When does the rat race end?

CDN1Banker's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 53

I just finished my sophomore year and will be heading into SA recruiting this upcoming fall. I am currently spending my summer at a boutique IB, and given the comparatively lax lifestyle I have now compared to next summer and potentially for the rest of my life, I wanted to do some soul searching to realize if this career is really for me.
I'm sure many of you who are in the workplace or still in school can relate, so if you have any insight to provide, I'd be more than happy to hear your thoughts.

For those that discovered their interest in finance in high school like me, you chose your university based on what would set you up best for a career in the industry. With a bit of luck and elbow grease, you were fortunate enough to get into what was considered a "target".

Over the past two years, I did the whole shebang. I joined clubs on campus to show my interest in finance. I participated in finance competitions and was able to see my effort come to fruition through a few 1st/2nd place finishes. I spent weeks upon months cold emailing/calling for a boutique IB internship that would supposedly position me well for SA recruiting in 3rd year. All this because of a passion I discovered in high school, right?

I'm sure most on this site love spending their weekends spreading comps/making pitchbooks, but I'd be a liar if I said passion is really the underlying driver behind why I want to pursue a career in investment banking. Don't get me wrong - I still love finance and believe IB will provide the best exposure to a student right out of school. However, I'm reluctant to admit that a lot of my "passion" is fabricated by fear. Did I really spend the last 3-4 years chasing something that I love so dearly just to throw it all away? Will my family and friends think less of me if I pursue a career that's considerably less prestigious and pays pennies on the dollar? Is this a phase that will pass once SA recruiting gets underway?

My dichotomy is accentuated by my peers that are new to the finance world or are just ignorant. Its bittersweet hearing from friends about how they're going to pursue BB IBD>MF PE>M7 MBA>Jamie Dimon because I too, was once a bright-eyed finance wannabe who thought a career in finance will bring me happiness in life. I feel like I've had enough. The money isn't worth the hardship and sacrificing the best years of your life. At the same time, it's hard letting go.

Don't really know if there is a real purpose to this post, just wanted to get it off my mind. I'd appreciate your perspective - Does the rat race ever end once you're in? How do you say goodbye to a such a lifestyle?

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Comments (124)

Jun 17, 2016

@TorontoMonkey1328 I was wondering if I could get your perspective on this. I've PM'd you in the past on my everyday account, and given your status in the industry I was hoping you could share your thoughts.

Best Response
Jun 19, 2016

Take a breath. As a sophomore doing IB at a Boutique this summer, I think you have the unique opportunity to get to learn the job early. And more importantly, if you like it or not.

I've generally seen three types of results for IBD summers who are rising seniors: 1 I love this job, I love this bank. I got an offer for FT and I'm coming back. 2. I love this job, I hate this bank. I'm going to try to get an FT offer somewhere else. 3. I hate this job. I'm going to do something else.

All three outcomes are successful outcomes. You have the opportunity to get to this answer sooner.

Many people hate the job. Maybe it's the firm. Or the people. Or the type of work. Regardless, if you are doing this for a summer, and you have the opportunity to learn from the experience itself rather than just what people tell you during informationals and networking. You will come up with your own answer.

Having said that, I would be careful about one thing. I've noticed that people often say that IBD has excellent "exit opportunities". Now that I've been in this job a bit longer, one thing I'd suggest is don't get into this job if you hate it just for the "exit ops" especially if you don't like the type of work. The great exit ops that come up are usually jobs that typically value the IBD skill set which is a round about way of saying that they'll often have similar characteristics.

Life is too short to hate your job, whatever it is, because regardless of that you do for a living you will probably dedicate a significant portion of your life to it.

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Jun 20, 2016

SB'ed. You're unusually wise for a college Sophomore, use it well.

Jul 1, 2016

Stay strong and listen to this man's wisdom..

Jun 17, 2016

Don't know how much constructive input I can add, though I can definitely relate. Currently I'm in an almost-similar position-- just finished up at community college and will be transferring to a target this fall. I've spent about a year and a half being consumed by all things finance, and as much as I enjoy it (especially compared to the other fields I've studied/been exposed to) I still wonder if I'll be feeling the same a year down the line, as I begin my SA stint. Ultimately, the thing that scares me the most is what you touched on, being too invested in the process to consciously recognize that IB is NOT for me. Though, I think one can always find solace in the fact that as long as you have that experience on your resume, and you've developed those skills, there will be a comfy 9-5 dying to pick up a former banker.

Just my 2 cents.

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Jun 17, 2016

Changing careers isn't a failure. Leaving IB isn't giving up. Sometimes people's interests change. In the mean time you've built a great resume and set of skills that can be transferred anywhere.

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Jun 18, 2016

Does IB make you feel valuable? It sounds like you feel like it will not. Understand that what makes you happy is that which makes you feel valuable, that which makes you matter. This is often correlated to what we are naturally good at.

Jun 17, 2016
wso23:

Does IB make you feel valuable? It sounds like you feel like it will not. Understand that what makes you happy is that which makes you feel valuable, that which makes you matter. This is often correlated to what we are naturally good at.

That's the main issue - right now I don't know what makes me feel valuable. I spent my last few years in life chasing 1 thing, and am unsure of what is to come.

Jun 27, 2016

Disclaimer: the following is coming from a summer associate with exactly 3 weeks on the job. I think your experience this summer will provide some of the answers you're seeking. First, you have dedicated yourself to achieving a goal, and you were successful. Take some time to be proud of yourself. Second, up until now, all of the work that you have done (studying, networking, clubs, competitions, interview prep, etc) has been to prepare you for the moment you are now facing. This summer (hopefully) you will have the opportunity to work on live deals and bake-offs. See how you feel when you're working on those types of projects. Speaking personally, I have worked more in the past 2 weeks than anytime in my career. At the end of the day, I'm physically exhausted, but mentally stimulated. I'm excited on the way to work the next day, even after only 4 hours of sleep. If that feeling ever goes away permanently, I will know it's time to move on, and I will be proud of what I've been able to accomplish in the meantime. Hopefully, your experience this summer will be the same. If you find yourself dreading coming to work in the morning, might be time to pursue another path that makes you happier.

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Jun 18, 2016

There are other prestigious things you can do with finance, literally every organization needs finance people. The US embassy in Denmark needs finance people too

Jun 18, 2016

I've heard some saying among SEALs that passing BUD/S and SQT are the easy part. If you somehow manage to complete those, and expect life as an operator to be chill, you're in for a bad time. It only gets harder once you make it in. I've heard the same thing about the NBA/NFL.

Obviously those examples are different from finance. But there's takeaways there. You might be able to get away with kicking your feet up, but you'll be surrounded by a bunch of hungry, sketchy, shifty kids who want to get to the next rung on the ladder. I've never worked at a BB and am not smart enough to do so, but if I was I wouldn't expect life to get easier.

For your original question, life in the rat race can end whenever you want it to end. No one puts a revolver to your temple and says you need to chase prestige and wealth. I honestly believe some people enjoy the whole rat race more than they like to admit, to themselves or to others.

Jun 18, 2016

This shit usually stops once you realize that it's nonsense or when you have children. I know 40 year old MDs who are still caught up in it because they have nothing but work in their life.

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Jun 18, 2016

It never ends. You are always trying to move higher up the ladder and/or make more money. Or, there is some possibility, you just decide that what you have is good enough and put in just enough effort to get by at work. That's rare though before you have fuck you money.

The rat race certainly doesn't end in the analyst days.

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Jun 20, 2016

OP I am also a summer analyst at a boutique as a sophomore and I think we may be from the same school. I have been struggling with this question since freshman year. I don't think it is something I'll really ever get over.

I like to think about it this way. Many people become doctors for the amount of money they will make. A doctor does 8 years of schooling and 2 years of residency and after that they will be start working seriously and start producing an income which most envy. Now, if you take the IB path you will be in the same position as this doctor out of undergrad (income wise). Of course the notion of comparing someone who saves lives for a living to someone who changes fonts, is simply ridiculous but assuming both the banker and the doctor did it for the money, then the nature of the job shouldn't matter. Most of my friends are on the path to going to med school and they're all doing it for the money.

Jun 20, 2016

You're a junior in college and you're wondering when the rat race ends? It hasn't even really started for you. Hate to be that guy, but you have a loooooong road ahead of you.

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Jun 20, 2016

Agreed. Even being 3 years out of college, I look back on my school years as this time of reckless abandon that I would kill to get back to. If you want to get paid well, the rat race is a 40+ year grind regardless of what industry you're in (much less an intensive one like high finance) unless things really work out super well for you or you luck into a wonderful position somewhere.

Jun 27, 2016
CRE:

You're a junior in college and you're wondering when the rat race ends? It hasn't even really started for you. Hate to be that guy, but you have a loooooong road ahead of you.

Seriously. A college sophomore wondering when the rat race will end. Sounds like an early life crisis. That's cute.

Anyway, to add to the quoted text, if you think that you can avoid the "rat race" by choosing a career other than finance, you're sorely mistaken. Working in any corporate job (really, any job where you don't have control of your own schedule) is a grind in its own way, even if you're not working the 80+ hours a week of an investment banker.

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Jun 27, 2016
smplcty:

CRE:You're a junior in college and you're wondering when the rat race ends? It hasn't even really started for you. Hate to be that guy, but you have a loooooong road ahead of you.

Seriously. A college sophomore wondering when the rat race will end. Sounds like an early life crisis. That's cute.

Anyway, to add to the quoted text, if you think that you can avoid the "rat race" by choosing a career other than finance, you're sorely mistaken. Working in any corporate job (really, any job where you don't have control of your own schedule) is a grind in its own way, even if you're not working the 80+ hours a week of an investment banker.

^ This. Other major professions are no different, either...being a young guy trying to hack your way into any career will be tough/demanding/discouraging/whatever, but unless you like living under bridges, have family money to tap into, or have some stellar new idea with people willing to back you, you're going to need to focus on becoming something (banker, lawyer, doctor, bull rider, etc.).

OP, what kind of work were you doing as a sophmore intern at a boutique IB that got you in such a rut already? It may not be representative of what you'd be doing as a full-time analyst at a good firm...I caution you not to put too much weight on that one experience alone

Jun 20, 2016

It never ends until you decide to quit. Until then, it only gets more intense.

Jun 20, 2016

Deciding that IBD isn't for you at 20/21 is pretty fortuitous frankly. Plus, you're still in college - a great place to try different things and look into different subjects that might interest you. Finance is a good way to maximize the money you can make straight out of college/going forward, but there are plenty of well paying jobs that provide for a better QOL. If I were you, I would dedicate more time to figuring out what kind of jobs you might be interested in on a day-to-day basis while you're there because the opportunity for that kind of self-exploration will not last for long. I've been where you are and looking back, although I didn't think so at the time, it's worth it to become a "super senior" if it means finding what you actually will like doing (don't just waste another year and screw around if you can help it though).

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Jun 20, 2016

The rat race, as you call it, will never end. Maybe for you. But there will always be a tribe of savage fuckers battling it out in the pits of the Wall Street jungle, wide-eyed and greedy.

Jun 20, 2016

Save a significant amount of your paycheck. A $75 bottle of wine with dinner will make you has happy as a $300 bottle.

Once you get enough saved up, the rat race ends.

    • 1
Jun 20, 2016

whenever i hear "rat race" i'm reminded of this clip (alan watts)

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Jun 20, 2016

The rat race never ends, you just die.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

    • 1
Jun 21, 2016

If you want the rat race to end be smart with your money so you can retire early. You can limit your spending to $2,500-$3,000 per month anywhere in the country if you're not materialistic, live below your means, and don't piss it away on stuff you don't truly need. By the time you're in your late-20's/early-30's you'll have a solid nest egg built up. Until then, you need to keep working hard.

Jun 22, 2016

Never unless you change the way you think.

People are always chasing for something better.

Getting into target school, chase that GPA, school clubs and networking, internship, FT offer, PE offer or associate, VP, MD, Partner........

Certain steps of development are good for your career and life but at some point people should appreciate what they have in life and stop aiming too high. That doesn't mean stopping working for promotions but it can be done much easily and less pressuring ways (e.g. at corp dev).

Jun 22, 2016

The rat race never ends, all you enter is another stage of relative poverty.

I know people who have worked their entire lives to get FU money who are now trying to out do successful musicians, models, professional athletes and entrepreneurs.

Yes, finance is the best career risk adjusted return wise but there will always be those people who succeeded in far more interesting and competitive fields that we could never compete with.

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Jun 23, 2016

the rat race ends the day you stop having that mind set, as some enlightened people have commented above

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

Jun 23, 2016

The moment when you realize that you are in fact not a rat or apart of any race. You need to become more zen.

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Jun 23, 2016

?_none - _none flair

Really says it all

"A modest man, with much to be modest about"

Jun 23, 2016

You either die an aspiring workahaulic or you live long enough to see yourself become the dickhead MD.

"A modest man, with much to be modest about"

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Jun 24, 2016

Similar situation as you except I left my non finance career and went back to college for a few years then got a job in banking

In my experience (and the other guys in my firm) the feeling of "can't give this up" only gets worse. The amount of time and effort put into banking has only increased and the pay is too good compared most other jobs so ppl just soldier on when they could be happier else where lol

As others have said I would use your college years to also explore other interests. You can do so while pursuing banking in parallel so what's the down side?

Jun 24, 2016

Great post and very relevant. Similar situation, except I am a bit older and now going into senior year at a non-target. Quick background: Went to a magnet HS with 4 years of advanced business/econ courses --> Non-target (for scholarship) --> convinced I wanted to do IBD and joined the appropriate on-campus orgs like you --> sophomore year spring internship at boutique and that's when it all fell apart. I realized I hated the work and while I have no problem working long hours, I do have a problem working long hours doing mind-numbing data entry that brought me no satisfaction. Pivoted from there and took a sophomore summer internship (and pay cut) in politics (my other interest) and had a really great internship that I valued 10x more than IBD internship.

Would love to go back to political work, but pay is shit at low levels so I wanted to figure out best way to continue in a high paying finance job (honest) that isn't IBD (I would consider MBB career type but truthfully don't think I could land out of UG). I thought it would be cool to jump into start up scene in a strat fin type role and also started teaching myself how to code so I could be a step above someone with just finance background and step below someone with just coding background. Since then I have already been approached by a start up. Tons of career paths out there that pay as much and are more interesting than IB just have to spend time researching.

I was in the same situation where because of the circles I surrounded myself with at University I felt pressured to do IBD because as you said, "BB IBD>MF PE>M7 MBA>Jamie Dimon " and I felt like I was quitting by saying that I did not want to do IBD, but when I really meditated on the issue, it wasn't that at all. I kind of rambled, but hope the message still got across. Feel free to PM.

Jun 24, 2016

I am in a very similar position as you currently, albeit without knowing about finance in high school (came into an Ivy without any idea of what banking even was), and yet I've been dragged into this rat race all the same. My thoughts, after much reflection and talking to others who are either still in finance or got out:

It is all about what you want in life. If you want a comfortable lifestyle (not extravagant), properties, time to spend with family down the road, you can do IB or you can go another path. You might be surprised how much people working in other finance fields make, should you choose to ultimately not continue in IB.

Also, where do you see yourself adding value and being happy? If you are into IB because it is the "best option for students interested in finance," "best pay/prestige," or "best exit ops," and you are not willing to put in the grunt work and remain in IB, then perhaps you should find something else to do that you truly enjoy doing.

In the end, remember that it is your life. You have a lot of time to try things out and change, and it would be a farce to do a job just because it pays well - if you are really good at anything you do, there won't be a problem of making money, rather a problem of you wanting to do it or not. :)

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Jun 17, 2016

Just wanted to say thanks for everyone whose chimed in with their personal experiences/views either in this thread or via PM. Really great insight!

Jun 24, 2016

OP...I'm in a similar position. I honestly think it comes down to what makes you happy at the end of the day. For me, I don't know, but I figure I'm interested in banking so why not put myself in a good position to succeed. Worst comes worst, you realize it isn't for you after a SA stint and you exit early. Just my thoughts. Google "no, you can't have it all M&I". That article touches on great points (I would include the link but WSO won't let me)

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Jun 25, 2016

Please do yourself a favour and forget about what others will think (especially family) its unnecessary stress that clouds judgement of your true self.

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

Jun 26, 2016

The rat race ends when you've had enough cheese and leave the maze

Jul 5, 2016

Haha this is so true Going Concern - was that paraphrased from the book "Who Moved my Cheese" by Spencer Johnson?

Jun 26, 2016

I think it all depends on what u want to do. I was aiming for ib hard after college and realized I will never make it unless I went for an mba. Too much partying. Then I started to look at other opportunities. Luckily, I met alot of people who were making crazy money. Made me rethink the whole mba thing and finance life. Dude open ur eyes to the world. That crappy pizza shop run by the Greek man down the corner has 8 stores. He's making bank just cause he chose his locations right. Bad example but sufficient :)

Jun 26, 2016

When you die

Jun 27, 2016
iggs99988:

I'm sure most on this site love spending their weekends spreading comps/making pitchbooks,

On the contrary, I'd say most of us don't want to touch Excel if we can help it.

I spent the majority of my college life being overly obsessed with i-banking. You can search some of my old posts from 2010-2012 on this site to see how much time I was putting into trying to figure out how the industry worked. Joined three finance groups on campus, did the competitions, yadayada. Participated in the first WSO Conference (are those still going on?!) Did three internships in IB, one in ER, got a full time job in M&A consulting (e.g. we did the grunt work on Excel that the bankers didn't want to do... and you thought you had it bad!) I had over 30 interviews total, 7 or so superdays. Half of those were from cold calling. tl;dr - I was ingrained the hell into finance and I thought it was what I wanted for life. IB > MBA > PE > F500 CFO or something like that.

iggs99988:

Did I really spend the last 3-4 years chasing something that I love so dearly just to throw it all away? Will my family and friends think less of me if I pursue a career that's considerably less prestigious and pays pennies on the dollar? ... I feel like I've had enough. The money isn't worth the hardship and sacrificing the best years of your life. At the same time, it's hard letting go.

I feel you, trust me. I spent a good 3-4 years fighting tooth and nail for the opportunity to join the "high finance" world. After I finished up my M&A consulting gig, I did some investor relations, and then interviewed for corporate finance roles. I was getting interviews from some of the better-known MBA-level FLDP programs - Intel, J&J, GS, Microsoft, etc. It was during this time that I sat back and really thought about my life; was finance a passion? Was it something I could look back on when I was 50 years old, nod my head, and say, "Yes, if I could do it all over again, this is the path I would have taken?"

It took me about 3 months to admit it to myself, but the answer was no. I said goodbye to the finance rat race. I'm now on the road to a PhD in Clinical Psychology (which is a whole 'nother rat race, but much different in its challenges), with the intent of doing research and psychotherapy. Before I even knew what investment banking was, I was intrigued by the cognitive/behavioral sciences. The lifestyle of a psychologist allowed me to pursue other passions of mine - dance, fitness, fostering kittens (okay, hold the laughter...) I appreciate my stint in finance, and it taught me a lot and made me much tougher, but when I left I had no regrets.

Did the parents nag at me for years on end? Yeah. Did my friends shake their heads and sigh, even as they rose to become Associate, started MBA programs, and some are starting to get promotions to VP? Oh yeah. I've gotten lots of, "But why would you give up $80k a year just to go back to school for 6 years to earn $70k?" Because it's not all about the money; it's about the time, the satisfaction, and the quality of life, and that answer is different for everyone.

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Jul 2, 2017

This is awesome

Jun 26, 2016

Are you the only intern at your boutique? The lifestyles of being the only young person on the floor vs. working alongside several others within a few years of you really don't compare. Working at a BB, there's a good chance you'll become good friends with people you work with... speaking for myself, the people you work with are hugely important to enjoying your job. Doing high paid monkey work might not be as bad as you think if it's alongside several friends.

Jun 18, 2016

"I told you we'd meet later. Unfortunately... it's in a place like this, which I would never be in. I never hung out with these idiots after work, ever! I had fashion friends."

Apart from a select number I can count on one hand, I wouldn't trust, let along hang out with/spend any more time than absolutely necessary with, the kids I've met when recruiting for finance.

Jun 30, 2016

I got same passionate about financial markets in high school, this year finished master's degree in finance and scored some good results in trading/valution contests, but never got an opportunity to land a job in financial industry in my country (Eastern Europe) or abroad. Therefore I hate myself for choosing to pursue career in finance where I have little chances to land a job one day (competition + limited spots each year) and now I might be forced even to work as physical worker for minimum wage just to survive so I wasted last 7 years of studies for nothing.

Jun 30, 2016
Tinkoff Saxo:

I got same passionate about financial markets in high school, this year finished master's degree in finance and scored some good results in trading/valution contests, but never got an opportunity to land a job in financial industry in my country (Eastern Europe) or abroad. Therefore I hate myself for choosing to pursue career in finance where I have little chances to land a job one day (competition + limited spots each year) and now I might be forced even to work as physical worker for minimum wage just to survive so I wasted last 7 years of studies for nothing.

Is your country part of the EU? You need to get out of eastern Europe and move to a country that has a good financial industry.

Jun 30, 2016

Yeah I am from Slovenia, EU state but problem is in countries with developed financial industry like UK,US, Germany they pick kids from top tier domestic universities, so I have no chance to compete against them. Also Germany, France, Swiss require proficient local language....

Jul 4, 2016

I look at my father who was an executive one of the largest companies in the world. Therat race ended for him when he quit, started his own business that he could still pull a 7 figure salary from and started playing golf all year round. The minute he had ability to make his own schedule is the day the rat race ended for him.

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Jul 5, 2016

i'll offer a slightly different perspective. i define the rat race as of being in a cycle of working your ass off to get that next promotion and raise, increasing your standard of living w/ the mind set that you deserve it since you worked your ass off, so you buy a bigger house, nicer car, place in hamptons, private school, nanny, etc and then you adjust to your new income very quickly and are barely saving more than you were before and perpetually keep chasing the next raise and keep pushing up your living costs. some people say don't do finance if you don't love it. i slightly disagree. don't do it if you hate it, but for me, i don't particularly enjoy it but i see it as a means to an end. there isn't any other job out there that's called me to it, so why not work for the money, as other have said, live well below your means, save 50% of your income, work for 20 years, and then retire early, and then follow other dreams. i have family w/ a few kids and i hope to retire in my early to mid 40's. other jobs take too big of a pay cut to leave early and actually work for money, so work til you have enough, save and invest wisely, put your money to work to generate passive income and then after a 20-25 year career in finance (still long but Definitely not 40-50 years), have from 42-45 til you die, traveling, doing philanthropy, teaching, being an entrepreneur etc while completely financially free and living off of passive income.

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Jul 5, 2016

Great Post

Jul 2, 2017

Very wise advice, it's true that most jobs in the corporate world are not that entertaining after all, we are all working for money at the end of the day and financial freedom is the key to chasing most passion/dreams. finance could pave the way to financial freedom

Jul 5, 2016

The rat race ends when you officially have 'fuck you' money.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

Jul 2, 2017

Or you can just take 50k and move to a tropical island in a 3rd world country.

Jul 2, 2017

unfortunately id need $10M to have a nice house in LA

Jul 2, 2017

No matter what you're doing, money-related or not, everything is a rat race one way or another. I come from a relatively rich community, and people end up finding new games to play to measure who's better than who: whose kid is less of a jackass, which wife got the better anniversary present, etc. It's all bullshit and it's bad for you. Get used to all of it and find a way to actually enjoy it rather than get caught up in it. It's not about a time in your life or a financial situation, it's about your perception of all of it and the way you want to interact with other people.

Jul 2, 2017
Jul 2, 2017

I agree. If your job is your life (which seems to be the case with a lot of high finance jobs) and you don't enjoy your job, then what's the point? I used to fantasize about becoming a trader and getting filthy rich, but then I realized that I don't give a shit about the markets no matter how hard I try to force myself to care. I think that people have a habit of romanticizing jobs. I doubt that the reality of being a KKR analyst (or whatever the hell your dream is) is nearly as rosy as you perceive it. But I guess you kind of need that fantasy to help you endure and justify the grueling 100 hour work weeks in your IBD analyst stint.

I'd love to live Paul Janka's life (before he got picked up by the media). He was just an SAT tutor, which I'm sure that half of WSO would scoff at, but:
1. The job was lax and not stressful. This means that he had a lot of free time to do the stuff that interested him (chasing girls, writing, etc)
2. He made enough money to make a decent living
3. Had good friends and was getting laid constantly.

I've come to realize that #3 is the most important in making me happy. No amount of money can make up for a lack of #3. Money can certainly help, but after a certain point it's more of a luxury than a necessity. I'd be content having enough money to where I could just spontaneously go on a 2-week vacation if I wanted to without having to think about the money.

This guy has a degree in Physics from Harvard so obviously he could've been another corporate rat with a high salary slaving away in the pursuit of the holy grail of money/prestige/BSD status. But in his words, "I never really liked, like working". That's exactly how I feel. I mean I want a good job, but not if I'm working 80 hours a week doing work that I don't enjoy or find fulfilling.

Btw thanks for the high-res photo, I made it my wallpaper. Hayden is FINE.

Jul 2, 2017
JDawg:

I agree. If your job is your life (which seems to be the case with a lot of high finance jobs) and you don't enjoy your job, then what's the point? I used to fantasize about becoming a trader and getting filthy rich, but then I realized that I don't give a shit about the markets no matter how hard I try to force myself to care. I think that people have a habit of romanticizing jobs. I doubt that the reality of being a KKR analyst (or whatever the hell your dream is) is nearly as rosy as you perceive it. But I guess you kind of need that fantasy to help you endure and justify the grueling 100 hour work weeks in your IBD analyst stint.

I'd love to live Paul Janka's life (before he got picked up by the media). He was just an SAT tutor, which I'm sure that half of WSO would scoff at, but:
1. The job was lax and not stressful. This means that he had a lot of free time to do the stuff that interested him (chasing girls, writing, etc)
2. He made enough money to make a decent living
3. Had good friends and was getting laid constantly.

I've come to realize that #3 is the most important in making me happy. No amount of money can make up for a lack of #3. Money can certainly help, but after a certain point it's more of a luxury than a necessity. I'd be content having enough money to where I could just spontaneously go on a 2-week vacation if I wanted to without having to think about the money.

This guy has a degree in Physics from Harvard so obviously he could've been another corporate rat with a high salary slaving away in the pursuit of the holy grail of money/prestige/BSD status. But in his words, "I never really liked, like working". That's exactly how I feel. I mean I want a good job, but not if I'm working 80 hours a week doing work that I don't enjoy or find fulfilling.

Btw thanks for the high-res photo, I made it my wallpaper. Hayden is FINE.

Good write up, I agree

I only give out the best female photos

I'm gonna get that bish some binary

Bishes love binary

Kind Regards,

Bin_Ban

Jul 2, 2017

Or you could join a community where prestige and wealth are shunned...become a hipster. Race to the bottom baby!!!

Jul 2, 2017

I would say most people go into finance because they like it, those who do it SOLELY for the money are in the minority. Most people who work in finance are competitive and may actually enjoy the "Rat Race" to some extent.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Jul 2, 2017

Why isn't this in binary?

Jul 2, 2017

who's the other chick in your account picture?

Jul 2, 2017

You're only part of the rat race if you base your self-worth on the approval of others.

Jul 2, 2017
illiniPride:

You're only part of the rat race if you base your self-worth on the approval of others.

Well said. But I always believe that anything worth having is to work for. Nothing great can be achieved with little or no effort.

Jul 2, 2017

Why isn't this in binary?

wanted to make an actual post haha

who's the other chick in your account picture?

no idea - typed in stripper (google images) - hot though

You're only part of the rat race if you base your self-worth on the approval of others.

agree but coming from a relatively well to do lifestyle that is hard to break from

Well said. But I always believe that anything worth having is to work for. Nothing great can be achieved with little or no effort.

I agree with this, but what I meant purely was...is it worth it?

Why not work for a small AM firm in Montana instead of dying at 50 because you worked at GS IB

I'm gonna get that bish some binary

Bishes love binary

Kind Regards,

Bin_Ban

Jul 2, 2017
Binary_Bankster:

I agree with this, but what I meant purely was...is it worth it?

Why not work for a small AM firm in Montana instead of dying at 50 because you worked at GS IB

Make the choice for yourself because we are all different.

Jul 2, 2017

There are a 1000 shades of gray to this decision. I decided to pull the parachute on Wall St after a solid 5-6 year run and getting a couple of good names on my resume. I'm still in banking but in a 2nd/3rd tier market with a great quality of life. I made a calculated decision to take a step back after my time in NYC and figure out what I wanted in life.

I was never particularly interested in PE (late stage anyways) or getting a MBA. I won't ever make $1M in my current role, but it pays well enough to allow my wife and I a great level of freedom. I work maybe 50 hours per week. My point is that there are plenty of options between GS IBD/KKR and making $50k/year for the rest of your life in a dead end job.

Jul 2, 2017
TechBanking:

There are a 1000 shades of gray to this decision. I decided to pull the parachute on Wall St after a solid 5-6 year run and getting a couple of good names on my resume. I'm still in banking but in a 2nd/3rd tier market with a great quality of life. I made a calculated decision to take a step back after my time in NYC and figure out what I wanted in life.

I was never particularly interested in PE (late stage anyways) or getting a MBA. I won't ever make $1M in my current role, but it pays well enough to allow my wife and I a great level of freedom. I work maybe 50 hours per week. My point is that there are plenty of options between GS IBD/KKR and making $50k/year for the rest of your life in a dead end job.

care to elaborate what you do?

I'm gonna get that bish some binary

Bishes love binary

Kind Regards,

Bin_Ban

Jul 2, 2017

Luckily for me I'm more interested in trading than investment banking. I'm not even really "excited" for ER/AM/S&T

I'll settle for a 9-5 makin 50-70k a year in some joe schmo firm pushing paper, it doesn't bother me one bit. I'm extremely confident I can flip my 20-30k savings a year to make bring total income > 100k

All that IB/PE money doesn't mean shit if your wife divorces your ass and takes half because you're never home

Jul 2, 2017

If you have to use the word "settle" to describe entering the job you want, then it's not the job (or the life) you want.

Jul 2, 2017
BlackHat:

If you have to use the word "settle" to describe entering the job you want, then it's not the job (or the life) you want.

I'll take less money to have free time over literally living in the office, all day every day.

It may not be my "ideal" job, but being at a super non target ((not even top 5 in state) and non wealthy background, it's probably the most realistic

To each his own though

Jul 2, 2017

Working hard doesn't garuntee success, but it does improve your odds. Working hard also makes success sweeter. What defines "success" is highly personal.

Jul 2, 2017

What I find interesting is how people perceive work. People used to work miserable jobs, day in and day out, so their family could be better off. Now we have people making $100K, sitting in an office chair, getting catered and free food, complaining because their life sucks for a couple years.

You work 5 years in finance and you can go do your 40 hour weeks at any number of companies and make a sizable living. Compare that to people who kill themselves their entire lives making $30K.

Having a tad bit of perspective is kind of powerful sometimes. That or a box of Kleenex to dry all the tears.

Jul 2, 2017
ANT:

What I find interesting is how people perceive work. People used to work miserable jobs, day in and day out, so their family could be better off. Now we have people making $100K, sitting in an office chair, getting catered and free food, complaining because their life sucks for a couple years.

You work 5 years in finance and you can go do your 40 hour weeks at any number of companies and make a sizable living. Compare that to people who kill themselves their entire lives making $30K.

Having a tad bit of perspective is kind of powerful sometimes. That or a box of Kleenex to dry all the tears.

Never thought about it this way, I am not talking about the work so much, as the OMG I must keep achieving.

The people that live the longest and are the happiest are the simplest people

I'm gonna get that bish some binary

Bishes love binary

Kind Regards,

Bin_Ban

Jul 2, 2017

I've always been annoyed by the new generation that feels entitled, with all this "do what makes you happy" bullshit being thrown around in regards to what job to pick. Thankful my parents didn't come from money and raised me better than that... you work so you can provide for your family, not so you can come home and feel like you've served the fucking community and have some sense of fulfillment. I had this conversation with a friend at dinner the other day, he explained how his true love is painting so that's what he's decided to do with his life, and he couldn't believe that I was willing to go into finance (being a somewhat distinguished musician) when it's not my be-all end-all passion. I told him I would shovel shit from one side of the street to the other if it paid well enough, and somehow that statement offended him to the point he wanted to leave early. Pussy.

Go to work, get paid, then come home and paint all fucking day in your mansion with your well-fed family if that's what you really like to do.

The thing I do agree with though is if you hate your job so much that you're no longer good at it, then it's time to change. Until that happens though, don't expect that work is supposed to be some sort of rewarding and enlightening life experience for you. It's called fucking "work" for a reason.

Jul 2, 2017
BlackHat:

I've always been annoyed by the new generation that feels entitled, with all this "do what makes you happy" bullshit being thrown around in regards to what job to pick. Thankful my parents didn't come from money and raised me better than that... you work so you can provide for your family, not so you can come home and feel like you've served the fucking community and have some sense of fulfillment. I had this conversation with a friend at dinner the other day, he explained how his true love is painting so that's what he's decided to do with his life, and he couldn't believe that I was willing to go into finance (being a somewhat distinguished musician) when it's not my be-all end-all passion. I told him I would shovel shit from one side of the street to the other if it paid well enough, and somehow that statement offended him to the point he wanted to leave early. Pussy.

Go to work, get paid, then come home and paint all fucking day in your mansion with your well-fed family if that's what you really like to do.

The thing I do agree with though is if you hate your job so much that you're no longer good at it, then it's time to change. Until that happens though, don't expect that work is supposed to be some sort of rewarding and enlightening life experience for you. It's called fucking "work" for a reason.

clearly you didn't read the thread

I am saying do finance, but don't shoot for prestige

I'm gonna get that bish some binary

Bishes love binary

Kind Regards,

Bin_Ban

Jul 2, 2017
BlackHat:

I've always been annoyed by the new generation that feels entitled, with all this "do what makes you happy" bullshit being thrown around in regards to what job to pick. Thankful my parents didn't come from money and raised me better than that... you work so you can provide for your family, not so you can come home and feel like you've served the fucking community and have some sense of fulfillment. I had this conversation with a friend at dinner the other day, he explained how his true love is painting so that's what he's decided to do with his life, and he couldn't believe that I was willing to go into finance (being a somewhat distinguished musician) when it's not my be-all end-all passion. I told him I would shovel shit from one side of the street to the other if it paid well enough, and somehow that statement offended him to the point he wanted to leave early. Pussy.

Go to work, get paid, then come home and paint all fucking day in your mansion with your well-fed family if that's what you really like to do.

The thing I do agree with though is if you hate your job so much that you're no longer good at it, then it's time to change. Until that happens though, don't expect that work is supposed to be some sort of rewarding and enlightening life experience for you. It's called fucking "work" for a reason.

Why are you so angry?

I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone who feels "entitled" to any job. I bet you that painter isn't thinking "I have the right to paint for a living because it's the only thing I'm passionate about". It's probably more along the lines of "I'm going to do whatever it takes to paint for a living". Some people actually give a shit about serving the community and having some sense of fulfillment in their jobs (eg. the quant genius who passes up the GS offer to go into academia, lawyers who pass up corporate law to work for the government). If that's not important to you, then that's fine, go get rich trading stocks or some shit. But each person's priorities are different. Yes providing for your family may be the main point of a job, but it isn't necessarily the only point of having a job. Nothing wrong with taking a paycut to do something you enjoy more as long as you can still pay your bills.

Jul 2, 2017
BlackHat:

I've always been annoyed by the new generation that feels entitled, with all this "do what makes you happy" bullshit being thrown around in regards to what job to pick. Thankful my parents didn't come from money and raised me better than that... you work so you can provide for your family, not so you can come home and feel like you've served the fucking community and have some sense of fulfillment. I had this conversation with a friend at dinner the other day, he explained how his true love is painting so that's what he's decided to do with his life, and he couldn't believe that I was willing to go into finance (being a somewhat distinguished musician) when it's not my be-all end-all passion. I told him I would shovel shit from one side of the street to the other if it paid well enough, and somehow that statement offended him to the point he wanted to leave early. Pussy.

Go to work, get paid, then come home and paint all fucking day in your mansion with your well-fed family if that's what you really like to do.

The thing I do agree with though is if you hate your job so much that you're no longer good at it, then it's time to change. Until that happens though, don't expect that work is supposed to be some sort of rewarding and enlightening life experience for you. It's called fucking "work" for a reason.

I would +1 SB if I had any. Given that a significant portion of why I give up nights & weekends working on the CFA (Level 2 Candidate), killing it at work, and working towards ER is because I worry about my parents & having the ability to take care of them as they get older.

It's borderline sad seeing people who had every opportunity I did basically CHOOSE to do a job that sucks/they complain about, because they are unwilling to WORK towards something more rewarding. More annoying though really, "What's stopping you?"

Jun 20, 2016

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Jul 2, 2017

My post was in response to ANT's comments, didn't know there was an argument going on in here

Jul 2, 2017

Ok, what's up with the Hayden Panettiere obsession? She is good looking, but an odd choice to be #1.

Jul 5, 2016

.

Jul 2, 2017

Really enjoyed this one. Good work Midas!

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

Jul 2, 2017

I'll be wearing a monkey suit, even if I'm running my own business.

Jul 2, 2017

Yup, I've been working on my ideas for the past six months. I'm looking to launch as soon as I'm done in July!!! Sweet freedom!

Jul 2, 2017

I'd love to start my own business but I don't have a killer idea / a specific business in mind =/

Jul 2, 2017

Mehp, think this might help. Shifted the way I thought about things while I brainstormed ideas:

http://www.khoslaventures.com/presentations/What_m...

Jul 2, 2017

Mehp, think this might help. Shifted the way I thought about things while I brainstormed ideas:

http://www.khoslaventures.com/presentations/What_m...

Jul 2, 2017
TimRay:

Mehp, think this might help. Shifted the way I thought about things while I brainstormed ideas:

http://www.khoslaventures.com/presentations/What_m...

By far the best piece on entrepreneurs I've ever read.

Jul 2, 2017

Restaurants are a lot of work. Say goodbye to your weekends if you open one.

I like the idea of an Asset Management firm. Frankly, the Friday of the Japanese earthquake, I was shocked that nobody was shorting the Uranium miners when they announced a LOCA. However, when you go into asset management, you have to hire a transfer agent, recruit clients- it's a lot more capital intensive than a restaurant.

Jul 2, 2017

I'm guessing its nice out by you but its fucking disgusting here in NYC: we had a combo of snow/rain this morning for the first full day of spring. While I totally agree with the premise of this post, the weather in NYC isn't agreeing with you on this one.

Jul 2, 2017

That paper is fire. The dude who is just like "uh, I wouldn't do all that market research, i'd just go out and start doing some actual work" is the GOAT.

Jul 2, 2017

MMM, you know better than anyone that Ive been itching to do something. But you hit the nail on the end, its a question of security vs speculation..and right now, I feel pretty secure even though Im working endless weekends and havent had natural sunlight on my skin for more than a few minutes at a time (including the walk to work in morning).

Jul 2, 2017
Mezz:

MMM, you know better than anyone that Ive been itching to do something. But you hit the nail on the end, its a question of security vs speculation..and right now, I feel pretty secure even though Im working endless weekends and havent had natural sunlight on my skin for more than a few minutes at a time (including the walk to work in morning).

Everything is in the eye of the beholder. Some people view security as a number, some view it as a lifestyle. There is no right answer. My experience has been that leaving it all on the field yields the best ROI, in more ways than one.

Jul 2, 2017

Also, the hand-written notes are great. "Typical MBA bullshit" and "Commie Horseshit" in particular, are amazing.

Jul 2, 2017

Timray that is a fantastic link. Read it sometime back on techcrunch. Good article.
I know this will probably get me few monkeys sh!ts but most monkeys at least the ones I met aren`t entreprenurial enough. Didactic yes, but entrepreneurial hardly so. I maybe wrong on it though and willing to hear what others have to yes.
Midas if you have noticed, even the ones who striked it rich in finance, especially boutiques and hedge funds were mostly guys who came from non traditional routes etc.
Cheers all and have a cold one on me this evening.

Jul 2, 2017
Inept Speculator:

Timray that is a fantastic link. Read it sometime back on techcrunch. Good article.
I know this will probably get me few monkeys sh!ts but most monkeys at least the ones I met aren`t entreprenurial enough. Didactic yes, but entrepreneurial hardly so. I maybe wrong on it though and willing to hear what others have to yes.
Midas if you have noticed, even the ones who striked it rich in finance, especially boutiques and hedge funds were mostly guys who came from non traditional routes etc.
Cheers all and have a cold one on me this evening.

Nice post. SB for you. What I am interested to see is how this will play out going forward. Namely, the prestige factor has changed so much that a lot of these guys who came from non traditional routes simply would not have gotten a shot today. As time goes by and more and more of the upper crust guys are supplanted by the puppies of prestige we will have a chance to see if your theorem holds water. Personally, I think it does and it is one of the factors why I am bearish on the industry as a whole, long-term.

Jul 2, 2017

It has sometimes occurred to me that I'd probably enjoy running a bar (every man's dream) or a coffee shop. But as far as any specific differentiation, I have no idea.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Jul 2, 2017
Pfalzer:

It has sometimes occurred to me that I'd probably enjoy running a bar (every man's dream) or a coffee shop. But as far as any specific differentiation, I have no idea.

This shit takes over your life and the $ payoff isn't nearly as good long term. I suggest you actually WORK at a bar for some time to see if you like it before you got out and plop down a quarter of a million bucks just to open your doors. Two thirds of new restaurants fail, so think it over.

Jul 2, 2017

Midas, answer honestly, what did your parents net at? What was their "wealth" when you entered the college?

Jul 2, 2017
The Phantom:

Midas, answer honestly, what did your parents net at? What was their "wealth" when you entered the college?

negative six figures

Jul 2, 2017

Running your own business, at least when you're starting out, is a ton of work. I work all day everyday. Still, if there's something fun I want to do, I can take a break. It's not really a question of working less hours (at least not at this point), but moreso of being able to align your work schedule to your fun/social schedule a LOT better.

Life is what you make it. If you don't have the balls to go grab the bull by the horns, well, then you get what you deserve.

    • 1
Jul 2, 2017

Yep, when buyside recruiting kicked off a few weeks ago I quickly realized I'm far more interested in doing my own thing, so that's what I'm going to do... even though I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing and will be completely winging it.

Jul 2, 2017

It's the only way to live. Security is a mirage.

Jul 2, 2017

Running a restaurant/bar is HARD. There is so much more to it than just having the numbers set up and the locale and decor perfected. It is blood, sweat, and tears. That said not a day goes by that I don't miss my place and talking to the old customers. If you do it make sure it is a concept that you love and cannot imagine not having everyday cuz that is exactly where you will be lol.

Jul 2, 2017
AnonIcelandicBanker:

Running a restaurant/bar is HARD. There is so much more to it than just having the numbers set up and the locale and decor perfected. It is blood, sweat, and tears. That said not a day goes by that I don't miss my place and talking to the old customers. If you do it make sure it is a concept that you love and cannot imagine not having everyday cuz that is exactly where you will be lol.

100% TRUE

@ Pfalzer: Restaurants take over in a different way. You may have a bit more free time sometimes, but you will also now have to deal with the local gov't, family members looking for a job, customers who become your friends.....it's a great industry, hell I spent a decade working in all sorts of restaurants and almost married into a restaurant family, but I suggest you work there first. Try part time, or a dead shift such as Sunday morning to get a foot in the door, and then try and keep up on a Friday night......even though you own it, a restaurant / bar is not the type of business where you just buy in and wait for the cash to roll in: you will be there every day, like it or not. If you do go in, PM me, as I still have a shitload of connections for bartenders, waitresses, and a couple of good management types.

good luck

Jul 2, 2017

Great post, Midas. I think about this stuff a lot and the older I get, the more appealing entrepreneurship sounds. I also need a little financial security in my life, so at the moment I'm hoping for a mixed strategy. That is, I'm going to be working 40 - 50 hours a week for a small (non-finance) company, and spend my free time getting entrepreneurial. I don't even know with what yet, but I do know that I need to just get out there and do it, since that's the only way to learn.

Jul 2, 2017

Shep and Ian from Vineyard Vines are coming to speak to our group in about a month about innovation and creativity.

1) I feel like they'll be laughing at us on the way out
2) I wouldn't mind going with them sometimes.. especially during the nice time of the year

Jul 5, 2016

Hey @CDN1Banker

I totally understand where you're coming from (i've recently been on a similar "soul searching" path if you want to call it that).

At the end of the day, I know it may sound simple (and I guarantee you've heard it before) but just do what makes you happy (within reason of course). And, as some of the other commentators have already said, you're fortunate enough to be able to hopefully realise sooner rather than later whether this industry/job is a passion or just something you want for the money/status or whatever.

Just be thankful you're not one of your peers who will only be able to self reflect in 5-10 years (if ever).

Also, don't let your job define you - I guarantee you that your close friends/family won't think less of you for going with your gut (whether that be staying in finance/pursuing a lower paying unrelated job that you're passionate about), in fact they'll probably respect you even more (or at least I would hope so!)

Anyways, good luck with future endeavours!

Jul 10, 2016

it doesn't. the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just gets further and further away from your.

unless your deranged and have a 'love' for finance, would suggest getting in and out of the game asap.

get your cash > start a biz > escape