Difference-between-Private-Equity-and-Investment-Banking3From times to times (but very rarely) I feel this blog becomes way too literary and I feel the urge to post something totally unrelated. Last time was more than two years ago, when I wrote about The Art of Finding the Best Place in the Library. A lot of things have changed since then (although I still have one more year of studying) but the following “literary masterpiece” is a sort of a reflection of the 10 months I spent as an investment banker (in addition to the many more years I intend to spend as the same). A caution before reading: it’s all about irony. I did love my job, otherwise I wouldn’t be returning there. But still, one has to look realistically on stuff from times to times. Sort of brings back the perspective when you have lost it.

The Perks of Being an Investment Banker (excluding the bonus, of course!)

8:00: The sound of the clock alarm feels like a thousand knifes in my body. With a feeling I just closed my eyes five minutes ago (although I slept for whole four hours) I drag myself to the kitchen and I inject some caffeine in my veins (actually I drink a cup of coffee, but that sounds way more dramatic). Resembling Dracula after a good feast, I light the first cigarette of the day and check my emails. Four TO-DOs, four of them urgent, and four of them possibly for NOW. After pouring some water on myself for two minutes (this is not a shower in any universe) I desperately search for something clean and respectable to wear. I didn’t have the time to do my laundry last week but thank God I find some God forsaken black skirt and some shirt I haven’t worn since 2002. Good job, dear me. In less then 20 minutes I turned from a zombie into an investment banker ready for yet another 16 hours of comps (you don’t really need to know what comps is).

9:00: By the time I arrive at the office, I see four more emails. I start crunching numbers, running news searches, answering emails, and inventing ways to keep my eyes open. It’s Thursday, I have slept in total something like 20 hours this week, but the haven of Friday is upon me, so I keep my motivation. Mornings are usually quiet so after quickly finishing the TO-DOs, I spent blissful hours reading about “15 people that have a worst day than you” on Buzzfeed and waiting for peak 1 of my day – lunch

12:30: For the past 2 months I have eaten the same thing for lunch. Everyday I wake up with the idea to change and everyday it is “tomorrow”. Resisting change until it hits me on the head or punches me in the face, oh, that is so me. So I quickly run to Nuvo and get the “Vegetarian Verona with yoghourt pesto and Italian dressing”. I am saved the effort even to utter these words as the useful lady behind the counter knows me too well and says them for me. I only have to nod and smile, even though I don’t want to move and I definitely don’t feel like smiling.

13:00: Anyways, back at my beloved desk things are starting to get crazy. I intended to slowly eat and enjoy my salad (peak 1 of my day as I said) but the universe has different plans for me. I am being dragged into a meeting with four other people to discuss updating a book. Trust me, updating a book is even worse than creating it yourself. First of all, you have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out the logic of the person, who created it (usually there is none). Second of all, you have to find the back-ups (usually there are none). Third of all, you realise that updating the book is totally pointless because since the time it was created they: a) sold something; b) bought something; c) rearranged their entire fucking structure making it extremely difficult for you to produce some logical financial representation of their performance; d) changed their reporting date (even worse); e) changed their management structure; f) don’t exist anymore. Whatever it is, after 2-3 hours you realise that the book is pointless and start from scratch.

15:30: I am just opening their Annual Report, when a breathless colleague with a face as if he learned that tomorrow is the end of the world arrives and tells me I need to do something else ASAP. I quickly change priorities and forget about my problematic book and spent 3 hours searching for something that doesn’t exist. When I tell him/her that, he/she tells me he suspected it but wanted to make sure. Great, I love you too. I need a cigarette.

18:30: After the necessary nicotine injection, I start making some progress with my book. I look at the clock – soon comes peak 2 of my day: choosing dinner. For the past 2 months I have ordered the same thing for dinner. Every day at 6.30 I contemplate the idea to change and everyday it is tomorrow. Resisting change until it hits me on the head or punches me in the face, oh, that is so me. So I order the Healthy & Hearthy salad with so many things, that it shouldn’t be called a salad but rather a “mixture of food that doesn’t really go well with each other”. So I get prawns, cheese, mozzarella, avocado, sun blushed tomatoes, peppers, corn and an apple. Don’t worry, the apple comes separately. Back to the book, I spent c.3 hours trying to figure out why the fucking excel doesn’t want to do what I am fucking telling it to do. I am so exhausted and irritated that I isolate myself in the bathroom for a few minutes of “I HATE THE WORLD’ crying. Feeling relieved as if after a good sh*t I open excel and finally manage to force it to do what I want it to. Victory 1 of my day. Time for a cigarette to celebrate.

At some point (around 22:30) I manage to produce a sort of bearable version of the book and proud of myself I send it across to the others. I contemplate leaving early and I am just about to order a cab, when my favourite part of the day comes – the mark-up. Unlike comps, you should know what a mark-up is. It is a printed version of whatever you produced that the more senior person than you (and everyone is more senior than an analyst) has scrambled with red pen. You only have to put through the changes. Sounds like a baby’s job, but if there is anything that takes more time than updating the book, this is PUTTING THROUGH THE MARK-UP. I am usefully reminded that this needs to be sent out by CoB. I throw in the trash my plans to leave early, put on some music on and begin. By page five I am done trying to figure out what they wrote and I start using logic, deduction, Google search, and my fellow colleagues, because that scribbling is everything but English.

By 1:00 I finish the mark-up and go for a cigarette. I print out and double check (although it is pointless. At that time of the day I wouldn’t recognize even my mother).

2:00: …and the office is evidently telling me to leave. The moment you stop moving for more than 5 minutes, the lights turn off and you get that romantic atmosphere that would actually be romantic if you weren’t at the office. I decide that the book looks more or less presentable so I open the email and I write: Dear all, Please find attached the book on … as it stands. Let me know if you have any questions. Kind regards, Lora. I go back home and collapse. I am wondering how the other half of the world is living. Anyways, I do love my job and tomorrow is another day.

More from the same sort of random stuff: 

The Art of Finding the Best Spot in the Library