Fast forward one year...
1) I still work in M&A, live in London, and have trouble motivating for the gym so surf random websites
2) I have 2 years of new work experience, have gained weight, and am focused on a sustainable lifestyle
On .1s & .3s, it's been a challenging two years given the need to start from the bottom and to learn a new work language and work ethic. Most of my close friends have gotten through the past years with their jobs, but some have lost them and left London. Of those still in M&A/CorpFin banking, most are looking for other jobs because they want to have a work-life balance. The challenge is not having enough experience compared to peers who've worked their way up as analysts to transition into directly related fields. So many look to blend their pre-MBA experience with the last two years to find a middle ground. The more challenging hurdle is wanting a job that compensates more than 1/2 of banking levels without lots of direct experience. This life-money trade-off is less difficult once loans are paid off, but is also difficult because the job is probably one of the more interesting out there.
My approach is to try to take a bullish long-term view of my drive and abilities so the money concern is minimised. That leaves me to figure out what industry is most interesting to me and to view work as perpetual training towards a sustainable lifestyle goal. I'm also probably overly retrospective which makes it more difficult to just get on with it and to see what happens next - trusting that I'll be ready and flexible to take advantage of the right opportunities when they cross my path. Others goals are to save enough capital to become investors, saving to buy a house / start a family, or to keep at it until they have enough experience to either get a lighter load or to transition into a directly related field.
On .2s, those of my friends who maintain active lifestyles have more energy to cope with everything. They engage with society the most and keep a perspective that others find muddled. Thinking like this is obviously an age thing, but much of it is also a regurgitation of things I've read in the past and have a clearer context for now.
It's been sunny all day so after convincing myself it's worth joining an overpriced gym next to my house, I feel sufficient guilt and clarity of mind after this rant to make a move. Sunny days in London are the best because the city has endless places to wander and everyone's in a dramatically better mood.