A Guest Post By Steve Roy
As I drag myself out of bed for yet another unproductive, unfulfilling day, I have to wonder when it will all end. How long will it be before I can walk out of my prison cell for the last time? Each day is worse than the previous because it’s one more day I have wasted locked up. One more day stolen from me, one that I will never get back. Of course, it wasn’t always like this.
Rewind 9 years…
The year was 2002 and the thoughts of being a big time stock broker filled my head. Life was going to be great and I was going to be massively successful in the cut throat world of high finance. Or so I thought…
With absolutely no background in finance (I didn’t even know what a stock was), I made the decision to make it my career. It was the farthest thing from a well thought out plan, but I did know that I didn’t want to keep doing what I had been doing, which was bartending.
So, with my mind made up, I moved from Colorado to Maryland and started my pursuit of my newfound dream. One month and 5 interviews later, I had a job as a junior broker for a bank brokerage firm. Step 1 complete!
The Beginning Of The End
It didn’t take me long to discover that the glamorous world of being a stock broker is not all it’s cracked up to be. Far from it.
Instead of talking with institutional investors looking to buy millions of dollars worth of bonds, I was talking to Joe Dirt who has $1,000 to his name. Instead of having a corner office overlooking the trading floor, I was given a tiny cubicle with no view.
The next realization I had was that the work was incredible boring. Sitting in 6X6 cubicle all day and calling sales leads is surprisingly not fun. The job, coupled with a branch manager who chose to see us all as numbers rather than people, began to suck and suck hard.
Fast forward 2 years. I was still in the same cubicle, making the same amount of money, and 10X more miserable. What’s a guy to do? This is my dream after all, right?
As luck would have it, my partner and I received an offer to work for the gold standard of investment firms, Merrill Lynch. We took the offer and moved our practice within the month.
Hell, Part 2
At first glance, Merrill was THE place to work. Lush offices with mahogany furniture, glass enclosed offices, and a company paid assistant. Life was going to be good now!
As it turned out, Merrill was a company filled with super sized egos and not much else. I was immediately disappointed by what I found. The sea of navy blue suits and red power ties that was Merrill had me questioning my move there and for the first time, I began to think that maybe this job wasn’t for me.
How could that be though? I was good at it, I had the opportunity to become wealthy, and it was prestigious. At least I thought it was.
The Next Move
This is where things went from ugly to hideous. I moved to a new house and to another firm, leaving my partner of 5 years behind, and took the job I currently have. At this point, I knew this wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but I had just purchased a home and I needed a steady job. Big mistake!
At the time I took this job in 2007, I was not very happy with the way my career was going. I thought by taking on a new role with this firm that things would be different. And they were. Unfortunately, different equals bad in my case.
The job itself is boring to the point of nauseousness and my boss is a cross between Herman Munster and Data from Star Trek. It’s not going well for me.
Life has turned from a once happy place filled with adventure, enjoyment, and contentment to one filled with despair, resentment, and anger.
The obvious solution is to quit, right? Not so fast. In a different time in my life, of course I would be gone in a second, but things are much more complicated now.
Enter a non-working wife, 2 small children, a mortgage we can barely afford, and 9 years of financial services experience. The end result is too many expenses and barely enough money.
Walking away from a field that I have so much time and energy invested in is not easy and would mean a guaranteed reduction in income. A reduction that we cannot afford to take.
Enter the trap. With looming debt and only a long-term plan to get out of my job, things do not look so bright and cheery for me at present. Although every day is one step closer to my goal of quitting, it is also one more day that I have flushed down the proverbial toilet.
The day will come when I break free from this black hole in my life known as my job but until then, it will slowly suck the life out of me.
“Things do not change; we change.” — Thoreau