Work/Life Balance - Hours

nbuch's picture
Rank: Monkey | 52

I have an opportunity to move to a position in my company that would be great experience and provide a career progression opportunity that I've been looking for.

This post isn't necessarily about the position, because I've networked and talked with enough people on the current team to know what experience and where this could lead down the line, as far as title's, positions and compensation goes. They are all positive.

My hang up is in the hours. How many hours a week are you guys typically working in your current roles? Do you enjoy it and it not seem like work? Coming out of college I thought I'd work as many hours as it takes and do whatever it takes to maximize earning. Currently, I'm making a fair wage at 40 hours a week and decent future prospects but nothing crazy. The new role has been stressed to me that it will require around 60 hours a week, and commonly we are in the office past the custodians.

I'm still young, 3 years out of school now would seemingly be the time for this type of job. The transition could lead to "5 to 10x my current salary in 10 years" is what I was told. Now I'm just hung up on the life balance of maintaining and making new relationships and having time for fun things outside of work with friends, or just immersing myself in this career, putting those things in a firm back seat and grinding now to hopefully relax later.

Any personal stories or advice from anyone who's been in the same or similar situations?

Comments (50)

Jul 30, 2019

You can work 60 hrs a week and still have a lot going on outside work

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Jul 30, 2019

typical utilization rate for junior staff in consulting is 200%+, meaning they worked at least 80 hours week on average for the whole year

60 hours doesn't sound that bad

Jul 30, 2019

Right, but to what point is that worth it is kind of what I'm asking? And for how long can you have that kind of work rate, because I networked with the Executive in head of this group who's still working those kind of hours and has to be in his 50s. That doesn't seem worth it to me out side of just doing it in a junior position.

Jul 30, 2019

10x your salary in 10 years seems pretty awesome. Take the job work 6-6 or 6-7 you still have lots of time for activities from 7-12. The additional salary can help you save some money for a house, kids, MBA, new patek, etc.

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Jul 30, 2019

Agreed on the salary, but I think that should probably be taken with a grain of salt or in a "best case scenario" type of light. I am leaning towards taking it, just wanted to see if anyone had similar experiences or lifestyle changes

Funniest
Jul 30, 2019

Absolutely love that 'new patek' is thrown in with kids and MBA

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Jul 31, 2019

Essential time piece :)

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Jul 30, 2019

The 10X is if you ball out and produce for the firm. Keep that in the back of your head when working. Work harder then others

Jul 30, 2019

What's the position?

Most Helpful
Jul 30, 2019

Here is my situation: I average about 55 hours per week. I'm in the office around 7:30A and I work until 6-7P most nights, with a couple hours on the weekend from home. On top of that, I commute all over the place. SoCal traffic is awful, so I spend about 14 hours M-F in the car. I still manage to see friends, network, and spend time with my girlfriend. You have to sacrifice somewhere. I have not watched a TV show in about 3 years, I rarely waste time. I even deleted my IG just to save the 10 minutes here and there. If you are intentional about not wasting time, you can easily make this work.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Aug 3, 2019

Just wanted to add something here:

I also meal prep on Sundays. I eat lunch at my desk but it's always something healthy. I try to cook two different meals to alternate during the week. On days I know it'll be tough, I throw in some small candy (huge fan of dark chocolate).

I also wake up at 5:00A to hit the gym. I shower and get dressed at a gym near my office/ job site. At first it's a hassle, but eventually it becomes routine.

I also get everything ready the night before. At 5:00A I am on autopilot- my toothbrush is here, work bag is there, lunch bag is here, etc. By following a regimented schedule I've lost 40 lbs. So it's possible to have a social life and be healthy.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Aug 26, 2019

What you described is literally my ideal life haha. Thanks for the inspiration!

Aug 4, 2019

I know it's expensive to live out there, but is it not possible to live closer to the office? or are you saying you commute to various places throughout the week?

Aug 4, 2019

Various places throughout the week. My office and my girlfriend's offices are far apart. The midway point is a city I would never live in, so I will just commute far. Not that bad of an issue because I have my routine down.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Jul 30, 2019

The concept that you are going to stay at a single shop for 10+ years in today's job marketplace is generally pretty wishful thinking. What is the quality of the actual learning experience at this shop? Forget the comp at this stage in your career. If the shop has good resume value and you think you will learn a lot and expand your skill set, sacrificing a little bit of work life balance (and 60 hrs per week is not that bad) is not a big deal three years out of college.

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Jul 30, 2019

From all I can gather from people on the team, the quality of the learning experience is the best part of the job. I am going to continue to talk with people in the position currently to learn more and hear of exit opps to get a better understanding, but from what I can tell it is very solid.

To clarify - when I met with the Exec, he didn't blow smoke and say that I would be there 10 years. Just that this job should be viewed as a spring board to many different directions, and that the experience can lead to that kind of pay increase down the road - wherever that may be. (Keep in mind embellishment is possible, but he didn't seem like that kind of guy).

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Jul 30, 2019
nbuch:

To clarify - when I met with the Exec, he didn't blow smoke and say that I would be there 10 years. Just that this job should be viewed as a spring board to many different directions, and that the experience can lead to that kind of pay increase down the road - wherever that may be. (Keep in mind embellishment is possible, but he didn't seem like that kind of guy).

That may be true, but remember who you're talking to. His motivation is to pay you as little as he can get away with. If he can convince you that the "experience" is worth foregoing salary, he's going to do that, even though from their perspective, they would be willing to pay you more.

As long as you understand that when a hiring manager/executive tells you that the experience you'll gain is a springboard, that it's a negotiating tactic, you'll be fine. They aren't wrong, it may be helpful. So will the experience you'll gain at their competitor's firm. At the end of the day your labor is worth something and you shouldn't trade it for the nebulous promise of future wage growth.

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Jul 30, 2019

60 hours a week is fucking nothing LOL, take it. If you work 40 hours a week, thats enough time to start your own company/side gig for extra money.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Jul 30, 2019

Lots to unpack here.

nbuch:

I have an opportunity to move to a position in my company that would be great experience and provide a career progression opportunity that I've been looking for. This post isn't necessarily about the position, because I've networked and talked with enough people on the current team to know what experience and where this could lead down the line, as far as title's, positions and compensation goes. They are all positive.

Sounds promising...

nbuch:

My hang up is in the hours. How many hours a week are you guys typically working in your current roles? Do you enjoy it and it not seem like work? Coming out of college I thought I'd work as many hours as it takes and do whatever it takes to maximize earning. Currently, I'm making a fair wage at 40 hours a week and decent future prospects but nothing crazy. The new role has been stressed to me that it will require around 60 hours a week, and commonly we are in the office past the custodians.

Somewhere between 45-65? There are too many variables here to even give you advice. At some companies, face/desk time is important. At others, as long as you get your work done, they don't care where you are. For me, sometimes I roll in at 9:30 or leave the office at 4. Other times I'm at my desk 8-8. Most of the time I'm out of the office for at least part of the day, plus answering emails via phone before I get in (contractors wake up early) or after I leave (to close out the day).

What matters A LOT more is what you'll be doing during whatever time you're at work. If I was parked in my chair at my desk cranking out the same reports over and over again for 60 hours a week I might hang myself. But 60 hours goes super fast if you're bouncing from a job site, to modeling a deal, to coaching your management staff, to going to a design meeting, all while putting out fires in between. If you enjoy what you're doing and are engaged and essential to the process, time flies. If you're bored and doing repetitive nonsense, it crawls.

nbuch:

I'm still young, 3 years out of school now would seemingly be the time for this type of job. The transition could lead to "5 to 10x my current salary in 10 years" is what I was told. Now I'm just hung up on the life balance of maintaining and making new relationships and having time for fun things outside of work with friends, or just immersing myself in this career, putting those things in a firm back seat and grinding now to hopefully relax later.

Hah, I'm with @Ricky Rosay on this - you're not going to be there in 10 years. You probably won't be there in 5. Maybe not 3. Also, if you're pulling 60 hour weeks, you still have plenty of time to hang out. It might not be 5pm happy hours with the boys every weekday because you're either too busy or exhausted, but even if you're just being social on friday nights and the weekends there is plenty of time. Everyone eats lunch too - great time to meet up with equally busy friends.

nbuch:

Any personal stories or advice from anyone who's been in the same or similar situations?

Only you know what you want out of life. My weekdays aren't exactly exciting - gym in the morning, work all day, some relaxing activity like reading a book or playing video games or netflix to decompress at night. I'm usually exhausted. I try to get breakfast or lunch with a buddy or a contact once a week. Weekends are far more fun though. I hang out with my fiancee, hang out with friends, do things outdoors, take trips, or just lay around and relax after a hectic week.

All of that works for me. You need to find what works for you.

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Aug 4, 2019

Hey, I'm in an MBA program (T-15) right now after doing construction for a few years looking to get into development. I'm curious how you think your days are split between the 9:30-4 and the 8-8 ones? I'm trying to work in NYC/Boston/Chicago so a major market.

What matters A LOT more is what you'll be doing during whatever time you're at work. If I was parked in my chair at my desk cranking out the same reports over and over again for 60 hours a week I might hang myself. But 60 hours goes super fast if you're bouncing from a job site, to modeling a deal, to coaching your management staff, to going to a design meeting, all while putting out fires in between. If you enjoy what you're doing and are engaged and essential to the process, time flies. If you're bored and doing repetitive nonsense, it crawls.

This is also super reassuring since you basically described what I'm doing right for my internship (RE consulting) vs what I want to actually do (development).

Aug 4, 2019
jarstar1:

I'm curious how you think your days are split between the 9:30-4 and the 8-8 ones?

The point is more that it varies wildly. I get in when I have to get in and I leave when it's a good time to leave. "Facetime" is meaningless where I work versus work output.

Jul 30, 2019

You're getting some good advice.

I can't objectively weigh in without knowing exactly what you're doing now and exactly what you'll be doing at the new firm.

Generally speaking, 60 hrs is a breeze especially if the work is half as stimulating as your contact leads on.

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Jul 31, 2019

Telling someone your age that in 10 years you could be making X money sounds like what old people tell young people to take advantage of them. If, however, you can see the company has multiple people who are in their mid-career and have been there 10+ years, or have spent their entire career there, and have reached this milestone salary you are being advised on, that may be worth considering (Trammell Crow comes to mind). But if you don't see that, and this came from some baby-boomer who has been there forever, you're probably being sold snake-oil.

Aug 1, 2019

Thanks for response. I probably should've left out the comment made on salary increase specifically and kept it general. I agree, it's something to be cognizant of, but the general theme of the meeting and position is (and I know this for fact) this position would lead to Title's and Comp (internal or external) that my current position couldn't lead to.

That was my general question and obviously, it's individual dependent. But there would be quite a lifestyle change that would have to occur if I went this route, and wanted to see if other's had been in the same situation.

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Aug 1, 2019

Understandable. Just wanted to make sure you're not being led on like a donkey with a carrot at the end of a stick tied to his head. Like others have pointed out, and no one means this in a negative way, but you will likely not be there for 10 years as other great career opportunities will arise before even half that time passes.

In the general sense, it sounds like a good opportunity. The grind rarely stops though, even in later years - something to keep in mind. There's never a good time to take a break. Sometimes you just have to do it, even if it seems like bad timing. Work hard in your new role, but schedule some vacation far ahead and make everyone aware of it. Go out of country in a different time zone so you have an excuse to not respond to emails immediately. Thats what I do

Aug 1, 2019

Hi @nbuch , 60 hours doesn't sound that much bad. Plan your free time accordingly and have fun!

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Aug 1, 2019

What's more important to YOU, more money or work/life? That's all this boils down to.

Personally, 60 hours regularly is a lot and I think a lot of people on this forum tend to downplay hours, esp because this isn't the normal "80-100 hours" you normally see here. BUT, it depends on the person - do you value 7-8 hours of sleep a night? Working out an hour 4x a week? Other hobbies? Eating healthy/cooking your own meals? Reading? Family/friends?

I get the feeling that money/career are worth more to a lot of people on this forum than the aforementioned luxuries, and that's OK... chose what you want more. Outside of this forum, you'd get a more balanced perspective of people valuing TIME more than MONEY IMO (to a degree, of course).

I'd like to point out that there are numerous studies that say that after $75-90k a year (Depending on the study), money DOES NOT buy you happiness.

Do what you think will make YOU happy.

I've personally experienced this situation before, and what I realized is that if I have to ask other people "if it's worth it", deep down subconsciously I know it's not and I was just seeking justification i.e. lying to myself.

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Aug 1, 2019

Great response, those are the questions I've been juggling. I do value fitness, friends/family and hobbies such as golf and sports games. I'd like to be able to eat healthy and not have to order food into the office 2 meals a day as well.

On the other hand, I'd love to have the opportunity to make a great wage and do/have nice things in the future. That's the hang up, will this job lead me to other jobs that I'll always have to be working 60ish hours a week at?

If you don't mind my asking, you said you experience this situation before.. what route did you go and how did it end up?

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Aug 1, 2019

Started in commercial banking, went to work at a small IB boutique after a year, stayed there a year (hated it) and went back to commercial banking.

I didn't even work long hours in IB (by IB standards) - 50-60 tops. What I couldn't stand was the unpredictable nature of the work, the "work comes before everything" type of culture, and the type of people that are attracted to working longer hours (no offense) - a lot of them don't care about much besides money and work and I don't want to generalize, but a lot of these types aren't exactly the nicest of people (in my personal experience).

To me, health is wealth and should always come before money. That said, I do pretty well for my age but certainly not nearly as well as IB/PE/HF - on an hourly basis though, I'm probably not too far behind (if I'm behind at all).

Working 60+ hours regularly is not healthy and I dare someone to debate me on this point.

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Aug 1, 2019

I think a lot of people hit it on the mark. A 60 hour work week is a 9am to 9pm. Extremely doable with time for personal stuff on the weekends. And more than likely you probably won't actually work the entire 60 hrs. There's probably time for lunch, routine breaks, and general office goof-off sessions.

You say you're working a ~40 hour wk job. What do you do when you get home? Do you waste time watching TV/movies? Would you rather spend that time doing something that could progress your career to something that makes 5-10x salary in 10 years?

Of course this all depends on your personality, lifestyle, and personal obligations (i.e. girlfriend/family/friends etc.).

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Aug 2, 2019

60 hours is definitely a step-up from 40 hours a week, but completely do-able while having a great social life, getting 7-8 hours of sleep, and working out - just requires being efficient and not dicking around. What could help is living close to the office and minimizing transit time. Here's how I imagine the schedule to look like:

Monday - Thursday
7:00am-8:30am workout/shower/get-ready
8:30am - 9:00am transit to work
9am-12am workday
7 hours of sleep

Friday
7:00am - 8:30am workout/shower/get-ready
8:30am - 9:00am transit to work
9am-7pm workday
7pm onwards = social / party / sleep

Weekends = Free for whatever

Whoops, just realized I typed in a 70 hour work week. But even that...that's completely do-able, just have to be efficient. Note, pretty rare (even banking) to be working the entire time straight...just grab coffee with friends nearby during the slower hours. Also had buddies go on dates during times when deals were slow

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Aug 4, 2019

Do you not have to "wind-down" after work? Regardless of if I leave at 10 or 2, I find I need around 2 hours to eat, shower, fap, ect... Been considering leaving at a hard 9 and working from home (with my office setup) to blur that wind-down period some.

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Aug 4, 2019

Investment sales 8am to 11pm on average (60-80 hours). Sometimes I leave at 7pm, sometimes I leave at 2am. Sometimes I work the weekends (trying to avoid at least Saturday), sometimes I don't. Starting out is a huge learning curve (even with prior experience) to thoroughly understand AE and how your shop uses it, the excel model, your asset class, the deal flow process, and how to balance learning all of those things while working on multiple deals (i.e. what task require the most lead time and what stuff can wait till the last minute).

Just make time for stuff. When the bosses leave, you can usually put off a task till later in the evening. I use that time to have din din with friends or go to happy hours with industry folk. Still haven't figured the gym thing out yet, been trying to go during lunch but we get a lot of client request around then (been having to just do it after work or during dinner breaks if I don't go out with someone), either way, figure out something for that.

It's not bad if you like it and keep your mind focused on the 5-10 year plan. As irritating as things can get, I still love showing up to work and that's why I chose this job over another one with similar base pay and half the hours.

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Aug 5, 2019
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Aug 28, 2019