When working as an investment banker on Wall Street earning more money than you know what to do with and having your vacation time actually bought out from you for $20,000 you’d think you have it all, right ? Not for the guy behind the hit blog ‘Lifestyle of the unemployed‘. After years of working on Wall Street a “confluence of events” forced him to quit his job. Now running a successful blog, taking up private equity gigs when needing some cash, and travelling at his own free will he lives what he calls the Lifestyle of the Unemployed. I managed to speak to him after giving a talk in Trinity College, for obvious reasons he wishes to remain anonymous but here is what he had to say.
The most depressing $20,000 cheque
After going too long without taking any holidays he received a call from the HR department explaining “instead of letting me take my break they were going to buy out my vacation time”. This to him was one of the reasons he knew he had to quit, “that was the most depressing $20,000 cheque I’ve ever deposited”. Realising he had been working 100 hour weeks earning bonuses he didn’t even have time to spend, so… he quit his job!
This gave him the push to create the famous blog Lifestyle of the Unemployed. After he quit his job he moved to California and “just sat around” after a while of this the blogger had a thought “I figured I needed to start designing my life. The blog became a picture board for the life I wanted to have” although he admits it wasn’t always his plan for it to be a blog ” Honestly the articles were an afterthought. After it caught traction, I was answering so many emails that I figured I’d post a few articles to answer the more general questions. Now I get more emails than ever, but I love answering them.”
So quitting such a high paid job so bravely and now considering himself unemployed I asked would he change anything and how he would like to see unemployment change: “There’s a deserved stigma about being unemployed. I’d like to turn that around by empowering the unemployed to view their time without a job as an opportunity to enjoy life, or at least the parts of it that really matter. Instead of wallowing in sweatpants and watching reruns of Family Guy, they should be travelling, starting a business, and spending time with people they care about. Once the working public sees unemployment as an attractive alternative to the 9-5 that stigma will vanish.”
I loved the job … The Culture needs to change
But don’t think he quit Wall Street due to not enjoying the job, when asked his favourite and least favourite part about investment banking he insisted “I loved the job” he even says “Investment banking is the oil that keeps the global economy running and that’s tremendously rewarding”. However that wasn’t enough for him to stay “the culture needs to change. The whole industry prides itself on how little room it allows for the important things in life. Sure, working 100 hours a week might make you a little more on your bonus. But you’ll never get a chance to enjoy it working like that.”
Now he enjoys his life more than ever saying “Without a traditional job, I’ve had the chance to make some amazing friends and gain incredible experiences. A couple days ago I was drinking wine in a cave/wine cellar in a private home in Mexico with five friends and the vintner whose family had been making wine there for over 200 years. It’s having the time to enjoy those moments with people I care about that’s I’m most grateful for”.