The end of my journey
Bit of a long post here, but wanted to throw it all away and hear from you guys before I make the move. What lies below is essentially a bit of the last three years of my life:
Graduated with a first class honours from a top European University and straight landed a job at the M&A group of a Elite Boutique. I was lucky enough to enjoy my uni-life throughout my stun at college and was able to - if you want to put it that way - "collect enough experiences". I meet some girls, had fun, made new friends etc. From my time at uni, I did really know I wanted to land that IB job and what were the items I had to collect: good grades, societies, early internships etc.
And so I did. For the past three years I have been working my ass. Ranked mid to top-bucket consistently, I have been lucky enough to participate on some large and insightful transactions and was able to strengthen my relationships with some managing directors with whom I really enjoy working and from whom I learn a lot.
In these years I have had almost no holidays: both Christmas and Summer periods were somehow always stuffed with new deals in which I was staffed. I said nothing, lowered my head and kept working, cancelling all plans and sacrificing some friendships along the way. My hands-on approach implied that I was a little bit burn-out afterwards, but it felt manageable.
During my first year I practised a gave-it-all approach: gained lots of weight - you can imagine why-, spent lots of weekend at the office etc. I believe this detail to be irrelevant, but I have been so focused and so absorbed by my job that I have not had sex in the last three years - let alone have the chance to have a date
I learnt to live with the fact that I have no control whatsoever of my schedule. I only go out early on weekdays to run some errands if I have made clear that I will have to be out for a few minutes to my superior, I make no plans in advance for the weekend in case I am required for whatever task might be necessary etc. At the beginning I though of myself as an elite soldier: always ready, always grinding. I assumed and learnt to live with the balance of work hard - play hard and practised it while I could surf the wave.
In exchange, I have both learnt a lot and made a lot. For the first one, I am still amazed and love the fact that I am able to learn new things everyday and thrilled with the reality that I am able to personally speak to CEOs and CFOs of some of the largest American and UK companies.
And then COVID came and it destroyed the fragile status and balance that I was living in. As it happened to everyone, my work hard - play hard shifted to a work - hard scheme with almost no fun. This situation began around April 2020. By November, I was empty of the spirit and enthusiasm that helped me to land this job and that had always characterised me - and I started thingking about resiging.
Meanwhile, I started to reflect on the fact that I was "growing" slowly with compared to the rest of my analyst class. The vast majority of my colleagues were leaving for PEs or other banks and those who stayed started to get more responsibilities. Except me. Awkwardly, I was rising in the rank - even with the new hires - and getting extremely positive feedback - and bonus.
As of today, my mental health is in a very dark place - I would not say I am in a depression status, but I am certainly starting to enjoy less stuff that I always loved. I have always had anxiety but what I have been feeling in the last two to three months, I had never seen. I feel tired all the time and do not want to embark on new projects - I am aware is not my decision, pointing out the lack of enthusiasm for new items. I extremely punish myself for small mistakes and I am starting to develop an impostor syndrome by which I always believe I will get caught with lots of mistakes done on current and previous deals. On Monday morning I count the hours till Friday evening, and Sundays are easily the worst days ever. Every email that lands my inbox gives me the chills and all of this is obviously translating in both i) my relationship with everyone at the group and ii) the quality of my work, which is decreasing.
I have always been an intellectually curious person: that is why I loved this job, because I would be able to get to know how different industries work, and get paid for that. Yes, you would have to surf through seas of dreadful work, but for me it paid off. Until it did not.
My lack of energy is translated into my relationship with headhunters: I get called for life-changing-interviews I do not want to make because of how mentally exhausted I am. I feel like the only way forward for me at this moment is to resign without nothing lined up.
As to how I would use my time, with the help of a psychologist, I would deploy all my time and energy into getting back to being myself again: into getting excited for my job and for my profession again. I would use all that free time to invest in me: do things I never did before, read books, lose weight etc.
Yes, I would have a gap in my CV. Yes, looking for a new job while being currently employed is easier. I am aware of all the usual nitty-gritty surrounding these decisions, but I do believe I will not be able to land that life-changing opportunity if I do not stop.
And I think I need to stop.
Apologies for the long post lads, needed to throw it somewhere and would love to hear your thoughts on this