What's your biggest regret in life?

jnhadekjs's picture
Rank: Orangutan | banana points 273

What's your biggest regret in life and if you could do it differently, would you?

As I grow wiser and older, it appears to me that choosing finance and accounting was the biggest mistake of my life. This is not because I'm doing poorly but the work in itself is very repetitive and boring. Up until this point, I've been doing very well, both academically and financially, but now I feel like I'm nearing a burnout. I'm in deals/TAS at one of the Big 4 and 70% of my time is taken up by being an excel jockey working on valuation models. The other 30% includes travel for FDD engagements and interaction with the clients --- all of which I think is very mundane. This is not to mention the toll it has taken on my family and social life.

What could I have done differently? As my mind gradually refines with time, I've learned to love earth sciences and ideally, I would have loved to become a geologist or petroleum engineer... the possibility of which seems to be zero now.

But when you're obsessed with something, even the thought of giving up on your dream, being stuck somewhere you hate for the rest of your life, can be as daunting and horrific as if you were giving up on your life. So what am I doing differently now? I've enrolled myself in a certificate program in Geology majoring in Petroleum Technologies and I'll be finishing it by the end of next year. Moreover, I've acquired so many books for the past 3-4 years that by now they could make up a small earth sciences library (if they weren't in soft form) because the more I learn about our planet, the more knowledge I crave for. Its never enough.

Lastly, I can proudly flaunt now that I successfully broke into IB and will be starting after New Year's as an Analyst in natural resources. I'll be covering energy, metals and mining, oil and gas, and some of the biggest deals in energy sector. Maybe its not enough but getting an inch closer to your dream is better than being stuck in something that isn't intellectually stimulating.

EDIT: Our education system sucks. I believe you're forced to make life decisions at a very early age. For me, I didn't know what I "loved" at that age in academic/career context. I was too immature and my parents persuaded me to choose F&A. In a way, they chose it for me.

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Comments (25)

Dec 6, 2018

Wish I could've made things right with a close friend before he passed away.

Dec 6, 2018

Working 80 hours the week my son was born.

Dec 6, 2018

I get what your post is saying, but I'd argue that if you can't do basic research before choosing a major, especially with the internet... You deserve what you get. I got an engineering degree knowing I didn't want to be an engineer, but I've leveraged it into a Corp. Strat role... while my peers are all slaving away on a manufacturing floor or in a test lab with no windows.

I've found that if you can't be "intentional" even at a young age, you don't just suddenly flip an internal switch. My parents raised me to critically think, and every day I thank them for it. Life is all about gap analyses... Where are you know versus where do you want to be in the future? What's the gap? This can be learned of course, but you really need to get these skills early on to gain the most from them.

My biggest regret: Dumping that girl after her cat died. I'm an asshole.

Funniest
Dec 6, 2018

Accidentally making a stupid trade from my real brokerage account instead of my Monopoly money account

    • 3
Dec 6, 2018

This post makes no sense. Are you getting "wiser and older"? You're still electing to go into an analyst program. Not even an associate? And why don't you just leave finance since it's such a HUGE regret? You could probably just do a master's in earth sciences right? Rebrand. You sound young young.

    • 1
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Dec 6, 2018

Can't do masters without previous background and I'm not going to spend another 4 years getting a bachelors in geology. I've resorted to reading ES related books. The certificate program I enrolled in is basically a "micro-master" offered by an MOOC learning website and is intermediate level with professors from Ivy League which is why I was interested in it.

I'll be starting as an analyst and the reason I'm excited about it is that at least I'll be covering what I love. Leaving Finance at this point seems like a financial suicide.

Most Helpful
Dec 6, 2018

Not taking high school seriously. Grew up in a blue-collar middle income home and education just wasn't something my parents pushed. It didn't help that I grew up in a subpar suburb with low funded schools. It really wasn't until my senior year of HS that I realized how much damage I've done to my future by not putting forth effort in grade school.

Luckily, I was still young enough to turn things around. Nonetheless, I can't help but wonder what schools I could've got in to had I tried in high school.

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Dec 6, 2018

same boat. I was a top 30 kid (out of 300 ish) in highschool and NEVER completed a homework assignment and studying was extremely minimal (typically reviewed before the test or during breakfast at school). I look back now thinking if i put in some effort, I would have received a free ride to the school I ended up attending anyway. In a better scenario, could have applied to Ivy but my SAT scores weren't there.

Dec 6, 2018

Exactly. I think a lot of it has to do with nature vs nurture. It's sickening to me the lack of effort some parents put forth with their child(ren). I believe this starts from day 1. Fortunately, due to my experience I will do whatever it takes to provide my children, should I have any, with the tools they need to succeed.

..Probably helps that I'm marrying a psychologist.

Dec 6, 2018

Yep same as both of you. I'm not doing terribly now, but can't help but wonder where I'd be if I put forth some effort. Took the SATs completely cold (no studying), got bored / tired in the verbal section and started marking random answers, and still scored decently. Shoulda, coulda, woulda I guess...

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Dec 6, 2018

Not serving in the military first before college.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

Dec 6, 2018

Kind of dark comment inbound lol, but to be serious I kinda regret not having the courage to actually chase my dreams and do something that I actually wanted with my life. I wanted to do military or something similar after college, so long as it got me somewhere far away. Instead I am working my early 20's away in a brutal job and my life solely revolves around making as much money as possible so I can take care of whats left of my family. Just a string of unfortunate events financially destroyed my family and showed the true colors of some people we used to care about, and like if I don't stay here and fucking live my life for them, nobody else will.

Idk if it's a regret, but never being able to put myself first has only kept me trapped in the same place I grew up in while these big beautiful dreams I had of doing something fun/adventurous/risky or whatever with my life just keep getting darker and smaller every time I wake up to go put in 16+ hours at my computer. Thats what happens when you care too much I guess.

Dec 6, 2018

on the flip side of this, you'll have the money to chase your dreams in the future and set yourself up for financial stability by sacrifice now. Life expectancy is over 80, you got 60 years to do fun/adventurous/risky shit and instead of doing it now you're forgoing it and postponing it to times when you'll have funds to ball out while you do it instead of scraping by...just my 2 cents

Dec 6, 2018

While the notion of saving for myself is still in the back of my mind, my worry is that I'll need to give up this money to help my family. My parents had their savings almost completely wiped over the past couple years and my grandma is going to be entering an experimental treatment program for her cancer that insurance might not entirely cover. If I can make it thru these years financially stable, then I'll kinda be OK with it and find new interests that my funds will allow me to pursue, but that very easily might not be the case.

Dec 6, 2018
funding_SECured:

on the flip side of this, you'll have the money to chase your dreams in the future and set yourself up for financial stability by sacrifice now. Life expectancy is over 80, you got 60 years to do fun/adventurous/risky shit and instead of doing it now you're forgoing it and postponing it to times when you'll have funds to ball out while you do it instead of scraping by...just my 2 cents

Boy you ain't living until 80 if you're working 80-100 hour weeks in a super stressful job LOL. Sleep is the most important thing out can do next to drinking water.

Just ask that JPM head of IB that dropped dead on the treadmill a few years back, what was he like early 60s?

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Dec 6, 2018

sounds like your responsible. Most of my coworkers are in their 20's and live to drink their face off and get with subpar girls. I dont think you are missing out on anything. Keep grinding and set aside some time for yourself.

Dec 6, 2018

Thanks dude, even with all thats going on I try to make some time for myself, mainly just to hang with my friends.

Dec 6, 2018

Damn, that sounds horrible.

I started having anxiety attacks without even realizing it and later they developed into panic attacks. Gladly, now I'm better but just saying this that sitting in front of a monitor for most of the day can drain you not just physically but mentally as well.

I've learned to avoid the attacks and I'm doing a lot better now and ideally would've loved to quit and transition to Geology but sadly, quitting at this point would mean starving (transition at this point won't work) and honestly, I've learned to live with that choice because that's all I can do.

Dec 6, 2018

I think I could guess @GoldenCinderblocks wife's...

Dec 6, 2018

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Dec 6, 2018

Being born. Sometimes I wish I could pull a Jimmy Stewart and see how wonderful the world would be without me.

Dec 6, 2018
  • Not playing a sport in high school (and possibly college)
  • Not joining the military for 3-5 years before college or directly after college (incredible experiences could have been made there)
  • Not studying abroad for a semester while an undergrad (99% chance you'll never get that opportunity ever again...even if you go to grad school)
Dec 6, 2018

Not seeing my father for 7 years

Dec 6, 2018
Dec 6, 2018