What's the point?

Over the last weekend, I read a book called “Young Money” by Kevin Roose. It’s a book that describes how 8 young wall street analysts transform throughout the course of their typical 2-year analyst stints at prestigious investment banks.

Without spoiling too much, the book paints a very gloomy picture. Throughout numerous interviews Kevin had conducted with these analysts, we can see a common theme that occurs from all 8 people. They ponder what the point of doing all these hard work (100 hours a week) is and if they are benefiting the world.

Although I aspire to be in Finance in the future, the answer to the 2nd question is simple and indisputable. You aren’t really adding a lot of value to the world. Investment banks are essentially middlemen that function as an intermediary between two participants of a deal and get a commission.

So basically, you are transferring money from A’s pocket to B’s, and upon completion, you get a fee. Let’s be real. There’s not much room to add value there.

Now, then there is a harder question. What’s the point of doing all these work?

Investment banks are notorious for their high-intensity work environments. Entering analysts are expected to work for about 100 hours a week, hence the term banker 9 - 5 has been made (9 am to 5 am). During that time, they create excel models to figure out how much a company is worth and how this deal would be beneficial to the parties involved. And then you have to create numerous pitch books which are essentially long-ass (there’s no other better word that comes to my mind at the moment) Powerpoint presentations.

Essentially, as an investment banker, you do this for 2 years, for 100 hours a week and make $120,000+ as a 22-year-old kid.

Okay, enough of investment bankers, now let’s talk about me.

I’m currently at a satellite company, so yeah I don’t work at Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan Chase, but some (or a lot) of work that I do resemble what young analysts at IB do. Create excel models (business case, pro forma), make a bunch of powerpoint for upper management.

Of course, I’m not putting in 100 hours, but I need to be at the office for approximately for 40 hours. Sometimes I spend this time learning new things/skills and other times I waste my time working on not so useful stuff but hence is life.

In about a week, I’ll hit my 2nd year at my current company. I’m incredibly appreciative of what I’ve learned so far, but at the same time, I began to have more and more of these existential crisis questions. The questions include, but are not limited to

  1. Will I do this for the rest of my life?

  2. If not, what else should I be doing?

  3. Am I headed in the right direction?

  4. Why do we have to work on this other than because a SVP asked for it?

  5. Does it have to be like #4 every day?

  6. Was I born to be living a life like this?

And so on.

Just like everybody else (hopefully), I remain clueless. But I’m increasingly growing to be not satisfied where I am and I think there’s needs to be a change. Satellites are cool, but I want to do something that I can sense that I’m having tangible impacts on something. Maybe satellites are just too far away from me.

I’m supposed to have a meeting with my manager soon, so I’m going to wrap up my rant now.

It was meant to be a short post, but wow, I guessI have a lot in my mind.

Taeyang YouComment