I posted earlier about my miserable time in consulting (Thought Consulting was My Dream...I Hate It).
Two months after my original post, I still dislike it and have made the decision to quietly seek other employment, hopefully lining up a job reasonably quickly.
My reasons for seeking a way out are (1) generally disagreeable managers (and this seems to be fairly consistent in the firm) and (2) long hours with too little control over my personal life. There are also other quibbles, including (3) my feeling poorly suited for this job due to my introverted nature, (4) travel that never seems to end and (5) working on projects that have nothing to do with my longer-term aims (and hence not moving me forward well).
But my reasons for writing are to ask about whether anyone else has had a similar experience insofar as their ambition is concerned: I feel mine is dying or dead. I see all these people (mostly at the senior ranks--many junior people act better than I can hope to and are just paying their dues) giving their hearts and souls for their jobs and getting little other than money in return. They're miserable (or so they seem to me), have no control over their personal lives and don't seem to take any pleasure in their work--or really anything else.
I've had a tough personal situation in 2013 (brutal end of a significant relationship, family member dying) and am seriously contemplating taking a breather--whether that's crossing my fingers that I get laid off and can coast for a few months before starting a job search, or getting a low-key job in middle office,or fund accounting with a big pay cut but 40-50 hour weeks. I want to focus on my relationship(s), read a lot, catch up on movies and push forward some of the personal learning I've gained (a positive amidst all the negative) in 2013. I have low living expenses (~$30k/year after tax) and would be happy with $70-80k (from low 6 figures now). Hopefully I could be back where I am now in 3 or 4 years in terms of salary.
What's wrong with me? My GPAs were all 3.9+, I passed all three levels of the CFA exams on the first go, went to a top Ivy League school and have always pushed myself hard. But before hitting 30, I already feel tired and like maybe career doesn't define me anymore (and shouldn't have earlier on).
Has it just been a bad fit and I'm generalizing my dislike of the job and the lack of control to a lack of willingness to work hard at all? (Part of me thinks this is the case because when the hours aren't stressful, 12-14 hour days, including some time on the weekends, really don't seem bad at all). Or has my ambition died? And is that a bad thing?
Can anyone else relate? And what did you end up doing about it? I'd love to hear from you guys because this board is filled with Type-A overachievers like me--I can get the Type-B answers quite easily from some of my friends (and am tending in their direction more and more).
UPDATE (Aug 8/13, 9:20pm EST):
Thanks everyone for the very thoughtful comments. To address what a lot of people have said, I work out quite regularly (4-5 times per week--squash when I can, usually running outside/cycling inside), have enough hobbies (reading, watching movies, playing video games from time to time), go to church/church group when I can, and have confided in most of my friends, g/f and family. Obviously the hobbies have suffered in this job.
I'm quite certain that what's wearing me down--apart from my personal situation this year--is the lack of control I feel over my own life. Basically, I'm (relatively) happy working 12-14 hour days in another city, even with jerks, but I internally freak out when I'm asked to work over the weekend or late into the evening because it's like they're taking what little I have left--what little I had to look forward to--away from me. (That it's last minute usually doesn't help--basically I have no power to anticipate anything.) It makes me feel so powerless. There's no finish line--only the company's wishes and my obedience!
No amount of money or prestige is worth that for me...
I'm also contemplating out and out quitting--I get the feeling my employer might appreciate this because they have made comments on several occasions that I have to be either 100% in or 100% out--and I'm definitely not 100% in. I think that could mitigate some of the reputational risk (not that anybody knows me 3 years into my career--and I'm from finance and would probably return there, not from consulting). I have extensive savings so the bigger problem post-quitting would be finding a new career-quality job inside of a year or two (though I could last longer financially if needed and am not above working at SBUX/shoveling snow for a while to keep my savings about flat and to gain a new perspective--plus I could leave it off the resume). The upside is that instead of trying to desperately find whatever I can get while I'm employed, I have time to make sure it's a good fit and this shitshow isn't repeated. That's really important to me--I think after 3 years at one firm straight out of school, 6 months at another doesn't scream job-hopper; but if I jumped 6 months later from another one, that could be trouble.
Any more thoughts? I'd love to hear from someone who quit without another job lined up and has successfully managed that (or not successfully, if the case might be.). Thanks so much everybody--really appreciated.