Anyone else feel like you've lost your touch?

Pizz's picture
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,398

I was valedictorian of my HS, got into an Ivy league school, graduated with honors there, and got into a HF, but found that the real world is kicking my ass. I've always felt like I could take on any challenges, but can't seem to find the motivation to take them on anymore.

What happened to me?

Comments (33)

Oct 18, 2018

Care to add more details? Please don't melt down on us.

Cash and cash equivalents: $7,286
Financial instruments and other inventory positions owned: $313,129

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Oct 19, 2018

Bad performance in all aspects of life (socially, professionally, etc)

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Oct 28, 2018
Pizz:

Bad performance in all aspects of life (socially, professionally, etc)

You have nothing more to achieve for yourself. Find something to target.

You're content. Standing pat in a competitive environment is treading backwards. Pick it up.

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Oct 18, 2018

You stepped out of fantasy world, YEARS where you were told you were the best. Now you're in the real world and realize it doesn't care about you.

Oct 21, 2018

Agreed. Every single high school on the planet logically has a valedictorian, and with grade/inflation and "participation trophies" running rampant throughout universities everywhere, graduating with honors isn't really all that astonishing.

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Oct 21, 2018

It's still pretty hard to graduate with top honors at my school.. We have to write a 80-120 page senior thesis that gets graded and factored into our GPA.

Oct 22, 2018

I'm guessing Princeton? Either way, keep your head up man, only you decide what gives you happiness.

Oct 18, 2018

Yes - working 6am to midnight (not assuming you do that, but just saying in case) is no way to live -- more than a few weeks.

https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/burnout-lif...
If you're depressed then that's another story, but just wanted to point out that it isn't a strictly harder work = better relationship

I still work super hard often and I'm still trying to decide what balance of work and life is right for me. Seconding a comment to you in another thread - looking back through your past thread titles is pretty funny, I gotta say. Time to make a change.

Oct 18, 2018

When professionals get older/more senior it becomes more difficult to achieve at the same pace. I remember like it was yesterday when I became a BB AVP or when I made VP later on - it felt "special". Nowadays, beside the title inflation across industries, in places like London or NYC you will also have a lot more competition.
The analysts who work for me now know a lot more compared to what I knew years ago.

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Oct 19, 2018

This is going to sound 'life-coachy', but you need to detach yourself from traditional measures of success/achievement that you're accustomed to. Every stage of your life until you get to the real world has a very defined, specific path laid out for you and very defined parameters to judge success. You have to now adjust to the fact that the only person in the driver seat and the only person who can truly measure you is yourself. You got a job at a HF, there's going to be a learning curve. How you adapt and respond to it is what you should judge yourself by. Take it step by step. If you made 1,000 mistakes starting out, learn from them and make sure that the next 1,000 mistakes you make are different ones. You can't get down on yourself or the spiral will continue. The HF will function with or without you, which should be a freeing concept. If you remove yourself from the situation and treat every day as an opportunity to learn, rather than a chance to mess-up, you'll see your attitude start to change, which is everything. These things tend to snowball in life, so all you can do is set yourself on the right direction and let momentum do the rest.

Look up the Japanese concept of Kaizen, and really study/focus on it.... It did me wonders

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Oct 20, 2018

Good points.

I've noticed too that the post grad world is significantly slower than it was during school years. Even as an athlete, it was possible to see significant improvements over a 3-6 month period.

OP is just having problems finding ways to measure their success and self worth without constant goal posts.

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Oct 21, 2018

Honestly I can relate. I disagree to some extent with those above who assert that it is a result of the real world being objectively "harder" or more "unforgiving". I believe that it could be that careers in this industry can drain you and leave you feeling empty if you don't absolutely love what you're doing (or if you don't have an insatiable desire for money). For people who got into finance as a hobby and couldn't care less about being "rich" materially I think that motivation will often wain. Eventually you hit a point where your motivation to succeed no longer exceeds your disdain for the career. Therefore I would say your shortcomings may be due to a loss of motivation and not ability. I've experienced the phenomenon at various points in my life (not just with finance) where my performance just dropped in something as I grew to hate it. You may find that switching to a fresh career (maybe more relaxed) or focusing on things like family first will help you regain a sense of control and achievement.

-Or as many some people already mentioned I could be wrong and this could be a product of you finally tasting the real world. Either way best of luck!

Oct 22, 2018
Pizz:

I was valedictorian of my HS, got into Ivy, graduated with honors there, and got into a HF, but found that the real world is kicking my ass. I've always felt like I could take on any challenges, but can't seem to find the motivation to take them on anymore.

What happened to me?

You might just not give a shit about what you're currently doing or who you are doing it with/for. It's a weakness of mine for sure - but if I'm constantly demotivated by my surroundings, my performance suffers.

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Oct 22, 2018

I feel like this is the same with everyone - no? I definitely feel this though. Felt it in my last two roles. Once your motivation gets low enough, you've already quit. Maybe not formally, but in your head you're through. It's only a matter of time before you're actually out the door.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

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Oct 22, 2018

Sometimes people will say that you just have to figure out what floats your boat (when it comes to choosing a career or a job) but what if nothing floats your boat? Your boat sinks?

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Oct 23, 2018

I think that's the idea. I mean, you can do just about anything for a year, maybe two if you don't hate it. But if you hate it or you're bored, it's extremely tough.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Oct 22, 2018

me too... you are not alone.

Oct 22, 2018

One thing to consider is potentially changing from the HF business. This is going to hurt some people's feelings on here but being a successful hedge fund analyst has a lot to do with luck. You can't always control Trump's tweets, the rest of the market, and commodity price swings no matter how smart you are.

In fact, some of the smartest HF people that I've met have had their funds blow up. In general, I find career paths where luck is a smaller element more satisfying, especially if you're someone that's used to working hard and then seeing results. In the HF world, you could work your ass off and still get your face smashed into the pavement for no reason at all.

Maybe, this isn't your underlying issue but just a thought.

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Oct 22, 2018

Take out a sheet of paper and start writing down, in whatever order it comes to you, the things that matter to you - this should be in your own words, whatever those might mean and i wouldn't limit them. It could be really specific, like buying a house, or just broad categories like 'health'; whatever works for you.

Then, split out on another piece of paper write down your current situation including all of the pros, cons and things you'd like to change. Again, this should be somewhat aligned with the above but really just an accounting of your current status and all of the things that, once again, immediately come to mind.

Once complete, compare the two above and start linking things together. Ideally, you should start to see what does and doesn't match up. I.e. health is very important to you, but you work 100 hours a week and have no time outside of work - that sort of thing.

It's really, really, really important that when you do this you don't 'skip ahead' to predate the outcome - like when you take a personality test and try and game it to match what you perceive you are to others, or others perceive you to be. I've found doing this really helps to push you to understand what is and isn't important, letting you pull the levers accordingly.

For what it's worth, most people have been in the same place as you at different points in their lives, careers, etc. Largely my own experience was that it took me quite a few years after college to realize that me, and only me, can choose what I want to be and what makes me happy. Everyone is winging it and we are all trying to figure it out at the same time, with varying degrees of success. For most, this is all part of the process of figuring out who you want to be and who you are. Take time to be introspective, honest and work on yourself and you'll be better off in the long run.

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Oct 22, 2018

What to do when nothing matters?

excel is my canvas, and data is my paint - new york - brunch conesseiour - atheist - centrist - ENFP - TCU alum

Oct 22, 2018
famejranc:

What to do when nothing matters?

Talk to a therapist.

That's serious, by the way, not a flippant response.

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Oct 23, 2018

I'll second that. There's a stigma towards therapy that is absolutely unfounded. Go talk to someone, invest that time and effort in yourself - it's worth it in the long run.

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Oct 26, 2018

Honestly this could use it's own thread. I've been seeing a therapist for a couple years, and she's really helped sort out the typical anxieties/insecurities young financial guys face when putting all of their energy into some career path they don't fully understand. Really helped me get honest with myself about what's personally meaningful, vs. what I'm doing just for the preftige of it all.

Oct 28, 2018

I hope that during the "making amends" part of your transformation, you've finally apologized to Todd for rubbing your preftigious sweater sleeve in his face.

Oct 29, 2018

I would have, but the memory of that wretched urban handshake he gave me is so burned into my brain I couldn't bring myself to be exposed to Toddkins' struggle against his predestined mediocrity for a moment longer. I hope the ivory white Goldman business card I bequeathed to him will make up for any humiliation he may have felt.

+1 SB for the top bucket fuhnance knowledge.

Oct 29, 2018

I agree with this. I always found the stigma really weird. If you get really sick people think you're an idiot if you don't seek medical attention. But if you get really sick mentally, you should get over it. Never made sense to me. A lot of successful people have been somewhat open about them going to therapy.

Oct 22, 2018

Game's the same, just got more fierce.

Oct 22, 2018

You're in the real world. Moreover, HFs are very fast-paced, where it's common to feel like you're behind and making mistakes until you get the deal done or your investment play works as you expect or you manage to convince your IC your idea merits more than a 0.5% position size. There is often no constant feedback loop, which can make it difficult to discern how well you're performing. You also have to set your own goals and standards...which can be difficult if you come from an environment where they are laid out for you.

I don't know about your HF, but in many ways you are responsible for bringing new ideas, thoughts, and analysis. No one is going to tell you what to do and pat you on the back when you do it. Things are just expected. I really don't think college prepares you for this type of culture anymore.

Have you tried setting your own goals? Have you sought feedback sessions with your PM?

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Oct 22, 2018

When you let society spell out for you the definition of success. You're bound to hit the wall that you've hit.

Find something meaningful that you like to do as a hobby, and add it to your life.

None of this stuff is really significant in the long run; those pitchbooks you've spent all weekend working on? Useless, the models you had to go back 800 times to fix? Useless...that time you made your MD laugh and earn some respect from other managers? Useless, he's thinking about how much his wife spent on shoes this year...

I have a certain distaste for lazy people; especially ones who complain about their circumstances with a shit workethic.

But I have also developed an annoyance to people who became a puppet to the system, they smiled when they had to, chuckled when they needed to, studied, worked, and bought what they are supposed to; and in the end are shocked by not feeling what they thought they should feel...there was nothing organic about you in the first place.

Be an individual who decided to pursue a career in finance; don't become the career trying to pose as an individual.

I think- therefore I fuck

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Oct 26, 2018

Life is peaks and valleys, this sounds like your coming downhill for the first time from a long climb up. Most people have a tough time realizing they are nothing special, but you clearly are as indicated by your accomplishments by a young age. Don't let a small bump in the road have a negative impact on your attitude. Daily grind sharpens the axe, keep working hard and show you have some sack.

Oct 29, 2018

Not to sound trite, but do one thing each day that scares you. You need to get out of the rut you're in. No better way to do this than to move out of your comfort zone. Make each day your new normal.

Oct 29, 2018
Oct 31, 2018
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