I needed a break from banking. It was worth it

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The point of what follows is to highlight that life can and does get in the way of work sometimes. It’s not something that many people will talk about openly so its possible that you will feel like an outlier. If that’s the case, don’t.

I left an associate position in a bulge bracket sector team in 2018 as I had lost interest in the nature of the work, and by extension the volume, but more importantly I wanted to take some time out to support my family after my father had passed away. Suffice to say it was a tough decision but there were a number of things that needed to be taken care of until we, as a family, were on surer footing. Fortunately, the skills and mindset that M&A had given me allowed me to tackle almost any problem I came up against.

It was a unique opportunity for personal and professional development. Most importantly, during the time off I was able to reflect more deeply on what I wanted for my career and had the freedom to prepare accordingly. Conscious of wanting to make full use of the time, I also signed myself up to finish the professional exams I had started and breathed new life into my workout regime to leave behind the extra weight I had accumulated during my analyst years.

To be clear, however, it wasn’t all plain sailing. The people whose counsel I had sought before resigning had mixed reactions. This planted enough doubt in my head so as to infuse the catharsis of leaving with thoughts of “what on earth have I just done”.

Explaining my story in interviews was at best a chore and at worst an exercise in defending against the unfortunate platitude of “I’m sorry to hear that”. There was also the small matter of the rent that I needed to pay each month...

The reality, though, was it didn’t take long to find another job when I had identified exactly what I wanted. I went to another bulge bracket and work within the umbrella of IBD but the modus operandi and focus of the team is vastly different. I haven’t looked back since.

Joel Gray is a pseudonym 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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