Bad idea going into finance?Watch
I am considering applying for computer science instead, as both use mathematical thinking (which is one of my strongpoints), but it has less mental strain from my research.
Are the big figures worth the mental strain, and are they as bad as advertised?
I think you'll find that there are many, many careers that when you account for those, actually pay quite comfortable amounts to live on while also affording you the ability to enjoy your time better outside of work. You really don't need to be earning that much to live comfortably in most regions in the UK...you could just as well work in the civil service and enjoy an excellent pension, many options for flexible working arrangements, and still make more than enough to live comfortably for example.
1. I know what stories you're talking about and these are very real. Working the kind of hours investment bankers work for extended periods of time is soul destroying. However just to clarify, most of these stories come from investment banking (and sometimes Megafund Private Equity) specifically, not finance generally.
2. Finance is very broad. It is not just investment banking. There's also sales, trading, research, risk, corporate/commercial banking, private banking etc. if we're talking about within an investment bank. Finance doesn't just exist in investment banks either. There's asset management, FP&A, investor relations etc. Notice I've excluded PE and HFs here because for the most part, these are secondary steps in one's career.
3. These are exceptional times in investment banking. IBDs are busier than ever and this results in crushing hours for junior bankers. So more of these posts you mention have popped up. Banks have responded by raising pay pretty much across the board (up to 30-35% pay bumps at some banks). Does this help? Maybe a little but soul destroying is soul destroying.
4. Most people are not in banking for the long run. Most people don't stay in banking for much longer than 2 years. They exit to (hopefully) greener pastures and it is for these greener pastures that people endure the terrible work life balance.
5. You have not "doomed" yourself. You're acting as if you're already in the job. No one is forcing you to go into finance.