Severe disability diagnosis and next steps

Dear all,

I received a full time offer after an internship this summer at an investment bank. I have accepted this offer and will start in a few months as I have already graduated.

Unfortunately I have not been feeling well since. After medical tests I got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Needless to say this has been a very tough process for me mentally. I am posting here to inquire any insights of how this will impact my career.

For those unfamiliar MS is a detoriating auto immune disorder attacking your nerves, which can lead to paralysis and cognitive disability. Currently my symptoms are mild and not really noticeable. I have primary progressive MS, which is very uncommon for people at my age, which will eventually lead to progressive disability.

I was wondering if I need to tell my future employer.

Thank you.

Comments (27)

Most Helpful
Oct 21, 2019

You need to talk to your doctor about what sorts of effects sleep deprivation and heightened stress are going to have on your condition. Banking messes up otherwise normal peoples' health big time. You really need to understand if the lifestyle is going to have long-lasting impacts on your personal well-being.

Personally, the age-old adage of "sacrifice your 20's for greater affluence / comfort later in life" repeated by bankers wouldn't hold up for me if I were in your shoes. If you don't know what your later years are going to be like due to your condition, I'd be much less inclined to throw away my younger, more healthy years doing banking. That's an incredibly personal decision, but you should think about it.

    • 40
Oct 24, 2019
gufmo:

You need to talk to your doctor about what sorts of effects sleep deprivation and heightened stress are going to have on your condition. Banking messes up otherwise normal peoples' health big time. You really need to understand if the lifestyle is going to have long-lasting impacts on your personal well-being.

Personally, the age-old adage of "sacrifice your 20's for greater affluence / comfort later in life" repeated by bankers wouldn't hold up for me if I were in your shoes. If you don't know what your later years are going to be like due to your condition, I'd be much less inclined to throw away my younger, more healthy years doing banking. That's an incredibly personal decision, but you should think about it.

Straight up fucking this

Oct 21, 2019

I'm so sorry to hear this. I wish you the best of health and a successful life!

Array

    • 2
Oct 21, 2019

I agree with the poster above. I would highly suggest you find something that isn't as demanding on you. I'll probably get MS from the incoming summer analysts of this forum, but you could learn to code and work a nice job at Google. Don't get me wrong, it's hard as hell to get in. I'd argue if you're smart enough to get this offer you're smart enough to pass the bar for Google or similar.

Look up levels.fyi for salaries. Starting is 160-180k. A lot of people will say "Well the ceiling is capped at $400-500k". Sure, fine. If you refuse to move into management you hit that ceiling. Moving into management is tough and political (not like banking/ PE moving up isn't). But even if you hit $400k a year for 30-40 hours of work a week, If you can't be happy with that then you won't be happy with millions. Happiness comes from within as long as your needs are met. Anyway, you'd have substantially less stress and be well taken care of. You could easily put enough away in investments.

Just something to think about. It's your life to live. If you don't find tech appealing then disregard my post. Make the most of your time.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

    • 5
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 22, 2019

only issue is that coding takes skill to get into the top companies, someone with the brain of a child could break into BB IB

    • 3
Oct 22, 2019

Coding is just another language, no different than learning English, Spanish or Mandarin. Like this analogy, some languages are easier than others. It can be learned.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 21, 2019

Sorry to hear that. I wouldn't compromise health to do a specific kind of work. I had severe spinal stenosis and DDD when I was younger and ended up figuring out how to work on my own schedule in a way that let me manage my chronic pain symptoms but obviously something like MS is much more difficult. This meant I dropped out of college and didn't pursue a traditional career path. Managing the mental side of a long-term health condition that gets worse every day is very difficult and nobody seems to understand just how bad it is... If you want to hop on the phone feel free to DM me and I can throw some ideas your way as far as work/career going - obviously you're intelligent if you've gotten the point you have.

BTW - I randomly got way better a few years ago after 7 or 8 years of eating serious shit. Hopefully you get lucky too.

Oct 21, 2019

This comment exemplifies how awesome this community can be

Edit: This wasn't sarcasm to be funny. Really, a random person on the internet willing to jump on a phone call for no benefit of himself to help another random person on the internet. Pretty amazing stuff

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

    • 6
Oct 21, 2019

Lol sorry that was me. I hit funny by accident due to phat thumbs.

Oct 21, 2019

+SB, this is certainly a time when I wholeheartedly agree with m_1's usual advice to skip a traditional career path like banking. If I, or my wife or child, had a health issue like that, I would be out of banking immediately. Life's too short.

    • 1
Oct 21, 2019

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. That's some tough news. I have a close friend with this type of MS. She was a lawyer with a promising career when diagnosed. She lost her mobility about 15 years ago, but has been able to continue working with plenty of support from her firm and her friends. She's now a respected senior partner at her firm.

I know several other people with comparably severe disabilities who've also had ultra successful careers in law or investment banking. One of my MBA students a couple years ago was a VP at a BB, and blind. So from my observation, people with challenging disabilities can thrive in intense careers if they have strong support from their employer and a caring network.

I see no reason why you shouldn't do IB. You can always quit if it gets to be too much. Of course you should tell your employer about your condition, in writing, soon after you start.

    • 4
Oct 21, 2019

Dude, I sent you a DM. I'm very keen to help. Ping me anytime. I left you my mobile #. My dad died of multiple sclerosis-related complications when I was 12. I know a lot about the disease. I feel you, and I want to help.

First off I'm so sorry you got the disease. You should know that there are major research breakthroughs in causes and treatment of MS. There's been a lot of research showing a plant-based diet can help in the management of MS. PB diet to manage MS

MS is nothing to toy with, and I'd say it's firstly important that you focus on disease management.

As for banking, while it is grueling, it's certainly worth doing as an internship for sure, as it will open up opportunities for your career like nothing else can. After the summer, you can always decide on whether it's a good lifestyle choice later.

    • 10
Oct 22, 2019

Very sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

I have a very close friend with MS, diagnosed 13 years ago. Her lesions have been primarily in the area of the brain that impact her motor abilities and she slowly lost the ability to walk. She has what we've termed "The Magic Van" which has a ramp for her to get in and out of with her scooter and also has been outfitted with hand controls for the gas and breaks. She finally went on full disability about 3 years ago, in her mid-forties.

Everyone's MS is so incredibly different, it's what makes the disease so tricky, how your body handles the variation of MS that you have as well as the various drug regimens that are out there.

You can have an incredibly full life for quite a long time, regardless of your diagnosis. It's not like as little as 25 or 30 years ago, if you were diagnosed, there wasn't a great deal available in regards to options. Many people of past generations with MS were simply stuck homebound and had no real choice in quitting their jobs.

Research your variation of MS. Learn all you can to slow its progress. Knowledge is power, seriously. Get emotional and professional support, if need be. Get yourself aligned with good doctors and neurologists with specialties in MS and/or who have other MS patients in their practice. Even your dentist should be someone with exposure in dealing with people with MS.

It's never great to get a long-term chronic condition, but thankfully we are learning new things everyday about so many conditions like RA, MS, Alzheimer's, diabetes, etc. and improving the quality of life of those with those conditions.

Don't necessarily take banking off the table for now. Give it a try. Better to make the decision to eventually walk away from it in a number of years if you decide it's not for you or that it's too much on your health. You already have a lot on your plate to digest, you don't also want to add regrets of "I wish I had tried/attempted/given X a shot." But at the same time, remember, your health is the most important thing and high chronic stress is definitely something that doesn't help any medical condition.

Good luck to you and if you want to speak to someone who has had the condition for a couple of decades, let me know, I'm quite certain my friend would be open to answering questions and giving you her perspective.

    • 5
Oct 22, 2019

I am very sorry to hear about your MS. It is a difficult condition to deal with and it's progressive nature is disheartening. I currently am in a similar situation but later in life. While my conditions have overlaps (chronic pain, cognitive malfunction for lack of a better term) it isn't as progressive. If I were you I would focus on what options you have in the short and long term.

I would study stress and your condition to determine if that is a factor in the progression. I remind myself frequently that my health might be so shitty when I am 50 or 60 that I might not be capable of having a career. I am constantly worried I am delaying happiness in my current career and might end up regretting it.

I view it as I have 2 options. Try and make as much money as possible in my early years to float me in my older age or try and find a career that will be more sustainable.

I wish you the best and can say that you aren't the only one.

    • 3
Oct 22, 2019

Nothing to add, but genuinely impressed by the quality of responses here,

OP, I hope you find the path that makes you the most fulfilled/happy/successful

    • 1
Oct 22, 2019

What about OP's question on whether he should inform his internship employer? That's a tricky one. I don't know what I'd do. It complicates the relationship, because of the legal protections, but on the flip side, maybe it will make the employer more accommodating / sympathetic. Thoughts?

Oct 22, 2019

I would still recommend he notify them. People are very considerate and this is something that is completely outside of OP's control. Earlier this year I had to undergo surgery and was out for 2 weeks, which my team was very understanding of. Not to hijack this at all, but I just found out today unfortunately my condition came back and my upcoming surgery is seriously going to set me back a couple months, so I'm nervous to tell my employer that it's resurfaced so soon.

OP, best of luck to you and I'm glad there's a great community here that supports one another.

    • 2
Oct 22, 2019

I'm very sorry to hear of your diagnosis man, keep your head up. I'm sure whatever decision you make you'll find the right way eventually. Some good advice in this thread, good luck.

Array

Oct 23, 2019

Sorry to hear. Lots of great comments on here, especially for long term planning.

For short term, since its just an internship, I wouldn't divulge unless it starts becoming an issue at work. No upside to telling them if its not gonna impact the job for 2.5 months.

    • 1
Oct 23, 2019

Congratulations on your offer, and I am truly sorry to hear you got this news.

I would advise consulting your doctor and seeing if it is worth a try. If you end up going through with the role, see how you feel. If it makes you feel very unwell then of course I would suggest taking that as a sign, and seeing what other options you have.

Of course you don't want to let the diagnosis dictate your life, but it is important to take care of yourself above all else. I would not say anything to the employer unless you take the job and in the course of your work you feel very unwell.

Feel free to message me anytime

    • 1
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 23, 2019

Try talking with the company and see if you can get a less stressful role with a better w/l balance. Most people on here decide to grind in their 20s to have a better lifestyle later on down the road. Truth be told life as you know it is probably not going to last too long. It's better you spend your 20s doing things you won't be able to do once the paralysis starts to set in. I PROMISE you at 40 in a wheelchair you are going to SERIOUSLY REGRET spending all those hours in the office. Remember spending 70 hours a week on powerpoint/excel can be done in a wheelchair (assuming your arms can function) but it is much harder to travel the world, go hiking and have fun on the weekends in a wheelchair.

    • 1
  • Associate 3 in ER
Oct 24, 2019

I'm a multiple cancer survivor and I participate in several non-profit organizations dedicated to career development resources for professionals with a disability. I didn't follow through pursuing investment banking as a career because recruiting was tougher than I anticipated; I was a complete non-target and dealing with numerous health issues which I never saw coming.

This is not an advertisement and I don't work for this organization but you should look into limeconnect.com . Both JPM and GS are corporate partners and ironically the contacts I made helped me get into a hedge fund instead of banking. More importantly I met other people with similar non-traditional backgrounds.

There are several events coming up. You should join up and I hope things work out.

Oct 27, 2019

Thank you all. More than I can put in writing. I am still quite worried about the decision. This is for a full time position, not an internship.

Oct 27, 2019

If it becomes too much then quit. A lot of people have this weird belief that if you don't stick it out you'll wear an L on your forehead forever. This is not true. It's not binary, you either suck it up in IB or you're destined to homelessness.

Like I mentioned above, tech is a pretty forgiving place. Not all companies, but a lot are. One of my new mentors said something that stuck with me, "This industry cares more about what you can do than where you've come from."

Again, your life to live. I'm sure if you quit IB you can get other jobs in finance. You may not get into BX/ KKR, but those present the same issues to your health as IB anyway.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

    • 1
Oct 27, 2019
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