On this week’s episode, we have Claudio Antonini who is a career change coach for finance and investment banking professionals.

We cover a lot in this interview, from:

  • What prompts finance and investment banking professionals to want to leave their career and what are the challenges in transitioning out of it?
  • Typical routes out and common transferable skills they can use
  • How to prevent your next career being a bad decision
  • Finding more suitable roles within your existing bank
  • How to recognise you are burnt out and what to do about it
  • The impact of Covid-19 on career change in finance and banking
  • When is the ideal time to leave your banking job or career?

The full show notes and videos of other interviews are available at Burnfromwithin.com/interviews, so listen all the way through, and enjoy!


To book coaching with me, Matt Garrow-Fisher, check out the Burn From Within website here

Full transcription of this episode’s interview:

[00:01:56] Matt Garrow-Fisher: so Claudio, you know, you’re a career change coach for finance and banking professionals. Actually, you were in, the banking profession and, having your own career change story, like a lot of the guests on the show told me through a little bit about your career change story. you know, first of all, what was your background in finance?

[00:02:19] Claudio Antonini: Yeah. Yeah. Actually I coach, well the changes that I’ve made myself, so I definitely walk to talk. so I started at BNP Paribas, in Italy, I’m Italian. And then, after that I joined, Fiat Chrysler. So I was in capital markets, treasury. And that’s when I relocated to London and after a few years moved to,British Airways owner IAG and, in structured finance.

[00:02:46] And finally, I moved to SGN, which is the second largest, gas network in the UK. Or I became a treasury manager and was managing $6 billion, per year. So, my career, Was, it never felt right for me, from the beginning. but, like a lot of, people that work in finance, I was attracted to, you know big salaries and, looking smart and, all the things that the majority of people, you know, right after uni, especially if you go to a very fancy university are attracted to. So that’s why I started my journey first in banking and then in corporate finance. But it was, when I was at British airways that I had a massive burnout, because, it was way too much pressure. And as I wasn’t really passionate about it, it was really hard for me to cope. it would have been harder anyways, but, not being really passionate about it made it worse.

[00:03:49] And that was a blessing in disguise, really, because I realized that, I had to make changes and that’s when my change started. So I moved out of London, close to Gatwick for a smaller company. and, and I started thinking, what I wanted to do next. So in a way, I took a stepping stone role. And that gave me time to think, also hire a career coach and, started thinking about the next steps.

[00:04:19] And so that’s when I realized that, for me, just slouching on a laptop wasn’t enough, without interacting with people, obviously COVID, didn’t help. I needed, you know, deeper connections, not just, you know, dealing with a spreadsheet all day, but interacting with people. And that’s what I love about coaching now.

[00:04:39] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Yeah. There’s an interesting backstory Claudio. What do you think are some of the kind of common challenges? I mean, you specialize in a career change for finance professionals or investment bankers. What do you think is some of the unique challenges in those professions of transitioning out of, these careers, but even before that, What are the, some of the kind of top reasons why some of your clients leave the career as well?

[00:05:11] Claudio Antonini: Yeah. So, those are very specific as investment banking. in particular is a very tough job in terms of, the hours. So a lot of my clients work, like 15 hours a day or more. And, sometimes we have sessions on a Saturday, maybe at 11:00 AM and they just, woke up because they need to recover.

[00:05:35] And then right after the session, they need to go back to working. Okay. So I would say long hours. so obviously this has a major impact on all the other areas of their life. So for example, they don’t have time to socialise as much. so I know of people that go out for drinks and while on the tube, they get a message and they need to go back home to work.

[00:06:00] they don’t have time to date. they, they are, constantly on the cusp of being burned out. And sometimes they do get there. So some of my clients have taken a sick leave. and so the, the, the challenges are primarily related to how time consuming it is. Secondly, it’s a lack of purpose. So, a lot of millennials, can stand anymore, you know, just working to make rich people richer.

[00:06:30] And also, we’re talking about individuals that have spent, the majority of them has spent several, grand to, go to the best universities in the world and what they do in the end is very mundane work. So PowerPoints presentations, especially in the, the, the first, a few years. So they don’t really don’t see the purpose.

[00:06:53] You know, it’s working very long hours and, for a job that doesn’t really give them satisfaction. What attracts them. as I mentioned in my story as well, is that at first, the money, is really, really good. And you feel like it compensates for everything else. And then also I think the way that other people look at you.

[00:07:14] So I was talking to, a client the other day. And there were saying, but, you know, I worked at JP Morgan, in London. Everybody wants to be me, and that, so that status, it’s also something that for them, it’s really hard to give. So basically to answer your questions, what are the challenges, for them in their current role.

[00:07:36] So why they want to leave? It’s because they have no control over their life, their schedule, they’re exhausted and they realise that money’s not everything. What are the challenges for them to leave? are related to the, the, golden cage. So they make a lot of money. So they know that if they quit, they most likely won’t be making the same amount of money.

[00:08:00] Matt Garrow-Fisher: I think there’s a huge sunk cost that you talked about, in finance. I mean, first of all, You know, investing a lot of, time and energy in building your career. That also includes sometimes quite expensive university educations people, you know, people’s families, kind of willing for them to, to make a lot of money and, you know, make them proud.

[00:08:26] All of that to walk away from all of that is, there’s a lot of peer pressure to stay in it. And you talked about ego as well earlier. I know from, from my friends, in investment banking, in particular walking away from a career, even if you’re burning out and you hate your own happy that, that loss of a, of, status and ego, to some extent, it’s difficult to swallow, not to mention.

[00:08:53] You know, how do you walk away from the highest salaries and what can you do, in place of that? This phrase, golden, did you say golden cage? Really interesting kind of metaphor too, to bring up. How do finance professionals start to find out ways to, to chisel out of this golden cage? Is it like a, a quick exit and it’s very, very painful, are there kind of transitions to make it a smoother way out, like what can people do in this profession?

[00:09:30] Claudio Antonini: So obviously everybody’s different. What I’ve see with my clients is that there are, there are different paths, so some people, So first and foremost is working on their self, self limiting beliefs. So obviously they don’t really need so much money. Okay.

[00:09:52] So, it’s just that the it’s about realizing that first. so. Everybody wants to have financial stability. It’s just that in, I think in investment banking, making six figure salaries is normalized. So they come to me telling me that they can change absolutely everything except for the amount of money that they make, which would be the equivalent of, someone who’s overweight, going to a personal trainer saying, you know, I can change absolutely everything except eating, you know, bacon every single morning, you know, and a pizza for dinner.

[00:10:30] Okay. It’s exactly the same thing. That’s what got you into the problem because you were so addicted to making so much money that you’ve been doing everything so that I think is always the first issue. And, and also the other one is acceptance because according to what you said as well, sunk costs are big.

[00:10:50] cause, imagine. imagine the family of someone from Morocco that could only send, one kid to university to an expensive university, how much pressure, you know, there isn’t that person and the return on the investment for the whole family. so I think that before addressing the career issue, there are always self limiting beliefs.

[00:11:15] Once those are addressed, in terms of careers, I don’t believe in just,I don’t believe that everybody can just, you know, just switch from one career to another. because, some people have kids, some people have financial commitments. so what I, what I think is the best approach is to, have a vision, develop a vision for where you want to be, then become really realistic and understand where you can get.

[00:11:43] And even there, figure out stepping stones. Okay. So for example, when I realized that finance wasn’t for me anymore, I still worked in finance for basically another two years before. I became a coach. so you know that you can build up that financial security. you can start, under you understand that you’re not your job, because that is another thing, you know, like you said, losing your face in banking is something that, it’s not easy for people, you know?

[00:12:12] So they think even if they move within finance, that, their peers will think they’re stupid. this is I’m quoting some of my clients or that they were not good enough. Okay. so obviously the imposter syndrome and people pleasing are big issues in, in banking. Okay. Otherwise, people wouldn’t work 15 hours a day if they could say no, In terms of, exit strategies, so there are some that are more typical of investment banking, so usually private equity, hedge funds, but some people, don’t want to go, let’s say the more mainstream, route. So they prefer, maybe staying within finance, but not investment banking.

[00:12:53] So startups, investor relations, capital markets, but within a corporation, and then some people decide that, realize that finance wasn’t for them. so maybe they launch their own business. and maybe they stay in their current job. you know, they start developing a business idea and, so with the intent in a few years to, to switch, So there are multiple ways in which people can, exit, I think, as this, there’s no such thing as the perfect career and it’s not as important what you do as much as what, how you feel when you do it. I think that knowing already that there is a way out and you see all the main stones and the, the, the different jobs that you can do even before you get to the dream job that you have.

[00:13:45] I think it makes them feel already like they’ve started as much as when you go to the gym for the first time and you have a personal trainer and you see that there is a schedule, there’s a pattern you start feeling good, even before you lose weight. You, you start feeling much better right away, because you know that there is a way out.

[00:14:02] Matt Garrow-Fisher: I mean, do you think there are, common transferable skills that finance professionals in particular, and investment bank professionals have that they do take to their new careers?

[00:14:15] Claudio Antonini: Yes, absolutely. first of all, broadly speaking the mindset. Okay. We’re talking about people that went to the best universities in the world and were top performers and also were top performers in investment banking.

[00:14:29] So there is what the so-called halo effect, so that if you’re really good at something, then you, you can spread that over different, different parts of your life. More specifically I think, . What they do in investment banking all day is solving problems for clients okay. At a, at a speed and with accuracy that are not so common.

[00:14:57] So that is what everybody wants. You know, the ability of, fixing problems coming up with creative ideas. Those are amazing transferable skills that can be used. On one point on, on skills. I don’t, cause I, I don’t get too stuck on skills because I think that when you have clear where you want to go, I don’t buy the assumption that if you don’t have the right skills, you will never get it.

[00:15:27] Cause it’s 2021. with COVID any expert, course, is at literally at our fingertips. So I think is just procrastination when people stress too much. Oh. You know, cause I don’t have that skill. I don’t know. I don’t have that experience. Everything is possible if you know where you’re going.

[00:15:47] Okay. When I changed from being a corporate finance manager to a coach, obviously the two jobs were quite different. So I was lacking some skills. however, that didn’t stop me because I was getting closer to myself in a way. So where we start with my clients is. Well first, let’s make sure that you know who you are, because if you don’t know who you are, then how do you know what you want?

[00:16:18] How can you get fulfilled? Because of fulfillment is knowing who you are, knowing what your beliefs are, and then aligning your job with those. So if you don’t know who you are, then potentially can never be fulfilled because you don’t know what you’re chasing. And then the skill set is just, you know, bridging that gap and I think that, yeah, maybe some people might take longer. Some people don’t, but if you leverage on your natural abilities, the, the learning curves are not as steep as when you’re doing something that you don’t enjoy.

[00:16:50] Matt Garrow-Fisher: So how do finance professionals find out who they are? How do they discover that?

[00:16:57] Is there a process, like a set of questions they can ask themselves, like, what’s that, what are those first steps to start? this self-awareness process of who they are.

[00:17:09] Claudio Antonini: That’s a great question. I think the first step is acceptance. so. The first step is the hardest with my clients because they tell me that it’s hard for them to accept that they’re not in the right career and I totally get it because for me, it was really, really hard.

[00:17:29] I was in denial for many years. So self-awareness is, is key. So understanding that there’s no point in continuing on a path that is not for you. but it might take time. So sometimes I, I see potential clients and they become clients months after our first talk, because it takes some time to actually accept that they want to change.

[00:17:57] So the actual, this self discovery, yes. coaching helps with that because coaching is a learning technology. So you can learn about yourself. So the coach asking questions, challenging you at the same time, supporting you. understanding your body language, your tone, and holding up the mirror to reflect back what neutrally,they see helps the person to actually, you know, see the box. So if you want to think out of the box, you first need to see it, right. So seeing, what’s happening in their life, the stories that they tell themselves, and then that’s when they start, understanding that those are stories.

[00:18:42] So they start going deeper. so not everything that our brain tells us is true. And once they get that, then they, I see that. It kinda, they want to get to know themselves better. And they remember that maybe in high school. they really didn’t like, you know, maths, their parents made them study, scientific subjects because, you know, they always believed that

[00:19:07] those will get you a better employment. Maybe you did, but then, if you’re burned out and you need to get sick leave and you, you know, you want to quit, maybe, it wasn’t for you. So they, they want to discover what their assets are. So not just their skills,you know, all their experiences,their talents , their, their values.

[00:19:31] They want to discover all of those because they realize that that is the best place to start because in 2021, we have so many careers that it will be like going to a restaurant and having a 50 page menu to pick, you know, so understanding who you are, gives you the best. viewpoint on what to do next, because you will be leveraging on your natural abilities rather than, you know, just do what everybody else is doing like they usually do when in university.

[00:20:05] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s actually quite rare for, for any professional, but you know, finance professionals in particular, they go through a lot of training education and it’s, there’s not really a gap or a break from, from school through to education, through, to a finance career and then more training to actually.

[00:20:26] Stop and think, and of like, what is it that I would want to do? What, what, what do I naturally energized towards? what are my natural strengths, weaknesses, what am I actual passions like that I’ve developed over my life? And that chance to kind of, this is why I love coaching to, to reflect through a coach, all of those things with structured exercises, maybe psychometric tests and other forms of evaluation, I think is, particularly helpful with, with the finance profession, because there’s just not an opportunity to do that normally. In terms of networking. I know finance, lot of finance organizations are quite large organizations.

[00:21:12] You mentioned you were working for a multi-billion dollar organization managing about 6 billion pounds in debt. That, that means, you know, a lot of these organizations have a lot of employees and, there are vast networks in finance for people that, kind of transitioning out of their job, are there opportunities within their organizations, or indeed, to tap into their existing finance network to find, new careers or, jobs that are more aligned with who they are or does find finance quite resistant once someone wants to get out. But they’re kind of forced out and that’s how, that’s how it is. What, what is your kind of, take on, on being, getting support from the finance network?

[00:22:09] Claudio Antonini: I think that in, especially in investment banking, human resources are, very conscious that. You know, people may easily, burnout actually.

[00:22:21] Earlier in the year there’s been an uproar at Goldman Sachs in the U S some analysts have published a presentation, about, you know, the. silly work hours and how exhausted that were. So, I hear a lot of, clients that are trying to, move within the same company, to a, to a team where they think that they will do better.

[00:22:46] maybe this, like I said before, this might be a stepping stone. But you know, at least they feel better. At least they keep learning the, they want to go back to work. And, and if they’re in a toxic environment, at least they’re in a, in a better environment. So that… cos you know, if you are not in the right head space, it’s also hard to have career coaching to think about what else you want to do because you’re so stressed out.

[00:23:16] so yeah. The, I see that clients try to stay within the company, at least in the short run so that they can have that, that headspace. And then networking is essential. So I actually do suggest that they, after they… it’s clear what they want to do next. They use their own network so that they can, you know, make it happen.

[00:23:40] because networking, as we were talking about skills before, kinda, trumps the skill set, as you can put yourself right in front of the decision-makers, you know, they, and they, like, you. you still need to have the main, the main skills, but you know, w with networking, you can, you can tell your story.

[00:24:01] you can explain what happened. You can connect with people, and that’s when the magic happens, you know, because, because people will, maybe they have a similar work experience, you know, and they will be willing to give you a chance. So, yeah, I think networking is essential. and the trying to stay in the organization.

[00:24:22] If, if you, maybe you want to stay in finance or if your, job, is really toxic, it’s probably best so that, you know, it can be quicker rather than, job hunting, externally.

[00:24:35] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Yeah. And you, you talked about, HR departments in finance. They’re, they’re very aware of, you know, staff burnout. A lot of, lot of, employees work very long hours naturally that they’re all going to be some potential health issues, in the industry, of course, What can people do?

[00:24:52] First of all actually, how can people recognize symptoms of burnout? Cause you mentioned that you had a burnout, in your role, what was, what were the kinds of symptoms that you noticed and how, what are some other kind of typical symptoms of burnout that maybe some of your clients have, or even your colleagues and network have experienced.

[00:25:17] and what can people do about those symptoms? can they go to their HR department? And if they can, is there anything that can be done internally before, maybe drastic action is, is needed rather than completely quitting, that career or their job?

[00:25:37] Claudio Antonini: Yeah. So, when, when I had,my burnout, I, I was very, very anxious.

[00:25:44] So for two months before I quit, I was really anxious. I was given. Way too many projects. not just in terms of, you know, the, the volume, but in terms of, how stressful they were. I was, I was still junior and I was, and I was given projects that require someone way more experienced than me.

[00:26:09] So for short, anxiety, so I remember sometimes sitting at my desk having like palpitations, because I felt like everything depended on me. and then, difficulty sleeping. And, and eating, and thinking about something that is not work, because you’re so obsessed and, and, you know, because you’re, you’re burning, you know, the, the fumes, the, the, the, the last few resources, and maybe again, there is a bit of denial because maybe you’ve realized that it’s not for you.

[00:26:42] You don’t want to fail, and you keep, you know, you keep running, running, running, even though. You know, there there’s nothing else to do. So for me, it was,you know, yeah. Feeling, feeling like an imposter because, in, in finance, like you were mentioning before, emotions are not really, a thing, you know, so you have a work, hard play, hard approach, so people don’t care about, you know, if you’re in flow, if you feel good when you do something.

[00:27:12] That is not important. You know, what’s important is you get the job done. So sometimes you dismiss your feelings, your emotions, because those are not important. You know, the, the next, for some of my clients, the next bonus is what matters, is, you know, the, the, the next dividend to shareholders, the next client.

[00:27:35] So. The, the burn out has clear symptoms that are related to exhaustion. And, and I think that it’s physical exhaustion, but also mental exhaustion. So, feeling like you have no energy at the end of the day. So I would get home feeling destroyed and my day was basically just work and weekends were spent trying to make up for that, but still worrying a lot.

[00:28:04] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Regarding, what people can do like I mean can they, can they tell their HR department that they are having, symptoms of burnout and like can organizations, are organizations sympathetic to that. what can, what can people do when they do experience these symptoms?

[00:28:22] Claudio Antonini: In my opinion, they are, but it’s just, well, what they say, you know, it’s just a lip work, because, they, they show when, when, when you’re in the, in the corporate world or banking world and you have maybe trainers coming over or they show this graph that I personally hate, whichshows that if you’re not, under enough stress, that is really bad because you’re not, you know, simulated, so you’re, you, you get bored. And so that good stress is called EU stress, but then if it gets too much, you get into distress, which is the bad stress and that can lead to burnout. So the reason why I hate this concept, is, is because this was probably applicable to.

[00:29:08] You know, workers in the 20th century, in a conveyor belt. And actually this is where this graph comes for because I’ve researched. so if you’re getting, you know, the, most competitive people that you can find that go to the best universities, and if they don’t go to the best universities, they’re more competitive because they need to make up for it.

[00:29:29] Selling this idea to companies just means that they will put more pressure and more pressure and more pressure. So I think that burnouts are part of the job description to be totally honest. This is what I think, to answer your question, what I’ve seen my clients do is they take sick leave. which I believe is for a couple of weeks.

[00:29:52] So. I think it’s just, you know, a gasp of air and then you try to do something else. they, they, the, the banks, the way they’ve reacted to the, the Goldman Sachs uproar was by increasing salaries. So that is a clear sign that, they don’t really want to make changes. They, they, they might say it.

[00:30:17] So maybe, you know, you have, no emails on, on Saturdays or, or Sunday things like that. But then what I see with my clients is that the client, so the corporation, you know, could ask anything and they, the bankers want to impress the corporation. So they will work as hard as possible, you know? And so I don’t really think that, that the, that the banks themselves have an incentive to, to change, you know, they, they don’t, they, they will be attracting people for a very long time because they offer, in the U S from the very first year, you’ve got a six figure salary.

[00:31:02] So maybe you’re 22, 23, and you make a six figure salary. Maybe your father didn’t make a six figure salary by the end of their career. Or your mother. So, I think that they will be attract, always be attracting people. So the question is that do they really need to fix the problem?

[00:31:18] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Yeah. So it’s, it’s a, an institutional structuring thing, I guess, you know, if people can’t handle the burnout issues, they’ll, they’ll be more recruits. And, and actually there’s an incentive to stay because maybe pay will go up if you, if you stay on and keep your experience within the organization.  how do people, I guess, Transition then like the actual process of transition.

[00:31:50] what are some of the typical obstacles that finance professionals face during your transition and, How do they handle them with a coach or without?

[00:32:01] Claudio Antonini: Yeah, so I think, like we said before, I think the, the first one is, Money. so, usually I invite my clients to, develop a budget because what I, what I see is that usually the, the figure that they originally give me, it’s never backed up by any data.

[00:32:21] so they say, oh, okay, well, I could, the very least I can accept is this amount. And then when you ask. Okay. So how do you know? It’s more like a feeling rather than, you know, money that they really, really need, or they really want for that matter. So I think that is key, addressing that, that one first. Then in terms of transitioning, it is about, taking time to think of what they want to do.

[00:32:51] because as there are so many labels on roles. So the way that, for example, an investment bankers sees other roles affects the way that my clients who want to quit will see those roles. So maybe they’re overlooking, you know, some, some roles just because they don’t have a good reputation within their own industry, which, doesn’t make any sense because obviously if you, if you’re still working in investment banking, what would you think that somewhere else, is better?

[00:33:27] You obviously still have those values. So, unless you want to quit, you think that that is the best place to be. Okay. So sometimes I invite them to explore with, for example, with prototyping other other roles. Okay. so if you want to, work in digital marketing, then, why don’t you take up a course and try to, you know, build your, some, some digital marketing materials.

[00:33:55] You try to, work maybe with friends, you know, figuring out a way with prototyping. W whoever’s not familiar with that means bringing in some elements of that job into your daily life so that you can see how you feel about it so that you avoid the, oh, I love cooking. So I quit my career and open a restaurant and fail after the two months.

[00:34:17] I, I did prototyping myself. so I prototyped, opening a pizza place, as I’m Italian. and then, I prototyped at teaching and so. They, they struggle with money, they struggle with understanding, what’s next. and another thing that they struggle with is,being realistic in terms of how quickly it can happen.

[00:34:43] So people, I think they need to be clear that. If, you know, it can take time to change careers because if you’ve been for even 5, 5, 6 years in that specific sector, especially the sector that pays a lot. And you want, a really high salary could take time before you, before you transition now, or it may take time because you need to muster the courage to, launching your own business and developing a business plan, your business idea.

[00:35:14] Okay. So that’s, that’s what I did. For example, it takes time and, and I noticed that sometime. yeah, the, their expectations are okay. Well, there must be a service out there, like Amazon, you know, where I just, speak with someone and I, I know what to do. And then maybe after a month I’ll be doing that and I’ll be the happiest I’ve ever been.

[00:35:39] It doesn’t really work like that. At least not my service. Okay. So, there is there’s work to do there’s introspection. There is, budgeting. There is, understanding what’s realistic. So dreaming big, but at the same time, understanding out of that dream, what’s really realistic considering, where you’re in in your life.

[00:35:58] So if you have kids, for example, it could take you longer than if you don’t. if you are moving completely outside of finance, it could take you a little bit longer than if you were staying within. So these are the, these are the typical,challenges. And the last one is about the fact that they have very little time available.

[00:36:19] So, that, that’s why, what I make sure they realize at the beginning is that. You, you still need to have, you know, the time to do the introspection, to, to prototype and to think carefully, because what I tell my clients is that the worst thing that can happen is that you end up in a job that you hate even more than the one that you’re leading.

[00:36:44] Matt Garrow-Fisher: So true, so true. And I’m so glad you brought up, prototyping. I’m a big fan of it as well. and, you know, take my clients through it. I’ve done a, certification called designing your life by a couple of Stanford professors and they, they read the book. They, they, they live by prototyping for any listeners.

[00:37:05]  I recorded a whole episode on prototyping with a, another career change coach Fiona Reith. So please check that out if you, if you haven’t, already come across the concept, I wanted to talk about Claudio COVID and the effects of the pandemic on the profession of finance and investment banking.

[00:37:28] How do you think it’s impacted, First of all, career change in the profession, with, you know, a lot of pressure when, when bankers are forced to work remotely, you know, you’ve, you’ve heard the stories of, you know, people working even longer hours, but at home because they’re being monitored by their bosses.

[00:37:49] cause they can’t be monitored as they were before in, in the actual banks. What’s been the effect of, of COVID on and and that kind of scenario on bankers, on finance professionals. And how has that impacted career change? Have you seen like an influx of clients and more people that have been prompted to leave the profession as a result of this pandemic?

[00:38:15] Claudio Antonini: Yes I haveso Covid has given time to think for a lot of people. And, and like you said, in for investment banking and financial professional, financial professionals, it wasn’t good because the, the, the lines between, you know, private life and your profession became even, more blurry.

[00:38:40] So. Yes. A lot of people have left as a, as a consequence,in a way was, like for my burnout, a blessing in disguise because people could realise that that was really not for them. Also in 2020, bonuses were not, the best. so, I had some clients telling me that, you know, for them it was, it was a trauma, which I know that for the majority of people, this could seem, very bizarre, but if you basically, invest your whole life in your work, and the only thing that your employer can really give you is money at the end of the day. And you don’t even get that. You feel that, you know, you’ve really wasted your, your, your year, you know, your, your life for that year. So, I think there have been a lot of,the burnouts have have increased, as a, as a result and also the need for change. And actually I did my change during the pandemic as well, so I was one of them.

[00:39:42] so I think. You know, we, we were all pushed, to our limits and eventually you, you start thinking how sustainable that is. That actually one of my main questions to my clients, how sustainable is your life? If you’re feeling exhausted at 27, at 30, how. How sustainable do you think that is? How many years do you think you had ahead of you with that lifestyle?

[00:40:13] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I’ve been reflecting on another interview. I did with a previous,investment banker, Max Vishnev, I think it was episode two of The Burn From Within show. And he left, banking. he basically got a pay out, and, and. He, he, it wasn’t a payout. He actually, got the opportunity to get an MBA.

[00:40:38] and so he took time out. And during that, that time out, which was paid for that education was paid for, he, he actually had that time to reflect and went to Spain and from America. And, that was the beginning of his kind of career change. If you think about someone like, Jeff Bezos from, from Amazon, he worked for a hedge fund in Manhattan.

[00:41:00] and he talked about, you know, he very well paid. I think he was senior vice president at the time. And. In investment banking, there’s big bonuses. And certain times of the year to keep people, you know, going, if, if they stay for their bonus, then you know, they get their bonus and then there’s more pay rises and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:41:23] Is there an ideal time to, to get out of banking? Like when, you know, you want to leave. really be interested to hear your thoughts on that. Cause I think, you know, for people that know they want to leave and maybe they know what they want to do as well, it’s like almost a waiting game, but you never quite sure.

[00:41:44] When is the best time like, is there, is there any advice on, on, on that exit strategy, I guess.

[00:41:52] Claudio Antonini: That’s a great question. And everybody’s always asking, should I wait another year? Cause you know, they’re gonna make me associate and I get the signing bonus and you know, maybe it’s gonna get better because associates might not work as, as, as much as as analysts.

[00:42:10] So usually what I see is that after year two,analysts or, looking around, you know, and then usually after the second year of, the associate years as well, the point is it’s much easier to, To leave, when you’re more junior or more senior. Okay. Because when you’re very junior, you’re relatively cheap when you’re very experienced, more senior, you bring, experience with you.

[00:42:41] So that’s very valuable. so what’s harder usually is for, you know, analysts for associates and vice presidents. So the point is. It’s, you know, again, the, sunk cost fallacy, you know, so you stay a little bit longer. And even though you don’t like it because you want, you don’t want to lose your investment.

[00:43:05] And in a way it’s like, you’re you’re gambling. So I lost I’ll keep gambling so that maybe I can make up for it, you know? And is it really worth it? You know that that’s the point. I think there are assumptions about, I have some clients telling me, oh, I can make less than this. if I don’t make this much, well, what, what does it say about me compared to others?

[00:43:31] So the point is not really about the career. The point is really what’s underneath, you know? so I think leave when you. understand that the risk of staying is higher than the risk of leaving. That’s the sweet spot for any career change. Okay. And for any change in life, really? Because if you didn’t have a reason to change, then you’ll never do it because the brain, whatever, whatever is new is, is a, is a threat until proven otherwise.

[00:44:06] So I think it’s a matter of being honest and, and realizing that, is this bad enough for me? So, am I unfulfilled? Am I burnt out?I didn’t get what I, what I wanted. If I continue for another year, how will that year be? If I think, well, you know, I’ll survive then maybe it’s not the right time because change requires effort.

[00:44:34] So I, I usually work with people that. You know, they don’t see themselves working in the same role for the next year because that gives, you know, the, the, the highest probability of success, to them. And I discourage starting a career change, journey, at least with me to those people that…

[00:45:00] the two scenarios staying or leaving are not that different because I’ll know that when, you know, when, when things get tough, they won’t, they won’t do what’s necessary. you know, changing careers. This is my, my view is hard, psychologically, primarily because you need to detach your identity to who you’ve been for so many years and be really, really strong and build something from scratch.

[00:45:30] And if you, you know, if you don’t really want it, then you’ll just be wasting your time and, and you might, you might fail because of that.

[00:45:40] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Yeah, I, I totally agree with that as well. And one kind of concept from finance and I think probably bankers and finance professionals will be familiar with, with this concept of long-term thinking.

[00:45:53] And actually what’s the longterm view. And you know, when you look at certain stocks, crypto, for example, it’s going up and down as a very volatile market could be some big gains who knows. When you kind of look at the fundamentals of anything that you invest in, and look at the long-term fundamentals in the history as well.

[00:46:15] Those kinds of fluctuations and volatilities that you might be experiencing now. If you, if you kind of project that forward and project your, as you said forward for a year Jeff Bezos, his decision to leave, his hedge fund, he imagined himself (at) 80. And he imagined himself, you know, making that decision to start a, an internet company.

[00:46:38] And what would life be like if, he reached 80 doing that and would he have regretted that decision, versus you know, being 80 and having a career in finance and would he have regretted staying, staying in finance? And I think if you project yourself far enough into the future, whether it’s a year, I would probably tend to say, you know, longer term, you know, the thinking about your whole life, because ultimately you, you know, we we’ve talked about life happiness, life fulfillment and projecting yourself, you know, right to the end of your life and thinking well, is this something that I, if I continue on this path, will I want to continue and be that person will I have regrets? I think that’s a useful framework to have for any professional, but, but particularly finance and, and Jeff Bezos, he talks about,regret minimization theory. I actually talk about it on again, another episode called big decision, no regrets. but yeah, for any of those interested, I’ll, I’ll include that in these show notes today as well.

[00:47:42] Claudio, it’s been a really fascinating conversation. thank you so much.

[00:47:45] Where can people find you get in touch with you? for coaching. if they are professionals that are looking for time out of a banking and finance?

[00:47:57] Claudio Antonini: Yeah, so they, they can find me on LinkedIn. so that’s where they can also see my posts on, you know, burnout, and investment banking related topics. so, we can, we can leave the link below.

[00:48:12] And they can send me a private message. There’s my email address. there’s my website and yeah. And we can have a, a free strategy call and we can see, you know, if I can help them out.

[00:48:25] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Awesome. And all of those links to Claudio’s, details will be in the show notes for the show today. Claudio, my final question.

[00:48:34] I can see you’re someone that, is passionate about what you do. I’m helping finance professionals to change, to, to have more fulfilling lives if they want to get out of the profession. You certainly have a more balanced life, from, from the life that you had before, and, you know, passionate and, and also this is, you know, quite a purpose for you. There’s a lot of meaning behind all the work you do. I call that magical mix of passion, purpose, and balance to burn from within. What is the one thing Claudio, that has made the biggest difference for your life to burn from within?

[00:49:13] Claudio Antonini: Helping others.. So using my natural abilities and my skills to help others for me, as well, gives me that purpose, you know, to go through the tough days to go through, what I’m scared of, and to push myself, because I, I like, using what I know to, to help other people.

[00:49:36] Matt Garrow-Fisher: Yeah. And I think it really goes back to what you said, like right near the start of our conversation about, you know, who you are and, and, and being aware of who you are, what you do, what you believe in, you know, marrying those three things up, it leads to fulfillment and, it’s clear. You know, helping people is who you are Claudio.

[00:50:01] And there was a, I’m guessing, from having various conversations with you, a mismatch of who you were when you were in banking and finance and, and just that realization through extensive. you know, coaching and self-awareness and this journey that you’ve been on, but that, that awareness of helping others is a core part of who you are and living that now in this career.

[00:50:29] I think that’s testament. I can understand exactly how that makes the biggest difference for you to burn from within. so Claudio, thank you for a fascinating, and I think useful conversation for any finance and banking professionals who are listening and indeed any other professionals.

[00:50:49] the structure is very similar, from, from the story that Claudio shared today.

[00:50:54] Claudio Antonini: Thank you for having me.

[00:50:55] Matt: Wow. We shared a lot of different tips in that conversation on solving the challenges of career change out of finance. Many of which are applicable to other professions too. From taking time to discover who you really are with coaching being an effective way to do this. To having acceptance of leaving behind sunk costs and the metaphor of continuing to gamble when you’ve lost money.

[00:51:22] The realization that high salaries are not a precondition for happiness and shouldn’t limit your career options. If you’re unhappy or unfulfilled. And it can be a long but worthwhile journey to build up your salary in a new career and so much more. Check out the show notes for links to connect directly with Claudio and me.

[00:51:43] And if you enjoyed this talk. I go and leave a review on rate this podcast.com forward slash burn from within this rate, this podcast.com forward slash bend from. But then. Stay updated with more inspiring interviews by hitting the subscribe. Or follow button now on your player until next time and live with passion purpose and balance

[00:52:03] and burn from within

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