How Do You Deal With Working On Holidays?

It's Thanksgiving in the U.S. and I have been on calls and turning comments since 9am this morning. This is my first time experiencing the big holidays while working in IB and, wow, this absolutely sucks.

Growing up, Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/etc were always pretty big days for me. Always filled with family, good food, and relaxation. I could never imagine having to spend today largely isolated from my loved ones staring at Excel and Powerpoint with not an ounce of thanks or encouragement from higher-ups for the sacrifice. Is there any way to make this easier? I can't imagine doing this again on Christmas and not being absolutely depressed.

For those of you who have been in the industry for a few years: does it get easier to work on holidays over time, at the associate/VP level? Is this an uncommon occurrence that's mostly due to COVID? Is my firm/superiors exceptionally crappy for doing this?

Would love to hear some perspectives and anecdotes.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (20)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 26, 2020 - 2:34pm

I can try to provide a peer's perspective. It's pretty frustrating. You can hope that the people you work for try to respect the holiday but if they don't you are out of luck. I am lucky and not really working today but the MDs I work for made a point to avoid work today for the team. I think life does get better at the VP / Associate level but there is only so much you can do until you are running the show or have the trust of that person.

COVID has definitely made it worse, when I was a first year, I wouldn't start work until like 10 am or later most days but now I have calls starting at 8 am or earlier.

I think the job is pretty unbearable if you try to hold meaning to specific days of the year. I've sort of accepted that I may not get Easter off but I will probably get a random day off where I can try to call friends / family to catch-up. This is unfortunate and I am not calling you soft for being annoyed at your situation. But there really isn't much you can do as an analyst.

Nov 26, 2020 - 6:53pm

Thanks for providing the perspective. I definitely see the logic in not assigning significance to certain days in the year and have tried to convince myself of this in the past, but I guess there's only so much you can do to mitigate decades of good memories associated with those events.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • NA in IB-M&A
Nov 26, 2020 - 5:14pm

It's absolutely stupid how senior bankers feel the need to "impress" their clients by having work done right after or on a holiday. Wtf makes them think the clients want to be working now either? So useless in my opinion

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 19, 2021 - 10:12pm

Damn really? I would be furious. Maybe I'm lucky where I am but most people are pretty serious about actually having no work on the holidays...

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2021 - 10:15am

Not sure if it will be work on Thanksgiving itself, but I meant my plans to go home during the last few days kept getting blown up. 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Nov 24, 2021 - 11:04am

MD: "It will be a light week, make sure to take some much needed time for yourself!"

MD Yesterday: "Sorry team, looks like were in for a busy one. The client wants to see x,y, and z built out so we can go over it on Friday"

Fuck this job. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and now I have to spend it running bullshit scenarios that no one will read and no one actually gives a shit about. I cannot genuinely conceive the level of misery one has to have to willingly ruin someone's holiday just to get some brownie points from a client. Banking sucks. If you are thinking about doing it, don't. Three years in a row now my holiday season has been generally shitty. Can't wait to say bye to this broken industry. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 24, 2021 - 12:25pm

Fuck it was painful just reading this I feel for you man fuck these people damn them to hell, seriously.

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
Nov 24, 2021 - 11:07am

You are all goons, you morons did this to yourself by taking this job. If you don't want to do the work grow a pair and tell your boss it can wait. 

Nov 24, 2021 - 3:41pm

I owner operate my own business now and often get pitched by boutique banks in the area.

I'm not saying it's representative of all c-suite members, but generally I noticed MD's like to "over deliver" on their promises (ie. getting material to me this Friday for review even though I likely won't take more than a brief glance at it and shelve it till Sunday evening). 

Nov 24, 2021 - 8:10pm

My early years.

  • Worked Christmas Eve.  Hopped a flight out of LGA.  Arrived past midnight.  Left for airport at 1pm on Christmas Day.  Arrived LGA at 11pm.  7am meeting the next morning.
  • Booked a week skiing with family over Thanksgiving.  Never touched snow once. Literally.
  • Booked a family cruise over Christmas/New years.  Never left the office.
  • Booked another family cruise.  Wife got so pissed she dropped" my blackberry overboard between San Juan and Freeport.  

Now?  These are "war" stories.  Then?  They were absolute wastes of time that nearly caused divorces.  Do your job but remember FAMILY FIRST.

You can never get that time back.  No MD worth their salt wont let you spend Thanksgiving or Christmas Day with your family.

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2021 - 8:24pm

Tenetur dolores aut quas consequatur aperiam sequi aut numquam. Accusamus ipsum et recusandae tempora ut dolores. Quis ipsam ex eum qui minima labore. Voluptatem ut sed ab at officia error. Vero qui consequatur provident exercitationem odit sed qui.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

November 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (40) $360
  • Associates (235) $234
  • 2nd Year Analyst (144) $156
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (34) $154
  • Intern/Summer Associate (107) $146
  • 1st Year Analyst (514) $136
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (394) $84