What are your hobbies, and how do you manage them?

Mainly interested in feedback from working professionals (vs. students still in school) in IB, or other demanding industries i.e. PE, big law, etc. After working in IB for ~4 years now, I've become very one dimensional as I've flourished on the professional side, however have been relatively stagnant on the personal front. I'm sure many on this board can relate, particularly for the type A personalities out there where you have to excel at whatever you do. IB in itself is already particularly demanding, but striving for top bucket every year effectively sterilizes any life outside of work you can have.

As I reflect on my past decade or so in life and contrast what occupied my time in university vs. today, it's sad that a lot of what I've enjoyed in the past (sports, working out, reading, etc.) has come and gone. I'm very social and never had issues maintaining a conversation on dates, however over time it seems like I'm struggling to come up with much to offer aside from what I do for a living. Don't get me wrong - I love my job and plan on making a long term career out of it, but especially in light of COVID I've realized that this isn't how I'd want to live forever.

I know the advice many will give is to make time for those hobbies, and I'm working on that. However, I'm turning to those more experienced than I with a few questions:

1.  If I plan on staying on IB for the rest of my career, is this a fact that I will have to sadly accept? Question is a bit rhetorical as I know the answer to a certain extent, but more curious as to how people have managed this (goes back to the whole WLB discussion)

  1. Have your hobbies evolved over time, particularly during your working years vs. time in school? My question is probably more applicable for those without kids, as understandably your priorities will change
  1. What are your hobbies today? Obviously I should be the one deciding on what will make me happy, however appreciating the time constraints in the industry, there are a number of hobbies that just won't work with our lifestyle. I'm open minded to trying new things so curious what you keep yourselves occupied with

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (22)

Oct 3, 2021 - 1:24pm

I grew up playing basketball, volleyball and some baseball. When I started going to school and working full-time, a lot of my hobbies went out of the window. I used to be into martial arts and was able to include it in my school schedule. Whenever I had time, I'd go kayaking and do long hikes. I also found opportunities to bike and rollerblade either on campus or other places.

When I was in IB, I used to do weekly boxing lessons. I had a trainer who had me do combos and punch the training mitts for an hour. This is a fun and great workout, especially if you need to decompress. I used to go hiking on a weekly basis, until I ran out of trails to hike on and ended up peak bagging to increase the intensity. I personally like activities that I can keep improving at in terms of distance and/or intensity, because of a sense of accomplishment. 

I've been changing up my hobbies a lot lately after realizing I couldn't keep up with them all. I recently got into cycling, which is becoming my main hobby. With the exception of gym days where I go mainly to lift weights and jog, I've been cycling at the park on a daily basis. It's a really great hobby that allows me to keep increasing the distance and intensity on a weekly basis. When I want a more intense workout, I go train with a boxing group and occasionally go to the batting cages to hit the balls for half an hour.    

  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Comm
Oct 4, 2021 - 5:27pm

How do you find a good boxing coach / gym? I'm looking in NYC if anyone can throw out a recommendation. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 1:50am

I've only trained with a martial arts/boxing group in NYC. I found my previous gym by looking up where the professionals train at and found Wild Card Boxing (Freddie Roach's gym) in West Hollywood. It was really easy to find a good coach there, since everyone there are very into boxing. I also made sure that my coach was okay with more mitt work than other activities like shadow boxing. 

Oct 6, 2021 - 2:01am

I haven't ventured outside of Manhattan much and haven't tried hiking at all on the east coast. It's not very convenient to go hiking when you're living in the city and it's also rare to come across people in the city who are into hiking. I'm sure you can find some good trails on yelp or Google.   

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Oct 3, 2021 - 1:54pm

main hobbies are keeping fit and recently got a new bike (did a 30mile cycle today). I also read a lot. the notion that hours get better as you progress is a complete fallacy. the more responsibility you get, the harder you're going to work to maintain that position - to fight off the ankle biters trying to get in to your spot from the bottom up and also the pressure you face from the top down to perform, hit targets, and get stretched. my superiors (C-suite) in a few different shops always worked the longest hours and I doubt they have ANY hobbies. your work becomes your hobby. 

  • 2
Most Helpful
  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Oct 3, 2021 - 3:02pm

I disagree with this, not about the hours but about the seniors not having any hobbies. I also hold the view that making time for yourself (exercise, reading, other hobbies) makes you more productive and a better employee. I'm not saying everyone can take advantage of this, since the culture of your team and firm will dictate a lot of this, but I've found that people are a lot more reasonable than you give them credit for. 

Being senior and knowing many others in "senior positions" in this field, I will say I'm thinking about work many hours a week (hard to get problems out of my head, and I enjoy the work), but I unplug a fair bit. I exercise 1-2 hours a day, I read (non work) ~1 hr a day, I take cooking classes once a month or so, and before covid I used to travel a lot (~4 days a month, usually international). I think giving your mind a break, and learning about something new, helps your longevity. Additionally, exercise and mental breaks help your productivity. 

I think what is useful is the change in mindset. From "I need to constantly be on call to succeed here" to believing that these hobbies and breaks actually help you and make you better at your job. 

Oct 4, 2021 - 5:36pm

This is been far from what I have seen - based on my experience, seeing friends progress into the higher ranks, and the many bosses I've had across firms. In all my experiences the higher you go the less you work, the more hobbies you have, the more vacations you take (usually its a ton). While its true that the buck stops with you and you need to respond to calls/emails, etc while out of the office, I've found my bosses to be more directional thought leaders than grinders. 

Assuming you aren't shooting from the hip and have actually experienced the opposite, I wouldn't doubt you. There are certainly workaholics...but to say it does not exist is not accurate. 

Oct 3, 2021 - 3:17pm

I like to cook on weekends (and eat out as well), workout (running, cycling, swimming and weights), seasonally go surfing and skiing. I try to keep up with politics / economic news for the foreign languages that I speak as well. 

Oct 4, 2021 - 10:40am

take out the cycling, skiing, and knowing more than 1 foreign language (though that's the goal), and that's pretty much me

OP, I'm not going to pretend you can keep my schedule today in my 30s but I will say I was still able to maintain all of my hobbies when I was working a more demanding schedule in my 20s. it's about prioritization, what worked best for me was writing out my priorities on an annual basis and doing a daily audit of how I spend my time (as in account for every 30 minutes of your day). that way, you can clearly see where you want to focus and then just make a call on what's not important. for me, this meant less reading and more physical fitness in my 20s and now that means less internet (WSO is my only social media these days) and more reading/studying. life's about choices, no magic here.

Oct 3, 2021 - 5:59pm

I'll start with this -- I'm not in IB, so I have a little more free time than you may. I work for a larger developer in VA, doing the business side of construction and development. My job usually sits around a 50-60hr work week, and when I'm at the office I'm not under the "stress" that a young professional in IB would be -- my job is primarily helping securing funding, communicating with client reps, doing firm asset management, and a tad bit of private equity. Not sure if my experience tapers to yours directly, but here's what I did:

My issue wasn't so much that the hobbies that I had were too time-consuming to maintain my work life, but the work/life balance is key to success -- I'll stand by that until I die. To be successful in any financial-related field, you must play both ends of the stick. For instance, my brother is smarter than me on paper. He went to a better school, he had better grades, better test scores, and better internships, but we have the same level and future growth in the job market. The reasoning is that while he killed himself on schooling and tests, he had no real social skills and couldn't talk to people. This leads to people issues, bad interviews, and his life is all work and numbers, no room for anything else. This seems like I'm on kind of a tangent but bear with me here... LOL. 

I think hobbies are important and necessary for anyone to be successful since you have to actually enjoy yourself outside of work. Yes, it's important as a young professional to work hard and get through the grind, but if work is your entire personality you just simply won't enjoy life & your performance in the office will reflect that. For me, it's playing guitar, boxing, mountain biking, and just getting outside. Those are four simple things that don't have any time constraints, I can do them when I squeeze them in outside of work. The boxing and guitar are new (12-18 months-ish), but I've always loved the outdoors so as for "evolving" I'm not sure if I've done much. 

Point is, I think hobbies and activities will make you better in the office. I know that this wasn't your question, but just thought I'd share. I'd recommend finding something you actually enjoy, and figuring out how to make it so that it works for you and your schedule. These things I listed have many benefits, but the most important is that it makes me interesting. You've all heard that one quote -- "If you're bored, then you're boring." It may not directly be true, but having other things to do besides work makes you a more interesting person to talk about, and you can meet new friends, connections, or anything else through those.

That was a massive tangent and at this point, I don't know why I'm still typing. I'm very hungover and just kind of saying words at this point. Hope it helps though, best of luck to you and your future!

CT | VT'19 | DMV
  • 2
  • Associate 1 in ER
Oct 3, 2021 - 7:18pm

Good post. My hobbies would typically sound boring to many people, as they are solo and extremely minimal but I've grown to appreciate them alot

I've grown up poor without any access to unaffordable hobbies. But still I enjoyed what I had. From an early age I got into movies (European and surreal cinema, to be specific) and music. It surprised me how far I advanced in those areas over the years. Currently I have scrobbled more than 10,000 albums and watched over 3,000 movies. I started writing music reviews last year and it's very enjoyable. I could play the electric guitar (totally self taught) but more importantly I taught myself music production with minimal equipment/software. Now I listen to maybe 1/2 new album per day, which is significantly fewer than what I used to listen to before starting my job, but now I make sure to jot down notes I have to publish for my review later. I know some people might find this a little pathetic, but honestly this is just what I'm into lol. Also I turned gaming into a hobby, which is fairly common.

Recently I got into aviation and photography. I got a flight sim (Logitech) and a flight stick and taught myself everything about aviation. It's so fulfilling - flying with your sim, planespotting, trying out new airlines, reading more on the history and technicals...etc. Watching flight documentary is a must, at least once a week. I can fly a plane but still looking into what the FAA rules are for licensing and whatever.

Lastly, travel and languages. Traveling is so fucking fulfilling. I truly can't wait to take another trip, just roaming the vast world and conceptualizing different cultures I'd read about was amazingly eye-opening. I learned 5 languages since high school and it paid off pretty well. I have online friends from all over the world.

Practising my hobbies isn't exactly intercepted by work schedule, because they require minimal effort.

Oct 7, 2021 - 12:17pm

Cool. A few friends and I started to review albums on a shared google doc. Think we have about 1-2k reviews right now.

Oct 4, 2021 - 7:40pm

I do track days @ a couple raceways with a motorcycle during the Summer and supplement the other season with enduro mountain biking, dirt biking (enduro), and occasionally linking up with friends from different areas. I primarily use Winter to train, practice piano, learn Java, and read.

I do run and try to work out at home after work, but I always want to be outside. Being outside at ANY time after being cooped up on Excel is therapeutic and revitalizing.

Find the things that make life worthwhile for YOU and throw yourself into em! The things you have a natural affinity with will stick, but you need to aim and fail a couple times.

Oct 7, 2021 - 12:20pm

Similar to above ^. Mountain biking, fishing (determined to catch a trout), camping, hiking, occasional tennis. In the winter its typically snowboarding, cooking, and photography. Have to stay busy!!

Oct 7, 2021 - 8:35pm

My bucket list of fun things to do on weekends is growing faster than I cross things out. So many projects...so many trips to do. Where does one find the time

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

Funniest
  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Oct 7, 2021 - 10:28pm

Ducimus qui at cumque rerum distinctio et praesentium. Voluptatum accusantium ullam recusandae.

Error animi iste exercitationem illo. Voluptatem in cumque eaque veniam natus. Sed officiis dolores officiis fugiat. Et saepe quis voluptas dolores cum eaque omnis. Maxime ea voluptatem omnis. Dolorum impedit illum totam ex distinctio aspernatur officiis.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

November 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (40) $360
  • Associates (234) $234
  • 2nd Year Analyst (144) $156
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (34) $154
  • Intern/Summer Associate (107) $146
  • 1st Year Analyst (512) $136
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (393) $83