Hmmphhh 100 hour work week. Bet you can't handle it.

Investment Banking 80, 95, 100-Hour Work Week Versus Working Two Remote Jobs

Investment banking analysts have been putting in a 100-hour work week this whole Pandemic (the same goes for management consultants). So when the 13 Goldman Sachs analysts’ complaints surfaced, it was hardly a surprise if you’ve investment banking and management consulting friends. I felt a bit sorry but not entirely because they chose these professions in a free market. They got duped by a bunch of salesmen, ahem, I mean investment bankers and management consultants. Instead, if you’re one of these poor analysts you should read Why Tech and join the Overemployed movement, There’s a better alternative, no really, if your ego allows for it.

“As it is said, ‘There are more ways than one to skin a cat,’ so are there more ways than one of digging for money.”   — Anonymous banker before Overmployed

My brief foray into investment banking

A long time ago, I worked at an investment bank. And to be honest, the work wasn’t inspiring whatsoever. People did it for the money – I was one of them. I also realized it was the biggest labor Ponzi scheme of all time, tantamount to communism (oh the irony). Let me explain.

Every deal, no matter its size, required roughly an equal amount of labor input, incredibly inefficient and non-scalable. And every banker on the deal gets paid from a commission pool assigned to your group at the end of the year after the house has taken its cut. The house here, of course, is the bank that employs all the bankers. It’s like waiting tables and getting your tips divided at the end of the night from the collective tips jar. To me, that’s communism. Individual performance and contribution are based on “face time” and subjective factors. And top it all, this is nearly half of a junior banker’s total compensation given only at the end of the year. Why would any sane person even play this game?

If it’s about the money, why not do tech sales or sales operations instead? I know of many finance undergrads who have gone into tech and become rich because they helped scale a sales team and grew the business – at least they built something. Of course, there are cons too. Similar to banking, tech sales required a lot of traveling prior to COVID. But that’s changing fast now with sales closing successfully through Zoom. And now with Overemployed, you can work two of these jobs remotely at the same time.

Ok, so you’re not entirely convinced…

The old bankers still got you with their glory stories and how rich it made them. Trust me, there’s a lot of survivor bias. Let me demonstrate with some simple math – call it the Overemployed® gross income per unit of effort.  

If you’re the said Goldman Sachs analysts, and you made total compensation of $180,000 ($90,000 base plus another $90,000 year-end bonus). But that took you working a 95-hour week which translates to 4940 hours over 52 weeks. A 9-to-5 job is only 2080 hours over 52 weeks. Now let’s divide $180,000 by 4940 hours. This translates to $36.44 per hour worked with benefits included, such as healthcare, 401k, and mental stress from the annual firing of its bottom 10% performers.

Ok, now some bankers will argue it’s not always 95 hours per week. It’s high right now only because of easy money and strong deal flow. Fine. Let’s adjust to more of the average of 80 hours per week. That’s $180,000 divided by 4160 hours, which translates to $43.27 per hour worked.

Switching over to tech. For job one, you work as a sales operations analyst with an average base salary of $70,000, an annual bonus of $10,000, and restricted stock units (RSUs) of $5,000. Additionally, you get a 1.5% of your base from participating in the employee stock purchase program (ESPP), which translates to another $1,050. Job one’s total compensation is $86,050 at 2080 hours over 52 weeks. This translates to $41.37 per hour worked.

Now double the total compensation for working two of these jobs, but we’ll only multiple the total hours by 1.5 times because you know how to find a second job in tech that’s not as demanding as the first one. Combining the two jobs, which leads to $172,100 divided by 3120 hours, translating to $55.16 per hour worked.

In closing…

The key here is to realize by working two jobs in tech, not only do you work a max of 60 hours per week, but you also have cash flow diversification and less mental stress and health problems. In another word, working two jobs in tech is incremental, and in banker speak, accretive. Moreover, I haven’t even calculated the potential appreciation of your initial stock grants and employee stocks purchase program! Of course, there are also depreciation risks as well, though rare like the dot-com bust. I only took the paltry $5,000 per year or $15,000 over three years at face value. That, again, in banker speak, is you’ve potential upside. And that upside is determined by the market, not by some biased, greedy human being tasked with determining how much of the collective tip jar you deserve relative to your peers.

Boom. Mic dropped. I’m out.

P.S. I took the average base salary and total compensation of 1st through 3rd year banking analysts and compared it to peers working in tech, normalized for high-cost locations like NYC and SF. Sources: Glassdoor, LinkedIn, H1B visa salary data.

P.P.S. Thinking about switching jobs? Check out our Jobs Search 2.0 – a system to find and land remote tech jobs fast. Not convinced, check out this video about the rite of passage in banking.

10 comments

  1. Some corrections – Investment bankers make around 500k-800k usd a year and the senior ones at the MD and beyond level easily go beyond 1M. Working 2 jobs in tech as an individual contributor probably maxes out at 700k-900k and that means you have to be a >E6 or staff level at one of the jobs which is non trivial.

    BTW Issac, any chance you can unblock me from discord? I made a mistake and got blocked. kskk02@yahoo.com is my email. Thank you so much!

  2. What if, instead of doing something that has to be kept on the down low, you did something that could be more out in the open with the same, or nearly the same, result? I’m talking about consulting.

    Keep your 40hr/week day job, and get a 10 or 20 or more hours per week side gig as a consultant. There are a number of companies placing high-skill workers in consulting gigs, and per the posters point, much of this work can be done asynchronously. And, consulting work is usually done at a much higher hourly rate than regular jobs, so your end earnings can be as much or more than was outlined in this article, but you don’t have to worry about getting found out, because it’s all in the open.

    Doing this means the consulting client is fully aware that you have other clients (or jobs) elsewhere, and at many companies, disclosing to them you have a consulting client on the side is not a dealbreaker. In fact, they might appreciate your hustle and consider you more strongly for promotions.

    1. Hi Woetohice!
      What companies place consultants?
      For ref: I’m a finance guy, never excelled tbh, and always going for the demanding M&A jobs. I need to break out and don’t know how/scared to.

    2. I’m in marketing operations, so these companies may not work for you, but a google search should turn up some. Another way to find them is to simply look for consulting jobs on indeed.com or flexjobs.com. Flexjobs.com is nice because 100% of the roles there are remote. Many of the postings are done by employment agencies who place both consultants and regular employees.

      Some I’m aware of are:
      k2partnering.com
      marketerhire.com
      https://www.24seventalent.com/
      accenture.com
      https://www.roberthalf.com/
      https://www.artech.com/
      https://www.techaxisinc.com/

      I have over a dozen more in my inbox that reached out to me once I ‘turned on’ my indeed and Linkedin profiles saying I was open to contract work. I bet the same could work for you too.

      Best of luck!

    3. I hear you on being scared. I eased into it by helping out a family member with their business, then realized I could multi-task and/or do other work outside my 40hr gig that is highly paid and wasn’t overworking me since a) I work 100% remote now (commute time savings) and b) turned out to be easy to either carve out time from the 40hr job or just work asynchronously and get done what needs to be done in the moment. With a 10hr, high hourly rate side gig, some weeks I work 40hrs, some 50, occasionally 60, but also sometimes 30, and I get paid for the equivalent of 70 every week no matter what.

  3. I will graduate college this month. I have a job that I am doing remotely throughout Covid pandemic, but now I have to work full time in the office. My job is an IT support role. I am thinking quitting this job and get another 2 remote IT jobs or something similar. I wonder if you mean to work 2 jobs on the same time on this forums?
    I am new to this website. I am 25 and my current net worth is 1.4m, Is it normal to have just entry level job in tech and start doing 2 remote entry jobs to make money? Do I lose out on my career path? I just want to make money personally. I have a degree in information system and the other is Finance. My goal is to have a nest egg of 3m or more next couple of years and then kind of retire or having my own investment firm.

    1. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get $1.4M in net worth at 25 and now only graduating from college? Must be an interesting story behind it. Nothing lost out from doing two remote jobs simultaneously. In fact the opposite I’d argue. You learn more and faster. Also can start at any point in your career just depends on your skills and what kind of jobs you can land that’s receptive to the 2x motion.

  4. I have been contemplating this for a while. I do feel this is a good foray. There are a few things to consider.
    1. If you have plateaued in your career and feel that the growth might be slow or might never be there then this is a good direction
    2. If you have a spouse who is doing well in a single job at say a FAANG then this approach can be helpful too so you can also double your income
    Also, at some stage in your 40’s kids will be independent and you have few more years to make more money. I am at $2.5M networth at 35 so I would want to finish at 45 at say 5 or 7 or 10M . This might be a great way to do it.

    My only challenge is that it may not be possible for certain roles. Especially the case with Product Managers who have to attend a lot of meetings. Just resolving meeting conflicts might become a challenge so that can be tricky for PMs.

    1. Totally on point Deadly Unicorn. Could take a second job in an adjacent function, say marketing, if the first job is PM. Some complementariness to the two jobs as well. There are other strategies such as two companies operating in different time zones like one is PST and another is EST, with 3 hours non-overlapping time to de-conflict meetings.

      I hope more outside of tech start seeing a more sustainable path of working — can even have some fun on the jobs! Congrats on the 2.5M net worth at 35. And thanks for reading and the helpful comment.

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