Managed Out - Resume Gap & Recruiting
For background, I'm an associate who is being "managed out" of my fund. I started as an analyst and have worked at my current fund for the past 3 years. The first two years were manageable but I became increasingly unhappy and burned out as I progressed through my third year, which I believe was largely a symptom of feeling underpaid relative to the hours I was putting in, and also a byproduct of the general sweatiness of my fund (massive junior turnover during COVID).
After some conversations with the partners, I managed to negotiate an exit period where I transition off my projects and portcos for a couple months. I'm leaving with no bridges burned, and the senior guys have agreed to give strong references for whatever else I decide to transition to next.
If it were up to me – and optics for business school apps / other finance positions didn't matter – I would take 3-6 months to travel, recharge, and reevaluate what I want from life and my career. Overall, I had a pretty negative experience at the fund I worked at, and although I think a lot of that was driven by the poor culture, I also think that I need to do some soul searching to determine if PE is the right path for me. I'm reluctant to immediately jump into recruiting for more buyout roles, as a number of trusted friends / mentors within my network have cautioned me that my negative experience isn't unique to my fund, and I could end up in another seat feeling equally unhappy for similar reasons. I guess I'm holding on to the hope that there are some funds out there with a good collegial culture, where your weekend isn't constantly blown up, etc., and I don't want to shut the door to recruiting opps by having a resume gap from a personal break.
Which brings me to my question for the group: has anyone taken extended time off after finishing a few years of work in PE, either due to burnout or other personal reasons? I'd love to hear your experiences and how things worked out for those of you that have, as well as any advice you might have for dealing with burnout in the industry.