How to stay motivated when working alone

Exodus's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 113

Hello guys, I am currently a 1st year analyst at a major multi-manager hedge fund (think Millenium, Citadel, Balyasny etc...) and I do L/S special situations. Sorry for my English, it is not my native language.

After half a year of work, I am lacking motivation seriously, and the main reason is that I work alone. So you can understand better, I was working for a senior guy but after a couple of months, my PM figured out I was good enough to work alone and the senior guy was fired because "he was expensive, never really made money and had seen it coming". So now I am 100% alone. I set my meetings with the sell-side and companies, I attend them by myself, I choose what I work on etc... I just have to regularly send ideas to my PM and keep him aware of the last news of my investment universe.

While this is a super super great opportunity to climb the ladder quicker and I love being free to do what I want, after a few months, I'm struggling with motivation. So basically I analyse companies one by one, and sometimes I come accross an opportunity to make money and send it to my PM. However, most of the time, there is no opportunity. So most of the time my work feels useless. It is not useless because it helps me knowing my investment universe and in the future an opportunity can appear and I will be ready for it. But after 2-3 weeks working on companies without finding anything interesting, I just feel empty and without motivation. I can spend days doing nothing just because "I'm going to work hard on that company and there is 90% chance we won't trade on it". Then I make a good trade and motivation comes back.

At least when I had a senior working with me, we would watch companies together, I would have to report to him my findings etc... So the deadlines were much shorter and I had feedback on my work so I can improve myself. Now my PM juste cares about the cases on which we can make money and his feedback is just about the money we made or lost on the trade.
What also hurts my motivation is that I cannot seek help anywhere. I have to learn everything by myself. My PM works mostly remotely and does not have time to explain to me many things, and I can't seek any help from my colleagues because they work on very different strategies and don't understand what I do.

If you were in a similar situation how would you motivate yourself ? I think most of the problem comes from a lack of maturity. If no ones gives me orders, I just tend to do less and lack motivation when there is not a clear short term goal. I might sound childish but I guess many people had motivation issues that are now resolved. So how did you do it? What questions did you ask yourself to give you a purpose to work hard even when there's no short term goal?

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Jan 27, 2019