When to Seek Therapy: Adapting to the Commercial Realities of Working in Investment Banking

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Christopher 'Chigg' Ba(Hons), Dip CBH, MNCH(reg)

Christopher 'Chigg' Ba(Hons), Dip CBH, MNCH(reg)

Founder:Bohangar City Practice: (ex Banking Analyst): Transforming Minds, Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy.

Working in Investment Banking comes with its fair share of challenges that can affect our mental health. The industry’s intense working culture, with its high-pressure situations, long hours, and high competition, can accumulatively impact our mental health.

It’s crucial to keep an eye on our mental well-being and not brush off the risks involved. If you or someone you know is fortunate enough to work in the dynamic world of Investment Banking there are some strategies you should bring in if you plan to stay in the industry for the long haul.

1. Long Working Hours:

Investment banking is notorious for its long working hours, with professionals often working well beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. Extended hours, including late nights and weekends, can lead to chronic fatigue and limited opportunities for rest and rejuvenation. In my day, employees opted out of the European directive for ‘normal’ working hours. On the flip side, these firms heavenly renumerated you for your troubles, but, the but is, mental health, and in particular your health is paramount.

2. High-Stress Levels:

The industry is fast-paced and highly competitive, characterised by intense pressure to meet tight deadlines, deliver results, and handle high-value transactions, customers, or other change deliverables. The constant stress can lead to increased anxiety, reduced resilience, and emotional exhaustion in the long term.

3. Workload Intensity:

Investment bankers, Front Office staff, Middle Office, Back Office, IT, and Finance, wherever you are in the organisation, often face heavy workloads and tight timelines. They are expected to juggle multiple projects simultaneously, handle complex financial analyses, and maintain attention to detail while meeting client demands. The sheer volume of work can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. I recall ‘fondly‘ back in the day, having the live system on one screen, and having the next system ‘in test’ on another screen. With system controls in place, there was no commercial risk, but your mind is multi-tasking at a pace which by the end of your work session, you feel fried.

4. Client Expectations:

Investment bankers work closely with clients who have high expectations and demand exceptional performance. The 1000s of employees in the bank are not actually client-facing, their clients are other internal departments. A big source of client expectation can be driven by internal management structures that are guiding their teams to out-deliver, even when that delivery is a nonclient-facing internal function, but the pressure cooker is constantly there. The need to deliver on client demands, provide timely advice, and maintain strong relationships can contribute to increased stress levels and burnout risk.

5. Uncertain and Volatile Markets:

Investment banking is heavily influenced by global market conditions, which can be unpredictable and subject to rapid changes. Fluctuations in market conditions, economic downturns, and financial crises can result in increased pressure and intensified workloads for investment bankers.

6. Limited Control over Work-Life Balance:

The demanding nature of investment banking often leaves little room for personal time and work-life balance. Professionals may struggle to find time for self-care, family, and leisure activities, further exacerbating the risk of burnout.

7. High-Performance Expectations: Investment banking is known for its high-performance culture. Professionals are expected to consistently deliver exceptional results, meet revenue targets, and outperform competitors. The pressure to excel can create an environment that disregards employee well-being and amplifies the risk of burnout.

Disclaimer, Please Read: The information provided in this article is for illustrative and informational purposes only. It does not establish a therapist-patient relationship. For medical issues or emergencies, always consult with a licensed medical professional. For non-clinical challenges related to stress, anxiety, and other emotional or behavioural concerns, considering a consultation with a therapist may be beneficial. Bohangar City Practice is a registered Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy practice, specializing in combining cognitive behavioural techniques with hypnosis to address various challenges and promote well-being. Any questions, please do reach out

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