This question has come up a few times and to be entirely honest it is certainly not a profession for everyone. Now that we’ve broken down the myths about Wall Street it’s a good time to talk about who should actually sign up for the job. Here’s your quick checklist on if you’re a good candidate, miss one and you’re probably not going to last more than 5 years unless you become addicted to money and sucked into a lifestyle that can only be afforded by working insane hours.
- You need to be rich. Not want, but need. It is taboo to talk about wanting money in an interview, but at the end of the day you’re not doing this job for charity, you’re doing it to create long-term stability. Finally, rich means freedom, it means that you can live an upper middle class lifestyle (call it $5K monthly post tax) without lifting a finger. If you’re in this for the Lambo’s you’re unlikely going to get there so play the odds in your favor, of course we do hope you become a BSD, golden goose rich mofo but the chances are still quite slim for an average guy with zero connections literally knocking on doors breaking in.
- You’re willing to pay the price. You know that you must be disciplined, you must work hard, you cannot complain you’re want to grind. You don’t believe you deserve a top tier bonus simply because you went to a fancy school. You don’t believe your birthday is a national celebration and you certainly don’t believe you deserve respect from your managing director who has a negative interest in your “work life balance”, they already paid the price so their interest in your non-experienced opinions is right up there with their interest in if the janitor is a boxers or briefs man.
- You’re not great at math or incredibly intelligent. You shouldn’t be surprised by this after reading through this website. If you’re working 60-80 hours a week the level of cognitive work should be quite low. You should be able to spit out percentages and quick formulas fast but being able to work with complex derivatives is not necessary, you’ll be looking at excel which can calculate everything for you anyway.
- You don’t need motivation. What would you do on a perfect day? This is what you should say is a perfect day. The perfect day is a giant leap toward your goals. You don’t need to be convinced to go to the gym because you know going to the gym yields tangible results. You don’t need to be motivated to work all night on something that’s going to net your firm significant cash. You should need motivation to party. People should have to convince you that the venue is set up correctly and the logistics are solid. Unlike your peers you don’t have time to waste.
- You’re not trying to impress anyone, including women. This is where many people fail. If you’re working on Wall Street to tell people you work on Wall Street you’ll quickly be sucked into high spending habits, you will get wrapped up in prestige measuring contests and you’ll be another high income guy who is dead broke. You choose this route because when you look in the mirror in the morning you don’t see yourself in your twenties or low thirties you see that free man in his mid thirties who can choose to work in any job that he pleases.
Maybe this sounds like you.
Many people join for terrible reasons, “it is the best job out of college” or “I want a private jet” the first one lacks long-term goals and the last one is just a pipe-dream. The real upside to the career is all in the grind. Every three years you survive the next 1.5 years will equal the amount of money you made in the last three… combined. You’re no math whiz but you understand compounding and the power of using all your youth and energy to build up momentum towards a life people only dream about since they are “too busy” doing the minimum to get by.
You will lose many friends, you will get many haters and you will absolutely consider quitting many times.
You know the rules though, pay the price of discipline or the price of regret, grinding out a decade on the Street certainly has nothing to do with brains. No one needs to teach you discipline though, you’re already beyond that. You know better.