Due Diligence: What is Important to You
I am not sure of the reception this will get, but I’ve spent enough time responding to others’ posts with anecdotal commentary, some ball busting, and hopefully halfway decent advice. I’m not intending to proselytize with the below, just giving anyone who reads this some food for thought – maybe a challenge to your own personal beliefs, hopefully a framework or two to play around with in your mind.
If you have a different experience or beliefs, I don’t really care to argue, I wish you well in your endeavors. I certainly am not writing this to jerk myself off, I want to help some of you avoid the mistakes I made, I was just too dumb to do the right thing at key points in my journey.
If you can identify me, I’d just ask that you don’t blow me up – I like the ability to be honest on here (and I don’t think I’m hateful or horny) and provide my various musings without ruining my shit.
I appreciate the time and courtesy – happy to DM with folks as I am available, if you’d like.
I am a mid-30s professional, working at a pretty niche boutique – primarily focused on restructuring work.
First in my family to go to college, attended a (I guess, I still don’t know) semi-target. I always just thought that if you go to college, you get a job - so did zero research or networking; I didn’t know what a three-statement model was until I graduated. Had zero fucking clue what investment banking was until my junior year, but got a few interviews regardless. During one, the interviewer actually cut it short and gave me resources to learn what investment banking actually was. In short, not great.
So, I took an internship and eventually a job in accounting for a global financial firm, focused on FP&A and management reporting. Got to do the numbers for theteam, spent time with the , really got interested in how revenue was generated. Made my jump to another financial services firm, in accounting/ , with a recruiter promise that I could network into IB. This is where my experience that recruiters are 100% full of shit, 100% of the time comes from.
By this point, I did prep work and understood the game a little better. I found some junior guys, took them out for coffee and told them what I wanted. Did a series of interviews and got invited to a. Had to tell my manager and he lost his fucking mind (he was the lord of his back office fiefdom), I tried to say something to the effect of “I don’t know if I would do it, but it’s an interesting opportunity.” He eventually said “fine” and I interviewed very well. The following morning I went into his office to thank him, and re-enforce that it would not change my work product for him. On his desk was a memo to the group head, lambasting me for being a shitbag.
At that point, I knew I wasn’t getting an offer and my time there was short. I got lucky enough to move into another bank, as a middle market lender to PE backed companies (bank lending, in the private credit space). Enjoyed it, did it for five years, but theand credit fund boom began to happen, so we were getting spanked on every agency mandate and the non-agented deals were too cheap or had no covenants. It turned out to be boring as anything at this point and I left to at an Ivy.
Post-MBA, I moved to where I am now – started great, worked my dick off, madeyears; nights, weekends, date nights, all-nighters, honeymoon, holidays I was fucking grinding. During COVID I was working from 8am to 5am daily. I am stunned my wife didn’t leave me.
Fast forward, in 2023, I did ~30 all-nighters in Q1, came home one day and almost collapsed. My BP was 165 / 95, I couldn’t breathe, I was in bad shape and I got to watch my wife and son see me like that. Ambulance to the ER and spent the night. Luckily, it wasn’t a heart attack, but they had no idea what it was. I’ve basically gone to one doctor or another at least once every two weeks since April. We have a handle on what it is and how to fix it now – but it is jarring to hear a highly regarded doctor say “If you continue down this path, there is a good chance you’re dead in five years.”
Why Am I Sharing This:
It seems like a lot of people here are struggling with work / life balance, what is important, goals, money, prestige, etc. I used to say things like, “I’ll work for a week straight, if I’m making the right money.” And I have done that, for very much not the right money or the right people.
I’ve spent a few years in therapy, spoken with professional coaches, done a ton of reading and some soul searching. All of that was fine to help with the anxiety and panic attacks that developed due to be constantly on the clock.
Nothing makes you face yourself like almost dying – so I’ve been spending time looking at my values, principles, goals and I’ve landed on the fact that I will never get the time with my wife, kids, brothers and parents back. I don’t remember deal points that caused me to answer emails on a glacier in Iceland, sit alone in another room while the family was celebrating holidays, or pull an all-nighter after coming back from the bar during my honeymoon – but I remember how I felt and how the people I was with reacted.
I’m fucking tired of it, it’s not worth it to me, and I’m getting out. Seeing my kids experience firsts and just enjoying my life with the people I love, are so much more important to me. So I sign off at 5pm, don’t answer emails on weekends, and spend time during WFH days with the family – while finding a new role that aligns with where I’m at.
On the health point, take care of yourselves. I was working all night, eating like absolute dogshit and getting hammered with astonishing frequency. All of it due to habit and to numb the hatred I had for the work. Once I was able to break the habits, I lost ~25lbs in a month and a half and am still going, feeling more energetic, generally happier and sleeping better. Don’t be like me and put it all off in the hope that you can fix it when you’re in a good spot – take the time today to make sure you don’t die before you end up in your desired “spot”.
Think about what is important to you – if you determine that it is “prestige,” ask yourself why? Who are you doing that for? What will a billion dollars give you that a couple tens of millions won’t? Will the generational wealth be worth it when everyone who draws on the trust fund remembers you as a massive fucking asshole who missed everything important to them?
My newest focus is actually putting my fucking phone down and being in the moment. I’ve gotten much better (turned off my outlook notifications), but there is still wood to chop there.
I’m getting a bit rambly here, but I guess my main points are:
- Non-traditional path isn’t always the end of the road, keep moving forward
- Be active in determining your true goals, values and principles – then let those truly guide you
- Don’t be afraid to walk away from a situation that doesn’t align with those
- Take care of yourself, this isn’t worth destroying yourself over – it’s a fucking job
Some decent books, for the readers out there:
- Outlive – Dr. Peter Attia
- Give and Take – Adam Grant
- In Case You Get Hit by a Bus – Abby Schneiderman
Good luck out there folks.