How Adderall ruined my career in finance

I always knew I was a genius, and my nosebleed test scores, flawless transcript, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of scholarships in high school seemed to support this delusion.

When I went to University (one of the world's most prestigious), I was introduced to Adderall IR and felt immortal. After commanding the praise from and attention of the entire Social Studies department with my (what I thought were) Pulitzer-level masterpieces, it felt not very unlike a juiced NFL player would after winning a Super Bowl ring-undeserved. I ended up switching to Engineering as a way to prove to myself that my willpower alone could trump any obstacle; drugs were superfluous and better left to my inferiors (which is to say, as I was wont to think, 99.8% of the world's population).

I vowed to never ingest a single illicit (or illicitly-acquired) substance again, of course. Two years went by after taking the "Limitless" pill, and my GPA cratered. Engineering meant academics were no longer a walk-in-the-park like high school was. The fact was-my ADHD never even had an opportunity to surface because of how easy my high school curriculum was structured. I was getting straight C's semester after semester and I was desperate to reclaim my throne of academic super-stardom I felt my pedigree and upbringing warranted.

I went to a local psychiatrist, who produced a prescription pad in literally 4 minutes. My miracle pills were back, and my GPA shot back up, even managing to snag a few A+'s! I felt like I was Einstein reincarnate! In fact, the high these amphetamines conferred onto me resulted in me doing so well in university recruiting, that when corporations came around, I beat tens of thousands of ferociously-competitive applicants in securing an SA offer at a BB. I would take 100mg of Adderall XR in the morning and clock an average of 20 hours of pure work that day. My MDs and VPs loved me, and the other SAs were continually frustrated, floored, and generally envious of my miraculous ability to out-muscle them intellectually and physically day-in and day-out. I was notorious for staying up two or three nights in a row without a wink of sleep, and even the security guards that checked my ID would be in a catatonic awe of my regular habit of leaving the office at 5am and returning at 5:30am, having only went to my apartment to change out of my suits (which were drenched with sweat because of the drugs). Of course, on Saturdays and Sundays, I slept 19 straight hours. Towards the end of the internship, I began showing up late, because on the third straight day of absolutely no-sleep, my body would shut down at 6am while I would be changing to return to the office, and I would wake up at noon praying like a sinner that some catastrophe would materialize in-transit to distract Management from my unfathomable tardiness. Because of my incredibly sterling reputation (built upon a foundation of Adderall) that I killed myself over the past few months to erect, my superiors forgave me and I felt like what I assume Heroin feels like.

Unfortunately, this happened two or three more times, and I went from the top intern globally (that is, out of the entire company, because even the CEO and other Executives knew about my reputation, apparently) to the office scourge. I was no longer asked to spearhead projects and trust between me and everyone evaporated. Because we work with the world's most important people, my superiors thought that being just smart but also punctual was far more attractive and much preferred over the sheer intellectual horsepower I blessed the investment bank with. I was not offered to return following graduation. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. I wish I never took Adderall my freshmen year. That way, I would've never been able to secure this investment banking internship only to experience the harrowing, flesh-singing sting of denial to this golden ticket to fame and fortune.

Now, I am trying to get my recently-prescribed regiment of modafinil to prevent any further professional disasters, but I found this medication largely superfluous as I moved back in with my parents following graduation and am gradually turning into Jabba the Hut. My dreams of gracing the cover of Forbes evaporated when I couldn't even get another job with an even worse investment bank (or anywhere!), so now my only goal is to serendipitously stumble-upon a neglected vial of morphine to accidentally euthanize myself.

Comments (27)

mb666, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP, you're a good writer. Unfortunately too much of anything can be detrimental to your health and career.

You need to learn how to function without dependence on these meds. I know its easier said than done but your problem is partly psychological and if you don't change you'll never defeat this path of addiction.

EBITDAXYZ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

regarding that BB offer - who cares? u have a nice CV, probably few connections, etc. - just go work on new offer need to sort out your depression and confidence tho..

i never used adderall or anything of that sort (illegal here, doctors do not believe in ADHD and call it "american bullshit" in the whole region, especially the treatment with amphetamines), and i also do not use drugs pretty much at all, so i cant comment on that really however, after reading your post, i would say that a first impression some kid would get is that adderall is awesome looks like benefits outweigh the bad side imho

also, you talk about "ferociously-competitive BB SA offer", which is really not that hard to get and there are plenty of average people in those same banks, through all positions... people here glorify those positions too much, i did not have too much problem getting in with a simple sound plan, nice story and networking

i personally like my mind and creativity, and would not use drugs on them did a lot of research on the subject, and every time someone mentions adderall or sth, i get curious how it would feel.. kinda like roids stuff.. been doing high level sports since i was a kid and i am still very active, and i always wanted to see how fast i would recover and build that muscle lol... hell i might even give it a shot after mid thirties or sth

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kidflash, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're retarded for abusing a drug that was intended to help you cope with your ADHD. 100mg's. Jesus christ.

  • 1
realjackryan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thats where I stopped reading too.

Although if I was a CEO and I caught wind of some dumb fucker eating a gram of amphetamine and staying up for a week while suffering from drug - induced delusions of grandeur about his performance... I might keep tabs on him.

And as far as the group goes - if you hire some dumb fucker who thinks his job is to impress others with his toxic drug consumption for 8 out of 10 weeks, at the cost of performing basic tasks like showing up to work on time, you probably shouldn't give him a FT.

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BTbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So what was the reason to miss out on this FT recruiting? Grades, blacklisted, etc?

GregMadeMeDoIt, what's your opinion? Comment below:

nice try @DCDepository you're not fooling anyone

LOL. I can't write that well and I'm not creative enough.

Kassad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This was an excellently written piece.

OP, it sounds like you need to a retreat from life. I'm very serious about this suggestion; take a few weeks, preferably a few months, and go do something else. I understand and am aware of the feeling of not being able to let go, but as a young 20-something, this can be a very important experience.

in it 2 win it
  • 2
duffmt6, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This whole post is such a load of bullshit.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
Anihilist, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This whole post is such a load of bullshit.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.
Matrick, what's your opinion? Comment below:
so now my only goal is to serendipitously stumble-upon a neglected vial of morphine to accidentally euthanize myself.

sounds like you have a serious case of depression, you may wanna get help with that or at least not ask for advice on the internet...

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

  • 1
PEorBust57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Exactly what I was thinking - I'm surprised at the number of serious responses. Also this guy thinks way too highly of himself.

  • 1
MyronGPA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

lol sounds like you still poppin an addy before writing that

~High GPA Crew~ ~Firms Reach Out to Me Crew~ ~Round Down My GPA to Look Modest Crew~ ~Never Use 'Incoming' on LinkedIn Crew~
  • 1
Goldfinger_SSG, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It was actually a provigil, but good on ya.

WannabeEntrepreneur, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Excellent troll - and I love that movie Limitless. Everyone should check it out.

BepBep12, what's your opinion? Comment below:


'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
PeterMullersKeyboard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lol I love it. Apparently this is how people see Adderall who have never used it...Limitless pill...sure if you literally couldn't tie your own shoes beforehand due to ADD. Otherwise...its nothing of the sort.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."
GregMadeMeDoIt, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Greatest post in WSO history? Loved it. Don't know if it's a troll post or what, but bravo.

  • 1
GoldmanBankster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Magisterial writing, friend!

I wonder if this guy was SSG (or attempted Internal Mobility from IBD/FICC/IMD to SSG) based on his username:

Goldfinger = nickname given to our most esteemed alumni, Mark McGoldrick, who started and ran SSG (now running his own shop after projectile vomiting on Management when he learned that he would only be paid $70mn for his services rendered), and was responsible for generating 15% of ALL (per annum) revenue at one point. Working 22hrs/day might've helped.

SSG = Could be "aspirational", but juxtaposition with "Goldfinger" makes OP a legit insider. Not a troll.

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  • 1
Yooooo1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is so overused

fundmanager, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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