I've found finance to be completely unbearable.
The pay and career development is excellent but the level of work, expectations, and lack of control over your life is not worth any amount of pay.
Senior employees have no guts or real business skills, or they would have gotten the hell out years ago. What you have is plenty of bushy tailed and bright-eyed high achievers thrown into the field, and those with any sense get out after 2 years. Those that remain for promotion are those who have transformed themselves into the ultimate bitch boys for the MD's, terrified of any wrong move. Any person with an once of self-respect will be in and out.
The ideal state for a finance professional is being in constant terror, afraid that you've made a mistake, afraid that your superior will bitch at you, afraid of taking a risk.
I have excellent exit opportunities into private equity, but would never even given it a consideration. It's just another hellhole. This is my last stop.
My worry is that this is what its like elsewhere. All other jobs as you move up, the bar raises and so do the expectations until you're filled with nothing but fear, worry, and expectations of perfection. Is this all there is to the work life?
Am I the only sane one, that doesn't want to live a life of chronic anxiety?
Some are giving the "look on the brightside" argument, which I think is fair. I acknowledge that I have it better than most from a monetary standpoint, but that's not saying very much. If you look around, people across the country generally have it pretty bad. My parents worked their whole lives at a menial job, and in the first year I make more than both of them combined. From my point of view, I don't have it good, they just had it very bad. That is 95% of the US Population.
And when you look up the ladder that you're on, you see that you're superiors don't have it much better. They've slaved their way up and spent well until their 40's become reasonably rich, but sacrificed a good 15-20 years of their life (including the last remaining years of their parents lives), beautiful friendships, and the courage to explore living a life how they'd like to live it. To me, these are the things that matter in life, and if I look around at others, this is an area where I am severely deficient, despite having all the money that a 23 y/o could need. I don't find that money / development compensates me for all the love, comradarie, and community that I missing out.
I will say that the development you receive in finance, is second to none, and is one of the reasons I've stayed so far. But when I start looking at what I'm trading, one-year of freedom to live my truest life for one torturous year of development and great pay, the trade stops looking so favorable to me, the more years that I've got to give up. The scarier thing is, that after working for several years, the pay keeps getting better. It becomes harder, and takes more courage to reject the money and say that this is not the life I want to live at all.
Some people - most of my seniors - never try the other path. They didn't have the courage in the second or third year to leave, and the environment they live in is one of submission. They are trained and rewarded to submit. The courage that they had to leave in their second and third years will be the most courage they have for the rest of their lives. The rest of it will be managed out of them, until all they can do it deliver what someone else asks of them.
I asked if I am the only one that feels this way because I look at my superiors and see mountains of men with enormous talent, all squandered on something that is meaningless. They don't have the courage to leave, it has left them long ago. I wish that it returned.
I ask this question because I don't think this is the way life is supposed to be lived. Not for me, and not for anyone. There's something fundamentally wrong with the way we live that requires a complete rethink. We're optimizing for dollars and productivity and its destroying all of our lives.
And to create what?