Overworked and under-slept - my life the last 4 years...
Hi all, so I often get asked questions about what I do and it's never been easy to explain. I'm still learning how to explain it well to be honest. I've really got 2 key facets to the role I've been in over these last 4 years with one focusing on financial research skills I've picked up and the other allowing me to deploy my data analytics repertoire. In any, case I did see my work as being very objective and data driven so what better way to showcase what I do than to list out a typical day so you can see the data and decide for yourself. You'll probably still wonder what I do at the end of all this but maybe it will bring you one step closer to clarity (the problem being that I keep pushing myself further away just as you start understanding what I did yesterday).
Below is the chronological listing of what would happen on a typical work day of mine whilst I was employed as a Vice President in a data focused division at an investment bank. It's not going to be typical of all VP roles but at least it should give you a glimpse of my life for the past few years...
6:00AM - wake up / shower / change
6:30AM - leave home to catch bus to the office (listen to Bloomberg news on the way)
7:15AM - arrive at the office / read emails / read news
7:30AM - begin writing contribution for morning note (to go out to our hundreds of clients). I was also in charge of compiling this research from other contributing members of the team each day (around 5-7 of them)
8:30AM - distribute morning note compilation to compliance for review and other members of our team to discuss on conference call (if some members out of the office) or in person (when all the team would be in)
8:45AM - call finished so time for breakfast. This was typically Pret A Manger across the road or something I had brought in from home (cereal/porridge etc).
9:00AM - work on an economic research report on one of the countries our data covered (for example the United States)
11:00AM - review of research with another colleague and rework if necessary
12:00PM - further review and submit research to compliance / LUNCH (something I'd typically buy from near Moorgate or St Paul's or something I'd bring in)
1:00PM - review compliance questions and fix any errors
1:30PM - review other ad-hoc client work requirements with data analysts / work out plan of attack
2:00PM - working on ad-hoc requests from clients in order of importance (really they're all as important as each other right?)
3:00PM - project work on automated reporting solutions (using Natural Language Generation software)
4:00PM - data backtesting on either our stock fundamentals dataset or our macroeconomic signals dataset
6:00PM - review of work done that day / catch up on emails
6:30PM - leave office for home
7:15PM - arrive home / change / go to gym (listen to market news on way to and from gym but music whilst lifting weights)
8:30PM - arrive back home again / dinner
9:00PM - watch market news and start preparing ideas for tomorrow's morning note
10:00PM - work on further optimisation of reports or implementation of new ideas
11:00PM - get ready for bed / shower / catch up on some sort of TV series
12:00AM - sleep
Looking at this list, it was pretty clear to me that I lacked sleep. It's something I think I'll be better at in my new role later this year. I usually caught up on sleep on weekends but the sleep depravity did rear its ugly head a few times (made me feel tired at work on certain days or sleep in too much on weekends). I would definitely not recommend a schedule like this to anyone either but luckily I don't have a family/kids who rely on me so I could afford to be selfish. Additionally, I was motivated to learn the finance game. As much as it's glorified in Hollywood movies, once you're in the trenches the reality is quite different and for an outsider, things can come at you fast and hard. One of the key motivating factors was that I worked with people with 10-20 years of experience so was always going to feel a little behind the curve. It's moments like this when some people can suffer from imposter syndrome. I definitely did at times, but its also important to take moments like that to reflect on how far you've come and whether that look back period is a week, a month or a year, the key is to recognise that if you work hard the reality of your achievements will always outweigh that negative voice in your head (at least, it did for me).
So with all the time for self-reflection these last few months I had asked myself whether or not I would change any of the above. To be honest, I wouldn't. It's the pathway that led me to being afforded this overseas work opportunity and its also a key reason why I'm able to go back looking forward to an amazing new role. The way I always look at these things is that the positive parts get rewarded and the negative parts are lessons. Either way I always gain something.