When would you quit?

I have a dilemma - investment banking has been bad for my physical and mental health. I went through a period where I was still turning up to work but where my health was making it really hard for me to do much, and my performance reviews went from fantastic to unsatisfactory.

Since then, the work I've been assigned is much less interesting than my peers, and I am developing no skills. I've also noticed that I have been treated differently by my manager in the aftermath of this period.

I'm trying to figure out my next steps. At present, I am considering resigning without another job lined up, because at least then I'll actually get to look for another position (outside of banking), and my health can improve.

So, would you quit now, stay a little longer, or stay throughout the analyst stint?

I'm worried that if I quit now, I'll be less employable because I haven't finished enough time. I'm worried that if I stay longer, my health will get even worse like it did before. I can't imagine finishing my analyst period, but I'm wondering if recruiters won't consider my applications seriously without more experience.

Has anyone seen colleagues who have left before the end of the analyst contract? How have they fared?

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Comments (48)

Feb 25, 2017 - 11:59am

Stay, but you should leave if your health is deteriorating so rapidly that you start experiencing inflamation, depresssion, continous sickness, or memory problems. Burnout is a real problem and no job is worth slowly killing yourself if you can't handle it. Everyone is different. Talk to recruiters asap.

Feb 25, 2017 - 9:45pm

I've had multiple of those things happen. One of the doctors I've been seeing has offered to write a medical certificate so that I can't work late, but I know that if I submit that to my boss, I'll just get fired.

I've been speaking to recruiters for the past few months, and I've gotten to a few final rounds, but I've decided that the roles aren't what I'm looking for, and in one case I ultimately didn't have the background they needed. I've been disheartened so far by the job search, and scheduling interviews has landed me in trouble with my boss multiple times.

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Feb 27, 2017 - 11:02am

dude, get real here, a company cannot fire you for submitting a medical certificate. Do it through HR and you will be fine. Obviously, it will likely damage your long-term prospect with your firm, but it's not like you want to stay anyway so take the reduced hours until you can find something else. Having a job makes you a much more attractive candidate.

I went through something similar when I was an analyst and ended up getting a medical certificate for reduced hours and was pretty amazed by the support I got (it helped that my group head's wife had a similar issue and it was a big driving force in leaving her partner position at a top law) and ended up getting my PE job through a recommendation from my MD.

Best Response
Feb 26, 2017 - 12:21pm

Dude, it it's deteriorating your health, there's really no debate here. You have to leave. Think about it, at some point you'll be put on leave for poor performance anyway. You can't work with poor health, because it's physically impossible.

Also, don't be so picky. Health should be your number one priority. Make sure the job comes with a solid health insurance package, something with regular 40 hour per week expectations, and with a good number of travel and sick days. You might want to even get a job in a low stress city. Those should literally be your only concerns. Health requires time in the gym, lots of rest, low stress, and healthy home life. Why would you think about anything else in terms of looking for your new role?

Mar 3, 2017 - 3:03am

Same here. I ignored my health issues for years (undiagnosed lyme) and now I'm disabled. So there's that for perspective. I was seeing a number of doctors but never getting the right answer. can't help but to think if I had taken time off earlier to focus exclusively on health this wouldn't have been such an issue

Feb 27, 2017 - 10:23am

Very level headed answer, I agree. I feel like often people just live to work and are willing to sacrifice things (including health) just to make money or other reasons that arent as important in the long run. What good is all that money if you arent healthy enough to enjoy it? There's nothing wrong with admitting banking isnt good for you as a person and switching to doing something else that can allow you to enjoy life a bit more.

Feb 27, 2017 - 11:02am

1 - Assuming you haven't already done so, go see the shrink and general med doctor, make sure there is no major underlying issue
2 - try to find another job before leaving
3 - Start upping your performance now knowing you are on your way out as motivation
4 - request a reference and/or a letter of recommendation from as many coworkers and managers as possible, when you resign, mention that it is with the best interest of the firm and yourself in mind. Be sure to be grateful for the experience and what you learned during your time there.
5 - take some time off between positions to get your shit back in gear

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
  • 2
Feb 28, 2017 - 9:53am

I like all of these, and #3 seems like it would help your health, frankly.

Speaking from the outside as a non-banker - no one is going to hold it against you if you decide you don't want to put up with that shit long-term.

Feb 28, 2017 - 9:25am

If you're having health problems, you should leave asap. Working at a hospital, I am partial to working in healthcare. You get to actually contribute to human lives so you feel relatively fulfilled at work, the benefits are amazing from a medical insurance standpoint, you should rarely over 50-60 hours in a week and that is during the busiest time of the year. Bottom line, it comes down to taking care of yourself. You need to put your wellbeing above your career. What good is exiting to PE after a full 2 years if you are miserable and feel like shit?

Feb 28, 2017 - 9:26am

It's difficult/impossible to give advice on health online, but here is what I'd recommend:

  1. Get that letter from your doctor stating that you can only work 40 hours a week.
  2. Write an email to HR and your manager stating that this has caused your performance decline and as much as you want to be a standout analyst, it's best for everyone wif your hours are limited. Mention that you wish for privacy in this matter, but you're willing to talk to them about it (if you are).
  3. Job hunt like a mad man. t sounds like leaving some of the pressure of the "big city" might be good for you. I'd look for a different role in a location that may fit your style a little better.
  4. Find a job that's the right fit for you and leave.

This is unless your health is so bad that you cannot work 35-40 hours a week. If you're at that point you probably should just resign and take care of yourself first.

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  • 2
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:19am

Are you at a big bank? Have you looked at transferring to a less stressful division in the same bank? A guy in my class got burned out a few months in and it was killing his health so they let him transfer to the COO office in a more strategy type role with 9-5 hours.

Otherwise look into commercial/corporate banking if you love finance. They make good money but still work very reasonable hours.

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Feb 28, 2017 - 12:00pm
  1. Try and transfer internally
  2. Get a note from doctor and discuss with HR/Your boss about it
  3. Get your vitamin D levels checked, it's just about now that they would be at their lowest and when it is very low it can cause a lot of health issues. Probably worth it to get thyroid etc checked out as well. I sometimes get very low vitamin D when I don't watch it and my psoriasis flares up like you wouldn't believe.
  4. If not then quit, it's really not worth it to hurt your health like this.
********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********
Feb 28, 2017 - 3:20pm

Can't offer advice but I think it would allow others to give better advice based on you clarifying:

Are you a 2016 grad and 8 months into your analyst stint

Are you a 2015 grad and 1 year and 8 months into your analyst stint.

Sounds like you're a 2016, but if the latter than just grind it out.

We're not lawyers. We're investment bankers. We didn't go to Harvard. We Went to Wharton!
  • 1
Feb 28, 2017 - 3:41pm

It's really tough to look for a new job while you're currently employed, especially if you're working long hours with tough deadlines.

I quit my last job with nothing else lined up, knowing they'd put me on gardening leave, so I could spend some time interviewing. As a result I found a great job that I really enjoy within two weeks and my manager actually said one of the reasons he hired me was because I had the balls to just quit the last place.

It's a risk, but it can pay off.

Feb 28, 2017 - 3:49pm

Be an underpreformer, collect your checks, wait out the two years and work on your interviewing skills. You'll be surprised with how much you can get away with without being fired.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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Feb 28, 2017 - 4:49pm

I was in a similar position at one point, my performance was fine but my health was shot, I lost serious weight, etc. Given where I grew up and the attitude of folk there, it was engrained in me to push through or die trying. Ultimately, only resulted in 2 emergency department trips but the young human male body can recover exceptionally quickly. I surrived, but I don't recommend that approach, but just giving you a different perspective.

Feb 28, 2017 - 9:27pm

no company/bank is dumb enough to fire you if you have a medical certificate. If anything, they may be more supportive given you performed well prior to the medical issue.

bankers are generally cold hearted mfers (semi-joking) but if you are honest, transparent and most importantly be straight up, you may receive unfound support like you never imagined.

Mar 1, 2017 - 7:23pm

Dude, usually I tell people to suck it up and work hard as it will all be worth it. And SOME level of health deterioration is to be expected in banking (I put on 25 lbs, lost considerable amount of hair, developed a sleeping disorder, had heart palpitations, tendinitis, blood pressure issues, etc). If you are close to the edge, take drastic steps to take care of yourself now:

  1. Diet and exercise are key
  2. Listen to your doctor(s)
  3. Easy on the substance abuse - smoke some pot to chill you out after work, but don't do what I did and start chugging whiskey when you get home at 2am)

Now as someone else mentioned you should keep collecting your paychecks at your bank, for several reasons:

  1. It's easier to recruit for other jobs while you are still employed; people take you more seriously
  2. It's really, REALLY hard to get fired at the analyst level at many banks
  3. Losing your financial security and having to pay rent every month could cause a lot of stress, which could result in your health deteriorating further

That said, start leaning on your support network for advice and start planning your exit from the bank immediately. It sounds like this job just isn't for you, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a fucked up existence, and it's only worth it if you can make it to the other side without too much damage to yourself. I've been out of banking for a few years now and I still feel the damage of working in finance (it's probably gotten worse since my current job is by no means easy on the hours / stress). I've started to realize that money stops mattering after a certain point, and that point is reached very quickly. It's very hard to get your health back, so take care of yourself.

Good luck, bud.

Mar 2, 2017 - 12:43am

Do you know what, precisely your health issues are? If not, I would suggest a medical leave of absence for 6 months. Get a concierge doctor and do a very deep investigation

Mar 2, 2017 - 9:32am

My good friend had a similar experience in banking. She was a really smart girl with a 3.9 GPA and was at a top bank. She got to a point where she attempted to commit suicide a few times. She had to go on medical leave and then quit her job anyways. She went through serious and intense shock therapy in a rehab facility. Bottom line - your health is so important - and you should definitely 100% resign if you feel its important. She has permanent mental damage now and it will take her years and years to fully recover. It is 100% not worth it.

Also - don't beat yourself up about it - its okay if banking is not for you, it is okay if you are feeling this way, it is okay if your performance is not amazing. You are still a smart, brave, worthy and unique individual with incredible potential to do good in the world. There are so many roles out there and so many ways to live life.

That being said - it takes a while to find another job at a junior level if you leave without another job. It took my friend an entire year and she ended up in Risk Management. Unforgiving brutal market. So try to get good references and leave on good terms - references will be critical.

I will pray for you. I am sure you will be fine, hang in there. You are not alone.

Mar 3, 2017 - 1:05am

Life is too short. Pursue what you are passionate about. When you love what you do, you'll naturally outwork your counterparts and on the contrary, if you don't like what you do you will never fully enjoy it and fall short of the competition. Your question shouldn't need to be posted on a web forum, take care of yourself and make a life worth living that you fully enjoy. You've got this man.

Mar 4, 2017 - 10:26am

You've got some solid advice so far and completely agree with submitting the certificate to HR to create a lifestyle that is suitable to your needs while you look for your next gig.

Health is above all tbh. It's something so many of us take for granted.

Mar 4, 2017 - 3:26pm

I think the best thing to do is have an honest direct conversation with your boss. If they don't listen to your health concerns, then just stop trying so hard at work without being explicitly insubordinate. You'll be on the path to a layoff but that will buy you time and energy while you look for something else. Worst case scenario you at least end up collecting a nice severance check which you wouldn't get if you just abruptly quit

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