What are you guys passionate about?

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I am asking because I don't really know what I am passionate about. I was set to go work at an IB this summer but got canceled. When I got on a call with one of my mentors, he told me one of the best options for me was to work on something I'm passionate about this summer. I've been thinking about what he has said for quite some time and haven't really found anything that I'm passionate about.

I am just curious to hear from others what are you guys passionate about? I know I'm not the only one in this boat, so any advice would be appreciated as well.

Comments (84)

 
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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 23, 2020 - 3:24am

I'm honestly going through that quarter-life crisis in life where I don't know what to do because I feel I am not passionate about anything. At the same time, I am fascinated by a lot of things whether it is finance, history, politics, science, etc. I was always the kid in school who did well and was interested in every subject but never really had a true passion for any of them.

I went into IB thinking I would find my way and that I would enjoy finance and the complexities of impacting industries through major transactions; however, I ultimately realized that this is just a sales job and that transactions are just happening so bankers can make lots of money (of course, there's more nuance to this but still). I also quickly realized that money is not everything and I don't care to be doing something like PE or HF if there is no value or impact I am making through what I am doing except to make money for myself.

I know there are others like me out there who have pretty much lived their life with this feeling and continued doing something like IB or PE where they get good money and financial stability (assuming they are good enough). I'm not too sure if I want to live my life like that though and am really in a rut about what I should be doing with my life as someone who has completed two years of IB at a BB.

 
May 23, 2020 - 3:50am

Prefacing this with the fact that I’m super unqualified to respond to this - but assuming you have savings/financial support, I think exploring/tasting other industries and life experiences in your 20’s is something to strongly consider (akin to Gary Vee’s mentality). If you are convinced that IB/PE isn’t how you want to spend your life and if you have the financial freedom to deviate from “the path,” I think that life is too short to reason your way into sticking with something that you know isn’t for you.

That being said, understand that leaving this path comes with decently high opportunity cost, which is the relatively rapid career/compensation acceleration that this path lends to. When thinking this through, balance this opportunity cost without attributing a “Sunk-cost” mentality, we are only human and discovering our life’s mission isn’t necessarily a linear path (although once you get there I’m sure you will see how this part of your life fits in the holistic puzzle of what’s to come). Additionally, consider that down the line you may develop a strong proficiency in this industry that could spark your “passion” for this field beyond your current sentiment towards it. Something I think this platform fails to acknowledge is that as humans our interests constantly evolve/change, and it takes time to really discover something that we can surely distinguish as our passion (which is an overused buzzword as is). This is especially true if you are an over-thinker, which I’m sure holds true for many of the intelligent and over-ambitious people that use WSO.

Ultimately, think about this choice as if you were on your death bed. If you stay in this industry to chase a mere paycheck, I agree that is a silly rationale and will lead to regret (Contingent on your current financial security). That being said, be conscious of what you would be giving up if you were to taste other industries/opportunities. In other words, be sure of your decision. Make the choice that would fulfill you and your life’s mission rather than the thickness of your wallet.

 
May 23, 2020 - 4:04am

tightcleric51:

Prefacing this with the fact that I'm super unqualified to respond to this - but assuming you have savings/financial support, I think exploring/tasting other industries and life experiences in your 20's is something to strongly consider (akin to Gary Vee's mentality). If you are convinced that IB/PE isn't how you want to spend your life and if you have the financial freedom to deviate from "the path," I think that life is too short to reason your way into sticking with something that you know isn't for you.

That being said, understand that leaving this path comes with decently high opportunity cost, which is the relatively rapid career/compensation acceleration that this path lends to. When thinking this through, balance this opportunity cost without attributing a "Sunk-cost" mentality, we are only human and discovering our life's mission isn't necessarily a linear path (although once you get there I'm sure you will see how this part of your life fits in the holistic puzzle of what's to come). Additionally, consider that down the line you may develop a strong proficiency in this industry that could spark your "passion" for this field beyond your current sentiment towards it. Something I think this platform fails to acknowledge is that as humans our interests constantly evolve/change, and it takes time to really discover something that we can surely distinguish as our passion (which is an overused buzzword as is). This is especially true if you are an over-thinker, which I'm sure holds true for many of the intelligent and over-ambitious people that use WSO.

Ultimately, think about this choice as if you were on your death bed. If you stay in this industry to chase a mere paycheck, I agree that is a silly rationale and will lead to regret (Contingent on your current financial security). That being said, be conscious of what you would be giving up if you were to taste other industries/opportunities. In other words, be sure of your decision. Make the choice that would fulfill you and your life's mission rather than the thickness of your wallet.


Love this

 
May 25, 2020 - 9:48pm

I went through the quarter life crisis a couple years ago. I wasn’t in as great of an employment situation as IB at a BB, but I was doing well financially and in a very comfortable situation. I ended up quitting my job and getting rid of all my stuff, and backpacking across Asia and Western Europe for 7 months. Most people told me it would be career suicide having that major gap, but when I got back employers were actually really interested in hearing about my travels and I landed a job within a month of returning home.

This COVID situation might make it tougher this year, but I’d would really suggest taking some time while you’re young to go experience the world. When you are completely free from all obligations with no responsibilities or commitments, you get a lot of time to think about what you really want in life. For me at least, stepping away for awhile from the day to day grind was essential to helping me move past my rut and figure out what I wanted for myself.

 
  • Analyst 1 in Other
May 27, 2020 - 8:03am

Going through kind of the same thing right now, although my work experience has not been as long as yours.
I have been thinking hard, and I think I have found my passion (at least I think so): I want to build some product.
I have been learning Python on an intensive pace as an introductory language (well I took a couple Python courses 7 years ago, if that counts), and after I settle for my next job for which I'm still looking, I plan to buy a new mac and start learning iOS development to build mobile apps.

 
May 23, 2020 - 11:02am

Education. Not the kind where all kids have to get perfect SAT scores and go to H/Y/P, but the type where kids have access to an education platform that teaches them life skills (hard work, analytical thinking, common sense etc.) and prepares them for the real world. Unfortunately, I think there is a disconnect between what is taught at school/college and what the real world/employers want.

On the topic of education, financial education is big to me. The number of teenagers, and the number of adults that know close to nothing about managing their personal finances is honestly worrying. Schools definitely need to take on the responsibility of educating its pupils on such life skills (see above point).

 
May 24, 2020 - 9:53pm

Education, especially financial related (since that is what I know most about) is also very important to me and I find it one of the most rewarding and best ways to give back to those around me.

I tutored financial literacy to underprivileged high school students and it was certainly an eye-opening experience to see how little these kids know. Forget budgeting, they don't even trust banks enough to set up a checking account. They keep cash underneath their mattress.

While this experience was I hope useful for those I was teaching, I felt that I wasn't making as big as an impact as I could be. There was no continuity with the students, and I wasn't developing strong relationships that could then develop into general mentorship and allow me to teach them general education skills.

I want to do something at a higher level to help implement this mentorship and financial education reform, and allow these relationships to flourish between a group of volunteers and students, I just don't know where to begin or how I can be of service in this goal. Especially with being so young, without massive resources, and limited experience working to improve education outcomes, it is a difficult task.

I hope by being successful in my career, I will develop those connections and resources to give back, but I would like to do as much as possible to help immediately because this is an issue that needs all the support it can get. Thus, trying to figure out how this passion fits within my professional life and how it impacts my career goals is a puzzle that I hope will fall into place.

 
May 25, 2020 - 2:10am

I'm also a big fan of tutoring and helping others in financial education. Orgs like Moneythink do something similar. Given how much time I have due to this pandemic, I'm looking for opportunities to teach people in some capacity online even for free. It feels good to give back and teach the future of tomorrow rather than doing nothing. Let me know if there are any ways I can help out online in this way.

 
May 23, 2020 - 12:03pm

Spreading comps.
I dreamed about it as a kid, during school classes and while I was spreading something else with OPs progenitress. And soon, my dream will become true - I am truly euphoric :)

Array
 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 23, 2020 - 12:53pm

This topic hits home. I'm thinking of doing 2 years of IB and then going to med school. I love helping people and value being able to make a difference in life whether that is teaching someone about the basics of value investing or volunteering at a shelter, so naturally I feel as though being a family doctor would be a perfect fit. I still have to write the MCAT next summer but being a MD is the only career I can see myself doing without worrying about my salary or the prestige of where I work.

Array
 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 23, 2020 - 8:22pm

Yeah I did all of the required courses but I figure that doing IB for 2 years will allow me to save and reduce med school debt. However If I enjoy IB and feel as though I fit in then I'll stay and climb the ladder or try to to switch to PE to follow the path.

Array
 
May 23, 2020 - 3:53pm

Going “full circle” in my life and career is a passion of mine and is something you can think about as its uniquely you.

Since moving away from my home state (Hawaii) to work in a bigger city, I always wanted to work on a deal in Hawaii and had a few of those opportunities, including early in my career. I always strive to somehow get back, and give back.

From the IB/PE angle, say you grew up in a coal mining town with a declining industry and population. You see an opportunity to take advantages of regulatory changes, subsidies, new technologies and a strategic acquisition that could change the fortunes of your hometown. Or in a real estate angle, leading a consortium of employers to develop a business park to diversify the economy.

Maybe it’s giving back to your undergrad because it led to a transformational growth in you personally.

Anyways, it might not be tied directly to your current job/career but it could one day be, because Money Touches Everything.

Ok, I’ll reference Steve Jobs, how he talked about the dots of his past seemed to connect and influence what he was building (ie learning fonts in college and then creating fonts for word processing).

This is for those who don’t really have a passion for saving the world or know what that is; you can save a bit of your past and make it better. It turns out, you might be one of the few who see this, and that means a less crowded path to your goals.

Of course wealth gives you the opportunity to enjoy some cool toys and experiences and find new passions (like philanthropy; or something crazy like researching UFOs or finding sunken ships). So be good at what you do and hopefully you have some full circle experiences mixed in with new passions.

For you younger people, I would say find out what you want to do to go full circle earlier. After 10+ years of being that activist you’ll earn a lot of credibility (you can attend those Conferences as a newbie; learn; over time, you’ll be an expert), so start to get focused early on. You also have to tell yourself you are going to do it. There is a lot of power to the self fulfilling prophecy. Get your mind thinking like this. Money Touches Everything, so finance is a great industry for the optionality.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
May 23, 2020 - 7:18pm

Making posts on WSO about whether RBC is a BB now

Array
 
May 23, 2020 - 9:09pm
  • Reaching for Yield
  • Deep Value

"In order to be a really good investor, you need to be a little bit of a philosopher as well." -Dan Loeb

 
May 24, 2020 - 5:38am

I love lifting weights, a lot. So that leads to me reading papers on training techniques and nutrition excessively.

This quarantine I also kinda sorta picked up gradening, at least on a very small scale. Could probably get into owning a small hobby farm some day. Its very rewarding I have heard. Also gives you a good tan, which ultimately makes my muscles looking more defined, win win I guess.

 
May 25, 2020 - 6:45am

To be frank I wouldn't start with a book in the beginning. I think it's more effective to watch some YouTube videos (recommend Mike Thurston, he knows his hit) to first develop some interest, otherwise you will be dragging yourself through a book and not train ever because it seems so complicated (which it isn't).

After that, maybe go grab Sports Training Principles: An Introduction to Sports Science Tim Noakes.

Developing an interest is important at the beginning, otherwise training becomes a chore and not a pleasure.

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 24, 2020 - 5:22pm

To the more senior members of this forum, how do you reconcile IB/PE with a desire to create a positive impact on society? I know if I end up working in finance for the rest of my life, I’ll regret not putting my efforts toward building something that could’ve more positively affected people’s lives.

At the same time I have no hard skills besides what I’ve learned in banking and there isn’t a lot that differentiates me from other people in my position. I guess my problem is, I want to do something good for the world, but I don’t know what issues I’m passionate about and I don’t know if I have the skill set to do something unique to solve the world’s problems.

Apologies for the rant I’ve just been spending lots of time in quarantine thinking about what I actually want to do

 
May 25, 2020 - 2:05am

I'm in high school and I'm really lucky that I know what I am passionate about since I was 13yrs old.I really love buildings ,real estate development and equally well in Investing and finance.Also after undergrad I am planning to spend 3-5 months backpacking europe .
Not kidding ,but my ultimate goal in life is to build skyscrapers (like Burj khalifa) and a multibillion dollar Investment firm when I grow up.
I have been reading books on finance from very early.Now I am reading annual reports of top companies in different industies to get a glimpse of their working (boieing in aerospace),margin of safety,intelligent investor etc.
During undergrad I am planning to work with a development and an investment firm . Also I am planning a trek to the himalyas.
I think we all should do what we really like doing .People try to chase the latest careers(AI ,ML nowadays you all compare tech to finance ).See everything has its own merit.I know coding but I dont love it .I like robitics but I know I will not be good at it.
Every field has the potential to make you rich if you like what you are doing and willing to work hard.
And obviously finance will remain for next 1000 years but things will change so I would would say that you must be ready to adopt to different circumstances .Today is not 1980 , and 2050 will not be today so try to widen your horizon and work hard.

 
May 25, 2020 - 2:22am

Honestly, nothing. My parents are rich and I could technically sit at home and do nothing for the rest of my life and live alright. I just did banking and everything because I always wanted to be the best. In school, I wanted to get the highest grades and have the best outcome / go to the best college. In college, I wanted to get the best job. Now that I have a solid IB job, I kind of realized: What's the use of climbing this ladder continuously? What am I achieving by saying aiming to be a PE partner and making millions? I'm confused with what to do in life.

I could honestly be fine with sitting at home and feeding off of my parents, who said they would take care of me regardless. The problem is that they would be extremely disappointed in me (in that I am wasting my life away) and I would feel really insecure and uncomfortable in front of anyone including friends who are or will become accomplished people while I would just be doing nothing at home for the rest of my life.

What would you all do?

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.
 
May 25, 2020 - 2:22pm

It depends, for example I am interested in everything I liked when I was a child, but different measured
I like cars, and repairing a car, even though I have a good business.
Like to invent or to repair something in the house, in week days to prepare something yummy for my family.
Traveling around the country and discovering new places, enjoying every moment of that trip.
Some men like to lay on the bed, but some to have an active life full of extreme. So you can't judge by our opinions.

 
May 25, 2020 - 8:33pm

Helping others on a 1to1 basis. I especially have a spot in my heart for medicine and alleviating the suffering of kids because I lost my dad young and saw what it did to me and my brothers. And I don't say this is altruism or something. I genuinely get a personal joy out of seeing little kids smile and be happy. It feels far more real to me than any digit in a bank account. I like money but only as a means to an end. Relationships, smiles and memories are real.

As for passion, lately I am not so sure. I can't say I burn with a passion for much of anything. Certainly not work. The term 'passion' is misappropriated to financial services. Who is actually 'passionate' about IB or PE? I mean, I enjoy some aspects. Hell there's even a few moments where the work has delivered real satisfaction and joy. There's the thrill of winning. And I have an intellectual curiosity about companies and industries so I really enjoy listening to smart people talk about things. Deals are exciting.

But 'passion'? Am I supposed to write poetry about the term sheet? An ode to the cap table? Should I take the company's CFO out to a candle lit dinner and whisper sweet nothings about the future and their dividends?

To me passion is something that is like an insatiable lust and an unending drive. It's like a wellspring that you can keep going back to again and again to power your dreams. I just haven't seen that in finance. Some engineers I think are passionate about their work. Some architects are passionate about design and art. Elon Musk is so passionate he's damn near an unhinged lunatic sometimes. Jobs was passionate to the point of being a full on sociopath.

I wish I could feel that way again.

 
May 26, 2020 - 10:25pm

You got me. That was my dream. I was pre-med and volunteered as a care extender at a major California hospital post graduation. But the science classes kicked me hard. Bs and Cs aren't good enough to get in to medschool. In uni my pre-med roommate damn near carried me across the finish line to a barely-passing C- in physics.

I think my romantic image of medicine would not line up with the reality of the practice of medicine either. I know too many idealist-turned-bitter-doctor out there. It will have to remain a dream. I've a wife and infant to support so unplugging and spending 10+ years without income is not responsible. I had tried twice do 'drop-in' after MBA. Neither times worked well. Failed bio and chem. Just not as sharp a learner as I was before, and too many life responsibilities to allow me to devote 100% time to the study.

But there's other ways to serve. I'm trying to find and do those.

 
Jun 8, 2020 - 1:41pm

100% once I'm breaded up enough to just sit and not feel pressed for any income. Tbh friends and I have already pooled some money together and closed on a Loft/Warehouse space pre-covid. We've been using it as our crews HQ and Air BnB'ing out for big events (some have been artist gallery showings). Been a great place for us to all meet and go in and out of whenever but long term can def see it converting into a permanent Art Gallery.

 
May 26, 2020 - 9:14am

professional - the hunt. I love nothing more in work than finding a new lead. there's something intoxicating about showing someone something they've never seen before, having it resonate with them, and then closing that business. I've tried to figure out what makes this exciting to me, I think it's a combination of the following.

  1. problem solving for others. I feel I have a skillset that is beneficial for the right people, and when I help those people, that feels good. sometimes I don't get this sense anywhere but internally, sometimes it takes a couple years for a client to say "thank you, you've made my life better because of XYZ," sometimes they say it day one, but I love that my career gets me income for solving people's problems.
  2. winning. I know I have competition, and beating them is better than heroin.
  3. validation. since my life is around self improvement, it's nice getting wins because it valudates some of my efforts. I still lose, but validating some of my hard work is nice before moving onto the next hunt
  4. acceptance. I was not accepted a lot in high school. I got kicked off the baseball team, was constantly rejected by girls, and would spend most friday and saturday nights driving around looking for a party because I knew damn well no one was inviting me anywhere, I just wanted to get out of the house. after college, I struggled finding my way in the finance world, got rejected multiple times. now since I am the one who brings in clients, I don't have to worry about external acceptance, and that's good.

personal - surfing. a big reason why I value autonomy is because of surfing. the ability to tell my staff I'm taking a personal day to go chase a hurricane swell is priceless. throw on the out of office, catch some tasty waves, check emails later.

 
May 26, 2020 - 4:09pm

Interestingly enough, following my interests on the side actually helped me advance professionally.

I was always interested in the concept of social impact - doing business while doing good (different from corporate social responsibility), and kept in touch with a professor of mine from college who I worked with on such a project.

One conversation a year into working full-time, I took on an opportunity to help a nonprofit he was running by finding organizations to partner with.

This showed me the field of strategic partnerships, and helped me narrow down what my next role would be (back then was in a corporate rotational program), which contributed much to getting my current role.

Basically, I found an opportunity to work on a project that sounded interesting, got some pretty good results, and realized I could do such a function at the bank I'm currently at.

 
May 28, 2020 - 12:24am

music has always been a big part of my life. Really have had continuously evolving taste for many years (seriously I could probably name a few artists in everything from avant-garde jazz to Norwegian black metal). If money wasn't a factor and I wasn't simultaneously interested in the nuances of high finance etc etc I would probably be working in a record store or label.

 
May 28, 2020 - 7:02am
  • Being a big enough fish, early enough, in a fairly large pond that I can return to my small pond and literally be the biggest fucking fish they've ever seen

  • Building a great house (literally and figuratively)

  • Converting all my work into productive leisure

  • Someday being an incredible father, making sure I stay in position to be one day-to-day

  • Having elite friends in a bunch of different markets (an underrated form of wealth)

  • Maintaining strong friendships and relationships regardless of where in the world I am

“Millionaires don't use astrology, billionaires do”
 
May 29, 2020 - 1:06am

One way to find what you care about/something you can work towards is finding a systemic problem in a community you care about. I'm from San Francsico and I've become pasionate about housing policy because the affects of high home prices/rents can be seen every day all accross my city. Look at your own city, town, or community and think about what problem you see that you can research and work towards fixing.

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