Why work the best years of our lives away?
I was on a Zoom with a bunch of friends from school who all work a typical 9am - 5pm job. I thought I'd share a convo we had to see everyone's thoughts on this forum as I found it to be quite eye-opening for me and has now made me start considering a career switch.
It's my 27th birthday coming up and they asked me what I'm doing for it, I said 'not much, work is quite busy atm and I have my end of year review coming up so want to make sure I get promoted to associate'. They replied with 'honestly man why are you working the most valuable and enjoyable part of your life away? Life is short and you don't know how long you have left do you really want to spend it working non stop?'
My response was 'It's a sacrifice now but I'm thinking long term about where I want to be when I'm older'
They then said 'You don't know how long you have left, what happens if you died tomorrow you would have done nothing apart from work your entire life, are you really willing to give up your 20s and early 30s so you can retire early at the age of 50 when the best part of your life is over?'
I honestly had no response to this.
They then asked what I've accomplished, I said I was going to be an associate soon and they responded saying how meaningless that was, they said how they've all traveled the world, slept with so many girls they lost count, learned from past relationships and mistakes, found new hobbies, met new friends and lived a stress-free life in their twenties and said how they never needed a high paid job to do so.. then made a joke 'all whilst you were creating a pitchbook'.
This made me think, I have a good job yeah, but I'm almost 30, I'm single, I haven't slept with a girl since I started IB three years ago, I haven't traveled the world, and I've not done anything meaningful with my life.
The fact that someone who does a 9am-5pm earning a basic salary is literally able to live a fulfilling and happy life that sounds far better than mine made me really think, what is the point of us working our best years away? I studied my life away as a student, then joined IB straight out of university and have worked 80+ hour weeks for the past 3 years and now I'm turning 27 with nothing to show for it.
What is the point of high finance careers such as IB/PE when we literally have to give up our best years?