I Might Hate Finance, And This Might Be the Turning Point

Kassad's picture
Rank: Almost Human | 7,753

The signs were all there.

I wasn't a great student in college, but it wasn't the content of the work that killed me. It was the little things like attendance, being on time to things, paying attention to the instructor, setting aside time to study, and following the instructions provided.

I got no offers out of college - not that I tried; as a C student from a state school, why bother with formal undergraduate programs? But I never gave up, and now I'm a quantitative analyst in the sales trading arm of a top IB, and I'm looking to make a move next year that could almost double my six-figure salary.

So why the long face?

You've all read this before somewhere, but here it is again: life comes at you. Hard.

Some recent failures and family events have had me rethinking what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. The basic takeaway for me is that I'm not happy, and all the signs are there just as they were in college.
- I take days off. "Sick days" that are really "fuck this" days
- I don't have as many office friends as I used to. Lunch used to be fun, now I spend it reading Axios
- I get in a little later and leave exactly when I'm supposed to, no more "extra 45 minutes"
- I spend my time dreaming of some fantastic escape. Most recently I thought of opening a bar

I never used to be this guy. I used to be in early and out late, always on time, always in attendance, always focused. But it just isn't there anymore because of one thing: none of the people I want to be around are in this field. Everybody in banking has the same story: graduate around 22, party until 25, relationship until 30, get married, start going to wine bars, have some kids, nurse your travel/scuba diving/skiing hobby along the way, then open a 529 for your kids and live happily ever after.

I can't stand the fact that I can't talk about my Tinder escapades at work because some wife 3 rows away will be offended. And why can't I speak openly about smoking some dank shit? Hell, why can't I just light up any time I want? How come going to a lame Christmas party is an unspoken mandatory, as if pretending to be cool with my boss's boss's boss brings any meaning to my life other than him remembering me for a raise? The tattoo artist with 100k followers on Instagram is having a way better time than I am, and she owns her own business. The guy who moved to Thailand and runs a men's coaching business bringing in $90k USD annually experiences a quality of life worth 5X my measly existence in NYC, and he works an hour a day.

Some time last year I began developing a plan: I'd save up cash and switch to full-time entrepreneurship by age 35, and I'd be financially independent entirely by age 40. The idea was to put my skills to use as a consultant or to run a small trading operation. But I see now that that was just a subconscious admission that I wanted out. There's nothing I can't do now that I'd be better off doing at 35, added financial/social capital notwithstanding. I already did a tech boot camp that was intended to land me a cushy startup job I could ride out long-term, and somehow wound up in banking. I just wasn't listening to myself.

Has this happened to any of you? What did you do? I'm curious to hear the background of several monkeys in particular who I believe wound up deviating from some version of "the path": @thebrofessor , @Isaiah_53_5 , @GoldenCinderblock .

I currently have some financial burdens that prevent me from outright leaving. Right now the plan is to pay my shit off, get some bonus money in play, and finish grad school (one of my life goals that I'm actually passionate about). Once I have the financial capital, I'm looking to GTFO.

Comments (50)

Most Helpful
Dec 10, 2018

TLDR - there is no TLDR, life is complicated, read the whole fucking thing and then throw MS at me for writing a novel :)

it sounds to me like you're going through the same existential crisis any man (if he's being honest) goes through.

office friends suck - I'm assuming you have friends outside of work, nurture those friendships, I rarely interact with people outside my team and I personally like it this way, I can't choose who I work with, but I can choose who I associate with. I have a suspicion that this isn't a top priority, more of an ancillary problem on top of everything else

taking days off/not working as many hours - this to me sounds like your current role isn't what you thought it was going to be, and it's not clear why. maybe it's the autonomy, maybe it's the monotony, maybe it's your group/team, hard to say so some more commentary would be nice before I just say a bunch of platitudes about sucking it up and digging deeper

none of the people you want to be around are in your field - amen brother. I have zero friends in PWM who weren't my friends beforehand. most of my closest friends simply share hobbies with me (surfing, sports, golf, etc.) and not career choices. maybe this and my #1 are one in the same, but all I'd have to say is your office colleagues should make up the minority of people you care about and spend time with. sure, build relationships, but don't force it. I'll put it to you this way: I look forward to my annual boondoggles to beach towns in the south with my degenerate golfer friends much more than my team's christmas party (as much as I like my team). more on this - I feel like I'm a fish out of water sometimes. successful people at my firm don't have tattoos, have liberal views on drug use, dream of travelling the world in hostels or camping on a mountain just to get a good view of the stars. most people are straight laced, followed a predetermined path, and have a better balance sheet than me but a shittier life. don't be afraid to be eccentric and go against the grain. it may feel lonlier, but it's way more fun

not being able to speak freely at work (drugs, women, etc.) - again, amen brother. 'tis the world we live in and I don't see it changing. get a group of friends you can speak freely around and enjoy that. with the world trending towards being PC and progressive and proper I don't see any other way around it. when money's involved (work), even if they're your equals you can never speak totally freely. I sure as hell don't around even my business partners, but I absolutely do with my wife and closest friends (I'm fortunate enough to have a wife that likes the raunchy stories from my frat brothers). don't try to fix the people so much as the situation.

you asked for my story, so here it is (edited for anonymity purposes). average high school student, didn't try, cared more about toking up and chasing women, wanted to GTFO of my home town ASAP, despite growing up in a pretty cool place (hindsight right?). I'd daydream about going off to fight terrorists and travelling the world, only to realize getting shot at wasn't as glamorous as the movies made it out to be, and travelling the world doesn't quite square with paying off student loans. got into college and blossomed academically, but still kept my partying ways, I think the change of scenery and getting out of my hometown really worked for me. fast forward to graduation, got a shit job after not hustling for internships, and talked to my uncle who was a former banker turned entrepreneur at a top BB (MS/GS/JPM). he greased the wheels for a boutique job but I just didn't want it, all of the guys I talked to (yes, just guys, despite diversity efforts it's still a boys club unfortunately) were squares. the same turds I tried to wipe out of my life from high school, so I said it wasn't for me. eventually found PWM, with all of the random personalities and interesting people I'd gravitated towards in college, and I thought I'd found a home. now, I still can't talk about drugs and partying like I could at fraternity meetings, but I found a career that was immensely rewarding (if equally as difficult) and remarkably entrepreneurial. so yes, I think I found my muse, but it wasn't without struggle. there were days I doubted myself (still do sometimes), days where I wanted "out" and dreamed of starting all over in a big city, going to grad school, and some days where I wondered if I could make a decent living just being a lifeguard and teaching surf lessons (nope!).

where I found peace and comfort was in perspective. I've seen friends go abroad and find nothing but the same issues that plagued them stateside, I've seen friends launch successful (though not unicorn successful) ventures and pine for the stability of a corporate gig, I've seen people take chances and get crushed, just like I've seen those take the safe route and never be fulfilled (either existentially or financially, sometimes both), so I can't give you a blanket "here's what you do" piece of advice. what I think the biggest issue for most is finding what makes your heart sing. for me, it was autonomy in my career. sure, I have client demands, financial obligations, and so on, but I don't think that'd be any different if I owned my own company, and moreover I don't think it'd be better if I had a "chill" job like teaching surfing full time. I would often daydream about those things only to come back to "that's just the way the world works bro, make your peace with it, enjoy the things you have, and try to get yourself to a place where you call all the shots (on my way)." maybe you feel this way because you never took a chance, maybe you had to take your current role as a way to make ends meet, I don't know. maybe changing scenery won't do anything for you, and maybe it'll be everything, these are not easy questions to answer, but I think where most people find fulfillment versus despair is finding a role that meets their motivations in life. what is that for you? do you like puzzles (in which case coding is great), do you like people (in which case sales), what motivates you? (that could be rhetorical, you don't need to answer)

I'd also suggest that maybe you lack discipline. If you're taking days off and not putting in the work where you used to, something's off. Maybe you really do just work for a POS boss and you need more autonomy, maybe you have some family issues that have distracted you (I never knew how big this could be until it happened to me) and therefore have sidelined your otherwise ambitious nature, or maybe it's just you. I'm a big believer that if you don't have your "self" taken care of, you won't ever be happy. You could be the most autonomous person with endless money, but if you're not taking care of "you," then it's all for naught. So here goes the typical advice to take care of your "self"

Mend relationships - yes with everyone. Is there an old friend you feel bad about losing touch with? Call him, fall on the sword, tell him you miss him. "hey man, I know I've been a shit friend over the past 5 years, but I was thinking about that mountain trip we took way back and it made me miss our friendship. Let's catch up" is there a family member where the relationship has soured? Call him/her, make an effort.

Fix your wheel. There's this guy (paul j meyer) that believes that our life is like a bicycle wheel with the requisite spokes, and like a wheel, if one spoke is neglected, the whole thing is fucked. Those spokes are social, financial/career, spiritual/ethical, family, mental/emotional, and family. Most people I run into who have it "figured out" have balance. No one's perfect, no one has it totally figured out, but one common thread I've noticed is balance. Sure you may not go on the full weekend bender like you did in your early 20's (god knows I don't anymore), but you make an effort when the boys wanna do a beach weekend and you take those trips. Maybe you don't hit your PRs in the gym like you did when you could workout 6x a week, but you still put in the effort and like what you see in the mirror.

More on that topic, I'm a big believer in physical shape, it has so many other benefits beyond looking good I could write on and on about them. if you're not in shape, get in shape. Period.

Finally, do you have anyone you can talk to unfiltered? As I mentioned, no one has it totally figured out so I think you need someone in your life you can bounce ideas off of and have it be in a totally safe environment. I think therapy is not just for the mentally ill, it's for most people. consider it, maybe it'll help, I have a few friends who on the surface have it "figured out" that see therapists regularly (hot wife, great job, good money, fun trips, etc., still seeing therapists). Maybe you feel alone in the big city, like you have no one to talk to, so you get these "tabs" open in your mind of issues you need to address and when the tabs get so big you can't even begin to think of how to tackle them, you just say "fuck it" and want to quit and change scenery entirely, as if a move in and of itself will solve everything (hint: it won't).

So yes, to answer your question, I've been there. what have I done? well, I don't think I'm an expert, but I'm at least well-read and have tried a bunch of shit to make myself happy. The "wheel of life" concept has helped me a lot, it took me a while that instead of looking outward to be happy, I needed to look inward, take care of me, and the rest has (so far) fallen into place. I hope this helps, and am happy to answer any other questions

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Dec 10, 2018

bravo

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Dec 11, 2018
thebrofessor:

I'm a big believer that if you don't have your "self" taken care of, you won't ever be happy. You could be the most autonomous person with endless money, but if you're not taking care of "you," then it's all for naught. So here goes the typical advice to take care of your "self"

"In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... Self-discipline with all of them came first."

Hit me hard when I first read it. Had a lot of introspection to do. It helped me, might help you.

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Dec 13, 2018

Great read. Reminds me of the saying " The outside is a reflection of the inside" though I still haven't been able to exactly grasp it.

Dec 14, 2018

This post, and your comment couldn't be more timely/relevant to my own situation. Thank you both @Kassad

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Dec 10, 2018

happy to help man! thank you for your kind words

Dec 19, 2018

Agree with 99% of what you're saying, except with the world becoming more politically correct. If anything, I think we're starting to see a backlash to it. There is no "Me too" movement, outside of a couple dudes in the media who keep trying to keep that sinking story afloat.

With that being said, remember Robert Greene's line, "Think as you like but behave like others." Know when to tone it down at work, but be sure to have a good social group outside of work. If you're in New York City, the largest metro area in the country, and if you don't have a group of friends to go chase girls around--that's all on you. I'm not into drugs, but I am into girls. Heavily.

If you don't want a white picket fence and a fat wife where the highlight of your day is watching some bullshit show on Netflix, then don't do that. Look, this isn't just a finance thing. Most people are just living in a derp state following a path that someone else set out for them. You think some dude in marketing at Procter & Gamble or corporate strategy at Caterpillar has it different? Doesn't even have to be a big business or a corporate job.

Finance is great in that even a complete retard can make a lot of money in it. It's also good in that it opens up connections. It's hard to get taken seriously in a lot of PE/VC roles if you don't have a couple years of IB/ER under your belt first.

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Dec 10, 2018

So... do you not like the people or do you not like the job? You need to answer that question first. Your post kind of meanders from I dislike the job to I dislike the idea of having a family and living in the suburbs. You can have a different job and the issue re: not being able to talk about drugs (duh) and not wanting to stay on a narrow path will still exist. Figure that out first.

As for not being able to talk about that stuff with your work peers, who cares? That's what real friends are for. The way I see it once I put on my work clothes and head to the office I am putting a mask on (somewhat). These people wouldn't understand how I live(d), my friends, and what I enjoy doing (to a certain extent). We are culturally different.

I get how you feel. I am on a path that I don't necessarily want to continue. So I make my moves with that thought in mind. I'm responsible for my family and I understand that but while that informs my decisions I don't necessarily let it control my decisions. For right now it's about getting that $ until I am ready to do my own thing or something entirely different.

And btw, fuck that extra 45 mins if they aren't crucial to get something done under a deadline. My family and friends are far more important.

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Dec 10, 2018

sad

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Dec 10, 2018
Kassad:

Has this happened to any of you? What did you do?

The first thing that really started to irk me about the corporate world was the apparent mismanagement of time, inefficiencies, endless stupid meetings, endless phone conferences and endless training modules.

During my last year in college, I knew and relied on efficiencies every minute of the day. In some way I was disappointed in the dull grind of the Excel warrior and the supposed lack of critical thinking. Also, I wanted to go to the gym and be outside a few times a day, not constrained to a desk to do much face time and a few hours of financial modeling.

So I waited. For 14 months. I waited until I built up the skill set needed in my role and got to the point where a position opened and they really needed me in that position. I leveraged that and agreed to take on the responsibilities of the position if they let me go of this office drone lifestyle, per se. I left that boring ass city and moved to NYC to be completely autonomous for this company. This was the first major step in my life towards the complete management of my time to focus on what means the most to me, for my passions.

I'd suggest if you can to start to work 1-2 days remotely per week. Maybe start with Fridays. I'm not sure of the culture at your firm, but you might have to wedge yourself into an assignment and then make terms to work on part of it remotely. If possible, you could travel and work, which might give you a bit of a break. I used to do this for a week or two and go down to Miami or something.

Because it sounds like you need some breathing room before you do something drastic. Also, maybe think about finishing your current assignments and maybe using this time to take a long vacation to just let things marinate in your life. Let the dust settle in your mind as to what your long term passions and desires are and then you can come back to focus on that.

Yeah I like to smoke green too and it is a pity that it is frowned upon in so many places. Last year there was a position that I was considering taking, but it was another DoD gig and I would probably have to get tested or something on a regular basis, which is not cool, especially as it is pretty much legal in that state.

For the most part at this point, I focus on what I am passionate about and then try to surround those passions with revenue and profit streams. This has been a learning experience lasting almost a decade, but I seem to be getting the hang of it. The sense of freedom when leaving the corporate / office environment is a first big step, even if you can only do it a couple days per week. Then the feeling of starting your own company is like gaining wings and looking at the sky and all the potential. Its like finally you get to reap 100% of your output. Everything you put into the business will produce profits that you can keep entirely. Finally not percentages as in the corporate world.

But, as I recently read in a Jon Corzine article, some people can make great bankers and traders, but may not have what it takes to completely run a business. This cannot be understated. Seeing our progress/output as a cog in a wheel versus trying to land our own opportunities and establish a consistent sales pipeline is tough. This also needs to be taken into consideration.

I think eventually, we all come to the decision point, that yes, a few hundred grand is a nice lifestyle, but look at those people working 20hrs a week making passive income of $10 million per year and just loving life? That's the place to be, right? I think you really only find yourself in that position if you take risks and take the time to build up your business and brand, which could have an opportunity cost in the hundreds of thousands, if you spend a few years stagnating and not cranking up demand in your business.

I have gotten to the point where I am making ends meet, but I also have family responsibilities, and I have a long term plan of building up a few LLCs with a type of 'shotgun' approach. I am passionate about them all, but not sure which ones are going to catch.

I've been a bit all over the place too. I was living in Canada from 2013-2014, then came back to play full time poker all year in 2015, did medical research (analytics mainly) in 2016, automotive analytics in 2017, and then finally decided to focus on building up my own brands in 2018.

I have a plan of building up these brands and should have a blast doing so. I'm not looking to make billions with these companies, but view this as the next major stage in my life. I am passionate about what I am doing in that direction everyday and as my own boss, I can have a lot of flexibility to do sports / activities that I plan to integrate into these businesses.

I saw the path to partner in my first company and it just wasn't for me. In that company, partners make very good money and all you really have to do is put in 30 years or so, but it seemed like a life of low risk, low amount of personal choice in a lot of things, and overall loyalty to the company to ensure a consistent paycheck for the rest of your life.

I am a bachelor and don't have a wife or kids, so those things aren't that important to me. Furthermore, I am of the mindset that I will only be able to take these kinds of risks with my time and in business until I am married and have a child, as when that happens I will largely need either a consistent paycheck from my businesses or will have to be a corporate drone again. If your passion is family, I don't consider this a copout to toil away at a cube as you are doing the best you can for your family and that is your passion.

So for me, at 35, I'm going to take my damn time to find the right lifetime partner and take my time to settle into this business that I will likely operate for 20 years..

What kind of ventures are you thinking about? I think opening a bar is a bad decision. That business is so cutthroat and the margins are slim with little potential for a large upside. Also, are you really passionate about being a bar owner? The income wouldn't be that great for at least a year or two at best, most likely.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Dec 10, 2018

Not sure why I'm getting MS - but fuck it.

As for deviation from the path, I do random shit like next month planning to spend a week building a paint pendulum and swing with a spinning piece on the bottom to create a series of about 10 pieces on canvas and 20-50 mixed media pieces.

Should cost a few grand to setup and build the frame internally in a room as well as materials. Gonna be a blasstttttttt.

  • paint / check
  • 420 / check
  • champagne parties? definitely

gonna be a good month........................

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Funniest
Dec 10, 2018
Isaiah_53_5:

Not sure why I'm getting MS - but fuck it.

As for deviation from the path, I do random shit like next month planning to spend a week building a paint pendulum and swing with a spinning piece on the bottom to create a series of about 10 pieces on canvas and 20-50 mixed media pieces.

Should cost a few grand to setup and build the frame internally in a room as well as materials. Gonna be a blasstttttttt.

  • paint / check
  • 420 / check
  • champagne parties? definitely

gonna be a good month........................

Maybe you should take a sabbatical from posting on WSO for a week or so

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Dec 10, 2018

Why don't you just suck it up during the week and then recharge over countless 8-balls and thai massage parlours during the weekend like the rest of us?

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Dec 11, 2018

+1 for physical shape. Highly recommend powerlifting or a contact sport if you have some free time. Won't make work any better but it's a great way to end a shitty day until you decide what to do.

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Dec 11, 2018

I'm actually pretty into finance, living in the burbs, and don't mind corporate as I tend more conservative. But, even I think corporate is lame af and outdated. I want to go into my own entrepreneurial efforts and it's not even so I can smoke and chill out all day.

It's really because I want to pull away from the pack, and just don't think it's worth it to slave away for four decades before someone says, "attaboy, you've been a good sport long enough, we'll throw you a bone".

My dad had a truck and a shitty business, so did my uncle. But those guys loved it just because they had no boss, killed what they ate, and were out on the road in freedom for most of their time.

I'm different than them in a lot of ways, except freedom is a big goal for me. I really can't blame you for wanting out of the rat race. And, I don't see how you could've ever thought it was for you in the first place, judging by how you describe yourself.

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Dec 10, 2018
iBankedUp:

I want to go into my own entrepreneurial efforts and it's not even so I can smoke and chill out all day.

Yeah, but it eventually comes down to that. For the modern entrepreneur with balance, there is significant time spent on TLC or at the 'spa' or wherever people go to pamper themselves.

I think the only exception are the work work work forever types like Mike Milken who can work from 4am - 1am and then also check up on updates printed out on paper on the bus ride from 3am -4am or some crazy shit as well (late 80s). Most people aren't born like that and the 'chill' sessions really add balance.

For me it is a mix of high intensity and low intensity type activities for balance. Lots of elevated heart rate during the day followed by deliberate periods of rest.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Dec 10, 2018

Also, not that I want to completely stereotype these two groups of people, but I will make a generalization from what I have seen:

I have hung out with a couple groups of people in NYC and a lot of the IB types I have hung out with always have some coke on them. Someone usually has coke. Because they are the types to spend 100hr in the office on deals and work work work for that $200K bonus or whatever it is. I'm not hating on them for this and have partaken with them at times. Just making an observation.

I've also hung out with really chill intellectual types who happened to work at hedge funds and really just enjoyed a joint at the end of the day. Hanging out with them was less of a 'crazy' night and more just chill sessions in a nice place in FiDi with a view. I'm sure their hours were much shorter than IB and they probably made 2x and didn't have to be go - go - go, but just make the right decisions and the weight of those decisions rested on their shoulders.

I'd say the entrepreneurial life is similar in some aspects. You're looking to produce quite a lot with less work (well more work at first to form the base of your company) and the mindset really necessitates a time to chill out and unload from some of the decisions affecting your brand, reputation, employees, investors ... it can get intense.

Which is why I created the brand Coastal Zen, to help people to unload from all this stress of modern day business life.

SoCal + Shanghai 2020

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Dec 11, 2018
Isaiah_53_5:

eah, but it eventually comes down to that. For the modern entrepreneur with balance, there is significant time spent on TLC or at the 'spa' or wherever people go to pamper themselves.

Wouldn't argue there. Can't really call spending time just detoxing as really chilling out. Time away from work is something we all need. Being an entrepreneur/business owner, for me, would mean having more freedom to decide how I spend that time away from work. But over the course of the longer-term, that freedom might mean that you get to spend time in a different place, at a hotel, etc., and enjoying what you like to do, all while bouncing between meetings/completing work.

You can never do that when in the rat race. Because someone else is paying for your time, you're obligated to try to work as much as possible and never do anything else as long as you are still technically on the clock. So, you might never withdraw from your task completely as a business owner, you do have more comfort in deciding what that actually means.

Isaiah_53_5:

Also, not that I want to completely stereotype these two groups of people, but I will make a generalization from what I have seen:

I have hung out with a couple groups of people in NYC and a lot of the IB types I have hung out with always have some coke on them. Someone usually has coke. Because they are the types to spend 100hr in the office on deals and work work work for that $200K bonus or whatever it is. I'm not hating on them for this and have partaken with them at times. Just making an observation.

I've also hung out with really chill intellectual types who happened to work at hedge funds and really just enjoyed a joint at the end of the day. Hanging out with them was less of a 'crazy' night and more just chill sessions in a nice place in FiDi with a view. I'm sure their hours were much shorter than IB and they probably made 2x and didn't have to be go - go - go, but just make the right decisions and the weight of those decisions rested on their shoulders.

I'd say the entrepreneurial life is similar in some aspects. You're looking to produce quite a lot with less work (well more work at first to form the base of your company) and the mindset really necessitates a time to chill out and unload from some of the decisions affecting your brand, reputation, employees, investors ... it can get intense.

Which is why I created the brand Coastal Zen, to help people to unload from all this stress of modern day business life.

SoCal + Shanghai 2020

I mean I've hung out with HF types too. It honestly reminded me of Dead Poets' Society. They went to Ivy League schools or other top 15 institutions, but they knew how to smoke up and other drugs. Just like in the movie, you get the feeling these people had driven into them rigor, while rolling their eyes when no one was looking, then doing drugs, cheating on assignments, and other malfeasance just to get by.

This isn't to judge. But it's no shocker that Ivy and grade performance does not auto correlate to social contribution, success, purity in intentions. All I'm saying is, I get it, people like to do drugs and engage in other vices, but I understand that they're pretty good at dodging bullets since they've been practicing since a young age (16-22) by always deliberately looking for ways to cut corners.

Maybe these types are the ones to build some million dollar business. They have nothing but tailwinds: connections, usually money from inheritance/high pay and savings, and figure out how to cut corners so well in what should be called the Trump strategy. Many people get by on cutting corners, and I'm not going to say I'm completely against cutting some corners.

But that's not to say these are entrepreneurial types. It's just a general type of person. And while I think it seems likely Trump likes to cut corners, he also claims that he doesn't drink (which I think could be because he has alcoholism running in his family).

I feel like the type of people who become business owners are split between serial cutthroats, who will do anything to feel good about themselves, and then there are people who tend to be friendly, and engaged in solving problems or improving something that's not quite right. But I don't doubt that the lifestyles between the two are much different.

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Dec 11, 2018

Worth noting that getting off social media (WSO excluded, Patrick!) for a bit is a great way to make this a introspective, as opposed to relative, exercise.

If you're like me (many reasons why this could be untrue), this will help reduce your general malaise but could also make it obvious that there are deeper issues underlying your dissatisfaction. Worth thinking about as a potential explanation before you take the cold plunge into entrepreneurism.

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Dec 11, 2018

Maybe give fintech startups a shot? Lots of serious startups out there, and your experience is valued.

Moves you out from the megacorp culture. Challenging tasks, more varied work, etc. I know lots of people in their late 20's / early 30's that gave up very attractive gigs at BB banks / MBB consulting, to join startups.

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Dec 11, 2018

I've been exactly where you've been for most of my adult life, and have many random thoughts on it. Random enough that I'll have to use numbers to keep them organized:

  1. Your observation that none of the people you want to be are in this field: spot on. You're looking at things the right way.
  2. I don't agree as much with your application of the "finance" label. You'll find that in almost any field, the vast majority of people are inside-the-box thinkers who don't realize how precious your one life is and what a gift freedom is, and they spend their lives doing lame shit and following a cookie cutter blueprint. Don't blame finance. Those wine bars are loaded with newlyweds from all walks of life.
  3. One thing that helped me, but isn't helping you for some reason: I found that the job got way better once I didn't care about performing at an A+ level. I was in IB which is different than you . . but I found 80% of the work was trying to look great while 20% was just getting the job done. Once I didn't care anymore, I could just do the 20% and the job was better. Not good, but enough to just show up and save my money without wanting to murder anyone.
  4. You should also derive happiness, not sadness, out of observing all the lemmings around you. This is a world that provides great rewards to a select few who take risks and think differently, and as one of those select few you should be thankful for the masses that plod through daily life being unoriginal and checking boxes. They're leaving a spot open for you.
  5. A lot of would-be entrepreneurs think that becoming an entrepreneur means taking a plunge. But it doesn't have to. It's not black and white, we don't just have all the working stiffs on one side and entrepreneurs on another. There is a vast middle which is all the quasi-entrepreneurial jobs. VC is an obvious one but so is just doing a normal job at a smaller company that will give you equity and more of a chance to lead and shape the firm.
  6. Ultimately I solved my problem by joining a small firm that does micro PE and is open to seeding other ideas I may have, whether its new deals or new strategies (VC, public long/short etc). Generally much lower comp than IB but in return I have total freedom and can make a lot when that rare home run does come.
  7. There's a risk that 10 yrs from today I haven't hit the home run and all my friends who stayed in IB have left me in the dust. Not a pleasant thought, but as a worst case scenario it's one I can live with in exchange for the freedom and upside that I enjoy today. One sign that the path you're about to take is the right one is that you're comfortable with the downside.
  8. Most of the people I used to work with don't understand my decision, and I don't understand their decision. Each side feels bad for the other. Imagine that, rational human beings thinking the exact opposite about something. I think a big part of happiness is knowing who you are, with or without success.
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Dec 11, 2018

I think before writing finance off completely, you should assess your skills/weaknesses and see if there is another area of finance you may be happy with.

Sounds like you spent years building up to this point and you dont want to throw away that progress if you dont have to. However, if you are truly miserable, you need to get out once you have money saved to float you as you look for the next best thing.

Maybe you should go somewhere where there are more people like you, rather than the country club set.

Dec 11, 2018

You're assuming that your coworkers don't hate their lives as much as you. I would reconsider that assumption.

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Dec 11, 2018

So true. And add to that, the possibility that coworkers are more inclined to hide their displeasure from others and even from themselves (i.e. denial).

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Dec 10, 2018
PteroGonzalez:

So true. And add to that, the possibility that coworkers are more inclined to hide their displeasure from others and even from themselves (i.e. denial).

Others are so accustomed to living in the matrix that they welcome the daily gruel with pleasure.

How do you feel about it?

https://i.warosu.org/data/ck/img/0079/89/1471298899878.jpg

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Dec 12, 2018

Although I can't provide with you advice since thebrofessor has largely done a superb job doing just that - I just wanted to say thank you for initiating such an honest post that I think many people are benefiting from by reading it and taking a few minutes to just reflect on their own personal triumphs and failures.
EDIT: Someone threw MS at me for this post...really?

As I am just still breaking into capital markets this is one of my biggest fears is that I'll end up working for 15 years and then have this hollow regret or uncertainty about whether or not it was all for naught. After reading Ray Dalio's principles I realized that I gotta try and give it my all and if I'm honest with myself and with my directions then I'll know whether or not I'll continue - but not doing it would be just as tragic as if I were to do it without knowing why I'm doing in the first place. I guess I'm doing it to prove myself wrong.

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Dec 13, 2018

About talking shit at the office, you must try Europe. If you can put aside meritocracy and assume your career path is just sitting, waiting and delivering the value required to not be utterly useless (because you'll enter in a year long probationary period, they won't fire you), it is your place. Also, 8h a day 5 days a week is the norm. Forget about cash or dominating the world, but looks like that's not your plan anymore.

Meeting friends in the office in US is just impossible for a simple reason: competition. When I moved here to the States, I made it mainly looking for the opportunity to compete and get places, but it comes with the painful consequence of people hating each other to the guts at the office, even when they smile at you or ask you about whatever nonsense. They are lying. Any merits you achieve are seen in detriment of their own since they are working their asses off (more than you from their perspective) and they are so special, so unique and so powerful, as their mom told them for 25 years nonstop. In my case, I deal with it pretty easily, since I built my circle of friends around my hobbies and, curious to say, with the clients of my company. But with colleagues it's just impossible, they are always anxious to put themselves on top of their peers, even when talking about beers or music or any other stuff, and the worst, they are looking forward for you to have a slip and use it at the office in your detriment. My Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays are to enjoy the life (I brought that rule from Europe), and being in that toxic environment doesn't align with the plan.

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Dec 13, 2018

3 things:

1) You need a different job, not necessarily leave finance altogether. Leaving banking may help. The skills you have accumulated will be helpful in any industry so you can even leave finance if that's what you want. But I would interview for other jobs in finance first (or read their job descriptions) and see if they seem exciting to you.

2) You need to stop living life according to some pre-set rules of you marrying your colleagues at age 30 and start focusing more on the present.

3) You need to stop escaping through drinking and tinder and see what real hobbies you enjoy - such as wine tasting and writing about it, improv, dancing, etc.

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Dec 14, 2018

We all go through tough times, what matters is how you handle them. Having gone through the same thing you are, and having had shingles twice in my young life from those demons, there are a few simple valuable lessons I can share:

-Relationships are the most valuable currency in this world. You need to decide who the right people to be around are, and be willing to be completely open with them once you reach that point. You will value the time you have so much more when you are.

-Work is always going to be work, but the people you do it with make all the difference. I don't care if you are turning a wrench or building spreadsheets, or inking tattoos as you mentioned, it all becomes a job. What makes it tolerable is the people you do it with.

-Self awareness is key. You have to understand the root of your dissatisfaction. It may not be you hating your job, it may be something inside of you. Dig deep to identify it. You may need to leave your job to solve the underlying issue, but you may not. It may be a good idea to see a therapist to figure this out. That voice in your head can be a terrible thing if left unchecked.

I could go on but those points alone will change your life if you focus on them.

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Dec 15, 2018

Removed out of professional purposes - Apologies

Dec 19, 2018
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How I passed all the CFA Program exams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DUdnYkojtk&t=37s

Dec 21, 2018
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