If you are just starting out in your investment banking journey I want you to promise me that you won’t quit investment banking yet. “Of course I’m not going to quit investment banking yet” – you would think that I am nuts for even suggesting it. I certainly thought the friend I made early on in my banking career was nuts…why on earth would I quit…I just got in! All the same they made me promise that I would not quit investment banking for at least one year so I promised and thought little of it.
Then a few months into my job, after I had returned from training in New York and was getting slammed with 3 pitches and one live deal that was going nowhere…I wanted to quit. I was tired, I was getting really fat and far from being the high flying super banker that I thought I would be…and I remembered the promise I made to my friend.
Every banker wants to quit at some point in their first year…
It may have been after their first all-nighter or after they got staffed on another damn pitch after just getting some time to finally rest or you may have just been told off in front of everyone for the first time. Whatever the trigger, there is always a point in a first year analyst’s life that they want to quit.
And so before you get into banking I want you to make that promise to me. Promise me that you will not quit in your first year of banking. If you feel the need to vent about something feel free to do it below (if you can’t do it in the office) just don’t give in just yet.
Here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t quit in your first year of banking:
You will not get credit for ‘time served’ from your new employer
- Other employers love hiring investment bankers. They have skills, experience and a proven ability to work under most conditions
- In fact after you come out of banking you are normally able to leverage a job with significantly less years under your belt than if you had worked in another field or industry
- However if you leave in your first year you get none of this credit. Chances are that they will take you into their graduate program for the next year…and all the work you have put in will go for nothing
Burning bridges right after training is a really bad idea
- Most first year analysts want to quit at some point after they have returned from training
- Investment banks spend an incredible amount of money training up their analysts and are desperate for them to join to take some of the pressure of the rest of the staff
- The best way to burn some serious bridges is to quit right after they have spent all this money on you and they are really desperate for you to join them
- You may not care…but it can harm your career (I’ve seen it happen). The finance world is an incredibly small one – much more so than you may first think – and a bad reputation when you first start out is the last thing you need
Your body will get used to the hours
- You may be wondering how people actually manage to survive doing the work that you are currently doing…but the fact is that your body will get used to the hours you are doing…just give it a chance!
- When you get a chance though…make sure you take the opportunity to rest. You will be amazed how much more positive you feel after you have had a good nights sleep
The first year is always the worst
- In terms of hours and shock to the system the first year is easily the worst year in banking (although in terms of stress I found the second to be worse)
- If you can promise yourself not to leave and just get to that second year (or even until the interns join) you will find that it progressively gets easier and easier
You haven’t banked a bonus yet
- Doing an investment banking for the money is not one of the best reasons to be in the industry – in fact I only think that there are 2 reasons you should really be doing investment banking – but let’s be honest it is one of the biggest perks of the job
- A huge amount of your wage is going to be paid in that first year bonus…and you have already put in significant effort into your job…so why would you quit before you banked that first bonus
I understand that you want to quit…but find a way to stay for at least a year
Trust me…I understand how much you may want to quit. I have been there. I have seen all the reasons that someone may want to quit and felt a fair few of them myself but if you can find a way of staying until the end of at least your first year then you will be much better off for the reasons outlined above.
So how can you ‘push through’ when you are feeling terrible? Here are some:
- See if you can reduce your workload: Often it takes a while before you feel confident enough to tell your staffer that you are overloaded…after all…you’re super-banker right?! But if you really have too much on your plate it is worth talking to them. I did this in my first year and managed to get my workload reduced – my staffer just didn’t realise how much I had on.
- Talk to someone: if you have made friends with someone at work talk to them or talk to someone else who isn’t going to tell you your life sucks and you should quit. Post here or on other forums. Getting stuff off your chest (without wallowing in it) helps a lot!
- Find ways to de-stress: People de-stress differently so find a way which works for you. Stick some headphones in at the office and listen to music or get a 10 minute shoulder rub at a massage place near the office. Anything to calm you down
Do you have other ways you push through when you want to quit? Have you don’t this in other areas of your life? Share them with others below and get through that first terrible year.