Surviving the long hours and stress of Investment Banking is not easy and you don’t make it any easier on yourself by not taking your annual leave. Taking all of your annual leave is critical to both your performance as a banker and better performance leads to better ratings, better bonuses and ultimately better exit opportunities.
One of the best things you can do for your career as an Investment Banker is to take all of your annual leave every year.
Investment Banking is a marathon…not a sprint
That was the title of one of the first posts I wrote on this blog. Everything in the industry is designed to make you think it is a sprint. It is designed to make you think that you need to put in the absolute maximum effort every single day and to work really hard at all moments to get that next big bonus and to build your reputation as much as possible.
All of these actions do make you look better and may make you the best paid junior banker in your year but the big problem occurs when you burn out. The people that last in banking tend not to be the ones that push themselves as hard as they can…they are not the bottom performers but they are typically not the top performers either.
Look, it may not be what you are told when you are trying to get into banking and it may not be what you are told when you are actually working in the industry but from my experience and from what I observed the people who last the longest are those who are best able to balance their life with work. Those who keep themselves positive and who have lives outside of banking. They may not be the top ranking analysts and associates (occasionally they are) but they are not the ones who get sick of the job either.
If I’m going to be honest I was not one of those people and in hindsight I wish I had thought about this more. Investment banking is an industry where the greatest rewards are there for those who last in the industry…not those who perform the best. Obviously you don’t want to be the bottom performer (those are the ones who get fired)…but the extra effort required to be the top performer is often not compatible with the ability to have a long career in the industry.