Anybody else feel this way?

686684's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 221

Are any of you going into investment banking because of a slightly stronger interest in finance than any other field but coupled with a strong feelings of emptiness yet you proceed anyway despite knowing full well that this job won't do anything to fill that void besides the occasional ephemeral shot of joy? Anyone else feel this way? Don't waste your MS, this is a throwaway account.

Comments (100)

  • Works at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Nov 18, 2019

What's the alternative? That's the real question

    • 4
Nov 19, 2019

This is exactly how I feel. You couldn't pay me to tell you a valid alternative.

    • 1
Nov 19, 2019

What does everyone do who doesn't go into IB? Do they all work at McDonald's?

    • 1
Funniest
Nov 19, 2019
BillMurray:

What does everyone do who doesn't go into IB?

There are people outside of IB?

    • 20
  • Prospect in Other
Nov 19, 2019

Why all the MS lmao

    • 1
Nov 22, 2019

Exactly, what's the alternative?

Moshe Strugano & Co - An international law firm

    • 1
Nov 26, 2019

The alternative could be Corporate Finance, Consulting, or even Financial Management

    • 1
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 19, 2019

Also feel the same, man. Just doing it for the money and prestige, but there is a point where that won't make me happy anymore. Maybe I am wasting time or maybe I am not. Only time can tell.

    • 20
Nov 20, 2019

If money doesn't buy you happiness you need to find yourself a new dealer.

Or GF.

    • 4
    • 3
Nov 20, 2019

or dealer of 'girlfriends'

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

I wonder when they're finally going to outlaw slavery.

    • 4
Nov 21, 2019

When we stop lining up and selling our souls for it!

    • 1
Nov 25, 2019

With Usura

With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that design might cover their face,
with usura
hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luz
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision,
with usura
seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
no picture is made to endure nor to live with
but it is made to sell and sell quickly
with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling.
Stonecutter is kept from his tone
weaver is kept from his loom
WITH USURA
wool comes not to market
sheep bringeth no gain with usura
Usura is a murrain, usura
blunteth the needle in the maid's hand
and stoppeth the spinner's cunning. Pietro Lombardo
came not by usura
Duccio came not by usura
nor Pier della Francesca; Zuan Bellin' not by usura
nor was 'La Calunnia' painted.
Came not by usura Angelico; came not Ambrogio Praedis,
Came no church of cut stone signed: Adamo me fecit.
Not by usura St. Trophime
Not by usura Saint Hilaire,
Usura rusteth the chisel
It rusteth the craft and the craftsman
It gnaweth the thread in the loom
None learneth to weave gold in her pattern;
Azure hath a canker by usura; cramoisi is unbroidered
Emerald findeth no Memling
Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man's courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom
CONTRA NATURAM
They have brought whores for Eleusis
Corpses are set to banquet
at behest of usura.

N.B. Usury: A charge for the use of purchasing power, levied without regard to production; often without regard to the possibilities of production. (Hence the failure of the Medici bank.)

Nov 19, 2019

I ask myself and go through the same feeling everyday. But again, couldn't think of a better alternative

    • 2
Nov 19, 2019

Every single day man. It's like a hole that can't be filled, no matter how often someone pours attention or money or shiny things into it. Don't even know why I do it. Don't even know why I didn't just become a biochemist or a musician like I wanted as a kid. Don't even know why I don't just go hike the Jacob's Trail or work for a think tank like I long dreamed.
Don't know man, it all just feels empty.

Omnia facit Voluntas - Will alone suceeds

    • 9
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 19, 2019

Amen, brother.

Nov 19, 2019

Matthew 11:28-30 :

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

    • 20
    • 3
Nov 21, 2019

Blessed and Breadpilled

Omnia facit Voluntas - Will alone suceeds

    • 2
Nov 26, 2019
Nov 20, 2019

I always wanted to be a teacher. I know why I went into banking. I decided after working my ass off to get into one of my top schools (T25), I just didn't feel good about going into a slow paced, limited growth job like teaching. I mean how could I? After all that time and energy, how could I just throw it all away for a career I could have entered wit a tenth of the effort? Man the adrenaline is addicting. It's so addicting. I'm currently in a relationship but I just feel terrible about rarely spending time with her, but I would never fucking tell her how I actually feel about this work. Half the time I'm out of work I just have no energy. Honestly if it wasn't for the relationship (or the possibility of future ones) I don't think I could have the will to keep going. Don't get me wrong, Im not at all suicidal. I think Freddie Mercury said it best in that I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all
and
Nothing really matters, anyone can see.....
Nothing really matters........
Nothing really matters.... to me.
Any way the wind blows

Sorry for the rant lol. Got out early today and my drunk ass had to vent.

    • 4
Nov 25, 2019

yeah, I hear you. In IB you often don't get a sustained "win" feeling. Yes, work get produced. And occasionally a transaction occurs. But there's no sort of sustained "win" feeling that accompanies a real success I think. Just feeling like you're chasing the next lucite deal toy for your desk.

    • 2
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 25, 2019

Unless you constantly have people speaking of your success like say Elon Musk, how would one ever have a sustained win feeling. Under what circumstances would one be able to take a step back and say "huh. I am successful. I have won at life." Or something like that without also thinking about how much more can still be done in the future. Hell, Bezos doesn't seem to have that. At least on the outside.

Nov 19, 2019

I am in investment banking because I had explored other options and it was the only thing left that I thought was remotely interesting to start out my career in. I would not say that I have "strong feelings of emptiness" though. Sure, certain projects get boring at times and seem meaningless, but I always seek out teams with people that are good at sharing their enthusiasm for what they do (which can be contagious). Nothing is worse than working on something nobody gives a shit about.

If investment banking hadn't worked out, I would likely have joined the French Foreign Legion.

    • 3
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 19, 2019

I think many people come to realize this at some point in their careers. Some do something about it while others admit they're not happy and continue to live their lives. I recently realized banking and finance is something that I don't see a future in for myself both out of my inability in the future to be a good salesman and the fact that I don't see my work as meaningful to society. I am currently coming up with a plan to do a post-bacc to eventually apply to med school and become a doctor.

    • 3
Nov 19, 2019

That's interesting. Keep us posted! How long would the transition with med school and hospital training take?

    • 2
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 19, 2019

I know people who've done this from IB. 4 years of med school then 3 (absolute minimum) of residency.

Nov 19, 2019

I think about potentially getting my PhD in economics or some kind of an engineering some day...although it's a remote possibility especially with math/engineering since I'm not even familiar with the concepts anymore.

Most Helpful
Nov 19, 2019

Is it me or is this forum experiencing more and more existential crisis? Is this with the assumption that other professions find fulfillment in their day-to-day from the "value" they generate?

Fortunately, my friend group touches a mass of different professions so I can comfortably say that even the most good-for-society professions question their contribution to the world:

  1. Friend #1 does international development and is soaking over all her hard work for country X that ended up being nothing because that country's government doesn't care about democracy so her projects (and country focus) feels like it's going to waste.
  2. Friend #2 in fashion has had 2 years of unpaid internships trying to break in with little to no luck and sees no way out. Working part-time jobs to support herself in the meantime but at the edge of giving up.
  3. Friend #3 works at a non-profit but DEFINITELY feels like he contributes nothing because most of his work is stuck in office politics rather than making any real changes.

Worse yet, all 3 above make <$50k and live in NYC/LA somehow. No one's life is better, we all question our existence, get the fuck off Instagram.

    • 57
    • 3
Nov 19, 2019

It's an epidemic, especially for teens / early 20s guys.

    • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 20, 2019

Can you explain?

Nov 19, 2019

So fucking accurate

Nov 21, 2019

is it? it's anecdotal evidence of three points to support his persuasive argument.

PLENTY of counter examples

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

Saying that "no one's life is better" is just plain inaccurate. Do you really think there is no one in the world who finds fulfillment in their jobs? And if there is, then it is also possible for others to find that.

Just because there are people in all professions who question their contribution to the world, does not mean it is impossible for an individual to find a profession that suits them.

    • 2
Nov 20, 2019

Right but it's not correlated to the job, it's dependent on the individual themselves. A happy person in Career A would be happy in Career X. It's not Career A that makes them happy.

Mental and psychological health is an inward and personal struggle.

    • 2
Nov 20, 2019

I think you're missing the point. What he's saying is that such an existential crisis can hit anyone in any industry - even ones who didn't decide to go into IB/CO and "pursued their dreams". People often have a grass is always greener mentality where they idealize certain aspects of other jobs without considering the full implications of what such a job actually entails.

    • 3
  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Nov 20, 2019

It is amazing how much love this is getting. "No one's life is better" is beyond false. This is just self justification for the route you took. You use three anecdotal pieces of evidence to state that there is NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE. Why even bother making an effort to find meaning? Why use your free time on weekends to do something objectively good and helpful to others (e.g. family, friends, people less fortunate, animals, etc.). The only reason there is so much support for this line of thought is because it is derived from the numerous other users who feel/live the same way, and believe that their life has no meaning. They want to believe that there was nothing they could have done differently, and that they are powerless and incapable of finding meaning in their own lives. There are so many people living below the poverty line capable of finding meaning and enriching their lives. My friends in the peace corps speak to this. Maybe you find no meaning because you live a self-serving lifestyle? Because you haven't tried? Finding meaning isn't like signing up for a couple college classes where you just try out a bunch of stuff and see what you like. It takes time, critical thinking, reflection, and considerable amounts of action over the course of years.

    • 8
Nov 20, 2019

Missing the point... there are people that find meaning in whatever they do, and see the optimism and upside no matter where they go. There are also people that, no matter what they are doing and where they are, will be depressed and feel like their life and work has no meaning.

Most people are somewhere in the middle and muddle through whatever. Changing your external environment could be a catalyst for happiness but it's an indirect cause: the real driver of happiness or depression is internal.

Easily verified by traveling to other countries and noticing people are basically the same every fucking where. This generation is uniquely focused on "meaning" but is using a ridiculous yardstick for it via social media, which presents an impossible standard to live up to.

    • 6
Nov 20, 2019

I'd assume most of the kids here never had an identity crisis and now they're ballsy enough to post about it here, of all places lol

    • 1
Nov 21, 2019

Where else would we do it lol? The office?

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

"No one's life is better" was meant to address romanticizing of hypothetical scenarios because they have that one very particular thing you want that'll fill the void, not discouraging effort to improve.

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

Is this really how people in their early 20's coming out of undergrad are thinking now? This is making me feel old, but I'm only in my late 20's..... I'm glad this is the competition in the corp world though, jesus how depressing

    • 2
Nov 20, 2019

80%+ of all this generation's memes are some variant of "haha the world sucks, fuck capitalism, I want to kill myself"

Nov 21, 2019

It's absolutely brutal, particularly for STEM majors that have been crushed by the H1B1 worker tsunami. These younger people took on massive student loans studying practical degrees with real demand and good pay but corporations were allowed by corrupt politicians to replace them with foreign workers that will work for less because they have no student loans themselves. It's so incredibly fucked up when you sit back and look at what is going on right now in America, this culture of screwing over young people then chastising them for low birth rates and being concerned with healthy eating and pollution. Boomers are a sociopathic generation, they have left us with a completely bankrupt country where life expectancy is dropping, quality of life is dropping, public services are third world tier, and the job market is rigged in favor of corporations so their F500 retirement portfolio can keep appreciating.

    • 3
    • 1
Nov 21, 2019

Renewable energy project finance. Feel pretty fulfilled. Doing materially good things with finance and solving complicated problems in weird markets.

Idk, its only shitty if you don't do something that aligns with your values. Problem is, not always easy to determine what you value by the time you're out of college.

    • 2
  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Nov 19, 2019

Went into IB for the same reason. Spent about a year there. I loved the work (relative to other areas of finance) and had something to prove (to myself, to the people around me, to the world, idfk). I don't regret pursuing the field, the endless grind, and even a lot of the mundane shit and stress that accompanied IB. However, it didn't combat my anxiety, and I realized one day that it wasn't going to give me the sense of fulfillment I was looking for. I got out and struck a better work life balance, allowing me to live a healthier lifestyle. I may not have a ton of time to do it, but at least now I can workout/see friends and family/have legitimate hobbies/give back. I would be naive to say I've found any semblance of a purpose, but selfless acts have helped. I am trying to make time for working at nonprofits/responding to those who reach out asking for networking opportunities/helping friends. The idea that you should just accept this feeling of emptiness and not do anything about it is bullshit. Many people look for meaning in IB. LMK when you meet someone who isn't completely conceited who has found it. Hoping you'll find it in IB is the lazy way of admitting you don't want to dive deeper and question what will actually make your life fufilling. This isn't a knock on IB careers at all. It is an excellent place to begin/continue a career.

    • 5
Nov 19, 2019

It's exactly how you should feel. I'd argue that both IB and MC are specifically designed around the fact that smart college grads don't know what they want to do the rest of their life.

    • 1
Nov 19, 2019

one of the reasons im doing it is exactly to fill the void. i want to find a meaning to life and something to look forward to thats not when im gonna have my next drink

Nov 19, 2019

Honestly, for the associates out there, I hope you find IB meaningfully because it truly a probable career for you.

Whereas for analysts, I don't know why analysts complain about not finding meaning in IB. It's well known that people go into IB for prestige, pay, skills and branding. For 90% of analysts, IB is not career, it is a career jumpstart.

Hopefully for analysts, they leverage their years in IB in a way that brings them closer to what is truly meaningful to them, whether that is HF, impact investing or corporate development.

Take what I say with a grain salt since I am a college senior going into IB but finding meaning is a gradually process because IB, such as most other careers, is meaningful if you look deep enough. Very rarely do people finding meaningfulness overnight, unless if they have tragedy or a blessing (having a child born)

Think about where the money or your salary is coming from because you're getting paid from someone or a firm who thinks YOU are meaningful. Of course, there are exceptions but this idea generally holds up.

TLDR: You don't find meaning in IB as an analyst instantly. You leverage what you learn as analyst to find something more meaningful whether it is being a MD in IB or another role in PE, Corp Dev, VC, etc.

    • 2
Nov 19, 2019

I feel you. Let's face it, most of us are doing this for the money and the prestige, not because it's something that we have a genuine joy in doing or have a big passion for. I know there are definitely some people who genuinely have a passion for IB, but those people are probably in the minority.

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

The money isn't what it used to be though and, let's face it, the prestige really isn't there once you step out of narrow business circles. So what's left?

Nov 19, 2019

Is it true that you will make the same salary as a PM in tech? 200k

Nov 19, 2019

most of life is learning to find enjoyment in work

    • 1
  • Prospect in Other
Nov 19, 2019

I feel like in life there are certain careers where people are attracted to them based on skills (law finance, some comp sci jobs) and others for the greater humanitarian purpose (medicine, nursing, non-profit work.) The latter tend to find purpose in their work much more easily, but I think no one is immune to the grass-is-greener feeling. The Japanese concept of Ikigai could be worth looking into in my view

Nov 20, 2019

I really hear you. I busted my ass and worked full-time while going to a community college and then transferred to a top 5 school. A month ago I got an offer at a top BB bank for SA position. I'm super grateful, but idk, i thought that maybe it'd mean more than it feels right now??? I have way too much in school loans to not do banking though so I'm here to stay I guess

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

Looks like you do not have your own personal mission defined, or maybe you had it, achieved it already, and then again ... mission is missing now .
I realized that the big thing (at least for me) is that working for others is not very fulfilling for any moderately ambitious person.

Also doing some real work with your bare hands can bring very useful perspective.

my 3c... :)

Nov 20, 2019

What everyone forgetting is that its still "A JOB". You are fulfilling your bosses/shareholders dream of becoming rich. You are a pawn, a pond scum, and worth so little in the grand scheme of things (as evidenced by the amount of IB applicants).

Everyone thinks that by getting into IB they'll fulfill their dream... of getting a job.. that pays more because you work more...

Tough luck if you are realizing just now, but i hope you guys enjoy your time in IB because it teaches you a lot (if you are looking in the right places) and it is a career jumpstarter for the ambitious ones.

    • 5
Nov 20, 2019

None of it really matters, whether you are CEO or janitor, time always wins. Resources are limited; the heat death of the universe will render everyone's accomplishments meaningless no matter how much progress we make.

Find happiness in what you can, do your best, treat other people well, none of this matters anyways.

Nov 20, 2019
Synergy_or_Syzygy:

None of it really matters, whether you are CEO or janitor, time always wins. Resources are limited; the heat death of the universe will render everyone's accomplishments meaningless no matter how much progress we make.

Find happiness in what you can, do your best, treat other people well, none of this matters anyways.

This.

What a lot of people fail to realize in this race we are all in are that:
1. Time will win. We're all in the same boat.
2. Treat others well. Life is short, and our time is limited here.
3. Live below your means. Money is limited. The less you need to work (unless you have an absolute passion for it), you have a chance to pursue a higher quality of life.

No pain no game.

    • 3
  • Prospect in Other
Nov 20, 2019

I was like you chasing the prestige in high school. Worked very hard to get my application to a point where I would get into an Ivy (from a public school). Good grades/ achievements made me prestigious but soon I found myself competing with other bright kids at the school and it just became an endless competition. My friend group had many members who placed a value on me based on my achievements and success. Life circumstances changed where I got out of that cycle and now I attend church and highly recommend it. It gives you a different perspective on life. Money and prestige can make you happy but they don't have to define you. It means a lot when people who know little about your background are still willing to pray for you. Everybody has some problem or issue in their life and is willing to admit it. You'll find a friendliness and welcoming atmosphere there that you don't really find elsewhere (at least for me). Definitely has benefits for only attending 1 hour a week.

    • 5
  • Prospect in Other
Nov 20, 2019

I spent a lot of high school chasing prestige too, but didn't end up at a prestigious college. while it has its downsides, I think knowing that most people here don't have an obsession with success/other people's success has made friendships a lot more genuine. it's wonderful that you found a new perspective through church though!

    • 2
Nov 20, 2019

You should only go into banking if multiple things are driving you, because otherwise, you will be let down.

For example, if you really enjoy finance and like the money, you can keep going even when the money isn't good or alternatively, when the job is menial and dumb, the money can keep you motivated.

If you just enjoy finance or only like the money, you will at some point in your career hit a snag where you won't like what you're doing.

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

I like this. Too often I hear "only go into XYZ industry if you're passionate about it" but I think what you said is a lot closer to reality for how people find fulfillments in their careers in general.

Nov 25, 2019

True that. How often does one feel real passion for an industry anyway? Who ever got up in the morning and said "I sure can't wait to X today! Mmmm boy!" about 99% of the things we work on anyway?

Nov 20, 2019

I find a bunch of non-work pursuits fulfilling. I co-founded an accelerator where I help startups in food-tech raise $, I have a wife and baby and spend time with them, and like to buy real estate. Work is there to help me earn $ so that I can buy that real estate, which in turn lets me get a recurring stream of income so that I can follow those other more-interesting pursuits of family and startup work. Do I wish I could bring the earning of $ together in alignment with enjoyment of work? You bet. I wish I could get paid to work in a tech startup or do solar farm development. I'm trying to move the career in that direction. But often what pays the bills and lets me earn $ does not line up with my more heartfelt pursuits.

    • 3
Nov 20, 2019

Damn.

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

As a VP, how do you feel? This is something I'd never ask one in person lmao.

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

I think the question you posed is an interesting one and one I've contemplated for a decent portion of my life, and while I agree with the general feeling, I don't see it as a bad thing. To be honest, I think it's an incredible asset when appropriately focused - it's something I've internally referred to as "the hunger." I'm a fairly introspective person, and I believe I would feel the same regardless of career path and hobbies - I always want more (success, interesting life experiences, intelligence, money, cars, etc.). Without the "void," I don't believe I would have the modest success I enjoy today.

    • 3
Nov 21, 2019

I know people who work for NGOs but still feel empty. I think in any profession, if you are always focused on your self (e.g. what you will gain), you will eventually feel empty. I believe that the secret to fulfillment is to think of your work as your service to others. "Others" include your boss, co-workers, clients, country, and the world. I know it's hard because our natural tendency is to focus on ourselves ("what's in it for me"). The service mindset requires you to proactively choose it every day.

"Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it." -Luke 17:33

Nov 21, 2019

my mom was career in a non-profit. 35 years fundraising for a university. I think it was quite a heavy-politics job, with a lot of power-grabs internally, fighting for attribution, etc. Just like banking. But at the end of the day she loved that what she did was impacting education positively. Shared only as a datapoint

    • 1
Nov 23, 2019

I worked in IB for like 1.5 years and absolutely loathed it. I sometimes wonder if it was just the perfect storm (I chose the wrong group, underperformed, did not have commonality with other analysts). But I was miserable. The prestige was cool for a while but I no longer cared for the money because I had no time to enjoy it. I completely lost sight of who I was. I had turned into a miserable asshole, finding myself just telling anyone that would listen how much I hated my life. Now I work in a different industry making way less but I'm so much happier. I see my old friends in IB stuck in the rat race and can see them leading lives they may regret. I want to enjoy my 20's and help other people. Banking taught me a lot, but it just wasn't for me.

    • 3
Nov 23, 2019

It takes a certain kind of personality to be able to make it through IB and be able to handle all those long hours. IMO university professors who push students into this field without presenting the all of the pros/cons of the lifestyle in contrast with other possible career paths are doing those young people a huge disservice. The majority of people aren't built for IB and that's ok.

I quickly learned that I couldn't handle working at an investment bank. There's just too many other things I enjoy doing with my life, and I don't have to be mega-rich to enjoy them. A Wall Street will suck the most valuable thing out of you - the precious time you have on this planet to live. And considering the expense of living in those cities, even with a big paycheck, it wasn't big enough to make me independently wealthy very quickly so it just didn't feel worth it.

A lot of people caught up in the grind of IB don't see there are other ways to live. It's like there's a tunnel vision unique to Wall Street jobs. They think its either this, or poverty. That's just not true. You can find happiness and a comfortable life in many other places. Just in the world of finance there's other kinds of jobs too.

It might help you get through IB to think of it as a temporary experience - just a stepping stone to something else which may be at an investment bank or not. Wall Street is in some ways like Hollywood. A lot of people struggling to make it to the top, waiting for their big break to become a superstar. Few make it that far.

    • 2
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 23, 2019

Middle of the road Wall St is a lot more stable than middle of the road Hollywood imo.

    • 1
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 24, 2019

Setting a reminder to come back to this thread in Nov. 2029

    • 1
Nov 25, 2019
Comment
    • 3
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 26, 2019