QUIT vs. STAY - A better way to think about it.

Stay in banking or quit banking?

Prison or freedom?

Career or family?

Disquiet or peace?

Not being me or being me?

The problem is NOT finding the right answers to these questions.

The problem is that you're constantly asking these questions.

You are at war with yourself.

To be more precise, one expression of yourself is fighting another expression of yourself.

Because, by proof of contradiction, if you're asking these questions it means that you have two selves.

The banking self and the non-banking self.

Otherwise, choosing between the two wouldn't be a constant struggle, would it?

It's not about being you or not being you-you are both banking and not banking!

To be more precise, the question is not [Banking VS Not Banking].

The question is [What your Banking Self wants VS What your Non-Banking Self wants].

You're struggling because you haven't transformed the problem to a different space where you can see the intersection of the two selves more clearly.

But you must give voice and honour both selves.

A neurolinguistic programming exercise I often do with people:

  1. Sit comfortably in your chair and embody your IB self. What does your IB self really want? Let him/her speak to the non-IB self. Once you're done, shake that self out, stretch, move around, and take a couple of deep breaths.
  2. Move your chair to a different place and embody your non-IB self. What does your non-IB self really want? Let him/her speak to the IB self. Once you're done shake that self out again.
  3. Go into what I call a meta position, ie. an observer position. Is there something that both selves agree on? What do both want for you? Explore both selves from that neutral and unattached position.
  4. What is an agreement that would make both selves happy?
  5. Continue the conversation between the two selves until an agreement is reached.

In the end, you'll find that...

You may quit banking and feel fulfilled.

Life has so much to offer.

Having made it in IB shows that you have all it takes to have success in any other profession.

You are a go-getter. You don't lack motivation. You are goal-oriented.

You can build your own business, you can break into a totally different industry, God, you can do ANYTHING. If not you, who???

Or ... you may stay in banking and still feel fulfilled. 

Maybe all you need is:

  • a change in your lifestyle
  • more time for recreation
  • a relationship
  • the ability to set boundaries and say no
  • to build a new skill
  • to become a more effective communicator
  • more empowering beliefs
  • a new role
  • a new team
  • a mentor
  • to have a conversation with your boss

In any case, the deepest and most enlightening insights will emerge once you've embraced both your IB and the non-IB self and invited them to a conversation with curiosity and wonder.

Loving you, Angelos

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Comments (39)

Most Helpful
  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Mar 3, 2021 - 11:38am

Good post but you're asking the wrong question. Bull or bear? That is the question. Namaste.

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Mar 5, 2021 - 4:14am


"If it is on WSO, it must be true" ~ old Jewish proverb.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 3, 2021 - 12:02pm

This is one of the best and most useful posts I've seen on WSO...

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 3, 2021 - 12:10pm

Great post and I actually found myself doing a similar exercise a few days ago when I was thinking about my future in banking. I've definitely been struggling with the hours and WFH is making it a lot harder to learn everything I need to know. That being said, I've searched for other job opportunities and honestly think grinding out my two years is the best option for me right now. I know for a fact that if I stay in my group, I definitely won't be able to last two years as everyone is too busy to provide guidance or even pretend like they're there to help you grow. I've decided to try lateralling into a different group at the same bank, and hopefully that team will be more supportive and encouraging than the one I'm currently in.

Mar 3, 2021 - 12:48pm

Exactly! It's crazy but in the same bank you can find a team that looks like the coolest Silicon Valley start-up and you can also find the most dysfunctional team in the world. It may be that you're in the wrong spot. Look around. Connect. Connect. Connect. Reach out to people, schedule 5 or 10min chats with people in other teams. Find a mentor. And most importantly, don't take things personally. Some of the people you mentioned want to help but they are dealing with their own shit, others who are not supporting analysts (or treat them badly) are short-sighted and lack political intelligence... Because if they were clever, they would help analysts grow and create life-long allies... Anyway, that's a big topic for a different thread!

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 3, 2021 - 5:13pm

I appreciate that you're aiming to give people the tools to choose for themselves. Most posts I've seen on this topic have been strongly geared towards one side or the other based on the commenters' experiences, so it's refreshing to see someone say, "take a moment and consider what it is you really want." 

Mar 3, 2021 - 10:34pm

Incredible post. Thank you!

Mar 4, 2021 - 5:35am

this is such wholesome and useful content and yet some of you are edgyposting smh

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 2
Mar 4, 2021 - 6:12am

all good man...feel like mental awareness is such an underrated aspect in this industry - obv everyone tries to be a hardo boi but we're only human at the end of the day

"They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fuckin' smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby!" - Boiler Room

  • 3
Mar 6, 2021 - 2:30pm

Looking at family history helps. 

Were my great grandparents, grandparents, or parents bankers? Is that why I got into it?

Was my entire social set (friend group, classmates) all aiming to work in finance? Is that why I got into it?

Answers to simple questions (like the ones above) helps to reveal the motivations. 

Mar 7, 2021 - 4:56am

Absolutely!!! I've worked with senior bankers who are still trying to prove themselves to their parents for example. And I totally understand them and I feel compassion for them. Because most of them were either neglected or given too much attention by their parents in their childhood. In order to receive the same love when the child entered the real world, they had to strive and overachieve. No accomplishment is ever enough. Behind the money, the job title, the prestige, there is often hidden a constant feeling of not being good enough. Life becomes easier and more rewarding when this pattern comes to conscious awareness. And again that could be a stay or a quit decision. Every Banker has the capacity to create the life of their dreams whether they decide to stay or quit. At least This is what I choose to believe.

Mar 7, 2021 - 10:31am

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  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
May 11, 2021 - 8:07am

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