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What happens when it's just not fun any more?

When you want to quit banking but you still need the money

It’s easy to lose interest in your finance job isn’t it? Updating spreadsheets, doing presentations, chasing clients, scheduling meeting, writing reports can all be boring work. Humans weren’t designed to sit on the desk for 12 hours a day, staring at screens. When you look out the window, you might see a whole world of alternatives - none of them paying nearly as much as banking. How will you ever afford to leave? And what else could you apply your skills to anyway?

If this is you, I can sympathize. I've worked in finance for 18 years and every few months I feel a bit claustrophobic.

My message to you is this: it will pass. Don't do anything rash. Sit it out. There are ways of keeping your life interesting.

If you're bored, it may be that you're too good at your job: there is no challenge, you're not learning anymore, every day is more of the same, there's no fresh stimuli. When this happens, your brain will start shutting down.

To avoid this situation, you need to break your routine. It can be small things: go somewhere new for lunch, talk to new people on your floor. It can be something big: ask to be involved in new projects; ask to move to a new team. Banks are huge organizations, there's no need to stay in your niche: put your head above the parapet.

Secondly, you need to upgrade and add to your skills. If you're bored, it may be that you haven't learned a new skill in years. Your mind used to be sharp, now it's as dull as Captain Ahab’s stump leg. There are a whole load of things you can learn and they don't even have to be related to finance. Yes, you could take a coding course in your spare time, but you could also learn how to speak French, improve your knowledge of wines or add to your retinue of great jokes. Anything to stop the tedium.

Lastly, you need to be thankful. If you work in finance, you probably have a darn good life in the material sense of things. You're warm, well fed, well clothed and you live in a country where stuff works. Whenever I start getting bored and craving excitement, I do what the ancient stoics like Seneca used to do: I practice negative visualization. I imagine losing all that I have. I imagine doing without everything my brain takes for granted.

So, next time you're bored of banking, imagine digging ditches in India. Imagine working in a factory in China. Imagine coal mining in the Appalachians.

Life could be and can be a whole lot worse. Focus on the blessings you have. Enjoy what you've achieved.

What I Learnt on Wall Street is an education focused business founded a group of Wall Street veterans from the best firms determined to help the next generation. 

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Photo by Vikas Anand Dev on Unsplash

AUTHORWiLowWallStreet Insider Comment
  • Be
    Be Sensitive
    29 January 2021

    "So, next time you're bored of banking, imagine digging ditches in India. Imagine working in a factory in China. Imagine coal mining in the Appalachians."

    What's wrong with working in a factory in China? Some of the richest people in the world started their career by learning the tough trades in factory. Jack Ma did. So did Elon Musk. And factories in China are just like factories in most other countries, similar to your India example. Don't be so insensitive and racist to your readership. In fact, most likely one of your readers' parents DID work at a factory to give a better education for their kids to get a job in banking.

  • To
    9 December 2020

    Go out to lunch? Talk to people in real life?

    For many who on this site stuck in control-heavy city like NY, SF, LA, those experience no longer exist. Is easy to forget what normal life is like in rest of country!

  • Fi
    Finance guy
    9 December 2020

    I’m still in University but I’m working hard to get a job in Finance when I’m done with University. Banking from what I’ve read can be really tedious and most people tend to leave Banking to move to the buy-side or PE after a couple of years. Cheers to me working hard to get a job in an Investment Bank!

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