Whatever initially drew you to a career in finance, it likely wasn’t a hankering for a low-stress, relaxed lifestyle. Probably the exact opposite, in fact. While the long working hours and typical high-tension workplaces are generally seen as an unfortunate side effect of the job, it’s true that many of those who choose this line of work actually thrive on a fast-paced, high-stress environment.
Sure, it’s normal to complain about the demanding nature of your work. But can you really picture yourself putting in an easy, uneventful 8 hours and heading home for a relaxed evening without giving a thought to your job? It might sound nice sometimes, but the reality is, a few months in you’d probably be begging for an end to the monotony.
Studies have shown that while some people suffer under stressful situations, other shine. Maybe it’s time, then, to stop thinking of stress as being negative by definition. After all, stress drives us to succeed, pushes us to do our best, and boosts our energy. When stress feels like it’s an unbearable burden, there’s a problem — but properly managed and in the right amounts, it can actually help bring a sense of purpose to our lives and provide needed impetus for innovation and creativity.
Finding Balance – Even When It Seems Impossible
Like people in any other high-stress career, seasoned, successful financial traders have learned to strike a balance with the tension in their lives. Most of it boils down to self-reflection and experience. Those who thrive behind the trading desk know when they’ve reached their breaking point and have identified healthy ways to blow off some steam when it’s necessary. Newcomers to the trade might find themselves feeling overwhelmed more often than they’d like, but the truth is, if you love the job, you’ll find a way to make it work for you over time.
Maintaining a work-life balance is easier said than done in a job with hours that rarely resemble anything like 9 to 5, so it’s all about finding your zen in the little moments. Small details like having a well-designed, comfortable office can make a world of difference. A more ergonomic office chair or adding a few leafy plants to your trading desk can help you keep your cool throughout your hectic day to day life. Redecorate your desk and add some photos or small objects that make you feel happy and centered, or invest in some artwork for your office.
Make Time For What Makes You Happy
It’s also absolutely essential to make time for exercise, at least a few uninterrupted hours with your family, an occasional round of golf, or whatever else helps you lower your pulse and wind down. No matter how much you’ve got on your plate, you’re never too busy to carve out a few hours a week if they’re the difference between an imminent burn-out and a long and prosperous career.
If you’re the kind of person that lives for the adrenaline rush of a fast-paced work environment, good — you’re in the right business. Learn how to manage pressure and make your stress work for you, and you’re guaranteed a satisfying and successful career in finance.