The 4-Hour Investment Banking Body: How to Keep Off the First Year 15 and Get In Shape While Sitting In a Cubicle Staring at Excel All Day
It’s midway through your first year as a banker.
You just got back from the holiday party, and after taking a day off to recover from your hangover, you’re ready to rock and roll.
You pull out your favorite pair of slacks from the closet, fumbling to put them on…
…and as you do so, they split in half – far too small for your waist, which has gained 4 inches (10 cm) in the past 6 months.
And now you’re naked from the waist down, too, but that’s a smaller issue.
Here’s what went wrong, and how you can lose all that weight you just gained – with only 4 hours of free time (or less) per week.
Back in school, you were an athlete – a powerlifter, a marathon runner, or even Michael Phelps.
Or maybe you weren’t, but at least you were in decent shape and had clothes that fit.
Now, you’re just a sleep-deprived, borderline-alcoholic, overweight banker – though you have gotten better at Excel.
You gained 25 pounds (~11 kg) in the past 6 months, but it’s not your fault – the universe has been conspiring against you to make it near-impossible to stay in shape as a banker.
The Demons of Fat Gain
You have a lot going against you and very little working for you as a banker:
- You sit motionless for extended periods – and might even have bad posture when doing so.
- You’re addicted to SeamlessWeb and eat horrible takeout food all the time.
- Too many bottles, not enough models.
- You never do any exercise because you’re busy fixing pitch books when you should be going to the gym.
- Your co-workers will ridicule you if you don’t drink every single day.
Taken alone, any of these would make you fatter – but altogether they create a deadly cocktail of fat gain and will result in multiple trips to the “plus size” store.
Oh, and remember: no amount of money or fame will save you from health problems. Bill Clinton, former leader of the free world, earned over $100 million USD since he left office and that didn’t save him from quadruple bypass surgery.
How to Vanquish the Demons and Lose Fat
You need to combine diet and exercise and modify habits like drinking and how long you sit in your chair.
That seems simple, and if you’re not an investment banker, it is – but as a banker, you have a lot of problems that the average dieter never faces.
Most fitness advice online assumes that you can work out whenever you want for as long as you want, and that you have infinite time to cook food for yourself.
Rather than repeating those unrealistic suggestions, we’re going to focus on specifically what you must do to stay in shape as a banker.
The most common problem is fat gain, so that will be the main goal – but the advice here goes beyond that and will address issues like lower back pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and your overall energy level.
Assumptions and Sources & Uses
I’m assuming that you:
- Have very little free time (< 4 hours per week) and no flexibility in your schedule.
- Cannot cook because of this lack of free time.
- Are often in social situations where you’re pressured to eat junk food and drink alcohol.
- Care more about losing fat or not gaining fat in the first place than you do about gaining muscle or building endurance (there’s nothing wrong with those, but they’re much harder to pull off as a banker).
- Have an inkling of common sense. If you think that donuts are better for you than vegetables, please press Alt + F4 right now.
We’re not going to get into a debate over different diet plans, like Atkins vs. South Beach vs. Paleo vs. Slow-Carb – the specific details matter far less than following the high-level ideas, which are similar in different plans.
I’m also not going to turn this into science class and get into a technical explanation of everything, because that’s off-topic and you can read all about the science elsewhere.
The focus here will be how to avoid getting fat as a banker – through diet, reduction of social pressure, exercise, Starbucks (the lifeblood of any banker), the right kind of bottles, and some secret ingredients.
As a banker, the usual habit is to skip breakfast altogether, get takeout for lunch, and then eat a huge dinner with 2 desserts from SeamlessWeb.
When you first start, this seems great: you’ve gone from being a starving student to eating steak and tiramisu every day.
The only problem is that you’re also getting fatter every day.
Modify this routine by:
- Eating smaller meals at least 4 times per day – and more if possible. It helps your metabolism.
- Avoiding SeamlessWeb and similar takeout and going for healthier options.
- Always eating immediately after you wake up.
What do you eat, and how can you possibly have time for 4 meals per day?
First, each meal should have protein, fat, carbohydrates (optional – keep reading), and vegetables, with about half as much fat as the others (since it has twice the calories).
Examples that you can easily get at restaurants or from stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, with minimal prep time:
- Sashimi with salad
- Chicken salad with olive oil and vinegar
- Tofu, beans, and vegetables (the vegetarian option)
- Egg whites with avocado, cheese, whole wheat bread, and spinach
- Low-fat cottage cheese with nuts and fruit
- Sardines and whole wheat crackers
The last 2 are missing vegetables, so you can just add in a mixed salad there.
In keeping with the “no science class” rule above, I’m not going to spell out the mix of protein/fat/carbohydrates in each of these but feel free to look up the facts yourself if you’re curious.
Use your $20-30 dinner allowance to buy these, and try to get pre-made meals as much as possible – otherwise you’ll be pressed for time.
To take care of breakfast and your snack in between lunch and dinner, you can order extra the night before and save it for the next day, you can run to a store close to your building during a break, or you can use one of my ninja tricks below.
If you do it properly, eating 4x per day takes no more time than eating just 2x because you’re at your desk anyway, and you’re eating food you already have.
Wait, Aren’t Carbs Bad? / What Should I Avoid?
Ever since the Atkins diet became popular there has been a crusade against carbohydrates: “Don’t eat them,” critics say, “or you’ll turn into the Pillsbury Dough Boy.”
There is some truth to that, and cutting out foods with a lot of carbohydrates – especially simple ones like white rice – will help you. But as a banker, it’s probably not viable to completely cut out carbs because you need the energy for all those all-nighters.
So if you can do so, reduce carbs, especially when it’s late at night. But rather than obsessing over that, make sure you avoid anything with sugar – that’s the absolute worst thing you can eat if you want to stay slim.
You’ll be pressured into ordering dessert all the time, going to Starbucks constantly, and harvesting as much junk food as possible from your office’s kitchen, so avoiding sugar is easier said than done.
The easiest solution is to use artificial sweeteners, such as stevia, if you need your fix of sweets. These are not great to have in huge quantities either, but in small doses they are much better than real sugar.
As a banker, your co-workers will pressure you into ordering more food than you can possibly eat just to use up your entire dinner allowance.
There are 2 ways to deal with this: avoidance and limited acceptance.
You could tell them you’re slammed and have no time to take a break and eat – but you don’t want to do that all the time or you’ll end up with no friends.
Maybe try this one 2-3x per week, but don’t rely on it every day or you’ll be excluded from group outings.
For the times when you do have to go eat together, just follow the guidelines above: make sure your meal has a mix of protein, fat, carbs (optional), and vegetables.
So if you go out and they say you have to order a steak or they’ll laugh at you, go ahead and do it – just make sure it’s not massive (because you’re eating 3 other times throughout the day) and that it has vegetables on the side.
When it comes time for dessert and drinks, say you need to finish a few more things at work so you can’t drink much, and that you’re too full for dessert because you ate a few hours ago.
We’re going to ignore that completely for one simple reason: you do not have time for extended cardio workouts as an investment banker.
You might be called back to the office at any time, on any day of the week, for any reason, so you need to think in 15-minute increments rather than hour-long or multi-hour-long sessions.
So the only option is strength training, for 3 reasons:
- As mentioned above, you need to get intense exercise in a very short amount of time.
- Unlike the equivalent amount of cardio, even a short and intense weight lifting workout will help you burn more calories for over a day if you do it properly.
- Doing resistance training will help your body absorb more calories and carbs immediately afterward, so you can loosen your dietary restrictions a bit.
If you have extra time, sure, go for a run, a bike ride, or go swimming whenever you can.
But if you’re a banker with an unpredictable schedule and almost no free time, you need to do quick but high-intensity strength-training workouts each week for the highest ROI.
What to Do At the Gym
Ideally, you will go to the gym 3 times per week for very quick workouts: I suggest Friday night, early in the day Sunday, and then once more whenever you have time during the week.
You are more likely to have free time on Friday night because senior bankers leave earlier – and you’re less likely to be called into the office early on Sunday.
A simple plan would be chest and triceps on one day, back and biceps on the next day, and then lower body on your final workout day.
Before the powerlifters reading pick apart this plan, remember that I’m assuming no knowledge or previous experience and extremely limited time – so please resist the temptation to argue for something more complicated.
If you’re pressed for time, you can condense this to 2 workouts instead and do upper body all on one day and lower body all on the other day – but if you do that, you should leave at least a few rest days in between workouts.
Finding Time to Go to the Gym
This can be tricky, and it depends on how your group operates: you’re best off asking if it’s OK to leave for 30 minutes in the early evening, and then getting in the habit of always going at that time.
Don’t ask for permission when you first start working – you should use the first month or two to prove yourself as reliable, and then “make the ask” once the senior bankers know you’re good.
If your group is not open enough to discuss non-work issues, then you’ll have to follow my suggestion above and go on Friday and Sunday, and then whenever else you have time in between.
That might be 2 AM on a Tuesday – not an ideal time to work out, but far better than doing nothing at all.
Oh, and if you’re a female banker you still need to do everything above and focus on strength training: you’re not going to turn into the Incredible Hulk, since male and female bodies react much differently to working out.
Trips to Starbucks
This is yet another problem if you’re a banker who wants to stay in shape – you’ll be called to Starbucks and pressured into ordering that grande chocolate frappuccino all the time.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: avoid anything with sugar or milk in it. That means you have only 2 options at Starbucks: americano or espresso.
But you could turn this restriction into your advantage by ordering triple espressos all the time to make yourself look hardcore and then say that you need the caffeine for yet another all-nighter.
Critics will say that this results in too much caffeine, but that’s far better than having too much sugar: as a banker you must pick the lesser of two evils.
Outside of coffee, you should only drink water (ideally liters per day), tea, and yerba mate (the loose-leaf variety, anything else is too weak).
Sugar-free Red Bull and other drinks with artificial sweeteners are fine in small quantities, but try to shift over to tea for your caffeine fix as much as possible.
What about alcohol? I’m glad you asked…
Bottles and Bottles
Most hardcore fitness buffs will tell you that alcohol, like sugar and carbs, will instantly turn you into the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
That’s not far from the truth: alcohol (especially beer) has a lot of calories and even if it doesn’t, it prevents your body from burning off calories until the alcohol is processed.
As a banker, though, you can’t completely cut out alcohol because you’ll be pressured into drinking with your co-workers, with clients, and at events like holiday parties.
So follow these guidelines instead:
- Avoid beer and anything with a lot of sugar, like soju or sugary cocktails, at all costs.
- Stick to whiskey shots and other hard alcohol when you must drink – it’s not ideal, but it’s “less bad” for you than beer because the calorie count is lower.
- Red wine in limited quantities (1-2 glasses per day) is arguably OK as well, or at least “less bad” than beer.
- Try to drink no more than once a week if you can help it – just say you’re busy the rest of the time.
I can’t help much with the models, but that’s how to handle the bottles side of the equation.
The Cherry On Top
Those are the key principles, and if you follow everything above you’ll be better off than 99% of incoming bankers who haven’t even thought about how they’ll stay in shape as cubicle monkeys.
You’re supposed to avoid dessert, but just this once as a cherry on the top of the rest of this advice, here are a few tips and tricks to take it to the next level:
Think Thin Bars
As you can tell, I’m borderline obsessive-compulsive about fitness and nutrition – and I’ve searched far and wide for the best way to eat decently with no free time.
The best solution I’ve found is the Think Thin bar: each one is 240 calories and has a mix of protein, fat, and “limited” carbs (the sugar alcohols in the bar are not fully absorbed by your body), and you can easily pack them for consumption whenever you want.
The one flaw is that they have relatively high saturated fat, so you shouldn’t go overboard: use them as a backup plan when you need to eat but don’t have anything else.
You can easily sneak these in and avoid drawing suspicion to yourself while you’re at your desk since they’re so quick to eat.
NEPA stands for Non-Exercise Physical Activity, and it’s one of the most important – and easiest – things you can do as a banker to stay in shape.
If you’re staring at the monitor without moving all day, you’ll quickly develop lower back problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and slow down your metabolism.
But if you take quick breaks to walk around for a few minutes every hour, you can avoid much of that, or at least reduce its impact.
Unless you walk for hours and hours a day you won’t lose much weight doing this, but taking these breaks is more about preventing back problems, eye strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome than burning fat.
So use all those trips to Starbucks with other analysts/associates as a way to get NEPA, socialize, and get your caffeine fix.
It’s easier to take breaks late at night when senior bankers are not around to watch everything you do, but even during the day you can take breaks during your downtime and do something as simple as walking to the bathroom or pretending that you have to go talk to someone else.
Does Any of This Actually Work?
Like most bankers, I got out of shape in my first year and then lost around 40 pounds (~18 kg) in the last 6 months of my second year by following the plan above.
Other friends in banking have followed this plan to similar success.
I’m not a doctor and this tutorial does not represent a scientifically controlled experiment – like everything else on the site, it is advice that has worked well for others.
This plan is admittedly more difficult to follow in countries outside the US and even in cities outside NY/SF/LA because there are not as many options for food, and many places don’t have 24-hour gyms.
So you may not be able to follow everything precisely, but as long as you avoid the most common mistakes you’ll still be in better shape than most bankers.
First, find a 24-hour gym close to your office, and then locate several restaurants and grocery stores nearby that have the food you need.
When you first start working, go to the gym whenever you have a chance. After 1-2 months, ask the senior banker you work most closely with if it’s OK to go for 30 minutes 3x per week around dinner time.
Rather than ordering takeout on SeamlessWeb all the time, use your dinner allowance to get the proper food at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and save some so that you can eat immediately when you wake up the next day – and if you run out, keep Think Thin bars on hand as your backup plan.
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Stuff Investment Bankers Like, Round 3
It’s been awhile, so let’s jump right back into it.
15) Unsolicited Advice
Working in investment banking, you will age more rapidly than the average person.
So many bankers start to feel that their true age is higher than the number of years they’ve been on the planet – which is what inspires them to give unsolicited advice.
It happens when senior bankers “advise” the juniors and when junior bankers tell interns exactly what they should be doing at all times:
“You know, you should strive for a long and celebrated career in investment banking. All hedge funds collapse anyway, so don’t even think about going jumping ship and going to one.”
Thanks, but did I ask you or even mention my future plans?
“Check your work very carefully before showing it to anyone.”
Thanks – I was planning to add in a lot of errors just to make it more interesting.
16) Stacks of Unread Newspapers
Almost as much of a badge of honor as how many holidays you’ve worked (see below) is the number of unread newspapers on your desk.
Not realizing that they can check the news by looking online for 2 seconds, any senior banker worth his salt instead gets a daily subscription to the WSJ.
And then they let newspapers pile up on their desks while they’re off traveling 24/7.
When they come back to the office, of course, they immediately ask their assistant to “clean up” or “get rid of all this garbage.”
And you wonder why the rain forest is disappearing…
While I’ve not been kind to the back office and support teams in the past, I can’t lie: a good assistant will save you time and time again.
A lot of incoming bankers and interns get this one wrong and treat assistants like crap, never acknowledging them or taking 5 minutes to have a friendly chat.
These newbies are surprised later when they suddenly don’t know their VP’s cell # or they can’t figure out what their MD’s schedule is next week when they’re up at 2 AM sending out an email to set up meeting times with a client.
Treat your assistant – or any support person – right, or you’ll suffer the consequences later.
And no, no matter how much you like your assistant you still can’t hook up with her (or him) – only MDs get to do that.
18) Working on Christmas
Aside from how many consecutive all-nighters you’ve pulled, there’s no greater badge of honor among bankers than how many holidays you’ve had ruined by work.
No one considers occasions like Halloween or Valentine’s Day to be real “holidays,” so forget about those – the 2 untouchable ones are Thanksgiving and Christmas (at least in the US – elsewhere it varies by country).
Being a masochistic bunch, at some level bankers enjoy this kind of abuse.
There’s no higher glory than looking at your Blackberry constantly and responding to emails while everyone else at the table is staring at you in disbelief.
And then you get to complain to all your friends about how you had to pull an all-nighter on Christmas Eve – all the while secretly enjoying that you can now complain about it.
19) Models and Models
Everyone gets into finance for different reasons, but there are just 2 core motivators: 1) Money and 2) Prestige.
No one could be interested in talking about bonds or interest rates or EBITDA just for fun, right?
By comparison, financial modeling seems like the most intellectually engaging activity ever, even though it’s really not rocket science.
So as a banker, you relish opportunities to crunch numbers and do more than just collect data and send emails.
And if you’re looking for other types of models, head to Buenos Aires.
Whenever you close a deal, along with the Closing Dinner you get to design a “lucite” – a trophy of sorts to commemorate all the man-hours spent on that IPO or that acquisition and all your blood, sweat, and tears.
If you worked on a casino acquisition, your lucite might be in the shape of a roulette wheel or poker table; for a pharmaceutical deal maybe you’ll get to design something in the shape of a vial or pill bottle.
Much like how you’ve lined your walls with all those meaningless awards from high school and college, bankers line their shelves with these lucites to impress visitors.
For the analyst who has gone Patrick Bateman, lucites have another use as well: weapons.
So make sure you design something sharp – you’ll never know when you might need it one night after you’ve pulled one too many all-nighters and they discover the bodies in your apartment.
21) Forecasting the Apocalypse
“Wall Street is over! New regulations will doom the industry! Pay will never recover, time to find a new profession!”
The correct answer is “all of the above” because bankers have been forecasting apocalypse as long as the industry itself has been around.
As long as capital markets exist and companies need to raise money, they’ll need bankers.
Just make sure you keep telling everyone the end is nigh, though – you don’t want to seem overconfident.
How to Win Friends and Influence People in Investment Banking by Slacking Off and Pretending to Work Hard
Ask senior bankers what quality is most important in Analysts and Associates, and 99% of them will say “A good attitude.”
If you’re going to work 100 hours per week, you need to be positive about what you do every day… right?
All you have to do is give the appearance of a good attitude – and here’s how you do that:
You might be able to maintain a genuinely good attitude throughout your 2, 3, or however many years you’re in the industry.
But in many cases, you just can’t do that:
- You get stuck in a terrible group, or your group changes and your life goes down the drain.
- You find an exit opportunity and are planning to leave early, or you simply stop caring because you know something better is down the road.
- You get tired of what you do and the job becomes repetitive – but you need to stick around until you find what to do next.
#1 and #3 are the most common scenarios and the most desperate situations because you don’t have a backup plan – whereas with #2, at least you can move to another job if you get fired.
#3 is especially common between Year 1 and Year 2 if you’re an investment banking analyst – that’s when most people get tired of the routine and all deals start to look the same.
Appearances vs. Reality
Senior bankers say “a good attitude” is essential because they are interested in maximizing profit and minimizing annoyances and problems.
“A good attitude” just means “1) This guy/girl gets his/her stuff done without mistakes, which helps me make more money, and 2) he/she doesn’t bother me at all and is usually pretty sociable if I go over to the bullpen to talk to him/her.”
Oddly enough, young bankers have the most trouble with the second part of that statement – winning friends and influencing people.
Here’s how you can buck the trend and succeed where others fail:
The most important point with the game of office politics is your first impression.
If you pull this off correctly, you’ll only have to work hard for a month or so – enough to give everyone the impression that you’re a hard worker.
A poor first impression is almost impossible to overcome, but a good first impression is very difficult to screw up.
In your first few weeks (or first 1-2 months if you’re a full-timer), you want to volunteer as much as you can for projects, helping the older Analysts, and making other peoples’ lives easier.
Even if it causes some temporary pain, it will allow you to slack off later on – and on top of that, it also gives others at your bank the impression that you’re always busy.
Working Smart vs. Working Hard
This is one area where MBAs tend to be far savvier than undergraduates – and one area where I’ve seen many Analysts who didn’t know any better get abused.
You could make people think you work hard by actually working hard the entire time, pulling all-nighters each week, and trying to make your life as terrible as humanly possible.
Or you could just make people think you work that hard without actually doing so.
If you want to work smart rather than work hard, you need to use 3 main strategies: learn to act, under-promise and over-deliver, and let everyone know about it.
If you constantly look stressed out and tired, then other banker swill assume you’re always stressed out and tired.
If you’re like this naturally, you’ll have no difficulty here: just be yourself.
For everyone else, pay attention to the full-timers around you, determine who The Star and The Defeated One are in your office, and try to make your attitude a cross between the two of them: you want to look tense at all times, but you don’t want to be quite as depressing as The Defeated One.
But don’t become The Star – or your progression toward not trying hard would be halted.
Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
Once you have everyone thinking that you’re working 24/7, you need to take advantage of the fact that you’re not really that busy and under-promise and over-deliver.
The worst response to new work is, “I’ll get this to you right away!” and then to drop everything you’re doing to rush around and finish it – especially for anything that’s not urgent.
The better response is, “I have these 3-5 other projects due tomorrow and the day after – I’ll take care of this as soon as I can.”
After which, of course, you proceed to deliver the work tomorrow or the day after in a shorter timeframe than you originally promised.
Let Them Know About It
Once you’ve made sure that you always appear stressed out, but miraculously come through in record time with your work, you need to let the senior bankers know about it.
You can’t be too obvious – don’t go around saying, “Well, I just pulled 2 all-nighters this past week…”
The best way to do this is with late-night emails. If you’re about to email your team at 8 PM, save it until 3-4 AM instead so that they say, “Wow, he/she must have been at the office really late!”
If you get home “early” (9-10 PM), then log in remotely later on (caution: some banks don’t let you do this) and send out your emails right before you go to sleep.
Two points to be careful of here:
- You need to mix up your routine every so often – don’t always send out your “team update” email at 3:15 AM. Vary the email send times between “early” (9 – 11 PM range) and “late” (2 – 4 AM).
- This is more difficult to pull off at larger banks and offices, because some senior bankers actually stay quite late and can observe who’s there and who’s not. And sometimes if the staffer has no life, he/she will walk around at midnight to see who’s still there.
And that’s how you work smart so that you don’t have to work (as) hard.
Gravitating to the Right People
Once you’ve made everyone think you work hard all the time, you need to make sure you’re working with people who don’t take the job that seriously.
If you’re an Analyst, gravitate to the softest-spoken Associate(s), and if you’re an Associate, find the VP who’s most disillusioned and therefore cares the least about work.
This takes some trial and error, and that’s why you need to observe what’s going on around you and get to know full-timers who will give you the real story on who’s good and who should be avoided.
There’s no single rule for “the best people,” but here are a couple types you should definitely avoid:
- Former consultants. Since consultants don’t actually do anything useful, they spend all their time in investment banking solving problems that don’t exist and making you do unnecessary work.
- Summer Associates who have never worked in finance before. I’m sure all the Summer Associates reading this right now are wonderful, but most of the other ones I’ve seen tend to come in with a “I know everything because I paid $100,000+ for a prestigious MBA program” attitude.
- Anyone who’s 35+, doesn’t have a family, and has been in banking for life. These people are like miniature versions of Patrick Bateman, so avoid them unless you want to end up hacked to pieces in someone’s bathtub.
Once you’ve given the impression that you work hard all the time and you’ve surrounded yourself with the right people, it’s time to make them like you even more.
The best way to do this is through small talk. When a senior banker gives you work, don’t just accept the assignment and scurry off to go do it – say “Ok, sounds good” and then take a few minutes to chat with him/her about a completely unrelated topic.
It doesn’t matter what it is – baseball, travel, the news, or the client’s clueless CFO are all fine.
The point is to bond with the senior banker in question by quickly chatting about a common interest, which accomplishes 2 objectives:
- He already thinks you’re busy all the time and will be amazed that you could take a few minutes out of your all-nighters just to speak with him – he must be your favorite!
- You reinforce how much you “like your work” because you’re saying, “You know, I’m really busy – but I enjoy doing this work so much that not only will I happily do it for you later on, I can even take a few minutes right now to chat because I’m going to like doing my work so much later tonight.”
Most people are 100% business-focused when speaking with senior bankers, but that’s exactly the wrong approach.
Why So Many Tricks?
You might be wondering, “Wait, why are you suggesting all this deception? Why do I need so many tricks? Isn’t honesty the best policy? What if I just work hard all the time?”
First off, being 100% honest is not the best policy – unless you want to be abused and work more than everyone else.
You could work hard all the time, but there are 3 good reasons to avoid this:
- As with anything else, the learning curve in investment banking flattens out after about 6 months and you don’t learn much past that point.
- If you’re constantly working at 100% capacity, you will never have time to find exit opportunities – or apply to business school, or do anything else outside work.
- The marginal improvement you’d get in your bonus and/or recommendations from working at 110% capacity rather than at 70-80% capacity is not worth it (Would you want to work an extra 20 hours per week for a bonus that’s $10,000 higher? That’s about $10 per hour…).
You don’t have to follow the steps I recommended above. If you want to be The Star and you truly love to stare at Excel and PowerPoint every day, then feel free to work at 110% capacity.
For the rest of us, though, winning friends and influencing people by slacking off and pretending to work hard is a better bet.