tipping point - mental breakdown

I'm creating this post at 3:06 AM ET on a Sunday night, having clocked in 97 hours this week according to my Excel table. After multiple mental breakdowns, I finally sent the finalized version of the deck to my ASO. I tried really hard not to break for the past few months; however, I have reached my tipping point -- this job has become unbearable. Unfortunately, I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon. I'm done with this. No, I don't want a career in PE/HF/VC. I just want my freakin life back. I don't even know if the toxic culture is specific to my group or my bank, but I know that my banking career has come to a halt. Giving my two weeks notice tomorrow morning to liberate myself from this torture. Does anyone -- who has been through a similar path -- have any tips on how I can restore my mental health? I don't mind eating into a portion of the savings I have accumulated over time, as I am desperate at this point.

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Comments (38)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Mar 1, 2021 - 4:40am

I wish I was that bold. Having a pretty miserable time but I still recommend just sandbagging for a bit prior to quitting. Turnover is so high they can't fire anyone rn, but if you feel the extra months are detrimental to your mental or physical health, I would quit as long as you can afford the clawback. Honestly, I've gotten so fed up lately I might follow in your footsteps. Thank you for being honest and good luck

Mar 1, 2021 - 5:17am

May I just say you're a very brave person and I applaud you for having the courage to resign. Life will get better from now!! This thing does not get better if it's not for you now. I myself have also had multiple breakdowns, funny enough not from the hours alone but from the shouting, belittling, being treated like crap, not appreciated as a human, AND the hours. Even when things died down, my mini episodes of breakdowns continued and I have this huge fear of not knowing where my life goes next and I can't just resign as I have a mortgage and tuition fees to pay. If I didn't have any liabilities, I would do the same thing. Hang in there!

Mar 1, 2021 - 7:59am

Regain life 101 plan:
-Plan to connect with friends and family (phone calls, events, etc)
-Plan a daily adventure outside of your apartment (grocery store, walk in a park, idc where)
-Go hit the gym
-Start eating regular meals you enjoy
-Plan a getaway vacation
-Play around with whatever makes you happy
-Get some melatonin for a complete night's sleep
-When you're ready, find other targets to shoot for

There will be an adjusting period. It's okay. Your value as a person is more than a job. Good luck!

Just had my trade dispute rejected by Schwab for a loss of 35k. This single issue alone should be a gigantic red flag to anyone who trades on their platform.

If they have a system error, and you do not video record your trading (they actually said this), they will not honour their fuck up. Switching everything away from them. Fuck this company.

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Mar 1, 2021 - 2:37pm

Be aware of long-term effects of the job. I have been out of banking and PE for a few years now and still suffer from:

- Intense imposter syndrome / guilt when working normal 40-50 hour work weeks

- The constant need to fill my personal time with activity for fear that it will somehow be snatched away from me ie. "fear of unfulfilled downtime"

Mar 1, 2021 - 4:23pm

As someone who went from working normal hours (50-60 hours) to IB, there is definitely nothing

wrong with no.2. I actively fulfilled my downtime with hobbies, dating, learning a new language, exercising, basically all sorts of things to avoid spending all my down time being on the couch. This is completely normal.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 1, 2021 - 10:38pm

I applaud you. I am currently an FA at an EB (9 months in) and have been pushed to a breaking point multiple times. After logging nearly 300+ hours over 3 weeks I almost did the same, and am also currently trying to figure out the quickest way to exit. 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 1, 2021 - 11:12pm

OP here -- thought I'd update everyone:

Got woken up on 7:19 AM this morning by a**hole VP's berating phone call asking where the deck was. I calmly replied that I already sent it to the ASO at 3 AM last night. Post-MBA ASO probably didn't update him that he received the deck and would probably look into it into the morning (classic). Hanged up the phone, got some shut eye till 8:30, proceeded to call staffer to give my 2 weeks notice. LOL the VP and ASO that treated me like shit are probably shitting their pants on what they'll do 2 weeks later.. Anyways thank you for all the great advice, I have heard you guys and currently booking a 1 week Miami trip over Expedia for a 5 star hotel on South Beach that also has a great gym so I can start working out after ~8 months.

My advice to others (prospect/interns): don't underestimate the impact of working 90+ hour weeks, consecutively... Much easier said than done

EDIT1: Wow, 52 silver bananas -- wasn't expecting that haha. Wanted to update the WSO community: finally completed my handover on Friday. I AM A FREE MAN. Interestingly, HR did not mention anything about signing bonus clawback (I guess she's a keeper?). Landing to Miami tomorrow @ noon, shoot me some reccs on where to put that signing bonus into good use😎😎

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Mar 2, 2021 - 3:09am

Another piece of invaluable advice I got from someone. Try to turn your phone off for a few days. Retrain your brain to not be so reactive to phone notifications. Obviously, you won't get emails but also all the other social apps. Just go out, exercise, sit on the beach, read something (I recently read Kitchen Confidential and Barbarian Days - about surfing), and relax. Everyone in your life will still be there afterwards, but the time spent unplugged will be worth it. Good luck with future endeavors.

Mar 2, 2021 - 9:26am

I second Barbarian Days as a good book for OP to reach, especially down in Miami. It shows that there is so much more to life than work and that beauty can be found everywhere (for the author, in his surfing passion). 

Mar 2, 2021 - 12:23pm

Based and redpilled. OP, you´re a fucking king and don´t let anyone tell you otherwise.

...and the Truth shall set you free
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Mar 2, 2021 - 9:54am

Hey Brother,

Totally understand where you are coming from. I'd highly recommend you check out Tim Ferris and his Ted Talk "Why you should define your fears instead of your goals".

He does a great job of helping to put into context how to analyze a situation. Essentially allows you to analyze the outcome without having your "monkey mind" get in the way.

Highly recommend Tim to anyone on this site. He is a modern day philosopher who has great advice and insight.

He also has a few podcasts with Hedge Fund Managers who have said he completely changed their lives by finding meaning outside of work. One example is Mark Hart.

Hang in there brother. Every day is a good day above ground!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 2, 2021 - 6:05pm

Just take another adderall, feel nothing and keep going.

Going great for me. Been up 34 hours.

Mar 3, 2021 - 5:39am

I read your post a couple of times and I am curious...

This is what you wrote:

1) "I tried really hard not to break for the past few months".

2)  "I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon.

3) "My banking career has come to a halt."

In terms of what you want.... you asked a question: 

Do you have any tips on how I can restore my mental health? And you also said: I just want my freakin life back.

You also said that "I'm done with this" and "Im giving my notice tomorrow" but my intuition here says that you are not really sure... it's not a clear-cut to me (and please correct me if I'm wrong).

My question would be: if you could restore your mental health without having mental breakdowns... would you stay?

Best, Angelos

Mar 6, 2021 - 5:45am

Guys, much older and ex-MBB and not IB, but what I really don't get is why people like OP don't simply reduce time worked to a bearable level. In the current situation nobody is going to fire you, not even ranking/bonus would likely be impacted

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