There’s an old saying, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” The idea is that with New York City being so competitive, only the strongest survive. I worked on the trading floor at one of the most hardcore investment banks around and I can unequivocally tell you that making it in NYC is brutal. The weather beats you up for at least six months a year, the work hours are long, and your money doesn’t go very far.
Two years and 15 pounds heavier I left NYC in 2001 for an easier life out in San Francisco where I didn’t know a soul. I thoroughly admit I didn’t make it in NYC. Perhaps I could have stayed on as a third year financial analyst, but surely Goldman would have made me go back to business school afterward rather than promote me directly to Associate. The thought of returning to school at the time and spending all that money wasn’t appealing.
By spring 2001 it was clear the economy was not in good shape one year after the NASDAQ collapsed. I decided to take matters into my own hands and jump to a competitor for that Associate promotion and raise instead.
Waiting to get let go is like waiting to die.