A Day in the Life of a Former Investment Banker
So, what do you do when you quit the world of investment banking?
I’m not talking about getting fired – I’m talking about when you voluntarily quit to do something else, ideally without a “Plan B” in place.
Is life less stressful? More fun? How can you entertain yourself all day?
And most importantly, what about the models and bottles?
To answer these questions and more, here’s an account of one day in my life shortly after I left investment banking, when I was “on vacation” for the first time in a long time.
Make sure you contrast this with a week in the life of an investment banking analyst after you’re done.
6:30 AM – Wake up. Look next to me and confusion sets in when I see no Flashing Red Light: yes, my Blackberry is gone. For a moment I pause in panicked confusion.
Some habits die hard, and despite being “on vacation,” I can’t bring myself to wake up late. Being in a different time zone doesn’t help either.
8:30 AM – Sleep in for awhile longer. None of my other friends is awake yet. Back to sleep… for even longer.
11 AM – 11 sounds like a good time to wake up – everyone else is also conscious by now. It’s 2 PM or so back in the office, which means my friends there are probably being told that whatever model they’re working on currently is “needed ASAP” and watching VPs punch through car door windows.
12 PM – Head to lunch. Life near the beach is slow. We spend around 2 hours eating and reminiscing over the good old days. The whole time I keep looking down at my hands, only to see no Blackberry… still. My friends are wondering why the nervous twitch persists.
2 PM – Finally we finish up and leave. Can’t do anything too strenuous, though, so we head to the beach and sit in the sun for awhile. The water’s much more colorful than my Excel spreadsheets, even the ones with excessive color-coding.
4 PM – Time passes quickly when you’re in the sun all day. We go and play frisbee on the beach while some other friends head off to go kayaking.
5 PM – On our way back from the beach, I get a text message from a friend at work wondering about some model I worked on a long time ago.
While I’m under no obligation to answer questions anymore, without my bonus in my bank account yet I’m not about to take any chances.
Analyst bonuses are paid out in mid to late July or sometimes even later, so I have to be cautious (for associates and senior bankers it’s January/February).
And even without a Blackberry, I am still reachable 24/7 thanks to cell phones – so disappearing completely is not an option.
6 PM – Head over to the spa for a massage. Turn my cell phone off. There’s no way anyone’s interrupting this one, not even for the most urgent Excel question ever.
7 PM – Go back to our hotel and I do some more planning for my upcoming investment banking training program (what would later become Breaking Into Wall Street).
Today I’m outlining the material that would later be released as The Investment Banking Networking Toolkit.
I want to cover this because it’s a topic that goes untouched in most other training programs, and because there are hundreds, if not thousands, questions related to networking on message boards and in my email inbox.
See, even when I’m on vacation I manage to do some work – old habits…
8 PM – Go to a local restaurant for a late dinner. The food is almost as good as all the places back home, but there’s no $30 expensing of dinner each night so we’re a bit more conservative with spending.
Everyone loves expensing dinners at first, but eventually you realize eating out too much just results in even more of a gut than you’d normally get from staring at a computer all day.
As I wrote back in how to stay fit as a banker, I strongly recommend using your daily dinner expense at the grocery store instead of eating out all the time.
10 PM – Get back and get ready to go out. It’s a Monday night so there probably won’t be much in the way of models and bottles, but one can always hope.
11:30 PM – Luckily there are always people on vacation here so the club isn’t totally empty, but it’s not exactly happening either. In short: plenty of bottles but not enough models.
But hey, it’s a Monday night and this sure beats sitting in a cubicle until midnight.
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