. I'm not claiming to be as good as her, but if you play this game long enough, it is completely possible to reach a level of skill where the cards matter less and less. I believe I was up at that level when I was playing professionally. 
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Jun 9, 2022 - 12:39pm
AccountingPleb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Easily the best jobs. I was on brackish lake near Houston working at a fuel dock. Instead of investment bankers / finance type patrons most of the big boat owners were millionaire entrepreneurs off of industrials and oil. Fucking bad ass job no rules just tips and boobs.

May 15, 2022 - 12:54pm
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The summer before college I worked at the local pond / beach. Job was pretty much to sell memberships / day passes and put umbrellas in the sand for those who requested it. Worked with my best friend and one other person. We sold memberships for the first two weeks (as in, people came up to the shack and we processed the payment) and then the next 10 weeks or so were just hanging out killing time. Think I made $15/hour (this was 2003!)!  A bit boring at times cause no one had laptops/wifi or cell phones with anything beyond the game 'snake', but it was chill nonetheless.

Mentorship with CompBanker: https://www.RossettiAdvisors.com

  • 2
May 15, 2022 - 1:04pm
kodi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I worked multiple jobs at a strip casino in Las Vegas - best time of my life (croupier, mixologist, VIP casino host)

May 15, 2022 - 1:32pm
matt19215, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I worked in a warehouse at UPS for a couple summers and winter breaks during highschool/college that paid 18.50/hr

the job was brutal, loading heavy ass packages into 18 wheeler trailers until they were packed to the brim

Even though the job sucked it really taught me to work hard, I kept going back every summer even though I could do anything else 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 15, 2022 - 1:37pm

I don't like physical jobs, couldn't think of something I'd want less than to have to wander around and be on my feet all day doing manual labor. Much prefer a job where I can sit at the computer and just immerse myself-- complicated enough to get in the flow state but not too complicated, like building a pitch deck but without stress or excessive hours. That's my ideal job. But I'm also just introverted as fuck.

May 16, 2022 - 3:19am
WalnutBrain, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I feel like physical jobs just humble you and make you appreciate all the hard work you put in the classroom. I worked 60 hour weeks as a mechanic all summer long in 90+ degree weather( shop had no ac just fans). At some point when your body is aching and you are just physically exhausted you ask yourself "why the fuck am I here".You become humble when you look at your coworkers and they've been going through the same thing for years, doing it to support their families and you can't help but feel pity for them. However, then you realize how fortunate you are to be able to get further education.That experience indirectly helped me get my internship for this summer as well as place in IB for next summer. I knew I definitely didn't want to do that shit and was willing to do whatever I could to avoid it. Worked my ass off and it all worked out.I think having experiences like those make the good ones feel 10 times better, also gives you more mental strength.

So when my friends ask me if I think I can handle IB hours I think about my 12 hour shifts doing physically labor in the heat and kind of laugh inside.

May 16, 2022 - 11:45am
CuriousUndergrad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Totally agree with this, extremely accurate

Those shit jobs make you work so much harder than everyone else. I honestly only respect guys who have worked a summer of construction / landscaping / in a factory with no ac

Those are the dudes who are going to outwork everyone else by a mile (and also the ones who haven't been handed everything to them by their parents)

I know when I get to the hiring decision making for summer analyst spots, I'll rear away from the kids who haven't had those types of experiences. I want gritty hardworkers on my team

May 16, 2022 - 3:10am
WalnutBrain, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Best job I've had yet in my very short life was being a tutor at my university. Did it for an entire year and absolutely loved it. The feeling you get from helping someone pass the class they need to graduate that they've retaken multiple times is surreal. Actually seeing the result of your work, meeting all kinds of people and forming real connections.

God I wish it paid 110k instead of 11 an hour lol. Loved every second of it though

May 16, 2022 - 9:56am
FinancelsWacc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Soccer referee in my hometown. Did it all throughout middle school and high school and looking back it was some of the most fun I've ever had. I got to spend time playing a sport I loved, was in much better shape, spent all day outside, built some amazing relationships, and frankly just got to step away from the world into an environment where everyone only cared about one thing - being out there having a good time and winning games.

Pay was actually pretty good, most games would pay anywhere from $40-60 (45 min games) and on tournament weekend you'd get $30 / game for 25 min games, $45 if you were the solo ref. Could easily make several hundred dollars per weekend, challenge being the volume of games made it a great weekend gig but a horrible full-time job prospect.

I'm beyond happy where I'm at in life now but for a whole different set of reasons (I feel professionally and intellectually stimulated whereas I didn't in the past) but damn do I miss being part of a community like that.

Thanks for asking the question, writing this down made me miss it so much I've started looking into soccer organizations in the city to start reffing / volunteering on weekends.

May 16, 2022 - 11:41am
CuriousUndergrad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I 100% agree with this. It honestly makes you enjoy the little things in life 10x as much.

The thing with IB though is that you'll be able to truly enjoy life once you get past the grunt years. (Taking extravagant vacations, buying a big fat diamond ring for your wife, and paying for your kids schooling) but, once again, this is all monetary, so I mean if you were looking for true happiness then maybe the construction was the way to go

I had a similar experience in landscaping, yes I look back at all the laughs my buddy and I shared, but also remember how miserable it was working in jeans in 90 degree weather and thinking about how badly I just wanted some air conditioning on my face and a better paying job

You think you might want that now but I promise if you went back to it, you'll 100% have wished you had done IB. It's all relative, if we didn't know about IB and that we could make $170k after school, then we'd be happy with the construction job

But now that we know about it, there's no way we'd ever be okay with not trying it. Maybe you have more fun in IB and make some really good buddies at your BB. Although the benefits are undeniable of moving your body all day, I think you're making the right call for yourself in terms of investment of your future by going the IB route

May 16, 2022 - 12:20pm
BrohanSantana, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personally, I really enjoy manual labor. It's relaxing and feels pretty fulfilling at the end of the day. During high school and early college, I worked in both landscaping and home construction and would like to do it again at some point. You can look back and see some very tangible accomplishments (we built that rock wall or installed that koi pond, etc.) and a had days work just feels damn good. You're moving all day and when you get home, you can crack open a beer an relax. The best part, when you leave work there is nothing to concern yourself with about work until the next day. Sure, the pay isn't much and your body wears down eventually but those were some really happy times.

I will note that manual labor is (in my opinion) a lot more enjoyable when you know that it's not going to be your career for the next 30 years.

  • Business School in CorpStrat
May 16, 2022 - 4:17pm

If I grew up blue collar and in a lower socioeconomic bracket, I'm pretty sure I would have gone into construction.

Have seen some construction management companies make bank though. Live near a family who owns a sizable company (probably worth something like $5M+) and it's being passed down to the next generation. 

May 16, 2022 - 5:20pm
BrohanSantana, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I grew up in a very blue collar area and it was certainly a common path. I have a good friend whose family owns a construction business that does pretty well (not sure what the valuation would end up being) and it's a good gig. 

May 16, 2022 - 12:43pm
rallyally, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Mainly teaching - because its side income and it keeps me meeting people and active. 

I teach dance (hip hop or salsa) at a local studio. Its a really fun $200-300 per session. Plus its fun to sort of keep my ear to the ground for what young people are doing (is it a k-pop craze, some trap dance, some tik tok trend, etc). 

I teach tennis, that is something that is fun because I get to work 1 on 1 with people and help them work on their goals and really watch them progress. 

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 16, 2022 - 5:19pm

Working at a boat rental place in high school. I was unbelievably tan & got to be outside all day. Hate desk jobs and how you have to be stuck inside. Best part though was getting to rent free boats basically whenever... Unreal benefit when you're 18. 

May 16, 2022 - 5:33pm
NoEquityResearch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Think this is an interesting post for another reason. On WSO, there is a lot of guilt tripping like "PEOPLE would KILL for your job. You should be happy to work 110 hours every week when folks out there are just working shitty jobs."True, but also not true.

There are reasons why we're paid what we are. Even something like working construction (while tough) can be a simpler life sometimes and more enjoyable under the right circumstances. While there are lots of good things about working in finance such as comp, there are lots of good things about working in jobs with lower comp which are great. But I guess in our society, we dimwits can only measure comp to see how LuCkY we are.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 16, 2022 - 10:12pm

Back in high school, after class, I worked at my state's capitol as an assistant to the state representatives/senators during the legislative session. The job was to assist the politicians with their requests, which is usually a drink or small snack, or sending/organizing mail or making photocopies of a piece of legislation. Afterward, I would assist the hearing committee of a specific department (eg. healthcare, municipality, finance, etc.) and do similar tasks.

It paid $30-40/hr (before COVID), so it was pretty amazing when I started doing this at 14 years old (I worked 10/hrs a week on average). How I got the job was through a connection with a local politician, and pretty much every student assistant entered that way.

The job was fun and exciting. I met plenty of legislators over the years and stayed in touch... we were pretty much front and center of the affairs of my state when it came to voting for controversial legislation, protests, and appearing on local TV a couple of times. My co-workers were pretty fun, some smart and others retarded whose parents were well connected. Some funny controversies, inside jokes, and political gossip while I worked. The state building is very elegant, and especially the privileges of working were great (free parking near the capitol, skipping the line to the security checkpoint, etc.). My favorite time of the legislative session were the wrapups. Basically, the legislators love to procrastinate on their bills and they have to vote on hundreds of bills in the final week of the session. The last two days or so were intense, basically, the session would run for 2 days straight with small breaks in between. Those were the most chill hours of my life though when I'm basically sitting on a chair with the boys waiting for a legislator to call one of us. We would rock paper scissors for whoever had to get up. During that time we also feasted on fine dining that were served for the legislators and staff.

Many of my co-workers end up staying in state politics. At the time, I thought I was hot shit until I discovered IB was far better than being a pathetic state career politician/insider.

  • Analyst 1 in CorpFin
May 16, 2022 - 10:37pm

Worked at a bar for my final two years of college. The job was stressful at times, but was also a ton of fun most of the time. 

Worked my way up from door/floor (bouncing) to exclusively bartending the best shifts. Made a ton of awesome friends that I wouldn't have ever thought to talk to in my life had I not taken the job. A good weekend of cash tips could cover my rent, and the rest would fund my nights out that I wasn't working. 

I can't think of many jobs that you can quite literally tell someone "go fuck yourself" with zero repercussions.  

May 16, 2022 - 11:29pm
daveydaytrader, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bartending was hands down the most fun. Unfortunately, work (to me) isn't entirely about fun but finding something you like to do that supports the life you want.

Bartending was a blast meeting people, drinking on the job, and have some crazy stories but seeing how people in that industry live their lives just doesn't appeal (not to mention the money which is good but ebbs and flows).

"I have unlimited money"

May 17, 2022 - 9:59am
Brio, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Waiter in a vacation community where I lived in a share house with ~25 other college kids from all over the country. Great memories, friendships, and I made some decent money. 

Been in an office ever since. I think freshmen and sophomores should be doing something like this without hesitation. 

May 17, 2022 - 1:07pm
R4T B4ST4RD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Best job was a summer working public works changing water meters. Went into peoples homes, talked with them, did some simple stuff with tools to take out the old meter, put in the new one. Then do that same thing 10 times a day. When we had slow days without appointments the other 2 guys who were maybe 40/50 would sit in their office just for the water guys and dip, smoke cigs and just mess around.

May 17, 2022 - 4:06pm
role109, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Worked as a 'data analyst' at this company, paid $18 an hr for 20 hrs a week.

Used to basically do the bare minimum and boss used to be super impressed. Worked for at max 5 hrs a week (making visualizations on powerbi, cleaning up data on power query), did school work or slept for the rest.

Tldr; Got paid $360 a week for around 5 hrs of actual work while learning useful software and dicking around for the rest

May 19, 2022 - 6:29pm
KRMcNamee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lifeguard at a public country club in high school and first couple years of college. Most of the rest of the staff was made up of my closest friends at the time, we got to hang out outside all day, and being paid $8/hour (this was the mid to late 90s when I could fill my gas tank for $10 or less) was more money than I had ever seen. Honestly some of the best years of my life.

May 20, 2022 - 8:07am
elenoreweight05, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • VP in IB - Cov
May 20, 2022 - 12:52pm

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