The most laid back Corporate jobs for those of us without C-suite aspirations?

Let's use this thread to discuss roles that offer amazing work/life balance and limited stress (i.e. not FP&A, development, etc.).

It doesn't even necessarily need to be finance-specific as there are dozens of little-known roles out there that someone with a finance or analytical mindset can do well.

There are so many corporate roles out there, let's discuss some of the low key, yet still good, jobs and career paths.

Comments (103)

Jan 8, 2018

Most chill corporate job I've ever seen was VP of a syndicated television network. Once a TV show from the parent company hit 100 episodes, it would come down the pipeline and then the syndicated guys would go on a road show to sell advertising (agencies are typically in NY or Chi). It was the closest thing to Mad Men I'd seen. No late office hours, lots of dinners and drinks and schmoozing, and perks up the yin yang. 80% of their product got sold during the Upfront Presentations, so the bulk of tough work took place during 1 period.

The downside is that all the execs started off in Sales themselves, which certainly isn't chill at the entry level by any means-you have to perform to move up. Also, I imagine things have changed quite a bit w/ the on-demand/digital/netflix/subscription services bleeding TV revenues.

Jan 8, 2018

Operations, Recruiting / Talent Acquisition, Compliance, many government roles if you work your way up enough.

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Jan 11, 2018

The thing with chill jobs is that to get there, you almost always have to start in a role that is the polar opposite. The reason some people have these chill jobs is because they learned a lot and became experts in their field while working in a very stressful and intense environment (IB, consulting, etc.) for many years and are now being paid for their expertise.

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Jan 11, 2018
Sil:

The thing with chill jobs is that to get there, you almost always have to start in a role that is the polar opposite. The reason some people have these chill jobs is because they learned a lot and became experts in their field while working in a very stressful and intense environment (IB, consulting, etc.) for many years and are now being paid for their expertise.

true. but there MUST be a decent amount of more laid back roles for the non IB set.

those of us happy with ~$150K/year and 40-45 hours/week.

Jan 18, 2018

Sales can be 250k 35 hours a week once you're a bit into your career

Array

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Jan 19, 2018

One element you forgot to mention is the time it takes to get to your $150K/year and 40-45 hours/week job.

Scenario 1: Get an easy $50-60K/year job out of college as a billings or accounts payable analyst and after 30 years, a few promotions, and annual 2-3% raises, you could get to $150K/year. You would be in your early 50s if that timing is okay.

Scenario 2: You bust you ass for the first 10 years of your career and get to the ~$150K rate by 30 at relatively higher stress corporate business jobs (not counting IB / PE / VC, etc.)

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Jan 18, 2018

Its easy to quickly move up in more relaxed environments (Ops, Risk etc) If coming from say an IB background, and often some of the mid sized Fintech Companies have a high demand for someone who worked IB or an equivalent for their product, and now manages development and expectations, knowing what is expected, while not having the heavy client interaction and time commitments.

Jan 18, 2018

Disagree with your initial statement to a certain extent. While those areas might not be up or out, it is common for upward progress to be stymied by lifer types. That is, those who are too risk averse, too comfortable, and/or too unskilled (too useless) to go elsewhere. For instance I foresee needing to make a move in 1-1.5 years. The room for promotion just isn't there cause my boss is just the lifer type (too comfortable).

Jan 26, 2018

I was an early-ish employee at a well-known fintech on analytics, I wouldn't do it again. The problem with fintech is consumer finance has no margins, and only SWEs will get the good pay. They're going to be stingy with everyone else, and being on ops or finance is not exactly low stress either.

WRT risk, I'm speaking really generally but if risk is even an important department e.g. in lending, either they want STEM people, or you don't want to work there (manual underwriting or dealing with a horrible Excel mess, etc.).

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Jan 18, 2018
Sil:

The thing with chill jobs is that to get there, you almost always have to start in a role that is the polar opposite. The reason some people have these chill jobs is because they learned a lot and became experts in their field while working in a very stressful and intense environment (IB, consulting, etc.) for many years and are now being paid for their expertise.

This. There are exceptions, obviously, but generally this holds.

Jan 19, 2018

This is exactly right. All those older guys sitting in cushy jobs probably busted their ass for 15+ years to get there (also, they're probably more stressful than you think).

If your goal is work/life balance, reduced stress and an opportunity to advance and make decent money (upper middle class) I'd advise looking in to HR. The work wouldnt particularly interest me, but its not near as competitive or stressful as many other corporate jobs. I also assume working for non-local government can usually have a pretty nice stress/work/life balance, but I'm not overly familiar with those positions.

You mention not FP&A and I certainly understand why, but I feel as though I've found a pretty good spot in FP&A. At some point you just "get it" and the normal stuff doesn't bother you. I'd say I average 40-45 hours a week and almost no stress except 5 weeks a year. 1 week per quarter and 1-2 weeks for AOP I bust my ass, work long hours and am pretty stressed. Even AOP isn't really that bad anymore, at my current company the quarters are insane though.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

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Jan 19, 2018

Just as a side note to FP&A, you really need to do your DD on the firm before committing if lower hours is your goal. FP&A at my current firm works 70 hours each week.

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Jan 26, 2018

Recommending HR to people who value competitiveness, accountability, and agency is akin to telling a nun to eat chlamydia cereal.

Its a banal and incredibly passive aggressive subset of corporate culture.

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Jan 24, 2018

Couldn't agree more

Best Response
Jan 13, 2018

If you're like the 12th most senior dude in a 200,000 person pyramid scheme, you're golden.

"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

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Jan 18, 2018

That's still very, very close to C level and would require an insane amount of effort to get there.

Jan 18, 2018

Just have to find the next pyramid scheme start-up and join early, then you get to be that person on the marketing material where "top-sellers" are driving Ferraris and owning mansions.

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Jan 24, 2018

Its way to hard to get that far, if you want chill that's not the best way to go

Jan 18, 2018

Ha! What's the latest MLM around these days....time to improve that downstream!

Jan 22, 2018

Let me tell you about this thing called bitcoin...

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Jan 18, 2018

I almost took a job working as an Investment Analyst for a smaller, private PWM shop in Boston and that seemed like a pretty cush gig. They only dealt with UHNW individuals so there wasn't any focus on opening new accounts for analysts and the actual job was interesting stuff too.

Jan 18, 2018

The federal govt . Lazy asses are welcome

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Jan 18, 2018

Depends on the role, there are serious roles in Treasury, Federal Reserve, DoD, State Department, etc. Roles that require a great deal of intelligence and a significant amount of hours.

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Jan 18, 2018

10 years in federal pays 130 with pension and 401k. I know idiots in those roles. Dated one.

Array
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Jan 29, 2018

Try working in certain groups in the CIA, NSA or FBI. Far from lazy people.

Jan 26, 2018

Investment banking in M&O is a lot of work, but it's really "busy" work. Once you begin doing it it's not hard and a lot of the late nights and weekend work is spent goofing off. I always thought it was funny to hear colleagues complain about working 70 hour+ weeks when they are really only putting in 40 hours of real work. I would not trade a cushy job like this for a 35 hour construction or factory job any day. That is actual back breaking work.

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Jan 18, 2018

HR

Jan 19, 2018

Oil & Gas.

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Jan 19, 2018

Agreed on this one, outside of the trading/structuring/corp strat and the obvious corp dev/FP&A aspect of this business it's ridiculously laid back. I interned on the trading desk at a supermajor and would encounter folks from random operations and accounting divisions that browsed the web for 5 hours/day and went home. These guys were prob pulling around 50-65k starting and 85-90k at the senior levels.

Even the engineers pulling in 70-85k were pretty laid back 40hrs per week guys, but no income growth and boring as hell job. Not to mention you work with a bunch of FOB Indians and anti-social dudes.

What a sad and fruitless life haha.

Jan 22, 2018

nah fam being a petroleum engineer is the most chill high paying job in the world.

ur just printing money and no one cares cause oil is so high.

Array

Jan 26, 2018

Its depends what kind of technology role you are talking about. Many of the trading support roles are just as if not more stressful as the trading jobs. In fact, some have to know as much if not more than the traders. The lines are also really starting to get blurred because everything is going electronic so many new trading hires have to be technologists as well.

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Jan 19, 2018

HR Consulting @ Deloitte

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Jan 19, 2018

Commercial/community banking. The hours are ridiculously low, you get to watch your work add value to the community (sometimes), and it's not mindless data entry. Start as a credit analyst (not the best pay) and then move into a loan officer role - it's sales in the beginning but once you build a solid list of customers, you can kick back and collect (if you're competent). A family friend works 25-35 hours a week in a third tier market and makes 250k-500k per year; she hasn't had to call on a potential customer in years, all her new business comes through referrals from existing customers.

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Jan 21, 2018

I second commercial banking. I'm a 1st year credit associate, 2 1/2 years out of UG and will hit ~$72k all-in comp in a tier 3 city at a Large regional bank. Not to mention 6% 401k match, profit sharing, etc. Literally never work more than 40 hours... half the time i'm out of the office a 1/2 hour early each day. I also get to work from home at least once a week if I want.. which is honestly like a day off most of the time lmao.

OH. and half the time I'm just fcking around web surfing etc. But honestly, its a little too easy of a job for me and it's easy to get sucked in and be lazy. I'm going the RM/Sales route within the next 1-2 years - I'll maybe work a little more but 6 figures is definitely in the cards within the next 3-4 years. Not unheard of for RMs to pull $200k+ in tier 3 cities... which beats the hell out of an Associate making $350k or whatever in NYC working 80+ hours a week hating their life.

EDIT: for illustration purposes, you can buy one hell of a house at $400-500k in tier 3 midwest cities. Probably nicer than the $2.0mm+ houses in Tier 1 cities... actually I'd probably bet my savings on that. 3,500 sq foot pretty much brand new modern home.

Even a $325k ish house will be damn nice and affordable.

EDIT #2: By the time I actually hit 3 years out of UG, I'll be making closer to $76-77k all-in.

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Jan 26, 2018

Either surfing the web or in a group chat with other analysts/associates who you went to training with... Actually, one screen was dedicated to surfing the web and the other was for the group chat.

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Jan 19, 2018

Commercial Banking. Life as an analyst/associate is pretty relaxed. The work is divided between annual reviews, underwriting, compliance, and random administrative tasks. More often than not, you're reusing covenant models for underwriting and copying + pasting previous reports for annual reviews. Typically 40-50 hr. work weeks.

Then you move on and become a deal pimp aka Relationship Manager where your time is divided between making sure relationships that were handed down to you by senior bankers don't leave the bank, proofreading analyst reports that are still copied + pasted from when you were an analyst, and calling on companies you noticed while driving around town. When you get meetings with prospect, all you do is set them up with a product partner and have them do all the talking while you enjoy a free lunch or dinner. Come in at 10 and say you had a 'breakfast with a client/prospect' and leave at 4 to go catch your kid's soccer game.

The only stressful period is when your deal is closing. You may need to stay until 5:30. You make pretty decent money as a senior RM.

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Jan 21, 2018

lmfao dude this shits the truth. Refer to my comment above on the other person recommending CB.

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Jan 23, 2018

This is so close to the truth it hurts.

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Jan 24, 2018

whats the pipeline for RMs at your bank? I assume either via promotion from credit analyst or lateral RMs with their existing book?

Jan 26, 2018

You're correct. It's usually a promotion from a credit underwriting role (credit analyst, financial analyst, associate) or a lateral from a different bank or internal group. A lateral hire isn't just hired for their relationships even though that is a good reason. Some RMs are known for having a really good handle of credit. In a downturn, these RM's are the ones who will be able to save relationships.

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Jan 20, 2018

CRE investment sales can be a great gig on the right team. My managing director has no issue with me (Associate) leaving by 6 PM every night (get in around 9 AM) so long as I get my work done. However - I work diligently all day with little to no downtime, am very efficient/accurate at modeling (from a horrible meat grinder job out of college where MD's pulled in $6-8mm a piece and gave the analyst $5K YE bonuses), and have the ability to speed read.

I find that so many people who stay late all the time wasted the work day browsing the web and trying to multitask on too many things at once. You can become a productivity machine if you manage time properly and learn how to work smart. Also - advanced excel logic formulas and constant proofreading on the fly will eliminate a ton of error checking each week.

Jan 20, 2018

Work in a strategy role at a big hot tech company - 3 years of MBB post undergrad, and making $200 all-in. Work 40-45 hours/week.

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Jan 22, 2018

There are a few roles that come to mind, and perhaps some of the threads out there that are similar could be helpful to you as well:

A manager at a large F500 company (F50 and above in particular) will likely give you a comfortable living without any material stress. My sense is that corporates generally pay similar base regardless of your function (a corp strat/dev manager isn't likely making significantly more than someone in AML/FP&A/Internal Audit.

It should take someone anywhere from 5-8 years out of undergrad to reach manager level, where you can probably expect a package in the periphery of $120k base, 15-20% bonus, and a limited package of RSU's as applicable. The hours here are also in the 40-50 range (unless you are on a live deal in corp dev, in which case the hours may ramp up into the 70 range for a few weeks as you complete needed tasks in advance of transaction execution (e.g., corporate and board approvals, closing out open legal points, etc). Alternatively, I think a MO/BO role at a BB will offer similar lifestyle and comp. I know a few folks at BB's who are a few rungs below MD who are pulling in $200-250k in their early 30's.

All of this of course should be caveated with the idea that at a certain point you should look to do something that you like rather than get to [ ] by year [ ] where life gets comfortable. Perhaps it makes sense to see if you can start in a relatively rigorous role to start your career. Once you build the relevant skillsets, you can make a judgment call for yourself as to which direction you would like to go. Having a comfortable lifestyle where you work 40 hours and make $150-200k is certainly well within reason.

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Jan 22, 2018

Your figures seem a bit high for Manager at a Corporate. I've worked for both a Fortune 50 and Fortune 1000. Manager's typically average ~$100K all-in. Undergrads typically start off at $55-65K. 2 promotions get you to manager. Some simple math gets you to ~$100K. This is for managers with 5-7 years experience, not managers who are "lifers" (e.g. 50 year old IT Manager).

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Jan 22, 2018

I should also add, Corp Dev, Strat, and IR typically have significantly higher pay than normal finance & accounting roles such as FP&A, Accounting, Tax, etc. Some times by the order of 25% or more. At least that's what I've seen.

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Jan 22, 2018

Many thanks FWU. It's quite interesting that you say this.

From a very small sample of colleagues that I had, FP&A managers came out to roughly 120-140 all in, though perhaps this is a bit aggressive. I think it should be caveated that these are tech/pharma types in the NYC area, so perhaps this drives the premium.

I know that there's a bit of separation at the SVP level onwards, but I wasn't aware that there was this degree of separation at the junior/mid manager level. It seems that at some organizations the base is flat across levels, with the differentiator being a slight delta in base and significant gaps in Bonus/Stock.

It's a fairly comfortable living in any event I imagine. Working at a federal contractor at a mid level ~10 years in likely gets you to a 6 figure salary with relatively low stress. For those that really don't have lavish lifestyles, $100-120k is quite reputable.

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Jan 22, 2018

Human Resources - you don't do jack and you just have to repeat phrases like a parrot.

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Apr 5, 2018

I work in a F50 FLDP. Get into the office around 7:30am and usually leave around 6pm. I'm getting $85k all in as a first year. While it is pretty stressful and busy when you're in the office, you'll never get emails or calls once you leave the office and you never work weekends. Plus 15 days of vacation and you're highly encouraged (almost forced it seems) to use all of your vacation days (gets bumped to 20 days during year 3).

Interesting work, 50-60 hours of work a week, good pay, tons of vacation time. It's perfect.

Feb 3, 2018

What type of location are you in? and what industry?

Feb 6, 2018

Interested in the location as well. 85k is a nice package for a first year analyst. Good for you!

Jan 26, 2018

that sounds like an excellent role (though perhaps the hours are a tad bit higher than my observations from a few folks within F50 FLDP's). Though of course your pay seems to be higher than commensurate levels for 1st year FLDP analysts. I think my understanding was that 70k all in was standard ($60-70 being the general range). This definitely seems like an excellent role

Jan 26, 2018

I work in Product Management (FinTech) I taught myself programming and worked in a start up crawling up to product head, and now am a product head at large corporation ($30B Market Cap) a few months ago. I work 9-5, sometimes 8-5 to talk with my partners in earlier time zones. I work from home every other week, sometimes 2x a week (i have the child excuse too). Large base. Im wearing a hoodie, jeans, and vans right now. I just dress up for meetings.

WSO Vice President, Data
@JustinDDuBois

Jan 27, 2018

What about private banking at a top tier investment/private bank?

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Jan 27, 2018

Odd that HR didn't get mentioned more often. I worked at a tech firm and noticed that HR got one of the best offices and was more often than not just surfing the web. Though I don't know their salary, they're still overpaid.

Feb 19, 2018
MarkBaum:

Though I don't know their salary, they're still overpaid.

This is how I feel about half my office.

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Jan 29, 2018

Hospitality is a great industry for low stress and solid travel and entertainment benefits. I get to go on free cruises and travel around the world.

Feb 2, 2018

even though I surf the web for 70% of the day in operations, it can still get stressful.

that said, im confident that people working 110 hour weeks are spending a large part of their time not being totally nose to screen.

Feb 2, 2018

After glancing through the responses, I suppose I have been in the wrong industries (engineering and now finance). As an engineer, if you're worth a damned, you get paid well but they load you up with work/responsibilities as you progress through your career. After 15 years I'd had enough. I'd made a nice little chunk of change to use as seed money for my IRA/brokerage accounts

Anyway, I don't know of any gravy jobs out there, to be quite honest. I know they exist, but basing your job search around finding the most laid back position may not be the best approach. Life is short, and you spend far too much of it working, so it's a great idea to find something that you enjoy doing. But trying to find one that challenges you the least is going to get you the shortest distance in life. Even if you don't want the C-suite, you should always want to better yourself in some way. At least that is how I operate and have tried to teach my children as well.

That said, good luck on your journey. You may be surprised where you end up

Feb 6, 2018

You're spot on. Laid back corporate jobs are earned, not given and they usually are available to company lifers or employees that irreplaceable (think VP of IR, the eyes and ears of the company on Wall Street) IMO.

Feb 7, 2018
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