Let’s Talk About Feelings

A: Let’s talk about feelings.
B: What do you mean? I’m fine.
A: There’s got to be something there. Ripples under the surface.
B: Fine – you’re probably right. I’ve been feeling tremors. Hard for me to put my finger on anything but I’ll try to dig deep.
A: That’s what this blog is for after all, right? Let’s probe a bit with some questions.


A: What are the newer events in your life since you last posted?

B: Well, work has certainly picked up in intensity. The arbitrage world has gone bonkers with the inversion controversy and then the ultimate break of the largest merger of the year. Entire funds are being liquidated, which has introduced a great deal of stress into the market. We were relatively less exposed but more than I’d liked to have been.

The long term implications for the Arbitrage group within the larger fund have yet to play out, though certainly we will have lost our halo as top notch operators. In the meantime, we have been busy at work buying some of the super safe spreads that blew out in the wake of the deal break. At the same time, we are vigorously re-underwriting our existing, more complex deals that have blown out.

I’ve taken on more responsibility than previously as my skills have progressed and my work has finally been shown in a good light by being correct about some of the events of the past few months.

A: So that’s what’s happening factually at work, but what are you feeling at work?
Unproductive. Depressed at being unproductive. Unmotivated. Not connecting well with my coworkers. Upset at myself for being callous with my coworkers. Exhausted and sleep-deprived. Overwhelmed. Strong doubt. A desire to be anti-social. Fear that I’ll become a Scrooge. Surprise that I am so comfortable being alone. I’ve been feeling out of shape and getting older physically. Above all, lost. Adrift at sea.

That’s kind of the raw laundry list of emotions. Unprocessed and unexplained. But it helps to get all this out. Thanks.

A: What are some of the causes for these feelings?
Overwhelmed: In the wake of the break, I felt vindicated on my research and instincts which suggested the deal was not safe. But the reward for good work is more work and suddenly there’s a whole lot of new ground to cover in new deals which I’m responsible. The stakes are also quite high because we can’t afford to have another break. I believe that this is causing me to feel overwhelmed.

Fearful/uncertain: To be truly good at something, you have to have an almost artistic or Zen-like devotion. You have to treat something as a craft and really dedicate yourself to being good. But given what feels like a tenuous position for the industry at large (fees too high), our fund (massive redemptions) and my group (both its quality and my developmental path within it), is it possible that I might end up dedicating myself to the wrong thing? The uncertainty is compounded by the presence of other options such as business school, law school or starting my own fund.

Anyway, getting late over here so I’ll have to pick this up some other time. Despite the rocky last few months, I feel that I hit a bottom of sorts this past week and that things will look up. I aim to be more considerate of others. Things are ultimately fine for me. Random observations include that 1) I’ve been watching a bunch of British comedy recently and 2) I’m more Lauda than Hunt, more Prost than Senna.

A: Good.

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One thought on “Let’s Talk About Feelings

  1. Wow – it’s crazy to read this post exactly one year later because I again feel the exact same way. Not interacting well with other folks, a little burnt out despite doing good work and worried about the existence/quality of my firm.

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