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 transactions (well, hopefully) and meet interesting clients.
However, there is a downside, and it’s 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.'
'Your constant fantasy will be a plan on what you will do when you quit, making you identical to factory workers pining for retirement.'
'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).'
'As a (portfolio manager) at a hedge fund, the best you can hope for is the satisfaction of being an athlete.'
'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.'
'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 will 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.'
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