My background is probably different than most of you: I have a doctorate in a quantitative discipline, and I've been working in the public sector since then (a few years). Recently, I have been getting bored with my job, and with the random headhunters who contact me on LinkedIn and promise me very generous salary at hedge funds, the finance industry has piqued my interest. (Incidentally, the aforementioned headhunters have been completely useless, but that's a different topic that I don't feel like discussing today). Anyway, I have recently interviewed at several IB for assistant VP level posts, and was not enamored with what I observed. Specifically:
-The salary ($95-120k as quoted by HR) is right about what I earn now, and given that I have a great retirement plan and job security (and what I presume are shorter work hours), I feel like I would actually be worse off financially.
-The work environment looked miserable: long rows of poorly lit cubicles with mostly Chinese employees frantically typing things into their computers, with dead silence in the room. The social environment at my current job sucks, and I was hoping that my next job would be better, not worse, in this regard.
With this in mind, my questions are:
-Would it be possible to get a job at a higher level than assistant VP or negotiate the salary to be higher (I would like something that's >$200k base)? I don't have any experience working in finance, but I do have quant skills that I think are very valuable.
-Are there are any finance jobs where the work environment is cheerful, people chat to each other, have lunch together, grab drinks after work, don't look miserable AF, etc? If so, where should I look for them?
-Are there any finance jobs where people do in fact have a work/life balance? If so, I would appreciate suggestions for specific sectors or shops.