Completely being screwed and I need to vent about this BS

I've sat and worked my absolute ass off trying to succeed at this desk. I am first one in, last one out. 11hrs/day 5 days per week. I also do all supply orders, restocking, cleaning, trash take out, etc...  I got my 7, 63, & 57. more than some of my bosses even have. I never complain, never miss a day, literally never do anything to even give the impression of slacking off, even if that requires me showing up feeling extremely ill. (I was a former D1 athlete so I give this job 100x the effort I even gave to that)

All that said. I was very fortunate to get this opportunity on this desk and jumped at it under the impression that with enough hard work, it was the opportunity of the century to get paid a lot and work my way into the industry. 

Well, screw all that. I am so fed up with using that as an excuse for being taken advantage of. I'm over 2 years on my desk and still not doing anything. Everything I know, I learned on my own. I have had next to  nothing in terms of training or mentorship. And, I'm ridiculed if I dare ask a question about anything.

The pay is insulting. I receive 50% less than the industry standard in a high COL city. I recently have a meeting with my managers about moving up and being promoted. And this is where I found out how screwed I was getting. get a load of this: (it is a newer desk)

Everyone came over with a negotiated deal that they would receive base salary plus 50% profit for a couple years on the desk, then it would shift to commission and draw structure but same cut of profits. I have received only base and zero commission. I have seen no money from any trades that I have done. Am I moving massive size? no, but with all accounts gatekept and frankly having to just cold call like I'm at a sweatshop, I am doing something. I have to be added to one of their books to receive a cut of anything I contribute to, and they are more than happy to yank a trade away from me if they think they can profit from it. Even if it's a relationship I have with the other trader on a personal level. 

So they tell me how they are going to expect more out of me and will think about opening up some coverage to small accounts to me instead of gatekeeping ones that they don't even give attention to. BUT, they will be switching my pay to commission and draw. Along with that, they won't even move me to a spot where I see any commission until after I'm switched. Initially, I'm thinking this is fine, I'm finally going to start seeing some actual pay. But, I have a relationship with a retired manager that helped get this desk set up before stepping away. So I call them up and tell them about me moving up. And turns out the only reason they're switching me is because the entire company is shifting everyone. So I get zero commission until the company forces it and I've been hung out to dry that I will be generating almost nothing when it happens. 

I got zero salary adjustment for 2 years even though inflation is absolutely insane. I'm paid nearly the same as a Mcdonalds cashier even though I have a college degree, 3 licenses, and 2 years experience on a trade desk. And work longer hours. And, they just want to take everyone out and just hide the fact that they just wanted someone to be the office bitch without ever actually training them up to make real money. I'm beyond livid. I can't enjoy life when I eat sleep for dinner. I budget just to get to see my family. Utter bs


In all honesty, I knew going in the pay was low. But I was reassured how much potential there was on the desk. And I've seen first hand the money that every single other person brings in. I had inklings throughout my time but they all were confirmed just recently. 

Just hard to move to other desks as a non-entry level trader without having a couple large accounts (at least from my experience). 

But trust me, I am very actively searching for a new role.


It sounds like you're in a highly frustrating and demoralizing situation. Here are some steps you might consider based on similar experiences shared on Wall Street Oasis:

  1. Evaluate Your Position and Worth: Clearly, you've put in significant effort and have qualifications that are not being adequately recognized or compensated. It's important to assess your skills, contributions, and market value objectively.

  2. Seek External Opportunities: Given the lack of support and growth opportunities at your current job, it might be beneficial to start looking for other roles. Networking, updating your resume, and reaching out to recruiters could open new doors where your efforts are more valued.

  3. Negotiate Your Role: If you still see potential in your current position, consider preparing a strong case for a salary review or role reevaluation. Document your contributions, the hours you've put in, and how you've gone beyond your job description.

  4. Mentorship and Guidance: Since you mentioned a lack of training and mentorship, seeking a mentor outside of your immediate workplace could provide you with valuable insights and advice. This could be through professional networks, LinkedIn, or industry associations.

  5. Legal Advice: If you believe there are contractual or legal discrepancies in how you are being compensated, especially compared to your colleagues, consulting with a labor attorney might clarify your options.

  6. Health and Well-being: Your health is paramount. Continuously working under stress and feeling unwell is unsustainable. Prioritizing your health and well-being is crucial, and if necessary, taking a step back to reassess your professional path might be needed.

Remember, it's important to make decisions based on a comprehensive view of your career goals, personal well-being, and the market conditions. Sometimes, stepping into a new environment can provide the recognition and compensation you deserve.

Sources: Female wage gap in PE, Feeling Undervalued? Do This, The Work Always Gets Done, Toxic bosses in CRE, Incompetent Coworker

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.
Most Helpful

Not experienced in trading, but isn't this an "eat what you kill" situation? I'd assume that if you make money for the team, they'll want to keep you and structure your comp to do so. I'd get another offer in hand and then go to your leadership to make some demands.

I know how you feel, though. I had a situation where I was working my ass off, was constantly the most junior person in the room but was operating at a much higher level and was turning product that rivaled some outside consultants we brought in. I knew everyone around me was making multiples of my pay, but what really sucked was when I saw some of their year-end bonuses were more than double my total comp. Nothing saps your drive more than that.


It definitely is an eat what you kill type of situation. And I understood that going in. Where I get frustrated is that it was basically sit down at a desk and make money with no real guidance or background in the industry. Combine that with not getting to eat anything that you actually kill, and you really lose the passion for it. What's my incentive to grind for a 5k trade when I know I'm just padding the wallet of the guy above me talking about the new raptor he's about to buy? Meanwhile, I dip into savings to buy groceries. 

Like you said, it really saps your drive seeing the bonuses everyone gets paid and then seeing the peanuts they throw you at the end of the year. Even early on, they had one incredible month and were talking about the check they got. It was more than my annual salary. And at the time it was motivating, but now its just frustrating. On top of having any account I start talking to getting grabbed right out of my hands and being told I'm "not ready". 


Do you have any peers in the same boat who you can talk to? Any higher ups (possibly on different teams) who can take you under their wing? Again- I'm not versed in trading but in your scenario I would be thinking about what would make me an ideal candidate for another firm, and actively look to create the experiences needed to check that resume box. OR- you referenced personal relationships with counterparties. Could you leverage one of those to make a jump?

I know you just want to vent- felt the exact same way in the situation I described previously. I knew I didn't deserve to be paid extra- was a situation of "It would be a lot cooler if you did". But damn, I was furious. Yelling in my car on the way home after having my yearly comp discussion, hearing that I got my yearly little raise, knowing that everyone in my circle at work got bonuses 2x my total comp


Can you define regional for us here? I work with a lot of regional institutions and haven’t heard of this behavior except from 3rd rate shops. Long story short you need to get out of there. The market is rough so maybe don’t quit but I don’t see any reason to be putting the time in that you are right now. 8-9 hr days max, start applying/interviewing. Very unlikely you get fired for simply putting in less effort.


Basically just a smaller BD. We don't have a massive balance sheet and don't directly compete with the primaries like Goldman or JPM

I do agree with you about looking around. I've been shopping around at the moment and hopefully should be hearing back on some interviews soon. Don't think they would really want to just get rid of me either. I do so much of the behind the scenes stuff that makes their day to day more streamlined, while also being in charge of training up the new junior, they don't want to add a single extra thing to do on their daily task list. 


Sed amet qui ipsam sint minus harum et. Corporis accusantium eum voluptatum eveniet voluptas maiores beatae. Expedita voluptatem voluptatum sapiente consequatur omnis fuga quia.

Consequatur et optio at iste qui facere. Aut laboriosam at praesentium qui. Qui velit libero aut accusantium modi labore nulla. Quia est impedit sapiente perferendis est.

Career Advancement Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners New 98.9%
  • Lazard Freres 01 98.3%
  • Harris Williams & Co. 24 97.7%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 19 99.4%
  • Lazard Freres 06 98.9%
  • JPMorgan Chase 09 98.3%
  • Morgan Stanley 05 97.7%
  • Moelis & Company 01 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.9%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners 18 98.3%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.7%
  • Moelis & Company 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (22) $375
  • Associates (94) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (69) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (206) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (151) $101
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


redever's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
Secyh62's picture
BankonBanking's picture
GameTheory's picture
dosk17's picture
kanon's picture
CompBanker's picture
DrApeman's picture
Linda Abraham's picture
Linda Abraham
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”