Whats your Why?

Why do you constantly take shit from your superiors? Why the long nights? The canceled weekends? The lost of friends, family, relationships? Why do you put yourself through the "misery"? 

Here's mine. I grew up relatively poor, low income household. I watched my old man beat himself to shit day-in and day-out to provide for his family. The old greaser never complained about his boss, colleagues, or the long hours. Although he missed my games, talent shows, and school events, he never missed a bill payment. And when the landlord (Danny, coolest Italian I'd ever met. Deep Staten Island accent.) would knocked on the door, it wasn't for late-missed payments, it was always to fix something (we had major plumbing issues at that apt). I always admired the Mamba mentality of my old man and I'm grateful to have witnessed such unwavering grit.

Some of my days are better than others but I wake up everyday ready to compete, provide value and sacrifice whatever necessary for my team's prosperity within the firm. I take shit because I know a yell/outburst from a MD or a superior, 9/10, has nothing to do with me "personally", just business; a reaction from whatever deal we're fucking up on. The long nights can be daunting and miserable if team morale is low or if you don't live within walking distance of your shop. Tues-Weds we have team dinners (get boozed up before 10-11pm orders start rolling in). Canceling promised weekends with friends can be a hassle, but my attempts to keep tabs and seem enthusiastic when I request recaps helps A LOT.

The main reason I put myself through the misery is because I am changing the world.... JK. On a serious note, the money is good (I'm able to help out my retired father). The prestige. Bragging rights (My dad and stepmom always introduce me to their girl of choice as "banker." I feel good knowing they're proud of my shitty spread sheets if not MD). Career advancement, exit opps, lifestyle, networking, etc.  

What is your why? 


Comments (65)

Sep 29, 2020 - 8:27pm

Reminds me of my dad.

My why is to make sure the sacrifices my parents made (still make) were worth it. Make sure I can support them in their old age and give them some of the experiences they gave up for my brother and I. Like my mom didn't go to her fathers funeral because we didn't have the money. Stuff like that, I don't think I can pay back in anyway but I'll try. My why is to open more doors for my kids whenever they may come. To have doors open for them that aren't open to me, no matter how hard my old man works. Lastly, my why is money, to do any of the above I need money and a decent amount. 

The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don't want to do.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Sep 29, 2020 - 9:59pm

Basically this. Income stability and a platform on the back of which I can actually look to pursue something I care about. Validate the sacrifices of my parents and set up a platform for the next gen. Little bit to do with validation from contemporaries too.

Also, to an extent because I believe in future-proofing.

Sep 29, 2020 - 10:11pm

The actual cost of the upfront investment is pretty small. Really just one degree, no other professional degrees needed and the ability to network, which doesn't cost much so it translates well for me. The other reason is the potential outcomes or exit opps. There's a lot of variety with it.

Sep 30, 2020 - 7:42pm

I grew up comfortable....not rich, but comfortable.  I never got the new video-game system, (seriously, my first one was a hand-me down NES from a YOUNGER cousin) but my parents spent tons of money on PCs so that I knew how to use them, and I never spent a day in a public school until grad school at 22.

When I was a kid, and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up my rather glib answer was "rich and unemployed."  I'm too smart and unmotivated for my own good. As a kid I was diagnosed with both severe ADD and OCD.  I've aced insanely difficult classes while failing mail-in ones because I just couldn't motivate myself to do the work.

I helped get myself through college debt free by doing a repair job.  I'd basically get 25% of the information from the client and what I could see and have to surmise the rest.  Guessing right could make something a 30 minute job with an hour minimum service fee.  Guessing wrong could mean six hours of digging, which I couldn't even handle at my fittest at 130 lbs. I was pretty d*** good at it, and the wins were thrilling if insignificant in the overall scheme of things.  Looking back, I probably would have been better off doing internships, but I also might have been driven completely off the deep end by them.

I spent years in financial planning. it was repetitive and miserable. I can't handle repetitiveness or boredom.  Thankfully I ended up breaking out.  Currently my manager admits that he can't describe what I do, but he's reasonably certain that there is nobody else at my very large firm that knows how to do the jobs I'm assigned either., and it generally makes both of us look good.  It's thrilling and fun to face a different challenge where nobody knows the answer and it can guide millions of dollars of capital, and I'd almost do it for free.  My worst problem is that I can't turn off even though my actual work hours are actually quite reasonable. I do really need to learn to code though.

As to the cocktail party question? I just go "Do you know how you pick funds in your IRA or have them suggested to you by your Merrill(insert other name and change gender as appropriate) advisor? Yeah, he actually has nothing to do with them behind telling you to buy them. I build and manage some of them."

EDIT: I probably should see about going back to the manual labor job on Sundays. Eight hours of paid forced labor is a lot better of a deal than my personal trainer and more intellectually stimulating too.


I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
Sep 30, 2020 - 7:51pm


What did I just read?

An indication that you need to re-take 6th grade English?

I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
Sep 30, 2020 - 8:18pm

Helps me put off real life commitments. "Sorry Mom, too busy with work to have a GF." Also funds the stupid shit I do now and the responsible shit I will hopefully do in the future via 401k/investment. This comes with the added benefit of having enough money to fuck off for a year or two, do what I want, and still be viable for another job or B-school.

Feels like young people that are satisfied with their job in their mid/early 20's are just looking to get married off and are okay with who they are as people and what they've accomplished. IB rattles the cage enough to fight off these feelings. 

Oct 1, 2020 - 1:31am

Primarily because I have a lot of relatives who can barely get off the couch or can but don't make a lot of money. My family has supported them for a long time, and that couple with a bunch of other issues and medical problems financially strained us. I decided that I needed to go into a field where I could make money and do so quickly. IB stood out as one of these fields. I wanted to do it so I can give back to my parents and let them live a little more because they really deserve it. They are now looking at vacation homes, and I could not be happier for them. There is so much more I want to do for them, and I will, but this is a great start. Also, I refuse to turn my back on my less fortunate and less motivated relatives no matter how much I want to. So yeah, basically familial obligation.

Oct 1, 2020 - 4:19am

People underestimate the fuel you obtain from rage. Keep using that jet fuel wisely my good man. 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 1, 2020 - 11:59am

My parents grew up poor in China and made it to the US in a time where you might have less than 10 people in a whole city of a few million people be able to make it out. They achieved the American dream and gave me and my siblings the life they never could have. My "why" really resonates with the way you look up to your dad's black mamba mentality- I have no excuse not to grind and work my ass off and make an even better life for my kids. 

Oct 1, 2020 - 2:15pm

Spent my teens and early college years depressed and lonely. Then one day I decided I would dedicate my life to reach a very high net worth (I'm not gonna disclose the exact number here because it is way above what is reasonable for most of WSO. Just know it's A LOT). Ever since then, even when there are days I might feel down because I failed at something or because I don't have a girlfriend or anything else, I am able to keep my head up since I know that someday I will get that amount of money.

Oct 1, 2020 - 3:28pm

I don't want to kill your dreams but you'll still feel relatively empty whenever you do reach your quota. I know it's cliche but money won't relieve your depression nor keep you company when you're lonely. Get out there and start living buddy. Find what provokes your excitement and go from there. Good luck!

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
Oct 1, 2020 - 2:48pm

Coming from a family that had to wait for next month whenever we wanted something new or good, not being able to go on vacations when your other friends did, dad driving that same beat up car for 10 years and not buying a new one he likes because it would fuck up my college fund. That always hurt my little heart when i was a kid. Sure i could have followed in my fathers footsteps and became a government employee, but I just didn't want my kids to have to feel that pain that i felt when i was a kid.

I still remember, when i got my 10th grade results, i did a shit job in a couple of subjects but people always said i was a sharp lad, so that was very confusing to me. So what did i do? I went to the Forbes site and saw what the 100 richest people in the world did. It was mostly tech entrepreneurs or family backed businesses or just entrepreneurs in general. and then there were these financiers.

I knew what i had to do that very day, at the age of 15.

Oct 1, 2020 - 3:32pm

Building a nest egg for my future family before I finally fuck off and live in the forrest.

Ability to do whatever I want in the business world and be more financially/business competent than most others my age.

(Eventually) Be the master of my time and pursue whatever investment ideas or business opportunity I want

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Oct 2, 2020 - 9:53am

My father was a successful business person but worked late hours into the morning very often due to his job – he loved it though. I lived a pretty privileged life during that time. He had a private plane and did pretty cool vacations (Keys, Caymans, Bahamas, etc). He had a freak heart attack at the age of 42 (probably in part to job stress) when I was 6 and everything changed. The plane got sold, our beach house was sold, his office building was sold, and my mom went back to work as a substitute teacher to give us some float (and probably for her own mental relief).  Vacations were gone and everything changed.

My why is to make money – yes, but also to cherish my life (and my time) knowing that it can be taken from me at any moment in time. Spend time doing the things I love – hunting, spearfishing, vacation with friends, etc. You really only have one life. Live it up.

Oct 4, 2020 - 5:44pm

Perfect post after a few beers! For me, it came slightly later in life. But long story short, I was born in a country in which I would statistically have a good chance of being dead right now had I stayed (genocide) but was thankfully adopted to European parents.

Not doing very well at school for a number of reasons later in life and realising the above have pushed me to never take anything for granted anymore, be appreciative of everything I have and realising the chance I have been given and I somewhat managed/ am still working on turning things around.

Added to that, just not doing very well at school and being told that I was destined to fail etc and a few life experiences have taught me what I like to call 'the privilege of adversity'. As for many, some days are better than others but I have a vision of what I want to be and think I can achieve - which for my own background seem pretty incredible. These reasons are the fuel to my determination and perseverance which I am proud of and I just want to be able to look back on life and know I always gave 100% at every opportunity I came across to provide the best for myself, those around me and hopefully a future family - AMEN. 

Oct 5, 2020 - 3:05am

I'm in it for the freedom and the security that can only be had when there's money in the bank for the coming of the storm. My dad got sick when I was 8, and my mom put in work at 70+ hrs / week so she could support 3 sons + a sick husband + eventually a caretaker for the husband. Dying in America is pricey business. Often we didn't have enough to get by. Got evicted, had a fire happen, etc.  Shit was real.

After dad passed things got better, mom was still was on the grind. I went to public university instead of the Ivys because Berkeley gave me a scholarship, and tuition was $5k/year. Then my mom got cancer.  So I'm acutely aware of the fragility of life and the absolute need to put in work and support a family.  That's my why.  I'm gonna grind until we're safe.  That simple.

And yea, I want that breathing room that only money in the bank can buy, and the opportunity to impact the world for the better, which can only happen when you've got the bases covered financially.  I spent a half year working full time at an orphanage. I want to adopt kids, work on sustainability issues, and maybe enter politics. But I can only do that once the economic bases are covered.



Oct 5, 2020 - 2:37pm

Damn. Our apartment got hit with some collateral damage too when a neighbor left the candle lit. Thank God for pre-war brick houses or else it could have been much worse for us. 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
Oct 5, 2020 - 4:56am

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

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