Why I Left Finance [Assignment]

Adel Alaali
2 min readMar 18, 2022

How do you feel about the work-life balance in today’s 24/7 “anytime, anywhere” digital workplace? Do you anticipate negative effects on your health and personal life?

In an era where entrepreneurs reinvent our relationship with work to create stunning innovation; we as Americans often face issues concerning work-life balance. Work defines our lives. It creates meaning, creativity and ultimately shapes our lives. On one hand, some view their jobs as a necessity, while others see it as a luxury. Work-life balance is paramount not just for one’s personal safety, but also for the business’s long-term prospects. Overworked employees may be productive in the short-term, but their exhaustion will come to fruition in the future. Flexibility makes room for creativity and innovation. An exhausted employee is an ineffective employee.

So.. what does it mean to have a job? Is our occupation meant to just provide sustainability, or should I be happy at work? I left finance, not because of the work-life balance but for the lack of creativity and innovation the sector offered. A typical workday was about 10–11 hours (not including the commute). And employees were not only expected to perform against external competition and arbitrary P/L statements, but also deal with intra-office competition. Intra-office competition is the anti-thesis to workplace cohesion: instead of employees coalescing behind a common problem, it fragments office solidarity and the continuity to achieving organizational goals.

Though stress was high, I still loved my job. It was the first time I felt the effects of ‘tangible money.’ However, this feeling faded as the years passed and I aged into my 30s. I did not experience exhaustion from a lack of having a ‘work-life’ balance; (though it was a common cultural issue within the firm) my exhaustion stemmed from having a cap on my creativity and innovation. Selling financial products (at least the ones we were tasked with selling) didn’t necessarily help people — which certainly does not fulfill my workplace ethos and collective therein, —which many would consider life’s purveyance.