Mid-Level Burnout

I'm not sure if it's the general COVID work reality, specific group dynamics, or all of the above, but I am feeling completely burnt out. At this point, I feel like I'd be willing to take a 50%+ pay-cut to get some sense of control back in my life. Have any other mid-level (VP-ish) buy-side professionals decided to completely mix it up and move to a gig that is much more lifestyle friendly? Would love to hear what those of you that have made the switch have decided to do instead.

Comments (22)

 
  • VP in PE - Other
Feb 12, 2021 - 4:57pm

Our carry dynamics are a bit unique - it's deal-by-deal (I'm not in the PE side of the house), so I wouldn't be giving up any life-changing amount of value that's already accrued. That being said, there's always ways to talk yourself into the golden handcuffs; i.e. I'm giving up $xxx,xxx of accrued bonus, I'm giving up $xxx,xxx of co-invests, etc. At the end of the day, I have plenty of savings and enough safety nets in place that I could dick around for a few years doing nothing and be "fine". An incremental $100k, $200k, $300k... but having to stick around 1, 2, 3 more years isn't going to provide me with any more incremental happiness than doing something I enjoy a lot more right NOW. At least that's the way that I'm approaching it; if there was a 7-figure pay-day 18 months away, probably a different calculus. 

 
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  • VP in RE - Comm
Feb 12, 2021 - 4:03pm

About 6 months ago I left a fairly institutional REPE firm after being there for 5+ years. I was tired of the hours, facetime, politics, analysis paralysis, etc.

 

Had I stayed one more year, my carried interest in our largest fund would have fully vested. Maybe it was the pandemic and working from home that made me irrational, but I just had to leave. I left for a smaller GP/Operator firm in a location I love that is far less volume driven. Base and bonus are the same, I now get carried interest on deal level transactions (not fund level),  I have zero state and city income taxes, the weather and people here are beautiful, I am not wasting my time on wild goose chase pursuits or useless investment committee follow-up meetings, and I have a much more desirable work-life-balance. Really the only thing I sacrificed is prestige: I no longer have my face on a slick/modern website and - outside of my market - my new company is not well-known. But frankly i don't give a fuck :) 

 
  • VP in PE - Other
Feb 12, 2021 - 5:08pm

Lateraling but down-sizing is definitely the most logical move, and great to hear that's working out well for you. Unfortunately less of an opportunity set in my geography for a similar transition, so trying to see if I can swing a "yeah I've been doing X for the last 10+years, but I promise I'll be good at Y" approach. Maybe I'll just buy a laundromat or something

 
  • Associate 1 in RE - Comm
Feb 12, 2021 - 8:32pm

It sounds like you moved from an institutional REPE firm in a HCOL market, went to a lower cost of living market in Texas or Florida to work for a GP / Operator, and STILL maintained your base, bonus, and carry...

 

This is unbelievably lucky. Most people moving from REPE to GP are looking at a base or bonus paycut with the hopes of making up for the difference with a better lifestyle or carry.

 

Most people moving from HCOL living market to Texas / Miami are looking at a pay cut because the cities are cheaper and companies know they can pay you less given the cost of living adjustment + lack of local income taxes.

 

The fact that you bucked the trend on both of those is awesome, hats off to you

 
  • VP in RE - Comm
Feb 15, 2021 - 9:17am

I'm surprised by this. I have a handful of colleagues that did the same and they never sacrificed comp. Again, the only sacrifice was any vested comp or interest in the funds/firm they were leaving.

 
  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Comm
Feb 21, 2021 - 1:59pm

How many years of total experience did you have, and were you focused on a specific asset class? I live in a HCOL market (NYC/LA) and am at the associate level but would love to make a move to TX/FL in a couple years. Would love to hear about how you found this role as well.

 
  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Feb 12, 2021 - 5:07pm

I would say it depends on the type of person you are. I'm in the HF space and considered making a move for better work life balance and decided against it (while a close friend of mine made a very similar move). To me, it was more about not being happy with some of my team and position I was in, but I realized that I really do enjoy a lot of the work and would spend a lot of my day thinking about the work no matter where I was. So rather than trying to dial down the hours or stress I mostly worked to get on a team with better fit. 

Where I've seen many people go who enjoy the industry and problems but want more balance is family offices, endowments, pensions, etc. Places where the culture is less intense and generally much more reasonable hours. That being said it isn't guaranteed and some of these places have other issues (large groups, lots of overhead, etc). 

 
Feb 15, 2021 - 9:47pm

 

I would say it depends on the type of person you are. I'm in the HF space and considered making a move for better work life balance and decided against it (while a close friend of mine made a very similar move). To me, it was more about not being happy with some of my team and position I was in, but I realized that I really do enjoy a lot of the work and would spend a lot of my day thinking about the work no matter where I was. So rather than trying to dial down the hours or stress I mostly worked to get on a team with better fit. 

Where I've seen many people go who enjoy the industry and problems but want more balance is family offices, endowments, pensions, etc. Places where the culture is less intense and generally much more reasonable hours. That being said it isn't guaranteed and some of these places have other issues (large groups, lots of overhead, etc). 

My friend was working at a HF making 7 figures and hated his manager so much that he absolutely had to leave. The PM was making billions, but he had to get out. 

"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

 
Feb 21, 2021 - 1:46pm

might be stating the obvious here, but have a browse over some peoples LinkedIns. especially PE people in Europe. a significant % of them go off and do random things, some examples ive seen - guy started a shoe company, another guy start a boutique hotel in Italy (I had a look at their website yesterday, very very nice, but obviously they're getting crushed due to the pandemic), others have went on to create apps that I dont fully understand, to solve very esoteric problems. but do let us know what you're thinking of doing.

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