If you’re considering going to Wall Street, you should really know what you’re getting into.
Yes, you will get paid better than average people all over the world. Yes, you will get to learn new things constantly. And yes, you will be involved in important deals (well, hopefully).
You’re also likely to meet some extraordinary people.
However, there are downsides, and they are generally all in your head.
A Wall Street veteran, who will remain anonymous, gave us a laundry list of ways working on the Street can actually ruin your life.
Wall Streeters have to deal with a distorted sense of money, questions about self-worth, arrested development and most importantly, the fact that they never ever have enough time. They can try and pay for it, but that only gets you so much.
The point is — you better love finance if you’re getting into this business, because it’s going to take over your life.
'And it will be a huge problem with any significant other.'
'You won't have the energy to go out on Friday nights by 30 even if you're still single.'
'You'll make more money than everyone else, but much less than anyone else thinks. Friends will think you are cheap when you are being frugal because they think you got a $US300K bonus, but actually you got $US150K. That's when you are 25, 26.'
'You will turn 40 and realise that your accomplishments have no real societal value (except those rare bankers that do stuff that really is beneficial for GDP).'
'Your distorted sense of money, combined with the company you keep, will lead to a lifestyle that is as leveraged/precarious as any normal middle class one. It's just that the numbers are bigger. The need to pay that huge mortgage, expensive private schools, will keep that fantasy of the simple life always elusive.'
'Years of constant work will also delay some life lessons. When you get into serious relationships later on you will be immature in some ways, you will have never learned some basic stuff about how relationships work.'
'When you first taste success in five years or so, any bad habit/tendencies will become a problem. Booze, whatever. You will literally not be aware of any self-destructive tendencies so long as you continue to kick a** at work.'
'It's like being a rockstar. You will feel invincible at 29 with a seven-figure salary. Trust me on this.'
'If you are a legacy, you'll dislike the greedy graspy newbies. If you are a first generation, you'll despise all the legacies.'
'You'll be competing with your closest co-workers for a piece of that pie at all times. Sometimes it'll feel like a team, except at bonus time.'
'Other people covet material things. Their version of frivolous spending is a watch, car, new shoes. You will covet time. And your frivolous spending will be on things that carve out a little more time. You'll spend twice the money to get from point A to point B faster. You'll hire professionals to do your yard even though you don't need to. Anything that saves your precious time, you'll buy.'
'Although I'm sure that's true of other, time intensive professions. You work a lot. You have less time of your own than normal people. So any way to cut out anything that eats that personal time is what you spend most freely on. You have the house in the Hamptons or a partial or private jet and you take the jet so you can get home from meetings faster. That's an extreme example, but that's how it really is. Commute reduction will be an obsession.'
'Bonuses and salaries are down... industry in doldrums. However, all wealth is RELATIVE. You are perceived to be well to do, you are young, you live in a large city, therefore there will be a small army of people there to help you make bad choices. Yes, gold diggers exist, yes, high-end escort agencies exist, yes drug dealers with Wall Street clientele exist, yes expensive doctors who write prescriptions for things you don't need exist.'