Are some of us very insecure?

We sacrifice everything in IB (dating, friends, family, time, health, learning), all to work in IB to do it all over again in PE.

But why?

Are we so insecure in our own skin that we are willing to sacrifice our best years of our lives away?

I get it, it's worth it because you can make VP in PE and with all that money, your problems are gone.

life is going to pass you hard and you will grow old one day. And you will realize money can't buy missed birthdays, dates, weddings, and the important things in life. You'll have amassed millions of dollars but have missed children events, your wife will think your beta, you'll likely be extremely out of shape; etc 

It really feels like exit opps and money are the argument everyone does to do this career, but 99.99% of the population aren't in IB and seem to be doing just fine 

Other than money and exit opps does anyone have any other reasons to be here ? If money and exit opps aren't an issue, what is your then true passion in life ? Why not pursue that ? 

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Comments (58)

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 13, 2021 - 4:22pm

I got in this industry so that 1) my mom could quit her job and I can make sure that she's taken care of for the rest of her life and 2) I can make sure my two sisters are covered for college and can pursue their dreams of medicine without crushing debt. I'm staying because I don't know what my passion is -- not all of us had the luxury of discovering ourselves, what the hell would I even quit to do?

I know the life I'm signing myself up for, I know it doesn't include much happiness, but I think I'm fine with the trade-off that I'm not currently living for myself but for the people important to me.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 14, 2021 - 2:34am

You are a beast of burden my friend. Might sound selfish but learn to live for yourself a little more. Nothing wrong with helping out but your family shouldn't rely solely on you grinding your soul away to be debt-free and comfortable. 

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jun 14, 2021 - 9:42pm

Hey man, I respect the hustle and willingness to sacrifice for your family… I would just like to say be very careful. Your story eerily parallels my father, who busted his ass doing miserable yet high paying jobs so his parents could retire and he could send his siblings to med school.

Unfortunately, he never was able to "escape" the trap of taking care of his family, who leeched on him for decades after. He developed some pretty bad habits and passed at a relatively young age due to stress and never taking care of himself

  • Intern in PE - Growth
Jun 16, 2021 - 8:01am

Retarded move, but honorable as fuck nonetheless

Jun 17, 2021 - 11:41am

I understand that completely. only want to break in and actually try in school because my parents sacrifice everything for me. My parents didn't have a pension plan or a 401k so I know that's something for me to worry about. It's a burden no one should have but it's very common. I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks the same way.

Jun 13, 2021 - 4:37pm

You sacrifice for this career, true, but I've worked and seen the regular 9-5 grind and it can be equally soul-crushing to working in IB in spite of the "work-life balance". In fact, I hear my swe friends complain about their jobs' hours and pay much the same way people on this forum do. The truth is there's no perfect career and people are always unsatisfied with some aspect of their lives, it's just a part of the hedonic treadmill. Life isn't about minimizing suffering, it's about choosing a meaningful way to suffer. 

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

  • 12
Jun 14, 2021 - 5:49pm

Hedonic treadmill is so real. 2 years ago I was miserable, making $60k a year and hating my coworkers, thinking if my WLB improved and I made $80k I'd be so happy. 

I make just shy of $170k now, work 55 hours a week (which isn't terrible), and I'm still looking to the next thing. Happiness is internal. Seeking external things for happiness means that happiness is the moment before you need more happiness. 

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
  • 5
Jun 15, 2021 - 10:03pm

Spot on. And I would add, life is really about meaning. And that's really what most people lack, they lack a sense of purpose and direction to make their life worth while. It's about making your activities purposeful for how you seem fit, hopefully for the benefit of others (after yourself).

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jun 13, 2021 - 6:58pm

"you have to make incredible sacrifices"

dawg what? what are you sacrificing?

>muh friendships

you mean no normie friendships right? cause my coworkers and I are tight and it's pretty cool and we hang out while we work and make jokes, I think you really mean the normie definition of friendships:



lmfao what? over 20% of long term relationships and marriages are begun at the workplace, otherwise just go to a bar in your free time if you want to get lay


I call my mother and father every single day??? they fly out everyone once in a while, not that bad and I don't see them as much as I used to but like ??? I'm an adult?


fair enough


kinda, depends on how you eat and stuff, but this could be severely worse


I learn every day, yeah the learning curve plateaus but imagine if you worked at a blue collar job or McDonald's or something else (I'm sure you probably wouldn't but whatever), it'd be way flatter.

I honestly think you guys bitch way too much on this website and have no idea how blessed we are to be pursuing these careers full time. I'm very grateful and OP, stop being a pussy for like 5 minutes, things could be wayyy worse. Trust me, I've been there.

Before I get hit with the "hur dur muh intern" I haven't changed my thing, just remembered to do that

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 15, 2021 - 5:27pm

you and a lot of other people have never had to suffer shit in life and it really shows... toughest thing you've ever seen is the lack of gluten free bread at a restaurant or something idk I didn't grow up with the silver spoon

Jun 13, 2021 - 10:49pm

I'm usually supportive of some of the posts around life beyond the finance realm but I would encourage you to also spend some time in corporate America making a fraction of the pay and feeling brain dead from meetings may change your mind! 

Jun 13, 2021 - 11:34pm

Could you elaborate on the corporate America part?


Jun 15, 2021 - 3:01pm

@dutchduke can chime in but

You look and say the grass is greener but most of the time its not and you are still going to be killing yourself in the corporate world. Maybe not with hours and stress, but as someone who has done a brief stint corp fin there are some idiots.  Not to mention interacting with people who are not always the most motivated.  

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Jun 13, 2021 - 11:06pm

Insecurity and ambition are related and hard to disentangle. Ambitious people are often insecure and anxious about whether they'll succeed or live up to their potential. It's what motivates them and makes them work so hard. It can be a good or bad thing to have.

Some people have been programmed to derive their sense of confidence & self-worth from their careers or financial profiles. It's been hardwired by their environment & upbringing. On its own, it doesn't make them better or worse people than those who aren't that way.

But these same people would often view "settling" for a $150-200k, 9-5pm, lower-stress corporate job as failure. They'd feel like they're not pushing themselves hard enough and realizing their potential. They'd look at some of their peers making >2x what they make and think, "I'm just as smart and hardworking as he is. Why can't I do that?" 

So you end up with the reality in which people do things that make them miserable, because to not do those things is perceived as an even worse outcome. It is the plight of the ambitious & insecure.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jun 14, 2021 - 2:44am

$200k 9-5pm low-stress corporate job sounds awesome. where do i find those?

Jun 14, 2021 - 6:20pm

Get 25 years of experience in a specialty field

Move to the Midwest.

Be passionate about helping others.



Jun 14, 2021 - 7:08am

I am signed for this because I want to change the socio-economic level of family and want to provide good background for the ones who will come after me. Secondly, it is because of my nature that I just cannot rest like others. Thirdly, where I live working 10-12 hours per day but with low salaries considered as a normal thing. Fourthly, I plan to become a philantropist someday (hope so), so having sound financial cushion is a good thing to have.

Yes, I also feel some kind of insecurity regarding the "impact" of the job. I just feel depressed when I think about no-name, no-impact, no-career job. Whether IB/PE/VC/HF/MC does have an impact is topic for another debate.

Finally, as I mentioned I want my kids to have more "free life" to choose whatever they want, not to get depressed about their careers, to go after their "dreams".

Living freely and resting all day long is not free, mate. For now, I only can afford grinding and working hard.

Jun 15, 2021 - 1:55pm

Everyone, especially in the younger generations, is insecure. Most young women you know probably have, used to, or will have an eating disorder or anxiety that stems from their insecurity with their body. Most young men are insecure too, and that's why then channel it into alcohol, drugs, sleeping around, easily get into fights, etc. Generalizations, sure, but not wrong.

The people on this forum are instead channeling their insecurity into making a better life for themselves and their families. And the best part is that if they ever want to leave the rat race, they can--and they've set themselves up very well to get a 6 figure job with an amazing lifestyle. 

The only people I know who aren't insecure are these rich kids who go meditate on their gap year in Nepal for 6 months and then come back with absolutely no desire to "feed into the capitalist system or whatever." Also not a very fulfilling life imo and they're usual unhappy long-term with the world more than themselves.

I have 2-3x or maybe even more the disposable income that most of my friends have, even after accounting for taxes/COL (I'm from a high COL/tax area so maybe that's more specific to me). It only scales higher from there.

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