Life after high finance
I'm sure that COVID has shaken up the professional side of our lives for many on this board (for better or for worse), which presumably has led to some choosing to leave high finance as a career altogether. While I'm still in IB and genuinely enjoy many aspects of the job (particularly from the perspective of a future coverage officer), I'm sure that many can appreciate it's an all-consuming role not just in your earlier years, but throughout your career. I've rose through the ranks fairly quickly (well-positioned for an accelerated VP promo) and have a ton of autonomy within my group, however the job itself has become fairly monotonous as a junior banker. Coupled with the fact that the MD role is almost a decade away, I'm beginning to question whether or not the proverbial carrot I'm chasing is truly as fruitful as I've mentally depicted it out to be.
The bigger challenge for me is figuring out what next if I do choose to leave IB. I understand it's a rhetorical question as I'd be the only person capable of answering what I'm looking for out of a career, but I've been so head down on the job that candidly I haven't given this question much of a thought until recently. I've sacrificed a ton of hobbies over the years, and am in a position where I'm not sure what I genuinely enjoy anymore (personally and professionally).
Not interested in PE (skill-set / personality better fit for sell-side, plus IB 2.0 from a lifestyle perspective), and think corporate roles are too slow-paced and have other trade-offs that are a fairly big consideration (slow promotion timelines, significant pay cut, etc.). I'm mainly hoping for feedback from seasoned finance professionals who are 4-10 years out of school. Some questions to hopefully spark a discussion:
- At what point in your career did you leave high finance? What are you currently working in?
- Did you have a fundamental change in your values (i.e. what you're looking for out of a career / life in general) at any point, and if so, when?
- In retrospect, was the decision a right one (all things considered, i.e. comp, lifestyle, etc.)
- Holistically, are you happier today vs. when you worked in high finance?
- For those that have had a significant lifestyle change (i.e. less hours), how are you spending the additional free time?