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The art of summer when you work in investment banking

It’s easy to get burnt out in finance. In many a banker’s career there may come a time that you come home hating your job and wondering why you are doing it.

It’s important to spend time recharging. Over 17 years, I saw some bankers do this by traveling to luxury resorts in the Bahamas or adventure holidaying in Brazil. Others prefer to spend time with their families. Different things work for different people.

However you want to recharge, however, be sure to include some of the following exercises into your downtime. They're all cheaper than flying to the Bahamas.

Two tricks for recharging from a Wall Street career

The single biggest reason that people leave Wall Street is because they just can't take the daily pain, the long hours, harsh clients, impossible pace. They get tired.

When you work on Wall Street, you have to keep going whether you are tired, bored, sad, angry or unhappy. You have to be able to move forward no matter how hard it is and no matter how you feel.

It’s easy to lose your way when your day consists of updating a deck for the fiftieth time or revising that model for the thirtieth.

But there is way to rise above this and not let it burn you out. There are two tricks I've found a lot of bankers use to recharge and re-discover their energy and purpose.

Firstly, they remind themselves how far they've already come. They look at what they have already achieved. They reflect on how lucky they are. They are grateful and amazed. They think about the 99% of people on this planet who have less than them, and they are thankful for the opportunities still in front of them.

Secondly, they remind themselves of their 'Why.' Why are they here? Why do they want to do this? Why is it important to them? As Fredrich Nietzche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”.

You can get a huge amount of confidence and strength by reminding yourself about why you are in the game in the first place.

The why drives everything.

Answer these questions and find a mentor:

If you want to recharge, get a piece of paper, and start writing the following before September:

  1. The things you are grateful for.
  2. A list of people you should thank and be grateful to for their contribution in your success.
  3. What is important to you.
  4. What do you want to achieve and how far you have already come?
  5. What are your goals from this moment forward?
  6. What do you need to be better at?
  7. How are you going to execute the plan?

The more detail the better. This will reduce your anxiety and provide you a road map for your career.

When you've done all that, talk through all of it with someone you trust.

If you don’t have a mentor yet, get one. Nothing will be as transformational for your career as having someone to bounce ideas off.

The trick to getting a mentor isn't to ask someone to be one. Instead find the people pre-disposed to, maybe someone you already go for advice. Start being there for them too. Try to help them. Grow the relationship. This takes time. Ask for their views on more things. Build trust.

Before you know it, they will be your mentor.  Once you have had your ideas vetted and reviewed, and you have had some time to digest them too, you are ready to begin.

Start executing and don’t stop until you get to where you want to go.

You can have whatever you want.

The author is one of a group of senior bankers who blog at the site What I Learned on Wall Street (

AUTHORWiLow Wall Street Insider Comment
  • 0[
    27 June 2018


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