Exit route

8 Aug

If you’re thinking about getting into banking you probably have heard about three things: 1) the nature of the job you’d do; 2) the insane amount of hours you’d spend in the office; and 3) the money you’d likely make. And maybe 4) the lack of job security.

Perhaps many of you in that position would be thinking that you could take it for few years, get some money and leave. And that’s the ideal plan, but are you really ready for it? Mind you, once you’re in you’re sucked into that world. And if you happen to be in the markets side, you really get close to zero skills that could be used elsewhere outside finance. Given the gloomy environment, you need to consider what could you do if you fall under the redundancy ax. I’ve seen the ax in action in the past and it’s never pleasant to see your colleagues depart in such a harsh way. It actually damages you psychologically–gosh, I’m beyond damaged by now.

I’m at the office bored out of my mind; not because I’m not busy, it’s just that I’m not into this job any more. Not even bitching with Tom could distract me from falling totally out of love with my job. There was a time when I was married to work, but now I want a divorce.

No one that I know is in investment banking because of love for the job; it’s just for love for the money. If it were an equation, it would read:

Like for my job = Money I make – All crap I have to take

If I take the bonus money out of the equation, then there’s nothing else to mitigate the crap that I have to take. Oh, and the ‘no bonus’ part is mostly because I’m leaving in less than three weeks.

So lets rewind to the day I truly decided I’ve had enough [mental note: in some other day I’d further rewind to the day I joined the Temple of Evil.]


Quitting had been a recurring thought crossing my mind for a while–erm, since the whole Lehman thing happened. However, every time I’d get the impulse of handing out my notice, someone (most likely Sebastian) would remind me that it’s not really wise to leave your job without having a new one lined up, or at least a plan about what to do next.

Changing jobs wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Pre-2008 you could have plenty of options to choose, but by now the financial services industry in London shrunk and over 50,000 jobs had been lost. And many of you would be thinking doing banking for a couple of years and then jump to the buy side, right? But what if you don’t want to work in the buy side either. I have no interest whatsoever in doing private equity or getting into a hedge fund.

Maybe switching careers was the alternative. But banking was all I know how to do. I mean, where else do they need someone who can come up with funky debt structures, deal with endless legal documentation and intimidate management if the business doesn’t perform? Okay, no-brainer answer is PE but as said above, I didn’t want to follow that route. And the grass wasn’t greener anyways.

Business school was the obvious escape route, but that’s more geared towards analysts. Not that I’m old, but I don’t need business school to advance in my current career. Perhaps I could use an MBA as a start in a different field, totally unrelated to banking.

Becoming an entrepreneur was other alternative. I could be my own boss and have flexible hours. But, what kind of business would I run? I was short of business ideas, and my creativity was running very low. Sadly I’m not one of these people with a huge passion for yoga that would just become a yoga instructor or something like that… you get the idea.

My favourite option, though, was becoming a lady of leisure. Getting married to a rich guy (perhaps Sebastian) and starting a family was the most appealing thing to me [mental note: I’m sure my mom wouldn’t be proud of me saying that.] However, my prospects on that front were nonexistent. To be honest, probably I’d have gotten bored to death anyways.

After going through that analysis over and over again, in the end I’d always decided to stick with my job as long as I didn’t have a clear view on what to do next. But that day was different. I had a plan–and I was in a hospital bed. Fine, at a clinic on Harley Street. You see, having major surgery really opens your eyes to what’s really important in life.

Is it the right time to leave my job? Who knows. We face a high chance of a double dip recession after the recent sovereign events but you can’t let gloominess to rule your life. It’s definitely the right time to go for me.

I’m going back into full-time education (just short-term) but I have to confess I have one big fear: ending back in investment banking.

Hopefully it wouldn’t be a case of “to come so far only to fall at the last hurdle.”

Only you have the power to make your life as close as you want it to be.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

One Response to “Exit route”

  1. jay February 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Sounds like a nice MBA essay :)

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