What the F are we all doing?
This probably won't go over well, but can we have a discussion about why many of us are working the vast majority of our waking hours basically helping the richest people in the world become a little bit wealthier? I work in markets, which is a bit more shameless than IB, but still... despite what Lloyd Blankfein says I think we can all agree that we are not doing 'God's work.'
Please consider the following questions:
Why do we really need so much money? It is well known that vast amounts of money do not bring fulfillment, joy, or meaning to one's life. How many times do we see a wealthy and 'successful' (as traditionally defined) person go down in flames? Greed is a base human trait that has plagued us since the beginning of civilization, but why do you personally need so much money every year? Is it truly worth the opportunity cost? Are there more important things to this life than acquiring material goods, showering ourselves in luxury and comfort?
Is this what we want to do with our lives? How do we find this fulfilling? The world desperately needs smart, motivated, and hard working individuals. I think it's safe to say that most of us fit this category, yet we decide to use these talents and attributes in order to enrich ourselves and others who are privileged. *I am using privileged as broadly defined. In other words, you can't control where you are born or how your parents treated you or what IQ you have.
I am a believer in capitalism, but I think things have gone a bit too far. We all know about the data behind the 'wealth gap' and the problems it is causing. I think it is possible to live a comfortable life while also dedicating ourselves to an important and worthwhile purpose. Am I crazy here or have any of you had similar thoughts? Many fellow analysts also find the work unfulfilling and culture unpleasant, but have not gone as far as to seriously consider quitting (although I have spoken to many who plan to leave in a year).