Tips for balancing work + a bad breakup

I just went through a pretty difficult breakup last weekend, and I'm finding it hard very challenging to concentrate at work and focus on my performance. Normally I am very attentive and try my best to be proactive and helpful for my team, but I've really lost my motivation this past week. I was basically blindsided by the breakup, so my mind keeps wandering back to past memories, what I could have done wrong, what the future will look like, etc. etc. 

The last thing I want to do is slip up now, since I've gotten good reviews so far and bonus season / analyst reviews are right around the corner. However, I just feel super shitty and demoralized overall. I've gone through breakups and heartaches before. but these were all during college / over the summer. It's a lot different now when I have to work a high-pressure, taxing job and be responsive to emails for so many hours of the day.

For those who have been in my shoes, how were you able to get back into the groove and bounce back? I just want to distract my mind from all these negative thoughts clouding my head. 

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (23)

May 11, 2022 - 11:25am
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I feel you man,  I was there earlier this year. And this is a hard career and you really have to watch out for your mental health.  It will get better over time and really try and communicate with your teams and staffer.  Don't tell them you went through a bad breakup, but tell them you are feeling really burned out or that you have a doctors appointment and take a Friday afternoon off.  Then just leave the phone at home and go do one thing that you have always wanted.  I find that just being able to walk away from work and feel something again is the fastest way to recover from heartbreak.  

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 11, 2022 - 11:57am

Thank you, that's great advice. 

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Event
May 11, 2022 - 11:43am

I feel you too man, was in your shoes a few months ago. A few weeks ago I would've told you to cheer up, look ahead and just focus on yourself - and all of those are true. But the truth is you will feel shitty for a while, and only time can heal it. It may sound harsh, but what got me back into the groove was when my best friend told me straight up to stop being a bitch, give yourself some time to recover but then go out and meet some new people. You have a lot to look forward to. Stay up king/queen.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 11, 2022 - 11:57am

Thank you so much. That means a lot. Just curious, how long did it take before you felt ready to go out and meet new people? I don't see myself in that position for at least a couple of months...

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Event
May 11, 2022 - 12:08pm

I think a couple of months sounds about right... I'd say don't force it otherwise it won't be genuine anyways. If you're not ready yet, at least talk to some of your existing friends. Just hang out and relax. Understand you're in IB and work can be brutal even on the weekends - been there. But give yourself at least a weekend and just chill with the people that you feel comfortable with. I found myself with negative thoughts more often when I'm alone (that said, do spend some time alone). Eventually, when you're ready, just say to yourself F this I got bigger things waiting for me. It's all up from there.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
May 11, 2022 - 11:51am
JRswede, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not working in IB yet but I have had my experiences with break ups. In my opinion you have to give yourself some time to feel, allow yourself to feel all the shittiness and do the bare minimum of what is expected from you which is hard enough. After a while concentrating on other things will be much easier even though the shitty feeling will stay there for quite some time. So first step, just feel the shittiness, cry a lot if you have to and then watch as your capacity goes back up 

Most Helpful
May 11, 2022 - 1:14pm
Abusement Park, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Follow the Abusement Park Breakup Playbook, conceived 11 months ago when it happened to me.

1. Delete ex-significant other on all social media (or delete social media in general)

2. Go on a bender and fuck anything that moves

3. Get your shit together

4. Cut to single digit bodyfat by lifting like no tomorrow and blasting nothing but death metal

5. Focus on work, lifting, and spending time with those close to you who you actually care about

6. Give it six months, if you still care after that, then idk what to tell you

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 11, 2022 - 1:40pm

Damn, I did this after my breakup not knowing this is what people do or that this "guide" existed.

Regret #2 significantly.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
May 11, 2022 - 3:56pm

I would heavily agree with this, maybe add the fact that this is the one time when your mates will forgive you for pulling a "go big go early" strategy on a night out and fucking the fattest chick in the club for a guaranteed shag. Really sleep with anything you can get your hands on and by the time you're ten or twenty people past your ex you'll no longer care.

May 12, 2022 - 9:40am
MonkeyNoise, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Id change the order. Work on getting to your ideal state and then fuck anything that moves. I found that after a break up if I initiated it then yea Im ready to move on usually , but if blind sided and hurt then takes more time to process and sleeping around didnt help

May 12, 2022 - 9:31am
MonkeyNoise, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First, take a step back and process all the emotions when you are at home. It's ok to cry, or sit on the couch and eat ice cream for a day, or whatever. Go through the emotions of everything. Breakups are hard - ESPECIALLY when you are younger. Guessing by title you are early 20s? When you have some of those 'first love' type relationships at 18-26 or so and they end it can be an incredible gut punch. Eventually you will grow numb to this feeling a bit and prioritize yourself more.

Wont reiterate what others have said too much but will say recognize the opportunity that comes with a breakup. You will have ample more free time going forward, and can really focus on yourself. This can be great if you are motivated or awful if you are more self destructive. Use this time to focus on getting healthy (drink less, workout all the fucking time, eat healthy), getting to know yourself (look into new hobbies, try anything, meet new people) and give yourself something to look forward to (book an international solo trip or trip with a bro right now for a few months out. You have the money).

It will be tough not to think about her at times but use that as motivation to be your best self. If she broke up with you then sadly she 100% doesn't care about you anymore and there is no point in vying to get her back. If you wallow in self pity you will only prove her right. Ignore her, do you, grow as a person, have fun, and as the saying goes - time heals all. 

May 12, 2022 - 5:02pm
ironman32, what's your opinion? Comment below:

- I feel you. I don't know how old you are, or how long you were dating, but basically you thought you're life would be going one way and its taking a 180 right now. 

- Don't beat yourself up too much, or try to think about it too much. Meaning, if someone cheated, or was not very attentive of the other, or abusive, yes that can/should be adjusted going forward. However, don't try to mentally tax yourself thinking about that one time you got Mexican food together and if you got Chinese or Pizza you'd still be together. Nows a good time to think about what you want a relationship/life to look like; do you want to work all the time, or have a less crazy job to spend time with family/friends/doing things. 

- In the long run, even a year from now, you'll be over it. 

May 13, 2022 - 2:57pm
AspiringLateral, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just went through something similar a couple months ago and am still in the process of getting over it, so I'm glad this was posted. I'll echo that it does get better with time, especially if you focus on improving yourself. Love these replies. One thing I'll add is a recommendation to read The Rational Male. I had read it years ago, but re-reading it helped me get focused back on me.

May 13, 2022 - 3:37pm
Teller in Branch - Personal Loans, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Congrats man! That's excellent news!!! I'm so happy for you. Imagine she said "I'm pregnant."


  • 1
May 13, 2022 - 4:19pm
choochootrain, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Quo accusamus quo praesentium. Enim maiores ut error ducimus sapiente deleniti voluptatem. Cumque quia enim consectetur voluptatum.

Magnam perferendis vitae consectetur placeat ad ab sed. Quis velit necessitatibus sunt iste rerum fuga. Et tenetur officiis adipisci dolor. Soluta vel excepturi ut cum veniam.

Eveniet in velit qui sit sed. Sunt cupiditate beatae blanditiis molestiae consequatur iste eos. Dignissimos quo id omnis corrupti doloremque minima omnis. Est ipsam quo tenetur vitae assumenda sed incidunt. Sint et accusamus rerum. Rerum asperiores voluptatem molestias minima magnam. Cum fuga iure et natus.

May 14, 2022 - 12:35am
joemother6969, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ut consequatur iure dolor assumenda perspiciatis nobis eveniet. Saepe cumque ea et dolor. Expedita architecto praesentium dolorem voluptate vero molestiae.

Labore consequatur consectetur vitae. Repudiandae quis ipsum assumenda minus quisquam quos. Dignissimos neque consequatur mollitia nihil atque itaque. Harum vel voluptatem omnis atque quas eum vel quibusdam.

Dolorem sunt et officia eum eum. Molestiae a ut assumenda vitae iure. Earum aut provident similique occaecati dolores et voluptatem.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲03) 99.6%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲07) 99.2%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲02) 98.7%
  • Lincoln International (▽02) 98.3%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲07) 97.9%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲12) 99.6%
  • Rothschild (▲02) 99.1%
  • Truist Securities (+ +) 98.7%
  • Greenhill (▲06) 98.3%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲07) 97.9%

Professional Growth Opportunities

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲04) 99.6%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲06) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲09) 98.7%
  • Lincoln International (▲02) 98.3%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲06) 97.9%

Total Avg Compensation

May 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $661
  • Vice President (36) $393
  • Associates (181) $246
  • 2nd Year Analyst (109) $161
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (17) $156
  • 1st Year Analyst (349) $148
  • Intern/Summer Associate (74) $147
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (272) $91