Any other juniors EXHAUSTED due to COVID work-from-home?

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This work environment is horrible, and I find myself closer and closer to pulling the trigger on my 2 weeks email.

My MDs never sleep, co-workers are always online, and I have no free time on weekends. Call me a bitch all you want, but this shit is taxing right now.

Normally, I try to suck it up and just get my shit done but has anyone else felt extremely overwhelmed? Typically, I'll have a bad week or two then it cools off a little. I've had non-stop bad weeks since quarantine.

MDs that have kids look to work as a 24/7 escape from family time. It's not my fault your wife is unattractive and your kids are annoying and stupid as shit. Stop feeding the firm buzzwords emphasizing opportunity during a stressed market when you know our bonuses are about to be shit despite the work put in.

I apologize about this rant y'all, but I swear on my momma I'm about to slap the shit out of my MD if he sends me an email again at 4am asking if I can turn his new comments by 9am because he scheduled a fucking fake doctor's appointment at 10am.

Comments (116)

 
  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jul 21, 2020 - 1:01am

LOL I can relate to all this.

Array
 
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 21, 2020 - 2:23am

Tbh sounds like bad firm culture (or group). Also aren’t you an associate? Should have decent hours and not as an analyst.

I work at an EB but my hours have been 9:30am till maybe 10pm with quite a few down time in between. Deal flow has been a bit slower but still on two executions (buy-side / sell-side).

MDs still respect personal time and won’t expect turns if they gave comments nighttime until early afternoon the next day. Of course all this goes out the window during firedrills during deals but all in all been loving work from home.

 
  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Gen
Jul 21, 2020 - 12:32pm

I'm with you 110%. My group is normally pretty good in terms of hours, generally in the low 70s on average, but I haven't had a sub 80 hour week since March and haven't had a sub 95 hours week in the past month.

How much the August bonus is haircut will really, really make a difference in what I'm planning for next year

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jul 21, 2020 - 2:48pm

Feel this big time. Same thought has gone through my head weekly especially since CMs came back. Hours are worse than being in the office and all the pointless/unnecessary work has gone through the roof. Feels like people just trying to act busy to position themselves internally. Overkill. People never unplug anymore. I tried to unplug Saturday afternoon after working every weekend the past few weeks and had people texting/calling me about if I was going to turn the deck. Chill out people not like the call is on a Sunday. Feels like the expectations have gotten worse because the thought process is "hey you're at home anyways might as well work". Cue all the hardos who are going to say that's the job I signed up for blah blah blah

 
Jul 21, 2020 - 2:52pm

im just praying i dont lose my job and get the associate promote by end of year

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

 
  • Investment Manager in AM - FI
Jul 21, 2020 - 3:21pm

Would be interesting to know if this is across all banks: BB/EB/MM or just a subset of them.

Progress is impossible without change...
 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jul 21, 2020 - 5:01pm

Yeah working from home has been an absolute shitstorm. I never leave my room and am basically on pins and needles til 2-3 am every single night. Have worked every weekend the last 2 months on stupid pitches cuz deal flow has dried and the seniors are grasping at literally anything to get a fee which then leads to endless workflows for the analysts. At least its good to know its not just me and a ton of us are getting fucked, but I'm not sure how long this can last.

Array
 
  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jul 21, 2020 - 6:27pm

Glad finally somebody spoke up

Array
 
Jul 21, 2020 - 6:39pm

I agree with this and I think the unfortunate thing is that the sanctity of the weekend and / or the small bit of free time that junior bankers had has been completed removed by COVID. MDs are assuming that because a lot of things are shutdown, now you are free to work any and all hours. It's a pretty shitty setup in my opinion.

I'd try to talk to your staffer or a VP / Director and see what they can do. I know at my firm we are trying to prevent this from happening but it does require a constant effort to manage MDs and nobody is aware unless some speaks up.

 
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jul 21, 2020 - 6:57pm

I'm at one of the EBs known to have bad hours (Moelis/PJT/Lazard) and things have gotten out of control in recent months. Most of my analysts work until 4am almost on a daily basis and I work past 1am most of the time. Can pretty much forget about weekends as we are always working on another useless pitch that is going to end up nowhere in this environment

All of our partners/MDs are scared shitless about not meeting revenue targets so treat every pitch like it's the next $10bn sellside that's going to make them golden for the year. It would probably be like this during any bad year deal flow wise but all of this WFH stuff just exacerbates the situation for all the junior folks

 
Jul 22, 2020 - 11:46am

sorry to hear this guys... anecdotally, all the associates I've been speaking with (recruiting for our mentors and podcast/Q&As, etc) are singing the same tune... they are getting absolutely slammed right now.

Maybe the banks should adopt some sort of time tracking on the computers (maybe they already have this and just cant control the MDs) so they can see you're putting in like 15-18+hr days 6-7 days per week consistently so that they can monitor the kids that aren't sleeping enough.

 
Jul 22, 2020 - 2:50pm

Covid proves the old adage my VP used to say is true: "ib is just a bunch of people shoveling shit and piling it on the guy/gal beneath them" MD's stressed for revenues take it out on VP's who take it out on associates. It's unfortunate, but the nature of the beast. I'd speak with your staffer to see if you can catch at least a quick weekend break to catch up on sleep and emphasize that you'll be more refreshed after. If they say no to that, prolly not the best bank / grop to be at long term

 
Jul 22, 2020 - 6:09pm

It sucks but it's the same situation across the board for almost everyone right now. Just about everyone I know in PE/IB is in shit-eating mode. I am just grateful that our assets haven't nuked themselves and things worked out well.

Might help to think about the positives, like keeping your job during a time of historic unemployment and being lucky not to be a fresh grad, etc...

 
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 22, 2020 - 10:17pm

We’re definitely buried, though it is at least all for live processes that we’re chasing. I’m constantly torn between feeling depressed and endlessly grateful to have a job (I just read a post from the guy who had to give his dog away because he can’t afford the medicine.. after spending 2 years in IB). Past two weeks I’ve been taking a nap from like 10:30pm to midnight, working until 5:30 and then a second nap from 5:30-7:00am. I need those little pauses, which are great, but I do question the sustainability.

 
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 25, 2020 - 11:37am

Yeah I see the questions above and should add that we are a smaller firm/fund and right before I joined lost several junior guys who left unexpectedly for personal reasons (some of whom were with the firm for only a few months so it was a bit surprising for all involved). That was bad timing given the rona-induced spike in portco work and the fact that our pipeline has been fairly strong despite many processes being put on pause. Our firm is typically more of a “lifestyle” fund tbh which is why I felt compelled to reply to this particular thread. One other thing I want to add/agree with: I think it has become increasingly difficult for everyone to separate personal and professional time since, by nature, wfh means you never leave your “office.” It seems that everyone is always plugged in which creates a positive feedback loop if that makes sense. If the seniors are always plugged in, that means they’re constantly sending things down to the juniors to tackle. If the juniors are always plugged in, they’re constantly sending work product upwards to be reviewed and asking questions. I will say, I have WAY more visibility into my weeks than when I was in banking (but just because I know what’s coming doesn’t mean I like what I see!).

 
Jul 23, 2020 - 12:40am

This is more a reflection of the poor deal environment than anything else: everyone is trying to justify why they shouldn’t be laid off. As much as it sucks donkey dick, imagine if you had to commute on top of the hours you were putting in. I’m not in IB but we have been similarly crushed since March and I recently let my boss know that it’s a good thing we were working remotely because the commute on top of all the extra work might have broken me. You just get to a point where you’re too tired to even function. Even now there are days where I almost wish I’d get laid off. Almost.

Still, I’d rather this than be worrying about a paycheck, there’s a lot of folks getting pretty desperate.

This can’t last forever, at some point there will be a shakeout.

THERE ALWAYS IS

Get busy living
 
Jul 23, 2020 - 8:38am

I feel the same. This whole "work from home" thing is really turning into a "work is home" arrangement @[email protected]

At least for me I'm not expected to immediately respond to things within hours if the email came in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe its cuz I work in Infrastructure Private Equity and the pace of things here is a lot slower than with traditional IB or Buyout PE.

But I definitely agree that actual working hours are longer now. Every1 wants to make it seem that they're indispensable to the team, so every1 tries doing more work than they've ever had before.

 
  • VP in IB-M&A
Jul 23, 2020 - 11:39am

Completely understandable - combination of what you described + being reachable 24/7. MDs know you have nothing else going on, so why not leverage that?

IMO, you need to start pushing back more, otherwise things will not get better. Respond to his email at 8:00am saying you just woke up and can turn as much as possible in the next hour but won't be 100% complete. Call him out on his BS. He'll probably respond saying: "OK, by noon is fine" or some shit.

Bonuses will be shit anyway, so what have you got to lose? You're senior enough and hopefully have built up enough goodwill where people will respect your push back and it won't have any longer-term effects on your experience/bonuses (if anything, could have a positive impact). Hopefully your MDs aren't COMPLETE assholes and will understand. If they don't, just pull the trigger on your 2-week notice email and go join a different bank. You have more leverage than you think.

(FYI, this is coming from experience. Life has gotten materially better after adopting an IDGAF mentality)

 
  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Gen
Jul 23, 2020 - 12:55pm

I was just talking with a friend about how bad it's been lately. It's kind of comforting to hear I'm not the only one going through this, but I'm exhausted. The pandemic really made me step back and think about a lot of things, and for me life is too short to put up with this environment for much longer. I know people with less demanding jobs that were able to use the slow down to spend more time with family, and I would feel awful if something happened to a loved one while I was working 24/7. On top of that, my mental health has been nuked (and physical too since I can never leave my apartment).

If this goes on long-term, bonuses next year will probably be awful, so we'll sacrifice our health and time spent with people close to us for what?

 
Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 24, 2020 - 1:25pm

Yep. Many of my friends in IB have gone to WFH at their parents’ places and are seeing live every day what they’ve missed out on in life for two years+ with their heads buried in their desks, except now it’s being rubbed in their faces. I wonder if we see a semi-mass exodus among juniors because of this shit. Like you said, life is too short. Balance is okay to strive for sooner than you reach the age of 40, even if it means less earnings overall. You’ll more than likely still get to live above the means of most of America if you’ve come this far in life.

I actually just put my two weeks in today as I’ve had enough. I’m going to go focus on a startup I’ve been planting the seeds on for a few months now. 2 year living expense runway (separate from the budget for the startup) so here goes nothing.

If it fails, I’m resigning and going over to asset management or debt syndication. The lifestyle looks to be better in average.

 
Jul 23, 2020 - 2:20pm

Totally agree with every sentiment on this thread. Realistically this will further drive people away from IB into tech/consulting (more so tech but still). VP's working me continuously every Saturday and expect you to be at your desk every second.

Frankly sometimes I just think about quitting and living on savings while this blows over.

 
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 23, 2020 - 6:00pm

Are everyone’s hours right now really as bad as this thread implies? I’m a 2nd year analyst at a strong BB group in NY, and hours have definitely been bad (maybe ~80-90/week), but it’s not like I’m grinding away every Saturday - still usually getting Sat almost fully off.

Maybe I should be grateful?

 
Jul 23, 2020 - 11:45pm

The busiest 5-6 months I’ve had by far and pace doesn’t seem to be letting up for the rest of the year. Not being able to blow off steam on weekends or step away for 20-30mins makes it all the more difficult.

On one hand I feel very fortunate to be employed and making good money, on the other I feel like a fucking idiot for still putting up with this everyday.

 
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Jul 24, 2020 - 12:06pm

Got laid off from an IB firm due to the pandemic, lucky enough to transition to S&T.

Feels like getting kicked out of IB is a blessing in disguise, now I have full weekend off and make a smashing on my desk since the markets have been moving in the last couple of months.

Array

 
Jul 24, 2020 - 12:14pm

Not in banking anymore, but these past few months for me in PE have been worse than any period I had in over 3 years in IB. Same story as many of the above - frequent strings of 3-4am nights in a row, weekends blown the fuck up, often for useless / meaningless shit. Seniors don't really care or those that do can't do anything about it because of an authoritarian group head. Whole attitude of "well what else are you doing anyways."

 
Jul 24, 2020 - 3:42pm

Yep, that was me. Unfortunately we brought in the new group head right around the time I made that last update and things have been downhill ever since (only had a de facto group head prior to that). Culture is completely shot now as there is no transparency, basically everyone is viewed as a commodity and not as a partner, people are treated punitively, etc. It's led to a ton of attrition and there hasn't been anywhere near enough hiring to fill those gaps, plus now we're busier than ever before.

Actually incredible how much 1 person can completely annihilate the culture of a team, especially if they're in a leadership position. Been thinking about making a post on that, but we'll see if that ever transpires.

 
Jul 24, 2020 - 1:44pm

Same story here. I think the biggest issue with WFH is the senior guys only chime in whenever its convenient for them, which is usually 6pm - midnight. So I go from calls all day, to fielding off requests all night. I can really only get work done from 6am - 9am before the calls start back up.

“Weekends” don’t really exist anymore either

 
Jul 24, 2020 - 5:26pm

The availability of senior people at my firm and senior people at target companies has really drawn out timelines for tasks... Beyond the fact that things seem to take longer and the timing is less favorable for junior ppl, I'm sensing that our partners can't (easily) get comfortable with deals during COVID. It makes sense that it will take longer to assess a management team without in-person interactions, but what I'm seeing is mountains of internal analyses and a list of diligence projects that do not address core issues. It's not all bad - there's more opportunity to play up, but it is hard to conquer new tasks when your days are so long... Morale is definitely low now that nearly every associate/VP at my firm is expecting a light bonus.

Just like NuclearPenguins mentioned, some senior people have an attitude of, "well what else are you doing anyways."

Array
 
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Jul 24, 2020 - 1:47pm

Im so tired. Some people were fired and those who are still there are pushing in every direction there is and I feel that analysts are now asked to do more than what they usually do, just because everyone is so busy.
But also, I want to point out that my staffer, associates and vps are understanding and we are all trying to help each other.
I feel that your culture might not be the best if you are doing this bad while you are an associate.
I would understand if its the night before a client meeting but not consistently. But honestly someone has to speak up. I understand if there is one crazy MD but not all of them. Culture starts at the top.

 
Jul 24, 2020 - 2:18pm

If you’re ever really serious about giving a 2 weeks notice, just start coasting. Increasingly just relax and do less. Might as well start relaxing a bit and still get paid. What do you have to lose? If you quit randomly in the middle of a cycle my guess is you don’t want to continue in that career anyway so who cares about an MD sabotaging you at another bank.

But seriously I hear you. It’s fine to rant. It sucks. When you have a chance to push back every now and then just say your staffed up and learn to say no. It’s ok every now and then. People will get annoyed because they’re focused on finding someone to pawn work off to, it’s not necessarily personal.

 
Jul 24, 2020 - 2:32pm

So, sounds like you guys are spending most of your time on pitches / presentation materials? Not deals or distressed situations? They literally have you staying up until 4am every night turning decks?

 
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 24, 2020 - 3:52pm

How are Rx groups dealing with this? Are they also overworked? Or do they have more reasonable hours because they aren't pitching/seniors aren't as desperate as M&A?

 
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Restr
Jul 24, 2020 - 10:41pm

Spent the first month of quarantine frantically pitching every company w/ a tranche of public debt trading below par (coupled w/ work on existing engagements). I had a week where I slept under 10 hours and was reading at a one word per minute clip by the end of it. I have not had a weekend day off (or anything close to off) since this started.

Wound up getting more engagements than we could reasonably staff, so am now constantly swamped on execution work. This isn't a knock on M&A guys, but a company-side free-fall BK is a bit more involved than a sell-side process, and we are churning out deliverables non-stop. It's brutal. On top of that, our MDs are shaking the tree on every opportunity that has been in our pipeline for 6+months, where it's abundantly clear that there's no role or us, so there's still completely fucking useless marketing work.

Wildly depressed. Thank God I had a solid year last year and built some goodwill, because my give a fuck factor is at 0 rn.

Array
 
Jul 25, 2020 - 6:18pm

Evolving business needs, opportunities for growth in moving into new product adjacencies (before peers), fear of lay-off, especially after LinkedIn’s latest cut, etc.

Senior bankers are not the only set of senior professionals to assume subordinates are always available.

 
Jul 26, 2020 - 11:23pm

OP being in Levfin makes sense - I bet every levfin banker on the street is having a horrific time. I expect only the Rx guys have it worse right now.

I would be interested for the others how much of it is capital markets execution vs. pitching vs. M&A execution. The M&A focused bankers I know (including myself) are less busy than pre-covid. But that’s a nature of the fact a lot of M&A bankers, at least in my experience, don’t generate as much BD as the coverage groups. Especially if you’re at an EB or a BB that skews larger cap M&A. Still some live deals going on, but they are all moving slower than pre covid and there are less of them (or they are part of a BX process which means slower moving).

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